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Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense attorney

In recent years, the term “criminal justice reform” has been touted day in and day out as something that is desperately needed across the country. Many groups have been calling for major changes to multiple elements of the criminal justice system, though no such law had been passed until now. Recently, both the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate passed HB3653 and sent the legislation off to the desk of Illinois State Governor J.B. Pritzker for a final signature. HB3653 contains many new laws that help those who have been charged with or arrested for a crime.

Cash Bail to Be Eliminated

One of the biggest changes that HB3653 brings is the elimination of the cash bail system. Bail is the current system that is used to release individuals who have been charged with a crime from jail before their trial, while still ensuring they will return to their court hearings and appearances. However, cash bail is often far-fetched for many people, even when only 10 percent of the amount is required to be posted. This resulted in prisons being overcrowded with individuals awaiting trial simply because they could not afford to get out of jail. By eliminating cash bail, non-violent offenders can await trial in their own community and violent offenders must remain in jail, regardless of their ability to pay. 

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney

When it comes to the people responsible for a crime, in some cases, it can be more than just the offender who is held responsible for the commission of the crime. This is the basic idea behind the concept of criminal accountability. In the state of Illinois, it is legal for a person to be arrested and charged for simply knowing about a crime that someone else committed. While this may seem unfair, the law of accountability has actually helped Illinois law enforcement with the prosecution of criminal organizations and gang members. However, the law of accountability can also unfairly and unjustly convict innocent people of crimes that they did not commit and should not be accountable for.

What Is the “Law of Accountability” in Illinois?

Many states across the country, including Illinois, have created laws that are known as accountability laws, which allows the state to convict individuals of crimes that they did not commit, but that they were “accessories” to or “passive participants” in. Specifically, the Illinois Criminal Code states that a person is legally accountable for the actions of another person when they have the intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime and they aid, abet, agree, or attempt to aid another person in the planning or commission of the offense.

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney aggravated sexual assault

Out of all of the crimes that you could be accused of committing, sex crimes are some of the most unforgiving and harsh offenses to face. Sex crimes, such as sexual assault, are some of the most underreported crimes ever, yet they still appear in alarming numbers across the country. According to FBI crime statistics, there were nearly 140,000 police-reported cases of rape and sexual assault across the country in 2019. Sexual assault is a serious crime and is punished accordingly in Illinois; however, charges can be elevated even more to felony charges in certain circumstances. 

Sexual Assault

According to Illinois law, sexual assault occurs when a person commits sexual penetration and the person uses force or the threat of force or knows that the victim is unable to give knowing consent to the act. Criminal sexual assault is typically charged as a Class 1 felony in Illinois, which carries a prison sentence of 4-15 years and up to $25,000 in fines.

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Rolling Meadows, IL expungement attorney

Beginning in early 2020, the state of Illinois legalized the sale, purchase, and use of recreational marijuana, effectively decriminalizing the substance in most situations. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) made it legal for most adults over the age of 21 to consume, sell, or purchase cannabis. The Act also contained important legislation detailing the process and timeframe for expungement, sealing, or pardoning of eligible marijuana-related criminal records. Now more than one year later, nearly 500,000 non-felony marijuana-related arrest records have been expunged. Expungement of your prior cannabis-related arrest records can have a very positive effect on your life. 

Expungements and Pardons

In Illinois, there is usually a pretty strict process with fairly tough requirements when it comes to getting a criminal record expunged or pardoned by the governor. However, with the passing of the CRTA, hundreds of thousands of criminal records became eligible for expungement or pardoning across the state.

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney DUI

For many people, 2020 has been a stressful, never-ending nightmare of a year. One of the most significant and deadliest viruses in modern history, COVID-19, spread like wildfire and continues to rage on in certain parts of the world. Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the 2020 tunnel with a vaccine starting to be administered. Many people use the holiday as an evening to celebrate the going of the past year and to welcome the near year in, but your new year could get off to a troubled start if you do not celebrate your New Year’s responsibly and decide to drink and drive.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the New Year holiday is typically a heavy drinking period, involving increased instances of DUIs and traffic fatalities. In 2018, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities that occurred during the New Year holiday season involved alcohol-impaired driving, compared to 29 percent of all traffic fatalities throughout the year. Illinois DUI charges come with serious consequences, so avoiding a DUI conviction is always the priority. An Illinois DUI defense attorney can help you understand your charges if you have been arrested for DUI in Illinois.

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