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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 lawyerA lot changed in Illinois at the start of this year regarding how marijuana can be purchased and consumed, but there are still some restrictions to follow. Understanding these laws is important to safely use marijuana and avoid violations. If you or a loved one are charged with violating any of these laws, build a sturdy defense with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Illinois Marijuana Laws

Technically, adult use of recreational marijuana was legalized on January 1, 2020, in Illinois. This only applies to marijuana purchased from licensed dispensaries, and the private purchase and sale of cannabis remain illegal.

Just like alcohol, you must be 21 or over to purchase marijuana. Before this fullscale legalization, medical marijuana was available to those with a medical marijuana card. Those are no longer required to purchase cannabis, but anyone with such cards is subject to discounts and priority access to retailers’ stocks.

There are still some limits that define how much marijuana anyone is allowed to possess. Illinois residents are allowed to have up to 30 grams of cannabis flower. For cannabis concentrate, the limit is five grams. Edibles can only have up to 500 milligrams of THC.

In general, people 21 years and over are allowed to use legal marijuana in their homes or on-site at cannabis-related businesses. Use in public places, vehicles, school property, around people under the legal age, or near on-duty employees is prohibited. Any owner of private property is allowed to institute bans.

Criminal Records with Marijuana Charges

The bill that went into effect earlier this year states that anyone convicted for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana in the past will have their records reviewed by the state’s Prisoner Review Board. If they determine that a record warrants a pardon, they will forward it to Governor Pritzker. If any such conviction also involved a violent crime, a pardon will not be issued. If the conviction was for possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, that person can still push for an expungement of the charge from their record.

Contact a Kane County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Whether you face charges under the new marijuana laws or you are fighting for the cleansing of your criminal record, assistance from an experienced Elgin criminal defense lawyer is essential. At the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we will fight to protect your rights and aggressively defend your case in court. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation at 847-488-0889.

 

SOURCE:

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-saw-nations-worst-population-loss-during-the-decade/

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Posted on in Domestic Violence

IL defense lawyerDomestic abuse comes in many forms. Mostly, it is physically harming another member of the household. However, the act of stalking a person can be considered domestic violence especially if the victim has an order of protection against the stalker.

Stalking is a form of intimidation and the goal of a stalker is to make their victim feel uneasy whenever they leave their home. In today’s technological world, stalking has also jumped to social media which can be just as harmful to the victim. This is why stalking is a felony offense that comes with jail time and fines as punishment for the crime.

What Is Stalking?

A person commits a stalking crime in a variety of ways. Most people think that simply following someone is the only form of stalking, but Illinois law also defines stalking as:

  • Conduct which makes a specific target fear for their safety or the safety of someone they care about
  • Conduct which causes emotional distress in the victim
  • Knowingly follows and/or watches a victim wherever they go
  • Verbally threatening the victim or the safety of someone close to the victim
  • On multiple occasions threatening to commit a violent act or to abduct the victim

These crimes are charged as a Class 4 felony in Illinois. Punishments include a fine of up to $25,000 and up to three years in prison.

If an order of protection is active in order to protect the victim from their stalker, the offending party will also face charges of violating the government issued rules.

How to Defend Allegations of Stalking

If a victim feels they are being stalked and want the offending party to face consequences, they will have to prove the stalker is acting inappropriately.

Common defenses for alleged stalkers include:

  • Mistake of fact: if the stalker has common features, the victim could have mistaken the identity of the person they believe to be stalking them
  • Entrapment: the stalker can argue that they were bribed to follow the victim and they would not have committed the crime of their own choice
  • Insanity: the stalker can try to prove they did not know what they were doing was against the law

In cases where the stalker is married or formerly married to the victim, cases of stalking become more complicated. This is why alleged stalkers should hire a lawyer to represent them in court to avoid false convictions.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

The lawyers of the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola have experience in a variety of felony defense charges. They will be able to build a solid defense strategy to help alleged stalkers prove their innocence in court. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call our office at 847-488-0889.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K12-7.3

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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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Posted on in Felonies

IL defense lawyerThe state of Illinois classifies breaking and entering as a burglary charge regardless of if there were stolen items or not. It is a crime that needs only intent to commit another crime in order to be punishable as a felony.

Illinois law also charges breaking and entering crimes for more than just buildings or households. Burglary can be committed against trailers, aircraft, boats, cars, and public buildings (i.e. schools).

Understanding the Law

Burglary is charged against an offender when they knowingly - and without permission - enter a home, car, etc… of someone else with the intention of committing theft or another felony crime.

If the offender is found without having caused damage to the property and without taking any possessions, they will be charged with a Class 3 felony. Punishments for this crime include a fine of $25,000 and a jail sentence of no more than five years.

Charges become elevated depending on the circumstances of the burglary:

  • Class 2 felony is charged if damage has been done to the property. Punishable by a $25,000 fine and a jail sentence of no more than seven years.
  • Class 1 felony is charged if the burglary has been committed against a school, daycare facility, or place of worship. Punishable by a $25,000 fine and a jail sentence of no more than 15 years.

A lesser Class 4 felony can be charged against any offender caught in possession of tools that can be used in a breaking and entering crime. These tools consist of:

  • Key
  • Crowbar or other device
  • Explosives
  • Lock picks
  • Slim jims

Possession of burglary tools is punishable by a $25,000 fine and a jail sentence of no more than three years.

Burglary Versus Home Invasion

Illinois law has separate punishments for burglary and home invasion because they are essentially different crimes. Residential burglary is entering a person’s dwelling place without permission with the intent to commit another felony.

This crime is usually committed either when no one is home or by the offender attempting to gain entry by tricking the homeowner into thinking they are someone who requires entry into the house.

In comparison, home invasion is a more threatening crime in which an offender - knowing a person(s) is at home - forcibly breaks into the home with the intent to harm the homeowner with a deadly weapon. Home invasion is a Class X felony punishable with a prison term of 30 years with the possibility to add years depending on the circumstances of the crime.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

There are ways to defend against false charges of burglary that include mistake of fact; a person who was given permission to be on the property could be mistaken as a burglar. Strategies for avoiding serious penalties should be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney. The lawyers from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola are ready to defend against any false charges. To schedule an appointment with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call our office at 847-488-0889.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+19&ActID=1876&ChapterID=0&SeqStart=63000000&SeqEnd=63800000

 

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