The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola

CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120

847-488-0889

camera, Kane County criminal defense lawyerA lawsuit filed against the city of Chicago seems to have been strengthened by testimony offered in a deposition this week, according to the lawyer representing the three motorists serving as plaintiffs in the case. The attorney claims that a city employee acknowledged that City Hall manipulated the processes in place regarding tickets issued for alleged violations captured by red-light cameras and speed-cameras throughout Chicago.

The Suit’s Basics

The suit was filed on the basis that motorists were being routinely denied due process as the city attempted to boost revenue created by the traffic camera ticket program. The plaintiffs and their lawyers claim that City Hall ignored the Chicago municipal code which requires second notices of a violation to be sent to alleged offenders before liability can be determined. Despite not sending the second notices, non-responding violators were found liable, and substantial late fees were added to the initial fine. Over the last dozen years, the practice is said to have netted the city tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue, which the lawsuit is seeking to have refunded to motorists.

Potentially Damning Deposition

Jacie Zolna, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, says she deposed a member of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s staff earlier this week, and the information provided could be damaging to the city. According to Zolna, the city employee admitted that officials "accelerated the determination of liability on the front end, sped up late penalties on the back end," and amended their practices when they were called out as part of the developing lawsuit. Zolna also said the staffer was presented with a photo used as evidence to ticket one of the plaintiffs, and that the employee could not verify, based on the photo, that any law had been broken. The employee did say, however, that issuing tickets on disputable evidence was a common practice, Zolna told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bolstered by a strongly-worded ruling from a circuit court judge in February, Zolna is pushing forward with the case in hopes of seeking justice for his clients and potentially thousands of others around Chicago. Judge Kathleen Kennedy rejected the city’s motion to dismiss several months ago, and, in doing so, issued a statement that accused city officials of violating "the fundamental principles of justice, equity, and good conscience."

Fighting a Traffic Violation?

If you have received a traffic citation—due to a traffic camera or after being pulled over by police—it is important to discuss your available options with an experienced Kane County traffic violations defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/red-light-speed-cam-lawsuit-gets-stronger-after-deposition/

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Judge-rules-against-city-of-Chicago-in-red-light-camera-suit--369829571.html

Last modified on

Posted on in Traffic violations

traffic stop, Illinois law, Kane County criminal defense attorneyA federal judge in nearby Iowa recently upheld a traffic stop even though the defendant was only traveling 1 mile per hour (mph) over the speed limit and was apparently set up by police officers. The decision is not binding authority for criminal law cases in Kane County, but prosecutors may use it to persuade judges to uphold borderline stops or seizures when the defendant files a motion to suppress evidence.

Facts

In United States v. Fuehrer, Dubuque County Sheriff’s deputies had been spying on the defendant for quite some time; they suspected him of being a drug dealer. When they learned the man would be traveling on Highway 151, they set up a radar speed trap. A deputy claimed that his radar recorded the GMC Jimmie travelling at 66 mph in a 65 mph zone. Once the vehicle was pulled over, a drug-sniffing dog was on the scene a mere two minutes later, and officers seized a substantial quantity of methamphetamines.

In his motion to suppress, the defense lawyer claimed that "common knowledge. . .tell[s] us that there is a standard deviation on radar devices that is at least plus or minus 1 mph," and so "the deputy who stopped the defendant. . .could not say with any certainty that he had probable cause to believe that the defendant was violating any traffic laws." The prosecutor also admitted that officers wanted to ensnare the defendant.

Decision

Under existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, any subjective motive is not relevant. So, according to the judge, the fact that the stop was a "setup" does not invalidate the evidence. Furthermore, the judge pointed out that the standard of proof is lower for a traffic stop than for a conviction. The officer only has to have reasonable suspicion for a stop, and that element was present.

Application

While arguing a motion to suppress, the defense attorney may have made a critical error by not obtaining the specifications for the radar gun. If there was evidence in the record that 1 mph was within the margin of error, the judge may have ruled that there was no reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop.

If you are facing criminal charges, it’s important to partner with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Elgin that pays close attention to detail. Call Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889.

Source: http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2015/us-onemph.pdf

Last modified on

Posted on in Traffic violations

traffic citation, traffic violations, Elgin criminal defense attorneyFor many people, an occasional traffic ticket is viewed as little more than one of the costs of a driving a car. They make their car payments, pay their insurance premiums, and, once in a while, pay a fine for speeding or running a red light. Others, however, take traffic violations much more seriously, and, to a certain extent, rightly so. Accumulating too many citations can lead to the suspension of your driving privilege, creating serious challenges to your ability to work, travel, and care for your family. It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when you have been issued a traffic citation, and a defense attorney can help you through the process.

Sign and Drive

Prior to 2015, being cited for a traffic violation meant that you could be forced to surrender your driver’s license to the issuing officer as security that you would respond to your ticket. Your license would be returned if and when you paid your fine, appeared in court to dispute the citation, or provided a cash bond at the police station in place of your license.

Beginning this past January, however, the law was changed throughout the state prohibiting law enforcement from seizing drivers’ licenses as bail. Under the current law, when you are pulled over and issued a ticket, you will be required to sign an acknowledgement of the citation, promising to respond appropriately in accordance with the terms printed on the ticket. You will then be free to go about your business.

How to Respond

Your response to the citation will depend upon your decision to plead guilty or not guilty. By making arrangements to pay the fine, you are considered to be pleading guilty and your driving record will be affected according to the law. Most jurisdictions allow you to pay the fine by mail, in person, or online. Once the fine is paid, the case is essentially closed.

If you decide to plead not guilty, you will be given a date to appear in court for a hearing regarding your case. You will have the opportunity to dispute the facts of your citation or the manner in which it was issued. Failure to appear will result in the suspension of your driving privileges and could lead to a bench warrant for your arrest. If you are found guilty, you are responsible for paying the original fine, plus court costs, and the appropriate number of points will be added to your record. If you are found not guilty, you will not be required to pay the fine and no points will be added.

Get Legal Help

Before making a plea decision on your traffic citation, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney at the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola. We will help you understand your options and whether disputing the ticket is ultimately in your best interest. Call 847-488-0889 for your free consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.dmv.org/il-illinois/paying-traffic-tickets.php

http://www.dmv.org/il-illinois/fighting-your-traffic-ticket.php

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=062500050HCh%2E+6+Art%2E+II&ActID=1815&ChapterID=49&SeqStart=81800000&SeqEnd=83800000

Last modified on

work zone, construction zone, Illinois defense attorneyAs Illinois emerges from yet another winter that felt like it would never end, road improvement projects are beginning in earnest throughout the state. Resurfacing, road repairs, and in some cases, full roadway or bridge replacement mean that the orange barrels, cones, and signs will once again be common sights for drivers. While traffic slowdowns and congestion may be a source of annoyance for many, safe driving through construction zones is not only required by law, but necessary for the safety of those working on the roads.

Road construction zones can be extremely confusing, with numerous signs and instructions, large vehicles and construction equipment, and large numbers of workers all in the immediate area of cars and trucks often driving at highway speeds. According to Illinois highway authorities, more than 4,300 accidents occur in construction zones on state roads every year, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. A number of those killed or hurt were roadway workers going about their daily jobs.

The Illinois Tollway offers reminders to drivers regarding work zone safety:

Pay Attention

Be aware of changing traffic patterns and construction zone notifications. When driving through, understand that workers may not always be immediately visible, despite the bright safety colors they wear. In addition to being vigilant, put down cell phones or mobile devices. Handheld use of phones is illegal in Illinois anyway, and particularly dangerous in a work zone.

Safely Yield to Construction and Emergency Vehicles

In addition to passenger cars and trucks, construction equipment and emergency vehicles are very often present in work zones. They can stop suddenly or need to cross the flow of traffic, and drivers are advised to maintain a safe following distance and to allow appropriate clearance. Reduce driving speed and, if possible, change lanes, to avoid any potential interference.

Obey the Speed Limit at All Times

Speed limits are reduced in construction zones for a number of reasons, all of which can be summarized in a single word—safety. In addition to the more obvious activity in a construction zone, traffic lanes are often much narrower than standard highway lanes, and driving patterns can change quickly. Even an apparently inactive work zone should be approached with caution, while properly adhering to posted speed limits.

Penalties Can Be Severe

Speeding in a construction zone is a serious offense, and the consequences can be rather significant. A first-time offender is subject to a $375 fine, while subsequent offenses carry fines of up to $1,000 plus potential license suspensions. Commercial drivers may also find their livelihood at risk, as the loss of a CDL may be possible. The penalties for hitting a road worker in a construction zone can include fines of up $10,000 and up to 14 years in prison.

If you have been issued a citation for speeding in a construction zone, a qualified lawyer can help you understand your options. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Kane County today at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola. We will review your case and work with you to minimize the impact to your future.

Last modified on

search and seizure, illegal stops, Kane County Criminal Defense AttorneyAccording to a new report, the rate of the controversial practice known as "stop-and-frisk" in Chicago puts the Second City among the highest in the nation. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois released the report last month which examined the use and potential abuse of such procedures and offered recommendations for maintaining public trust.

History of Stop-and-Frisk

A United States Supreme Court decision dating back to 1968 confirmed that police officers are permitted to stop an individual under the reasonable suspicion that he or she has committed or is about to commit criminal activity. Once the individual has been stopped, the officer is permitted to physically frisk the person, but only if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the individual is dangerous or is in possession of a weapon. There is no requirement for an arrest to be made and documentation to be filed after a stop-and-frisk is minimal, which critics maintain creates the opportunity for abuse of the practice.

Concerns in New York City

In a press release announcing the findings of its report, the ACLU made reference to developments related to stop-and-frisk procedures over the last several years in New York City. By 2011, the rate of stop-and-frisk in New York had reached nearly 23 per 1000 residents, complicated by serious charges of racial profiling and discrimination playing a role in the stops. A ruling in federal court in 2013, however, significantly reduced the practice, emphasizing the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens and the definitive need for reasonable suspicion and justification.

Chicago May Be Worse

More than 250,000 stops were conducted in Chicago last year that did not lead to arrest, the ACLU claimed. Put in terms of a per capita rate, more than 93 stops occurred per 1000 residents, more than four times the highest single-year rate in New York City. The ACLU also pointed to the disproportionate racial breakdown of stop-and-frisks, as nearly three out four being conducted on African Americans, who, as a group, represent only about a third of the city’s population.

What Should Be Done?

The ACLU’s report also included a number of recommendations for improving the use the stop-and-frisk practice in an attempt to make it more efficient and constitutional. The group suggested the collection of data on all stops and all physical pat-downs, regardless of a subsequent arrest. The data would be made available to the public so that police departments could be held more accountable for the actions of their officers. Regular and ongoing training regarding lawful and appropriate use of stop-and-frisk procedures are also necessary, according to the report, and would demonstrate law enforcement’s commitment to the right of public citizens.

Illegal Search and Seizure

If you have been charged with a weapons or drug offense as the result of an unwarranted stop-and-frisk, you need the assistance that only a qualified lawyer can provide. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Kane County today for a free initial consultation.

Last modified on
Avvo Illinois State Bar Association Kane COunty Bar Association
Back to Top