felony, Elgin DUI defense attorneyIn Illinois, there are three classifications of criminal offenses. Petty offenses are the lowest classification and include most traffic violations. The next level of offense a misdemeanor while the highest classification of crime, that which can carry the most serious penalties, is a felony. Those convicted of a felony usually face extended imprisonment as well as other serious punitive consequences. There are some instances in which a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) can be classified as a felony. Felony DUIs, also called aggravated DUIs, carry more severe disciplinary consequences than a misdemeanor DUI does and can seriously affect a convicted person’s ability to find employment or even a home in the future.

Most DUI Charges Are Considered Misdemeanors

If you are an Illinois resident have been charged with a DUI for the very first time, you will almost certainly be charged with a misdemeanor. Felony DUI charges come as a result of more serious violations of the law. Offenses which can result in a felony DUI charge include:

  • Being caught driving under the influence of alcohol three different times;
  • Drinking and driving which results in a passenger under the age of 16 being injured;
  • Being charged with a DUI while having a prior conviction for alcohol-related reckless homicide;
  • Driving under the influence with an expired, suspended, or revoked driver’s license;
  • Drinking and driving without car insurance;
  • Drunk driving which causes an accident in which someone is seriously injured or killed; and
  • Driving a school bus with children on board while intoxicated.

The list of examples above is not exhaustive, and there may be additional special circumstances when result in a DUI charge being increased to an aggravated DUI charge.

Consequences of a Felony Conviction

The criminal sentence imposed on someone who has been convicted of a felony will depend on the specific charges and circumstances of the crime. Felonies in Illinois are divided into five categories. Class 4 felonies are the least serious felony offenses and Class X felonies are the most harshly punished offenses. Felony criminal sanctions include:

  • Class 4 Felony: Punishable by 1-3 years in prison;
  • Class 3 Felony: Punishable by 2-5 years in prison;
  • Class 2 Felony: Punishable by 3-7 years in prison;
  • Class 1 Felony: Punishable by 4-15 years in prison; and
  • Class X Felony: Punishable by 6-30 years in prison.

In addition to imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000, those convicted of a felony face additional consequences such as difficulty finding employment, being excluded from certain job fields, forfeiture of gun ownership rights, and trouble finding a place to live.

Contact a Kane County Aggravated DUI Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, contact The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola for legal guidance with your case. To schedule a free initial consultation with an Elgin DUI defense attorney, call 847-488-0889 today.




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burglary, Kane County criminal defense attorneyThe terms burglary, breaking and entering, robbery, and theft often get used interchangeably, and some confusion about the meaning of the terms exists. If you have been charged with burglary, you are probably unsure of what will happen next or what punitive consequences you may face. Read on to learn about burglary charges in Illinois and how a criminal defense attorney can help you fight these charges.

Burglary Occurs When Someone Trespasses with Intent to Commit a Crime

The Illinois Criminal Code provides the technical definition of burglary. “A person commits burglary when without authority he or she knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft.” Put simply, a person who enters or remains on another person’s property without permission and intends to steal something or commit another crime on that property is committing burglary. Someone who breaks into a property but does not attempt to steal something or has no other criminal intent will usually only be charged with trespassing or another lesser crime.

A Prosecutor Must Prove Awareness and Intent

In order for a defendant to be convicted of burglary, a state prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant entered a property without permission or refused to leave the property after he or she no longer had permission to be there. Furthermore, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly entered the property, meaning that he or she was aware of his or her actions and had intent to commit theft or another felonious crime on the property. Burglary of a non-residential building, boat, car, or aircraft is generally considered a Class 2 felony. Burglary of a residential home, school, church, or other place of worship is usually a Class 1 felony.

Penalties and Sentences

Someone convicted of burglary as a Class 2 Felony potentially faces imprisonment for three to seven years and a fine of up to $25,000. A person convicted of burglary as a Class 1 felony faces the same steep fine and may be imprisoned for four to fifteen years. Those defendants with a prior criminal history may face higher sentences. In some cases, a judge may find probation to be a more appropriate punishment than jail time.

If you have been accused of burglary, do not try to face the prosecution alone. For legal advice you can trust, contact one of the skilled Elgin criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola. Call 847-488-0889 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation of your case.




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rights, Kane County criminal defense attorneyIf you have even been arrested or accused of a crime, you know how dehumanizing the experience can be. Criminal suspects are often treated much worse than they deserve. However, you should know that those suspected of criminal activity have certain rights which cannot legally be denied to them. Every citizen should be educated about his or her rights and take steps to ensure that they are treated properly according to the law.

The Right to Be Free from Unreasonable Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” If police wish to enter a person’s property in order to find evidence that they plan to use in court, they usually need a search warrant. Nonetheless, there are some situations which allow police to execute a search without a warrant. It is always a good idea not to give police your consent to search your home if they do not have a warrant. If police search anyway, do not attempt to physically stop them, but do make note of the circumstances and that you did not consent to the search. This information can be tremendously valuable in the future.

The Right to Counsel

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution ensure that criminal defendants have the right to legal counsel. Any person, regardless of the crime they have been accused of, have the right to hire an attorney. Police are not allowed to question or interrogate someone suspected of criminal activity without offering that person the chance to have a lawyer present. Even if you cannot afford an attorney, a court-appointed lawyer will be assigned to you.

The Right to Remain Silent

Many people have heard the phrase “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” These “Miranda Rights” are the reminder police must give people they arrest that they have the right not to incriminate themselves. If police interrogate a suspect without first giving them the Miranda warning, any confession or statement made cannot be used against the suspect in any criminal case. Furthermore, evidence revealed as a result of that statement or confession will likely also be thrown out of the case. If you are ever arrested, it is always a good idea to remain silent until you have the opportunity to talk to a lawyer.

If you have been accused of a crime, contact a skilled Elgin criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free, completely confidential consultation of your case today.





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DUI, Elgin DUI defense attorneyThe state of Illinois takes drinking and driving very seriously. Car accidents involving intoxicated drivers caused 10,265 deaths in 2015 and thousands more injuries. Over a million people were charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) during the same year. If you are caught drinking and driving in Illinois, the penalties can be severe and life-altering. It is important that every driver be educated about DUI laws.

When Can Someone Be Arrested for DUI?

If a police officer suspects a driver is intoxicated, the officer will pull the car over. Next, if the officer still has concerns about the driver’s sobriety he will ask them to take a field sobriety test or chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test. The BAC test is usually done via a breathalyzer device. If the test shows a result of 0.80 percent BAC or higher, the driver will be arrested for driving under the influence and his or her driver’s license will automatically be suspended for six months. A driver who is under age 21 is not legally permitted to drive with any amount of alcohol in their body. If you are under age 21, you can be charged with driving under the influence even if you do not blow over 0.08 percent BAC on a breathalyzer.

A driver can be arrested for DUI even without a failed BAC test. If the officer’s observation of the driver and field sobriety tests show signs of intoxication, the driver may still be arrested. The automatic suspension of driving privileges does not apply without a failed or refused test.

Can I Refuse a BAC Test?

Motorists do have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but doing so results in an automatic driver’s license suspension of one year. Some individuals who refuse to take a test do so because they hope the prosecution will be unable to find other evidence that they were driving under the influence. This can happen, but it is very important to note that a person can still be charged with DUI even if they do not consent to chemical testing.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI?

If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will face severe criminal penalties. For a first time DUI offender, the penalties include up to one year’s imprisonment, driver’s license suspension of up to a year, and $2500 in fines. An additional $1,000 fine and 25 days of community service are included in the penalties if you drove with a person under age 16 in the car while intoxicated. If you are convicted of a second DUI in Illinois, you will receive a minimum 5-year suspension of your driver’s license and a mandatory 5 days in jail or 240 days of community service. Additionally, you can be imprisoned for a year and fined $2500. A third DUI conviction results in a minimum 10-year loss of driving privileges and up to seven years in jail.

Who Can I Call for Help?

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need a DUI lawyer who can help keep you out of jail. To speak with an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandol, call 847-488-0889 today.




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legal limit, Kane County DUI defense attorneyDrunk driving is a serious issue in the United States. Every year, drunk driving takes the lives of approximately 10,000 people. This works out to about 28 deaths linked to an impaired driver every single day. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes is estimated to be about $44 billion dollars. In order to mitigate the problem of drunk driving, legislators have limited the amount of alcohol a person can legally have in their body while driving. If a driver is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.08 percent, he or she will be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI). In order to less the number of alcohol-related car accidents, some experts suggest lowering the legal limit nationwide.

Scientists Say BAC Threshold Should Be Lowered to 0.05 Percent

A panel of accomplished scientists from the National Academics of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine analyzed data from many sources and came to the conclusion that states should lower the legal BAC limit. Presently, all 50 U.S. states maintain a BAC limit of 0.08 percent. Anyone with a BAC higher than this driving a car is breaking the law. It should be noted that although the legal limit is 0.08 percent, drivers showing signs of impairment with a BAC of at least 0.05 percent can still be charged with a DUI in Illinois.

Several states are already considering legislation to lower the legal limit within their borders, and effective December 30, 2018, Utah will lower its BAC limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05. Scientists on the panel believe that all states should follow suit. The group’s report—which consisted of nearly 490 pages—recommended changing the BAC threshold from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent in order to dissuade drivers from getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.

The proposed law would affect different drivers in different ways. Blood alcohol content is affected by a number of factors, including how much the person drank, what they were drinking, their body weight, and how much food they consumed. Women tend to have a lower tolerance for alcohol than men, so a woman’s blood alcohol content may be slighter higher than a man’s even if they drank the same amount of alcohol.

Beyond lowering the BAC limit, the panel also urged states to increase the tax on alcohol and decrease the accessibility of beer, liquor, and wine in stores, restaurants, and bars. The panel predicted that if states were to double the tax on alcohol, fatal accidents involving alcohol would drop by 11 percent. Critics of the proposed changes say that police should be focusing on dangerous drivers or repeat DUI offenders instead of casual drinkers.

Have You Been Charged with a DUI or Other Alcohol-Related Crime?

As police and lawmakers crack down on drunk driving, it is more important than ever that those charged with a DUI employ the help of an experienced criminal attorney. To speak with a skilled Elgin DUI defense attorney at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola, call 847-488-0889.





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medical marijuana, Kane County drug crimes defense lawyerLast week, an Illinois House panel called The House Elementary Education Committee unanimously approved legislation which would allow school children to consume medical marijuana in school. The proposed legislation would allow a parent or legal guardian to administer infused medical marijuana on school grounds and in school-owned transportation.

Medical Marijuana Prevents Student’s Seizures

House Bill 4870 was largely influenced by a lawsuit brought by parents of a child who has seizures. The girl suffers from seizures after undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and medical marijuana is the only medication which effectively controls them. The parents sued the school because they were not allowed to change their daughter’s medical marijuana patch or administer medical marijuana oil under her tongue on school grounds. As the law currently stands, a school nurse could lose his or her license if they administered medical marijuana to a student – even if the student has a valid medical marijuana card. Although it is unlikely, the student and her parents could face criminal prosecution for sending the girl to school with a medical marijuana patch. Advocates of the bill say that this is unacceptable.

Only Medical Cannabis Will Be Included in Bill

The proposed legislation does not allow students to smoke marijuana in the schools. Parents are only allowed to administer infused products to their children. This includes food, oils, or other products which contain medical marijuana but are not smoked. If the bill passes the full House and is eventually signed by the governor, schools will be required to allow parents and legal guardians to administer medical marijuana to their children in school. Children must have a valid pre-approved medical marijuana card in order to qualify for this opportunity.

The measure is sponsored by State Representative Lou Lang. He said of the bill, “Before anyone sets their hair on fire about medical marijuana in school, it’s important to understand that tots won’t be toking up in class. Discreet, private locations in a school will set aside for parents to administer the product and have no impact on anyone else in the building.” Colorado, New Jersey, Maine and Washington state already allow students to use medical marijuana at school.

Experienced Kane County Criminal Defense Lawyer

To be clear, marijuana of any kind, including medical cannabidiol is currently not allowed in schools. If you or your child has been charged with a drug-related crime, you need an attorney who will help you understand your rights and protect your freedom. Call 847-488-0889 to speak with a skilled Elgin drug crimes defense attorney at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola today.





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gun law, Elgin criminal defense attorneyThe tragic events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month shocked the public. It is one of many school shootings which have rocked the public’s sense of safety in recent years. The shooting, which left 17 victims dead, has ignited the controversy regarding gun laws arguably more than any previous event. It is important now more than ever that all citizens understand the rights and responsibilities of those who choose to purchase a gun.

What is Required to Purchase a Gun in Illinois?

If an Illinois resident wishes to possess a firearm, he or she must obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. These cards are issued by the Illinois State Police to applicants who meet certain requirements. There are some instances in which a person will not be allowed to get a FOID card. Specifically, an applicant will not be eligible for a FOID card if he or she:

  • Has been convicted of a felony;
  • Has been convicted of assault or battery;
  • Has been convicted of domestic violence;
  • Is the subject of an order of protection (sometimes called a restraining order);
  • Has been a in a mental institution within the last five years;
  • Suffers from certain mental illnesses or cognitive impairment;
  • Is an illegal immigrant;
  • Is under the age of 21 and does not have written consent of a parent or legal guardian who is also legally able to possess firearms; or
  • Is under the age of 18.

Concealed Carry

An Illinois resident who wishes to conceal carry their gun must be licensed to do so. The Illinois State Police Department issues licenses to applicants aged 21 or older who pass a training course and meet other requirements. It is important to note that any law enforcement agency can block an applicant’s access to a concealed carry license “based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety”.

Gun owners should also be aware that gun laws can differ within the state. Some Illinois local governments have passed ordinances that are more restrictive than those of the state at large. For example, the city of Chicago and Cook County do not allow the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that are sometimes referred to as assault weapons.

If you are facing weapons charges, you need an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney who will fight for your rights. Call 847-488-0889 for a free, confidential consultation at the law offices of Brian J. Mirandola today.





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shoplifting, Elgin criminal defense attorneyThe National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reports that over 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years. Even more surprising, they estimate that about one out of every 11 people in the U.S have shoplifted. Many people consider shoplifting to be “no big deal” or even see it as a rite of passage for young people. The truth is that retail theft is a crime, and depending on the circumstances, can result in serious criminal penalties.

What is Considered Shoplifting?

The most common example of shoplifting occurs when a person attempts to take merchandise from a store without paying for it. He or she may hide the items in a coat or bag while shopping and then attempt to leave the store without paying for those items. Often, a loss prevention officer (LPO), or an employee who is tasked with preventing shoplifting, confronts the person attempting to steal from the store.

Other tactics used by shoplifters include changing price tags on merchandise in order to pay a lesser price for an item, making fraudulent returns in order to receive cash or store credit, and keeping property after a lease has ended. Interestingly, store employees are also a big shoplifting risk. Sometimes a cashier will pretend to ring up a customer as usual but actually, they are not charging the customer for all of the merchandise he or she is leaving with.

Illinois Penalties for Shoplifting

If you are caught shoplifting and the police are called, the extent to which you are held criminally accountable will depend on the value of the goods stolen (or attempted to steal) as well as any prior criminal convictions. If the items cost $300 or less, you will probably be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this charge include fines up to $2,500 and up to one year of imprisonment. If you have prior convictions of theft or related crimes, stealing or attempting to steal items worth less than $300 can result in being charged with a Class 4 felony and being fined up to $25,000. You are also at risk of being imprisoned for one to three years.

Shoplifting property which is valued at more than $300 is a Class 3 felony and can result in fines up to $25,000 and between two and five years of imprisonment. If you use an emergency exit when leaving the store with stolen goods, that charge is increased to a Class 2 felony. The penalties for this include fines up to $25,000 and three to seven years’ imprisonment.

Criminal Defense Attorneys Who Will Fight for Your Freedom

If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact experienced Elgin, IL retail theft attorney Brian J. Mirandola for guidance with your case. Call 847-488-0889 for a free, confidential consultation today.




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marijuana, Elgin drug crimes defense lawyerMarijuana laws in the United States are changing rapidly. Currently, Washington D.C and eight states have legalized the sale and possession of marijuana for recreational purposes while many others, including Illinois, allow the consumption of cannabis as treatment for certain medical conditions. In Illinois, it is still illegal for those without a medical marijuana registration card to possess, purchase, use, or sell marijuana. There are many myths regarding marijuana and its legality which Illinois citizens should be aware of.

Myth 1: It Is Legal to Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana If You Are a Registered Medical User

Some people think that if they are in a state where recreational marijuana is legal or they have their medical marijuana ID card that they are able to smoke marijuana in a car. This is absolutely not the case. Although there has been considerably less research about the effects of marijuana use on driving abilities than the effects of alcohol impairment, it is still considered dangerous and reckless to drive under the influence of cannabis. [BW1]

Myth 2: Police Must Tell You If They Are Police

Many of society’s misconceptions about drug laws come from television and movies. One of these myths is that if a police officer is undercover or otherwise not immediately identifiable as an officer of the law, that he or she must confess their identity if asked directly. In movies, this usually involves a character saying something along the lines of “Are you a cop? If you are, you have to tell me.” Citizens need to be aware of that this is completely false. Police are authorized to lie in order to keep themselves or others safe from danger, to prevent a crime from occurring, or to find sources of criminal activity. Police often pose as drug dealers or other criminals in order to bring offenders to justice in sting operations or investigations.

Myth 3: Officers Must Have a Warrant to Search Your Car If They Suspect It Contains Marijuana

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, however, motor vehicles are not protected from searches the way a home or business is. In order to search a person’s vehicle, police must only have probable cause. This can include things the officer sees, hears, or smells. If an officer smells marijuana or smoke from a car, he or she is authorized to search it.

Facing Drug Charges?

Although Illinois has decriminalized the possession of up to ten grams of marijuana, there are still stiff penalties for those caught using, selling, or purchasing marijuana illegally. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense lawyer for help today. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola.





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fraud, Kane County criminal defense attorneyNot all crimes are violent in nature, but they can still have serious consequences for those found guilty of committing them. Financial crimes such as advertising scams, internet fraud, and fraudulent credit card charges can damage a person’s credit score and negatively affect businesses. Many people who open their bank account or wallet only to realize they have been stolen from ask the same question, “Who must pay for fraudulent charges?”

Credit Card Fraud in Illinois

There are several Illinois state and federal consumer laws that address credit card theft. Credit card payments processed by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover are subject to a “zero liability” policy. This means that the owner of a credit card which is compromised is not held responsible for any fraudulent charges. Fortunately, consumers do not have to pay for charges which they did not make, but they do have a responsibility to tell their credit card company about the fraudulent charges as soon as they find them.

If a person’s credit card company does not have a zero liability policy and their card is used fraudulently, the most they will be required to pay back is $50 – the limit set by the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). Debit cards are not treated the same as credit cards, so it is possible that those with debit cards may be help responsible for fraudulent charges made on them. The sooner you report the stolen card to the bank, the better. Sometimes a credit card number is stolen but not the physical card. In this case, a consumer is not responsible for paying those charges as long as they report the charges within 60 days of their credit card statement.

Criminal Charges for Credit Card Fraud

The use of a counterfeited, forged, expired, revoked, or unissued credit or debit card is a Class 3 felony if more than $300 worth of property was obtained in a six-month period. Possession of another person’s credit card, the sale or purchase of a debit or credit card, and the making of a false statement in order to procure a debit or credit card are considered class 4 felonies. A person found guilty of one of these crimes can face punitive consequences of one to three years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.

Facing Charges?

If you have been accused of credit or debit card fraud, contact a Kane County criminal defense attorney for the legal guidance you need. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation with The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola today.





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