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Posted on in Marijuana

IL defense lawyerContrary to popular belief, it will not be a free-for-all beginning the first of the year when marijuana for recreational use becomes legal in Illinois. There are still certain regulations that will need to be followed. One part of the Illinois drug law that will not change in 2020 is that no one is permitted to grow cannabis plants in their home. The only exception to that rule is medical marijuana users; they will need a doctor’s note to do so (up to five plants).

Anyone caught growing cannabis without a doctor’s permission will face a drug charge and be fined $200. Instead of growing it, Illinois residents will be able to purchase the drug from any one of 20 cultivation facilities that have already been licensed to sell marijuana.

What Does the Law Currently Say?

There are still several months before marijuana becomes legal in Illinois. Until that time, residents should abide by the drug law or face felony punishments if caught possessing any illegal substance.

Right now, it is unlawful for anyone to possess marijuana and punishments become more severe with higher amounts of drugs.

  • Less than 2.5 grams: Up to 30 days in jail and/or $1,500 fine
  • 2.5-10 grams: Up to six months in jail and/or $1,500 fine
  • 10-30 grams: First offenders will face one year in jail and/or $2,500 fines while second offenders will be charged with a Class 4 felony with punishments of 1-3 years in prison and/or $25,000 in fines
  • 30-500 grams: First offenders will face Class 4 felony punishments while second offenders face Class 3 felony punishments of 2-5 years in prison and/or $25,000 in fines
  • 500-2,000 grams: Class 3 felony punishments
  • 2,000-5,000 grams: Class 2 felony punishments of 3-7 years in prison and/or $25,000 in fines
  • Over 5,000 grams: Class 1 felony punishments of 4-15 years in prison and/or $25,000 in fines

The Illinois drug law also covers false prescription violations, drug paraphernalia possession, and possession of hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin.

Once these types of convictions go on your record, they will affect the course of your life. It could tarnish your ability to get into a college you want to go to, what kind of job you want to have, and even what house you want to purchase.

The “lucky” few that can have their records expunged next year are those who were convicted of having 30 or less grams of marijuana in their possession.

Contact an Elgin, IL Drug Possession Attorney

There are several defense strategies that can help someone avoid a drug charge on their record. The lawyers from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola can help build a defense and defend you from a negative conviction. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County drug crimes lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

https://www.iwu.edu/counseling/Illinois_Drug_Laws.htm

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-state-lawmakers-introduce-pass-85-billion-in-spending-in-12-hours-2/

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IL defense lawyerIllinois was ranked fifth in the country by the Federal Railroad Association for railroad crossing collisions in 2018. In total, Illinois saw 109 collisions (17 deaths and 34 injuries), most of which occurred because safety regulations were not being met by the motorists. Failing to obey the signs that a train is coming is not only a traffic violation, but it also puts lives at risk, as proven by the aforementioned statistics. Not only is the motorist risking their life by trying to beat a train through a crossing, but innocent bystanders can be hurt or killed by debris after a crash.

Signs That a Train Is Approaching

There is plenty of warning given to drivers when they are approaching a train crossing. There will be signs indicating that a crossing is coming up and there may even be lights flashing to alert drivers to prepare to stop.

When a train is approaching, motorists will see:

  • Gates lowering across the road to stop the vehicle from crossing. These gates will also illuminate with flashing red lights.
  • A pair of red railroad lights will begin flashing to get the motorists’ attention and get them to slow down.
  • And a motorist will hear loud bells begin to ring, but this is mostly to alert pedestrians of the incoming train.

Signage for railroad crossings can be posted as far away as 750 feet from the crossing, so drivers have plenty of time to be aware of any trains. In some cases, railroad crossings do not have any safety signals besides a sign. When a driver approaches these types of tracks, they should look both ways before carefully passing over.

When the gates come down, motorists should never speed up to try to beat the train. This is what will lead to a collision. Instead, cars are expected to stop 15 to 50 feet away from the train tracks and wait until the gates raise again before continuing.

How Are Railroad Regulations Enforced?

Some railroad crossings are equipped with an automatic enforcement system which captures images of any violation to railroad regulations. The system will take photos of the vehicle that crosses dangerously, the license plate, and note the time and place in which the incident took place.

Once the proper authorities are alerted to the violation, the driver will face:

  • A $500 fine for a first offense
  • A $1,000 fine for a second offense

Or

  • 25 hours of community service for a first offense
  • Suspension of driver’s license for a minimum of six months

The driver who violated the rules may also have to pay compensation to the railroad company if any damage was done to the safety gates while trying to race the train. Not to mention any lawsuits that may occur if another person was hurt or damage was done to their vehicle by the offending party.

Contact an Elgin, IL Traffic Violation Attorney

It is very dangerous to attempt to beat a train through a railroad crossing, however, there are certain situations that may call for the haste. An emergency elsewhere may need attending to and if that was not happening, then the driver would not have been so reckless. The lawyers of the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola can help defend against any charges brought to a person fighting traffic violations and criminal offenses. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-1201

http://illinoiscarlaws.com/railroad-crossing-laws/

https://oli.org/about-us/news/statistics/collisions-by-state

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IL defense attorneyThe state of Illinois defines reckless driving as anyone operating a motor vehicle with a willful disregard for the safety of other people sharing the road and/or crossing the road. Driving at night without a vehicle’s headlights illuminated can be an act of reckless driving because it is harder for a driver to see the road without the lights on.

Reckless driving charges are usually punishable as misdemeanor offenses, but depending on the seriousness of the outcome, the charges can be elevated to felony offenses.

According to Illinois law, all vehicles are required to have either two or one working headlight; two headlights for cars/trucks and one for motorcycles. The lights must be illuminated during nighttime hours or during the day when:

  • The weather is dangerous: rainy, snowy, icy, foggy
  • Driving through mountainous roads
  • If there are signs indicating lights should be used
  • Just before nighttime hours when the rising or setting sun makes visibility difficult

What Is the Proper Lighting a Car Should Have?

People enjoy building or rebuilding their own cars. If someone chooses to do that or simply to buy their own car, they must make sure the vehicle is manufactured according to Illinois law.

The state says that all cars must have:

  • Two working headlights - one for motorcycles - one on each side of the front of the car and visible from at least 500 feet away
  • Two taillights, one on either side of the back of the car and visible from at least 500 feet away
  • Parking lights - two on the front and two on the back
  • Brake/stop lights that glow red or amber on the rear of the vehicle when the driver steps on the brakes
  • Turn signals to indicate which direction the car will be turning

Of course, there are more mandatory pieces of equipment a car must have before it can be driven, but these are lighting devices that make it easier for a driver to see at night to avoid an accident.

During days of very bad weather, headlights can also be used on high or low settings. “High beams” are good when there is little or no street lighting and the road cannot be seen at night.

What Can Happen if Headlights Are Not Used?

A car that is unilluminated cannot be seen clearly at night and the driver cannot see around them clear enough to avoid obstacles. Some accidents that can happen if head and/or taillights are not used include:

  • The unilluminated car being struck by another vehicle
  • A pedestrian or bicyclist is struck by the unilluminated vehicle
  • The unilluminated car can collide with obstacles or barricades in construction zones
  • Nocturnal animals can be struck by the unilluminated car which can result in major damage to the vehicle

Since it is considered reckless driving, the driver of an unilluminated car will be charged with fines and/or jail time depending on the seriousness of the accident. Also, the driver will see their insurance rates increase after an accident, especially if it is their fault.

A driver’s record is a big factor in car insurance costs. If even one incident - an accident or traffic ticket - occurs, an insurance company can either increase their rates or simply stop coverage on a vehicle.

Contact an Elgin, IL Reckless Driving Lawyer

It is easy to drive at night with headlights illuminated and it is not worth the consequences to drive without them. However, if you or someone you know is facing charges of reckless driving, the first step is to hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola to help defend you against a negative outcome. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County reckless driving lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-503

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K12-201

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/vsd840.pdf

https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/when-to-use-headlights.php

 

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IL traffic lawyerTeenagers across the country are excited about turning 16 years old because they will be able to earn their driver’s license and operate a motor vehicle on their own. However, not all of them realize that it is very easy to lose driving privileges and driving with a suspended license can lead to serious traffic violation punishments.

Drivers can have their licenses suspended - or revoked - as a result of many other traffic offenses:

  • DUI
  • Failure to appear in court for a traffic violation
  • Parking restrictions if a driver receives 10 or more parking violations, they will have parking restrictions on their license
  • Automatic suspension issued if a driver fails to pay five or more fines for previous traffic violations
  • Family Financial Responsibility Law, which can be court-ordered for driving privileges to be suspended if a person does not pay their child support
  • Toll violations or evasions

Whatever the case, if a driver’s license is suspended, under Illinois law they are forbidden from driving their motor vehicle.

What Does the Law Say?

The state of Illinois requires all operators of automobiles to have earned a valid driver’s license or possess a driving permit while behind the wheel. Those with permits must have a person with a valid driver’s license riding in the front passenger seat while in motion.

It is also important to note that all drivers must have their licenses physically with them while in their vehicle. If you are pulled over and don’t have your license with you, the officer can write up a ticket for driving without your license.

If anyone is caught driving without a license or permit, they will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and will be issued a Uniform Traffic Citation. This includes licenses that have been suspended. Furthermore, Illinois law says that charges can be increased to Class 4 felony charges if:

  • The offense is a person’s second or subsequent charge
  • The unlicensed driver causes injury to another person
  • The unlicensed driver kills another person
  • And the unlicensed driver is charged with a DUI

Drivers in violation of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license can also have their term of suspension doubled at the discretion of the Secretary of State. Other punishments include serving 30 consecutive days in prison and/or 300 hours of community service.

Contact an Elgin, IL Traffic Violation Attorney

Losing your driving privileges can lead to many inconveniences in your life. It can also be difficult to get your license reinstated without the help of a knowledgeable lawyer. If you or someone you know is in need of defending your license from suspension, contact a lawyer from the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola to help protect your rights. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County traffic violation lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K6-101

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K6-303

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/losepriv.html

 

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Posted on in Search Warrant

b2ap3_thumbnail_warrant.jpgIllinois police will be authorized to perform a search and seizure for a number of different crimes, including suspicion of drug possession and/or sale. However, there are rules that officers must follow in order to legally perform their duties.

Officers are not permitted to simply enter a private home without a warrant for the search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects a person in their own home from unreasonable searches.

What Is an Illegal Search and Seizure?

The Fourth Amendment says that a person is safe in the privacy of their home, documents, and effects from seizure and that no warrants will be issued unless there is probable cause for the search. This differs from the early days of the amendment when “general warrants” were issued and homes could be searched with no evidence at all.

Now, if the authorities have enough evidence to warrant a reasonable search, they are allowed to do so with the proper documentation.

A search becomes illegal if:

  • The properly documented warrant is not gathered and given to the homeowner prior to the search.
  • The police search personal areas of an apartment with only permission from a landlord or roommates. Legally, the police can search common areas of an apartment with only the landlord’s permission, but they cannot search bedrooms.
  • The police have no probable cause for entering the home or property.

What Can You Do to Defend After an Illegal Seizure?

The first thing to do after an illegal search and seizure is to hire a lawyer to build a case against the law enforcement officers who conducted the search. The victim of the search cannot sue the officers involved because of the “qualified immunity” doctrine which protects government officials while they perform their duties.

A victim can utilize the exclusionary rule which would prevent the government from using evidence obtained in illegal search and seizures. This strategy can protect the victim from criminal charges that would not have been discovered without an illegal search.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is a victim of an illegal search and seizure and are now facing criminal charges, as a result, hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola to defend your Fourth Amendment rights. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County search and seizure lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-iv

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/exclusionary_rule

 

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