The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola

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47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120

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IL defense lawyerWhen confronting felony charges, it is common for the accused to take a plea deal to diminish their sentence. Defendants might plead guilty to reduce charges for less severe offenses, dismiss additional charges if they face multiple, serve a sentence concurrently rather than consecutively, or a combination of all three. Although superficially, this appears like a good deal for someone facing a lengthy jail sentence, recent investigations suggest that the prevalence of plea deals in criminal cases maintains high prison populations across the country.

If you or a loved one are accused of a crime and could face felony charges, speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. Finding one who will aggressively protect your rights is the key to either lowering your sentence or proving your innocence.

Plea Bargains and Mass Incarceration

Plea bargains have become an increasingly common tactic in courtrooms since 1980, which journalist and Yale Law lecturer Emily Bazelon attributes to the mandatory minimum sentence laws that legislators around the U.S. have passed since then. With mandatory minimum sentence laws, crimes are categorized by their relative severity and given a mandatory punishment (whether it be fines or jail time) that is non-negotiable and that the convicted must serve.

The federal government released statistics stating that over "90 percent of defendants plead guilty rather than go to trial". As a result, the question of a defendant's guilt or innocence is rarely addressed in an open trial; the fear of serving a mandatory minimum sentence encourages defendants to plead guilty preemptively. This fear allows prosecutors to do what is asked of them: they can resolve more cases efficiently and save judicial resources.

Should You Take a Plea Deal in Illinois?

There is no right or wrong answer to whether a plea deal will be beneficial in your case. Your attorney will carefully examine the accusations made against you and any existing evidence to give advice based upon their experience defending criminal cases. Accepting a plea bargain is a serious decision, and prosecutors may try and intimidate you into taking one. If this happens to you, remember that plea deals work to their benefit. It would be best if you made a full assessment of your case with your attorney before pleading guilty or going to court.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Minimum mandatory sentences for felony charges in Illinois are steep. Protect your rights and seek trustworthy counsel from an Elgin, IL criminal defense attorney before deciding whether to plead guilty. Call the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 for a free consultation and find out how we can help. With more than two decades of legal experience, our legal team will work diligently to ensure your rights are protected throughout this process.

 

Sources:

https://www.nprillinois.org/post/charged-explains-how-prosecutors-and-plea-bargains-drive-mass-incarceration#stream/0

https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title18-chapter221&saved=%7CZ3JhbnVsZWlkOlVTQy1wcmVsaW0tdGl0bGUxOC1zZWN0aW9uMzQzMQ%3D%3D%7C%7C%7C0%7Cfalse%7Cprelim&edition=prelim

https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/types-cases/criminal-cases

 

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IL defense lawyerAnyone with misdemeanor or felony charges on their record used to have to fear that they would be automatically disqualified from a prospective job, but recent federal and state legislation helps provide an even playing field for all job applicants, regardless of what their criminal record looks like. Employers have a little leeway in determining whether any past convictions should bar you from the job you are applying for, but there is a much greater chance that anyone can make it much deeper into the hiring process before those discussions arise. If you ever need help determining if your criminal record can be sealed or expunged, or if you think a potential employer is violating any of the laws discussed below, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act

On January 1, 2015, the “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” took effect. Prior to this, employers were allowed to inquire about applicants’ criminal records during the application process. This typically led employers to make a swift negative judgment of anyone with a felony or misdemeanor on their record, even if the applicant was more than qualified for the job in question.

The Job Opportunities Act forbids this. Instead, employers are only allowed to ask about an applicant’s criminal record if they have already been deemed qualified for the position. This rule is designed to help push employers to give former convicts a second chance. There are a few fields, like medicine, that still allow for employers to conduct a criminal background check on applicants since many types of misdemeanors might immediately suggest that the applicant is not up for the task.

If an employer deems that an applicant’s past conviction is a cause for concern and they do not want to hire them because of it, they are encouraged to notify applicants in writing of the specific offense that disqualified them from the job. Although this can be up to the employer’s discretion, the Qualified Applicants Act’s purpose is to push employers to only turn an applicant away if their record poses a serious, tangible risk in that profession.

Contact a Kane County Defense Lawyer

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act was designed to help reintegrate those with prior felony or misdemeanor convictions reintegrate into society and receive a fair chance at attaining a job that they are capable of holding. To protect your rights and ensure that you are being given the opportunities that you deserve, work with the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola. Our Aurora criminal defense attorney will strive to defend your case in court and help expunge or seal whatever possible from your record. To schedule a free consultation today, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-illinois-laws-criminal-records-118-biz-20170117-story.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-4.5-55

 

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Criminal records can restrict access to employment, housing, bank loans, school admission, and more. It is possible to expunge or seal these records depending on the nature of the crime. None of this will happen automatically, and you will have to work proactively with a highly-capable criminal defense attorney to ensure that your criminal record does not prevent you from enjoying certain privileges in the future.

What Crimes Can Be Sealed

Having a crime expunged from your record means that you eradicate it and it will never have an impact on you in the future. Not all crimes are eligible for this treatment, but many more are allowed to be sealed. This means that the crime in question will not be used against you in a background check and will not be available in the public record, but law enforcement will have access to your record and it will be available via court order.

If you were charged with a misdemeanor or a felony but were never convicted, you can seal your record at any moment. The exception to this rule is for minor traffic offenses, but if you were released before being charged with such, you can still seal your record.

The rest of the cases that you can seal all require that it has been at least three years since serving your last sentence. Convictions for most misdemeanors and felonies can be sealed except for a DUI, reckless driving, domestic battery, violation of an order of protection, sexual offenses, animal offenses, or any felony convictions you were charged with after already having a felony conviction sealed.

While you can seal qualifying offenses three to five years after your last sentence, an exception is made in which you can seal immediately upon completing either a high school diploma, associate’s degree, career certificate, vocational certification, bachelor’s degree, or the GED test.

Contact a Elgin Criminal Defense Attorney

If you want to seal your criminal record to protect your future, it is essential to work with an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we have years of experience helping those formerly convicted of misdemeanors and felonies expunge and seal their records. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 847-488-0889.

 

SOURCE:

https://www2.illinois.gov/osad/Expungement/Documents/Adult%20Exp/ExpungementSealing_Instructions_Approved.pdf

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IL defense lawyerThe new decade brought over 250 new laws - or amended laws - to the state of Illinois. The changes affect a variety of law topics, but the majority are classified under criminal law. Of course, many people quickly became aware of the legalization of recreational marijuana, but a fortunate amendment to one bill affected domestic violence and sexual offenses. As of the first of the year, there is no longer a statute of limitations to prosecute major sex crimes in Illinois.

The Law: Then and Now

Illinois law previously had a limited amount of time in which a prosecutor could take an alleged sex offender into litigation. A typical sex crime case includes offenses such as:

  • Rape
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Statutory rape (adult has sexual contact with a minor even with consent)
  • Molestation

In order to have their attackers brought to justice, a victim would have to come forth and report the crime within three years of the crime. Then, the prosecuting attorney would have 10 years from the time of the report to convict the alleged sex offender.

As of 2020, though, Illinois removed all statute of limitations for major sex crimes regardless of the age of the victim. This gives the victim and prosecutor more time to get the facts of the case correct and bring the guilty party to justice.

Other Changes Related to Sexual Offenses

Illinois amended its law to fight against workplace sexual harassment in order to make women feel more comfortable working with their fellow employees. Under the new rules, government workplaces will be required to give employees annual sexual harassment training regardless of gender, age, or orientation. This includes:

  • State officials
  • Lobbyists
  • Other state government employees

Illinois also amended its Domestic Violence Act by decreeing that all court systems must process any emergency violations of a protection order. This includes during the evening or court holidays. Previously, emergency violations reported during these days/times were held until the following regular workday.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

These new laws are less well-known than the legalization of marijuana. However, the new laws come with punishments, just like before 2020 began. If you are struggling against accusations of domestic violence, the lawyers of the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola can look into your case and build a defense. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call our office at 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=101-0130

https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-liststory-illinois-new-laws-2020-20191218-k3sjxat7mvgonbbbvyr7anlbja-list.html

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IL defense lawyerJoyriding is one common reason people steal motor vehicles. However, unlike vehicular theft, joyriding is usually a temporary theft that ends in either the thief returning the vehicle to where they found it or they abandon it when they are finished with it.

Illinois defines joyriding as vehicular trespass as opposed to theft which is punishable as a misdemeanor offense. Vehicular theft, on the other hand, is a felony with penalties that increase in severity based on the value of the vehicle that was stolen.

Joyriding Versus Vehicular Theft

Illinois punishes joyriders less severely than car thieves because the vehicles are usually returned to where they were stolen from - this is why it is easy to apprehend those who joyride.

Those who joyride will face a Class A misdemeanor which can be punished as one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Actual theft of a vehicle means that the offender has no intention of returning the car, boat, or aircraft they have taken. The most common reason people steal a vehicle is to sell it and make money and if this happens, it can be harder to find the right culprit.

In order to convict someone of vehicular theft, the prosecution must prove that the person who is found in possession of a stolen vehicle knew that the vehicle was sold illegally. If the buyer did not know, they cannot be charged with the crime and they can help lead the court to the person who sold them the stolen car.

Once the proper offender is found, they will face a specific felony charge depending on the type of vehicle that was stolen:

  • Class 3 felony: when the vehicle that is stolen is worth more than $500, but less than $10,000 the offender is punished with a prison term of five years.
  • Class 2 felony: when the stolen vehicle is government property valued at under $10,000 or is a normal vehicle valued more than $10,000, but less than $100,000 the offender will be punished with a prison term of seven years.
  • Class 1 felony: when the stolen vehicle is government property valued at $10,000-$100,000 or a normal vehicle valued at $100,000-$500,000 the offender will be punished with a prison term of 15 years.
  • Class X felony: when the stolen vehicle is government property valued over $100,000 or a normal vehicle valued over $1,000,000 the offender will be punished with a prison term of 30 years.

Contact an Elgin, IL Vehicular Theft Attorney

Since the punishments for vehicular theft are more life-changing than joyriding, it is important for offenders to seek the help of a lawyer after they are arrested. The lawyers of the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola can make sure you are not being wrongfully charged with a crime that is more severe than what actually happened. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call our office at 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K21-2

 

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