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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Aurora, IL drug charges attorney

Here in the state of Illinois, misdemeanor charges can come with significant criminal punishments. While some people underestimate the potential impact of a misdemeanor when compared to a felony, the long-term ramifications of a conviction can include difficulty securing employment, housing, or loan opportunities. Legally speaking, a misdemeanor can result in jail time and significant fines. 

Below we will discuss what crimes could lead to a misdemeanor conviction, and what you should do if you have been charged.

Misdemeanor Crimes in Illinois

According to Illinois state law, there are a number of crimes that can ultimately result in a misdemeanor charge. Assault or disorderly conduct (examples of disorderly conduct include public intoxication or a violation of noise ordinances) constitute a Class C misdemeanor. This is the least severe of the three misdemeanors, but can still result in up to 30 days in jail, a two year probation period, and maximum fines of $1,500. 

Common examples of criminal offenses warranting a Class B misdemeanor include but are not limited to aggravated speeding (driving more than 25 miles per hour over the legal speed limit) and minor drug charges. In the event of a conviction, you could face as much as 60 days in jail. The third and most serious charge is a Class A misdemeanor. This includes DUI, burglary, and unlawful possession of a weapon. If you are convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, possible punishments include up to one year of incarceration and fines as high as $2,500. 

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help 

After being charged with a misdemeanor, it is important to act quickly. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to have the case thrown out due to improper execution of arrest procedures. In the event of a conviction, you still have a number of options. According to Illinois state law, a large number of misdemeanor crimes are eligible for expungement or criminal sealing. It should be noted that in the event of a record seal, the misdemeanor can still be viewed on your criminal record by law enforcement, but it will make the criminal record inaccessible via background check or public record. 

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

With well over a decade of experience in the state of Illinois, including as an assistant state’s attorney of the Kane County, Attorney Brian J. Mirandola is uniquely prepared to help you fight against a misdemeanor charge. Through careful examination of your case, he will develop a strategy to pursue dropped or reduced charges. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 847-488-0889. 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073000050K5-4.5-55.htm

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/forms/approved/expungement/ExpungementSealing_Instructions_Approved.pdf

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DUI, testing procedures, Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been stopped on suspicion of DUI in Illinois, you may be asked to submit to blood alcohol content (BAC) testing. Refusing to comply with test is legally your right, but your driver&s license will be automatically suspended for one year, and for three years if you have refused chemical testing in the past. Similarly, if the test results show a BAC level of 0.08 or higher, a 6-12 month suspension of your driving privileges will be imposed for a first offense.

Once your license has been suspended by means of a statutory summary suspension, the resulting limitations will be lifted upon the conclusion of the stated time period. You will also be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $250. The reinstatement fee for a subsequent suspension increases to $500, which must be paid before the suspension will be terminated.

Driving relief programs have been instituted in Illinois that may permit you to drive legally despite your suspension. The most common program requires the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which prevents use of the vehicle by an intoxicated driver. These programs are designed to allow drivers under suspension to continue working, attending school, and providing for their families.

Beyond a suspension, certain situations may cause the Office of the Secretary of State to seek full revocation of your driver&s license. Such action is generally based on information received by the Secretary of State from state&s attorneys and law enforcement agencies. The most extreme cases may result in a revocation without an administrative hearing, if deemed appropriate and based on sufficient evidence. A revocation of a driver’s license can be administered by the Secretary of State in conjunction with information from state attorneys at the county level.

You may challenge a statutory summary suspension or revocation by requesting that an judicial hearing within 90 days of the date of notice. Under law, such hearings may only consider whether:

  • You were arrested for driving under the influence;
  • There was reasonable suspicion of DUI;
  • You refused to submit to chemical testing;
  • After being advised of the automatic suspension, you submitted to a test showing illegal levels of alcohol or drugs; and
  • You were involved in a crash which caused injury or death.

The suspension or revocation of driving privileges can create serious challenges for you personally and for your family. An experienced DUI attorney in Elgin can help take the necessary steps in fighting such actions. We will review your case, assist you in understanding your options, and work with you in protecting your future. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

protesters rights in Illinois, Kane County criminal lawyerProtesters and police have always had something of an uneasy relationship. On the one hand, protecting people's right to freedom of speech is a valuable. On the other, maintaining public order is also important, both for the safety of the people in the protests as well as other people in the area. A case involving the arrests of protesters comes down squarely on the side of the public order. The case involves numerous defendants who were arrested for a curfew violation in Grant Park, who were arguing that the enforcement of the curfew violated their First Amendment rights.

The Case

This case actually does not have to do with the recent wave of protests across the country, though it may have important implications for future cases surrounding them. Instead, this case goes back to 2011 and the Occupy protestors. On October 15, 2011, Occupy Chicago held a rally, that culminated in a march to Grant Park. Once the protesters reached grant park, they began putting up tents. The police issued warnings that the park closed at 11 p.m., and that people still in the park after that time may be arrested.

While some people left the park at closing time, others chose to stay. The police gave the protesters two more hours before moving in, at which time each protester was offered a choice, leave or be arrested. A similar thing happened the next week. All told, around 300 protesters were arrested. They argued that these arrests violated their constitutional rights under the First Amendment.

The Constitutional Issue

The arrested protestors put forward a Constitutional argument about why the curfew law was invalid. The protesters made a First Amendment argument that the curfew violated their rights to free speech and free assembly because it was preventing them from speaking and assembling in the park after 11 p.m. The appeals court ruled that the curfew was not a First Amendment violation because it was a "content neutral" restriction.

Content neutral restrictions are restrictions on speech that do not have anything to do with the content of the speech, like a law forbidding people from using megaphones past a certain hour. Content neutral restrictions may still be unconstitutional, but they are subject to a less exacting standard of scrutiny than laws regulating speech based on its content or viewpoint.

Ultimately, the appeals court determined that the government had substantial interests in keeping the park closed for certain hours each day to maintain it and keep public order. This interest was enough to justify the restriction in light of the fact that the protesters still had many other ways in which they could express themselves.

Criminal sanctions surrounding protests often include such complicated balancing of interests. If you have recently been arrested at a protest of for some other reason, contact an Elgin criminal defense attorney today.

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Posted on in Theft

Illinois law, Illinois defense attorney, stealing,Theft is one of the most common crimes in Illinois, but many people do not actually understand the law behind it. The law of theft is surprisingly complex because theft in Illinois is such a broad crime. It covers mugging, pickpocketing, and shoplifting among other types of theft. The legal framework used to cover this crime is found at 720 ILCS 5/16-1. That section of Illinois law lists the basic elements that make up theft, as well as the aggravating factors, which are specific circumstances that increase the severity of the crime in the eyes of the law.

Basic Theft in Illinois

At its core, the law defines theft as taking unauthorized control of another person's property. In the past, the law used to make distinctions about the methods used to take control. For instance, it considered taking by threat of force to be a different crime than taking something by deception. Some jurisdictions still operate under these rules, but for the most part Illinois has abolished them. In Illinois, theft is all the same, regardless of whether someone uses the threat of force, deception, or simply takes something.

That simple form of theft starts as a Class A misdemeanor, assuming that the property was not actually taken off of a person, and that the property's value was less than $500. If that is the case, then the offender would be subject to the ordinary penalties for a Class A misdemeanor, a jail sentence of up to one year in length and a possible fine of $2,500. However, there are also a variety of aggravating factors that can seriously increase the severity of the punishment.

Aggravating Factors

The law recognizes many aggravating factors that increase the punishment for theft. One of the most expansive factors is the value of the property that the person stole. The law contains a set of ranges of value of stolen property that merit different punishments. For instance, the theft of between $500 and $10,000 would be a Class 3 felony, punishable by between two and five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. More serious thefts are punished by progressively more serious jail sentences.

Another common aggravating factor is whether the thief actually took the property from out of the person's physical possession. If that happened, then the theft is upgraded one ranking in severity up to a certain point. Thus, if a person stole less than $500 from a person's physical possession it would be treated as a Class 3 felony rather than a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Theft is a common crime, but the punishment for it can still be quite serious. If you are facing prosecution for a theft, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney today. Our firm is here to help make sure that your rights are protected.

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gun sentencing guidelines, Kane County criminal lawyerCriminal sentencing is one of the most debated topics in criminal law. At its heart, the idea is to calibrate a sentence to the crime's severity. This is why murder has a more severe punishment than theft. In the past, judges had a large amount of freedom in determining the sentences for a crime, but people began to grow concerned that this was unfair to offenders. Different people were getting different sentences for similar crimes. Consequently, the legislatures began prescribing more and more specific sentences for crimes.

Unfortunately, these more specific sentences have led to their own problems, and now more people are calling for sentencing reform. To that end, the Illinois General Assembly created the Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee to review current sentencing laws and make recommendations to places that they ought to be changed. Soon, the Committee is expected to announce a set of recommendations for reforming sentences for gun crimes.

The Reason for Reform

The reason these reforms are needed comes down to the unexpected effects of mandatory minimum sentencing rules. These are rules that require judges to hand down a minimum sentence if the defendant is found guilty. Originally, these were hailed as protecting both the public and defendants. The public could be sure that overly lenient judges were not letting dangerous offenders off easy, and defendants could be sure that their sentence was the result of careful thought rather than the whim and values of whichever judge happened to hear their case.

These rules had the unintended consequence of shifting a lot of power towards the prosecutors in a case. Now that sentences are more closely tied to a specific charge, prosecutors can use the threat of more serious charges in negotiations to get defendants to plead guilty. The fear of risking a more serious sentence if the case goes against them makes defendants plead guilty to less serious charges. This can result in defendants losing procedural protections that they would be entitled to at trial, as well as innocent defendants pleading guilty out of fear.

The Expected Recommendations

In order to remedy this situation, the Committee is expected to announce reforms to the current mandatory minimum structure, at least for gun crimes. Although nothing has yet been finalized, one plan that they have been considering is to increase mandatory minimums for more severe offenses, while providing judges with a safety valve. That safety valve would allow judges to hand down a sentence below the mandatory minimum, if they were willing to go on the record in court and explain why they felt that the offender deserved a less serious sentence. This plan would provide judges with extra discretion, and may help to level the playing field in plea bargaining.

Criminal laws in Illinois are constantly changing. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to seek the help of a dedicated Elgin criminal defense attorney who understands the legal landscape. Call The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889.

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