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IL DUI lawyerOne of the tools that the state of Illinois uses to find and deter those who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is by conducting sobriety checkpoints. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that sobriety checkpoints do not inherently violate any constitutional rights, as long as they are conducted in a legal manner. In Illinois, this means the time, date and location of the sobriety checkpoint should be announced to the public prior to it taking place and signs and/or lights should be used to designate the checkpoints. Being pulled over for DUI can have a significant impact on your life, which is why it is important to understand that you do have rights when you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint in Illinois.

You Have the Right to Turn Around and Avoid the Checkpoint

The first thing you should understand is that you are not required to go through the sobriety checkpoint. Police officers are required to clearly mark DUI checkpoints and make them visible to drivers. If you see a DUI checkpoint coming up and you do not wish to go through it, you are legally permitted to avoid the checkpoint, as long as you can do so safely without breaking any laws. However, you should be aware that nearby officers may be watching for drivers who avoid the checkpoint and may pull you over for doing so.

You Have the Right to Avoid Answering Questions

One of the first things an officer does after pulling you over is try to gather probable cause for an arrest. Just like any other traffic stop, you have the right to remain silent. The only information and documents you are legally required to furnish when asked is your driver’s license, your vehicle registration and your proof of insurance. Probable cause can also be established by sight or smell, so you can choose to keep your windows rolled up and refuse to speak with the officer, however, you must also understand that if the officer requests that you step out of the vehicle, you must adhere to the order.

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IL defense lawyerSince its inception, the United States has done things a little differently. When it comes to gun laws, the country as a whole is unique. The inherent right to gun ownership is written into the country’s constitution, though each individual state has the right to regulate the possession, use, sale, purchase, and/or transfer of firearms within their boundaries. While some states are laxer with their firearm laws, the state of Illinois tends to have rather strict laws concerning firearms. In particular, not everyone is legally permitted to own a firearm in the state of Illinois. Being caught in possession of a firearm when you are not legally supposed to have one can lead to serious consequences that require representation from a skilled Illinois criminal defense attorney.

FOID Cards and Ineligibility

Though not all states have the same requirements, the state of Illinois requires everyone in possession of a firearm to have a valid firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card to be in legal possession of that firearm. To be eligible to receive a FOID card, you must meet certain requirements, as there are certain things that can make you ineligible for ownership, both on the state and federal level. In general, a person is ineligible for a FOID card if they:

  • Are not yet 21 years old, or do not have a parent or legal guardian sponsor who is eligible for a FOID card
  • Are not a resident of the state of Illinois
  • Have been convicted of a felony
  • Are addicted to narcotics
  • Have been a patient in a mental health facility in the past five years
  • Have been a patient in a mental health facility more than five years ago, but have failed to receive a mental health certification
  • Have been involuntarily committed into a mental health facility
  • Are intellectually or developmentally disabled
  • Have been adjudicated as a mentally disabled person
  • Are an illegal alien in the United States
  • Are subject to an existing order of protection
  • Have been convicted within the past five years of battery, assault, aggravated assault, or violation of an order of protection in which a firearm was used or possessed
  • Have been convicted of domestic battery
  • Have been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military

Speak to Our Rolling Meadows, IL Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Though it is written into our constitution that we have the right to bear arms, that right is treated more like a privilege that can be revoked if it is deemed necessary. In some circumstances, you may be found ineligible to own or continue to own firearms in Illinois, in which case, you must surrender them or face consequences for illegal ownership. Gun crimes are taken very seriously in Illinois, which is why having a skilled Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense attorney on your side is a good idea. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law will put his experience to use to get you the best outcome possible. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 847-253-3400.

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IL defense lawyerEach year, the FBI collects important data on hate crimes that occur around the country in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Last week, the FBI released the 2019 hate crime statistics, the most recent hate crime data available for the U.S. According to that data, there were 65 hate crimes that were reported to have taken place in the state of Illinois in 2019. In recent years, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies across the country have put more money and resources into the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, which has led to a big push to protect people of certain classes across the country. As a result, law enforcement and prosecutors often punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law. However, the consequences for committing a hate crime in Illinois can be serious.

What Is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime occurs when a person commits some type of crime against another person because of that person’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or physical or mental disability. Typically, hate crimes are violent in nature, but they can also consist of crimes against the victim’s property. Examples of hate crime in Illinois can include:

  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Intimidation
  • Cyberstalking
  • Trespassing
  • Damage to property
  • Disorderly conduct

What Are the Consequences of a Hate Crime Conviction?

The consequences of a hate crime conviction in Illinois depend on the circumstances surrounding the case. In most cases, a first offense is charged as a Class 4 felony, while a second or subsequent offense is charged as a Class 2 felony. Under certain circumstances, such as if the crime was committed in a school or church, a first offense can be charged as a Class 3 felony. All felony charges in Illinois carry the possibility of up to $25,000 in fines and years of prison time. If you are found guilty of a hate crime, the judge has the option to either order restitution paid to the victim or impose a fine based on the severity of the crime.

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Arlington Heights, IL traffic crimes defense attorney

We all know what a construction zone looks like -- orange cones everywhere, blinking lights on reflective signs, men and women in hardhats working on the scene. Most states have specific traffic laws that must be followed when driving through a construction zone, including Illinois. In most cases, these laws are more strict than typical traffic laws. This is because these laws were put into place to protect the construction workers themselves, and also the drivers on the road. The most common construction zone violations are speeding violations, which are taken seriously by the state. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were, on average, nearly 5,200 construction zone crashes each year between 2012 and 2016. Of the 683 fatal work zone crashes reported in Illinois in 2016, more than 27 percent involved speeding as a factor. Because of the increased risk in a construction zone, penalties for breaking the law in a work zone are typically also more serious than regular speeding penalties. 

Construction Zone Speeding Ticket Penalties

In Illinois, the first and second time you are issued a speeding ticket in a construction zone, it is considered a petty offense, meaning you face fines, not jail time as a punishment for your ticket. You face a minimum fine of $375 for a first offense of speeding in a work zone, with a possible maximum fine of $1,000. For a second speeding ticket in a construction zone, a minimum fine of $1,000 is imposed. The Illinois Secretary of State will also suspend the driver’s license of anyone who commits a second offense of speeding in a construction zone within two years of the first offense for at least 90 days.

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney

For every crime, there is an equivalent range of acceptable penalties that comes along with it when you are convicted. There are different types of felony and misdemeanor crimes that vary in severity, from a low-level Class C misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail, to the most serious charge of them all, a Class X felony charge, which carries between six and 30 years in prison. Sentencing guidelines for crimes that are committed in Illinois vary and offer a range for which sentences are considered acceptable, meaning not everyone who is convicted of the same crime will necessarily receive the same sentence. There are many different factors that can affect the severity of your sentence, both positively and negatively. Focusing on the factors that could potentially reduce the severity of your sentence can greatly benefit you in the long run.

Factors in Mitigation

When it comes time to sentence you for the crime of which you have been convicted, the prosecution will have a chance to present a case as to why the judge should impose a penalty that is more severe. Once they are finished, your attorney will have the opportunity to argue why your sentence should be more lenient, mitigating the factors brought up by the prosecution. Depending on your situation, your attorney may use the following factors in mitigation:

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