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Posted on in Expungement

Expungement, Elgin criminal defense attorneyIf you have ever been arrested on the suspicion of a crime, your arrest becomes part of your permanent criminal record, even if you never convicted. Potential employers, financial institutions, and even educational admissions officers could conduct background checks when you apply for a job, loan, or school program. Even just a single arrest in your history could lead to uncomfortable conversations and embarrassing questions long after the incident itself has been all but forgotten. Depending on how your case was resolved, however, your arrest may qualify to be expunged or removed from your permanent record. Thanks to a new law that became effective this year, more individuals than ever before could be eligible to restore lost opportunities by clearing their record.

What Is Expungement?

When an arrest is expunged, it means that all physical and digital records related to that arrest and subsequent prosecution are destroyed, deleted, or otherwise rendered inaccessible. An expunged arrest essentially never happened, and the arrest cannot be seen on background checks conducted for any purpose. Removing an arrest from one’s record can obviously be a tremendous help to that person’s future.

In Illinois, an arrest is only eligible to be expunged if it did not result in a conviction. An expungement may also be possible for certain arrests that resulted in court supervision or probation, as long as the requirements set forth have been successfully completed.

Old Law vs. New Law

Prior to 2017, the law in Illinois prohibited individuals with a prior conviction from seeking an expungement for any other arrest. This meant that if you had ever been convicted of a crime—other than a minor traffic offense—you could never have any other arrests expunged. Your application would be immediately rejected. As one might expect, this limitation eliminated expungement as an option for thousands of people, many of whom may have committed their indiscretion decades ago.

Beginning this year, however, the application requirements were amended to allow individuals with prior convictions to seek an expungement. Of course, the other eligibility criteria must still be met, and the expungement will not apply to the offense that resulted in the conviction.

Let Us Help

If you have questions about getting an arrest permanently removed from your criminal record, an experienced Kane County expungement attorney can help you explore your options. We will review your case and work with you in determining your eligibility for restoring future opportunities. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation today.

Source:

https://www.illinois.gov/osad/Expungement/Pages/Expungement-and-Sealing-General-Information.aspx

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arrest, Kane County criminal defense attorneyWhether you are confronted with suspicion of driving under the influence, accused of committing battery, or have been seen on surveillance video shoplifting, there are certain actions you should avoid when placed under arrest. How you decide to carry yourself from the moment an officer confronts you can work for or against you later on in a court of law.

Actions That Can Add Fuel to the Fire

While it is true that every Illinois state resident may exercise their basic constitutional rights upon arrest, conducting yourself civilly and politely when dealing with law enforcement is a crucial part in protecting your case as you move forward.

Conversely, here are three mistakes that have the power to potentially damage your case:

1. Resisting: If you are being arrested by an officer of the law, do not resist. You can be charged with resisting a lawful arrest, s. This is considered a Class A misdemeanor and can result in a prison sentence of up to one year, as well as a hefty fine. Even if the arrest is illegal and you are in fact innocent, failing to cooperate in any way does not help your case. If the arrest turns out to be a false one, you have the option to bring an action against the law enforcement officer later on, but during the actual arrest, it is important to cooperate.

2. Arguing: Along with physically resisting an arrest, arguing with law enforcement and making the officer’s more difficult is a good way to hurt your case. While you cannot be charged for simply voicing your opinion or defending yourself, verbally insulting or attacking the arresting officer will not earn you any sympathy in a court of law. This also applies to any "frisk" search. Arguing and resisting an officer’s right to search you once they have placed you in custody will not help when it comes to your defense in court. Additionally, when the officer requests to see your license and any other identifying information, you are required to comply.

3. Talking too much: Upon arrest, your Miranda rights give you permission to remain silent if you wish, and they also state that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. If you choose your option to forgo silence, be aware that saying too much can land you in hot water - possibly even hotter water than you were in the first place. Sometimes saying less is more. You do not need to offer up any information that may further incriminate you.

If you have been arrested on criminal charges, utilize your right to speak with an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney right away. The moment you are placed under arrest, we can help ensure your rights are fully protected no matter what the allegations against you may be. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation today.

Source:

https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/publications/pamphlets/Arrested.pdf

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expungement, Kane County criminal defense lawyerResearch requested by Illinois lawmakers has produced very concerning information regarding the way in which the state handles juvenile criminal records and expungements. The report went so far as to suggest that the laws regarding such matters in the state are "among the worst in the nation." Current regulations and bureaucratic red tape, the authors of the report indicate, tend to trap young offenders in a vicious cycle, often struggling with issues such as education, employment, and housing.

Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission

In a 2014 joint resolution, the Illinois General Assembly called for a review of the state’s juvenile justice system and the process of expungement by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission. The Commission exists primarily to provide independent research and recommendations to the governor and state lawmakers on matters related to juvenile crime, punishment, and rehabilitation. At the request of the legislature, the Commission reviewed records related to more than 1.8 million juvenile arrests between 2004 and 2014 in Illinois.

Disturbingly Low Expungement Rates

The purpose of a separate juvenile justice system is to address illegal activities of a young offender without necessarily impacting the rest of his or her life. In principle, that is why it is technically possible under Illinois law to have a juvenile record expunged, or erased. The process, however, does not seem to be working, as the commission found that in the ten-year period under review, there were just over 5,300 expungements were processed, or only about three expungements for every 1,000 arrests. Fully half of the state’s 102 counties did not report a single juvenile expungement between 2004 and 2014.

Contributing Factors

The Commission’s report highlighted a number of reasons why expungements seem to be so rare, most of them related to very restrictive laws. A person cannot apply for an expungement until he or she turns 18—21 for some offenses—and an offense is not eligible to be expunged until five years have passed since the last court proceeding. However, a conviction on any charges after age 18 disqualifies the person from having his or her juvenile record expunged. In addition, the related expenses can also be prohibitive, as expunging a single arrest can cost up to $320 in processing fees.

As a result, the Commission has recommended that lawmakers take a new look at the existing juvenile expungement laws. Efforts are already underway to allow a person under 18 to begin the process. The Commission would also like to see an expansion of automatic expungement policies and the reduction or elimination of some of the costs involved, allowing for more young people to get a fresh start.

Expungement Help

If you would like to learn more about clearing a juvenile record for yourself or a family member, contact an experienced Elgin expungement lawyer. At The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we know that the laws that govern the expungement process in Illinois can be very complex, but we can assist you in getting the new beginning you deserve. Call 847-488-0889 today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-juvenile-records-expunged-0429-biz-20160428-story.html

http://www.qconline.com/news/illinois/report-laws-holding-back-juveniles-with-criminal-records/article_a4337f76-0d79-11e6-ae95-1ba5bd26ae0c.html

http://ijjc.illinois.gov/

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

recognizance, jail, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen you have been arrested and charged with a crime, regardless of the severity of the charge, you have the right to a fair trial. The criminal justice system in many jurisdictions, however, is often backlogged and your trial may be scheduled several months in the future. Depending on the nature of the alleged offense, as well as your history and reputation, the court has several options to ensure that you are present for your trial when required. In cases involving traffic offenses and minor misdemeanor charges, the court may elect to release you on your own recognizance.

What Does Own Recognizance Mean?

Being released on your own recognizance is, in short, the best-case scenario if you have been charged with a crime. First and foremost, it means you are not required to remain in custody until your trial. It also means that you are not required to offer any form of financial security, such as bail, to guarantee your appearance in court. Instead, you promise in writing to appear whenever required and you are free to go about your life. Depending on the case, you may be subject to certain stipulations and failure to comply could result in your arrest.

When deciding to release you on your own recognizance, the court will take into account a number of factors. In addition to the severity of your charges, the judge will also consider your reputation, position in the community, employment, and demeanor toward the case in determining the likelihood that you will appear as promised. If the likelihood is low, the court will probably not agree to release you on our own recognizance.

Alternatives to Own Recognizance

There are two alternatives at the court’s disposal if your own recognizance is not deemed appropriate, and one has very limited application. The most common alternate method of securing appearance at trial is by setting bail, or an amount of money that must be paid as collateral to ensure a defendant appears in court. Money paid as bail is refundable to the defendant upon appearance, less administrative fees or applied fines as appropriate.

In the most extreme cases, the court may order that a defendant remain in custody until trial without bail. Illinois law provides that such an option is only available for certain alleged offenses and should be used very carefully.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of crime and were released on your own recognizance while awaiting trial, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today to schedule a free initial consultation. We will review your case, help you understand your options, and work with you to minimize the potential impact to your future.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, criminal justice system,Being arrested can be a harrowing experience for people, especially if the person is going through it for the first time. After it happens, most people's initial concern is making sure that they are not held in jail until the time of their trial. In many circumstances that is possible, but it brings up the issue of bail. There are a variety of misconceptions about the purposes of bail, as well as the practical way that paying bail works. The basic idea behind making defendants post bail is as a deposit against their failing to show up for court.

What Bail Is

Bail is a sum of money that the court requires defendants to turn over to the court in exchange for being allowed to leave jail before their trial. The law requires the defendant to post 10 percent of the set bail, and the court then releases them. As long as the defendant makes all of their court dates, then they get their money back at the end of the process, minus an administrative fee.

Bail solves the problem in the criminal justice system that many defendants do not want to show up for their court date or think that they can delay the process by avoiding the courtroom. The law could solve this problem by simply keeping every defendant in jail up to the time of their trial, but that would tread on people's rights. After all, defendants have not been convicted of a crime, and it can take months or even years to get to a trial in the current justice system. Using a deposit system, the court can give people their freedom before the trial, while still ensuring that defendants will take their obligations to appear in court seriously.

How Bail Is Set

Judges are not required to set bail, but most offenses in Illinois are eligible for bail. When determining whether to offer bail, the judge considers a variety of things including the type of offense, whether it was violent, and whether the defendant was already out on bail. The court will also check to make sure that the offense does not fall under the limited set of offenses that are not eligible for bail, such as crimes that can be punished with a life sentence or crimes where the judge determines that allowing the defendant out on bail would pose a danger to some person. If the judge does offer the defendant bail, then the judge will look at the person's financial well-being and the seriousness of the crime. The bail must be enough to serve its purpose of bringing the person back to court, while not being so much as to be oppressive.

Dealing with the legal system can be a stressful experience, but you do not need to go through it alone. If you have recently been charged with a crime, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney today to learn more about your rights.

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