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Posted on in Felonies

hate crime, Elgin criminal defense attorneyThe phrase "hate crime" is often used by the media and in casual conversation about certain types of criminal acts. Under state and federal law, however, "hate crime" has a specific meaning. Hate crimes are unique in that punishment for the crimes may be enhanced as a direct result of perpetrator’s motives for committing the crime.

How Illinois Defines a "Hate Crime"

A person commits a hate crime in Illinois when he or she commit one of the specifically listed acts because of "an actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin of a person or group." This means that you can commit a hate crime even if you are mistaken about someone’s characteristics. It also means that not just any crime can be a hate crime. The crime must be one of the crimes listed in the law. For example, rape and murder are not listed as possible hate crimes in the Illinois statute.

The crimes that can be considered hate crimes include:

  • Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Aggravated assault;
  • Theft;
  • Criminal trespass to a residence;
  • Criminal trespass to real property;
  • Mob action;
  • Disorderly conduct; and
  • Harassment.

In January 2018, the Illinois legislature added several more offenses to the list of possible hate crimes. Stalking, cyberstalking, the transmission of obscene messages, and harassment through electronic communications can now be considered hate crimes depending on the perpetrator’s motivation.

Enhanced Penalties for Hate Crimes

The Illinois hate crime law increases the penalties for actions that are already against the law. In almost all cases a hate crime is a felony, even in cases where the "regular" crime is only a misdemeanor. This means that the maximum penalty for a hate crime could be anywhere between one to thirty years in prison, depending on the facts of the case.

Defenses to Hate Crime Allegations

If the prosecutor is going to charge a crime under the hate crime laws, the prosecutor will have an extra burden at trial. The prosecutor will need to show a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed the crime and that the defendant was motivated by the one of the conditions listed in the statute.

A criminal defense lawyer may try to show that the suspect could not have committed the underlying crime. However, in some instances, the evidence is overwhelming that the defendant did commit the crime. In those cases the best defense may be to explain the motives of the defendant in committing the crime were not those covered by the hate crime law. A successful defense will create doubt in the minds of the jury about the motives of the defendant.

Contact Us for Help

If you have been charged with a crime, you need to speak with a tough and knowledgeable Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today. Do not speak to anyone about your case until you have talked to a lawyer.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K12-7.1.htm

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breathalyzer, Kane County DUI defense attorneyWhen a police officer has a reason to suspect that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer may ask to submit to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. These tests are usually conducted during a traffic stop. The stop may have been initiated based on a minor traffic violation or erratic driving, but if something during the stop triggers the officer’s suspicion, the request for a BAC will usually follow.

The most common type of BAC test—and the easiest to conduct—is a breath test. BAC breath tests are usually known simply as "breathalyzer" because of a particular brand of testing machine that has become synonymous with the test. You probably know that if you blow a 0.08 or higher on your breathalyzer, you are considered to be statutorily intoxicated and can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). But, do you have to take the test when you are asked to do so?

Preliminary Testing

There are several points during the course of a stop and potential arrest when the officer could ask you to take a breathalyzer. The first is a preliminary test. Preliminary testing is a way for the police to develop a full understanding of the situation and to establish probable cause—if there is any—for an arrest. The officer will usually ask about preliminary breathalyzer while you are still sitting behind the wheel.

You have every right to refuse a preliminary breathalyzer with no direct consequences. Keep in mind that if you say no, the officer may look a little harder for other signs that you are intoxicated, such as trouble focusing and slurred speech. There are many ways for the officer to establish probable cause, and the breathalyzer is only one of them.

When You Are Arrested

If the preliminary investigation gives the officer enough probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of DUI, you will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer again—or a blood or a urine test, alternatively. This time, the test will be conducted at the police station. Refusing to take the test at this point will result in the suspension of your driving privileges for one year. The suspension is three years if you were arrested and refused previously.

It is important to keep in mind that failing a BAC test after your arrest will result in a six-month license suspension for a first offense and one year for a subsequent offense. A failed test also gives prosecutors quantitative evidence that you were intoxicated. This means that there is a potential upside to refusing the test. Without the evidence of a failed test, it may be harder for prosecutors to prove that you were under the influence, though your refusal can be used against you.

Let Us Help

If you have additional questions about the DUI laws in Illinois, contact an experienced Kane County DUI defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

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Kane County DUI defense lawyerBeing found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) can have devastating effects on an individual’s life. Those found guilty of drunk driving can face steep fines, loss of driving privileges, community service, and even jail time. Most people have heard that 0.08 is the magic number when it comes to being legally intoxicated behind the wheel. However, there are several circumstances where a person can be in violation of the law when driving a car with a blood alcohol content which is under the legal limit.

Illinois Per Se DUI Laws

The reason it seems that 0.08 is the magic number when it comes to DUIs is because driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more is considered "per se intoxicated." "Per se" laws establish that if someone is operating a vehicle and is found to have a BAC over the 0.08 limit, that no other evidence is necessary to prove a driver’s intoxication. However, a BAC at or above the legal limit is not always necessary for a DUI conviction.

Zero Tolerance for Drivers Under 21 Years Old

Illinois, like all other states, sets the legal drinking age at 21 years. If an underage driver is caught with any trace of alcohol in their system, they can be charged with a DUI. Even a BAC of only 0.01 may be enough to result in a DUI conviction.

Noticeable Impairment

According to Illinois state law, the term "intoxicated" driving applies to both alcohol and drugs.  If an officer feels that you are "noticeably intoxicated" and you are found to have drugs in your body, you can be charged with a DUI. Even prescription drugs can impair a person’s ability to drive, so they can also contribute to this charge.

Prosecutors May Claim a Lower BAC Is a Result of Time

Sometimes, a driver is pulled over, given a blood alcohol test, and the test results in a BAC very near to the legal limit - such as 0.07 or 0.06. A police officer may still charge those with BACs just under the legal limit with a DUI. A prosecutor may argue that the BAC was actually higher at the time the person was driving but had lowered as time passed before the test.

If you have been accused of drunk driving or charged with a DUI, speak with an experienced Kane County DUI attorney for help. Contact The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today at 847-488-0889 to schedule your free consultation.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

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paraphernalia, Kane County drug crimes defense attorneyBy now, you probably know that low-level possession of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense in Illinois. The possession of less than 10 grams is a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $200—similar in most regards to a traffic violation. Illinois, however, has maintained its statute regarding the possession of drug paraphernalia. While the law was amended to account for the new guidelines on marijuana possession, loopholes still exist that could land a person in serious trouble.

What the Law Says

The Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act makes it illegal to possess products, equipment, or materials that are intended to be used in producing, preparing, testing, hiding, or using controlled substances, including marijuana. (Technically, equipment for making methamphetamine is covered under a separate statute but is still illegal.) The drug paraphernalia law covers a wide variety of products, including but not limited to:

  • Pipes;
  • Bongs;
  • Carb tubes;
  • Scales; and
  • Cutting materials.

In most cases, the possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor. Those who are approved for medical marijuana by the state of Illinois are permitted to possess the appropriate products to facilitate medical use.

Two Civil Law Violations

When low-level marijuana possession was decriminalized in Illinois in 2016, the Drug Paraphernalia Act was also updated. The update created a new civil law violation to go along with the civil offense of low-level possession. Specifically, the Act now says that a person who is cited for the civil violation of marijuana possession may also be cited for possession of related drug paraphernalia—presuming such paraphernalia is found.

The Act, however, does not say what should happen if no illegal drugs are found or if the police and prosecutors handle the drug possession offense as a local ordinance violation. For example, if the police legally search you and find a small marijuana pipe in your pocket but you are not in possession of marijuana, the law seems to suggest that you could be charged with the full misdemeanor offense of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Similarly, if local police do find a small amount of marijuana, they could opt to cite you under an applicable municipal ordinance instead of the state law. In such a case, the paraphernalia charge could plausibly still be brought on the state level.

Contact Us for Help

If you are facing charges of any type related to the possession of drug paraphernalia, it is important to seek help from a qualified Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 for a free, no-obligation consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1937&ChapterID=53

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1947&ChapterID=53

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Posted on in DUI

felony, Elgin DUI defense attorneyIn Illinois, there are three classifications of criminal offenses. Petty offenses are the lowest classification and include most traffic violations. The next level of offense a misdemeanor while the highest classification of crime, that which can carry the most serious penalties, is a felony. Those convicted of a felony usually face extended imprisonment as well as other serious punitive consequences. There are some instances in which a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) can be classified as a felony. Felony DUIs, also called aggravated DUIs, carry more severe disciplinary consequences than a misdemeanor DUI does and can seriously affect a convicted person’s ability to find employment or even a home in the future.

Most DUI Charges Are Considered Misdemeanors

If you are an Illinois resident have been charged with a DUI for the very first time, you will almost certainly be charged with a misdemeanor. Felony DUI charges come as a result of more serious violations of the law. Offenses which can result in a felony DUI charge include:

  • Being caught driving under the influence of alcohol three different times;
  • Drinking and driving which results in a passenger under the age of 16 being injured;
  • Being charged with a DUI while having a prior conviction for alcohol-related reckless homicide;
  • Driving under the influence with an expired, suspended, or revoked driver’s license;
  • Drinking and driving without car insurance;
  • Drunk driving which causes an accident in which someone is seriously injured or killed; and
  • Driving a school bus with children on board while intoxicated.

The list of examples above is not exhaustive, and there may be additional special circumstances when result in a DUI charge being increased to an aggravated DUI charge.

Consequences of a Felony Conviction

The criminal sentence imposed on someone who has been convicted of a felony will depend on the specific charges and circumstances of the crime. Felonies in Illinois are divided into five categories. Class 4 felonies are the least serious felony offenses and Class X felonies are the most harshly punished offenses. Felony criminal sanctions include:

  • Class 4 Felony: Punishable by 1-3 years in prison;
  • Class 3 Felony: Punishable by 2-5 years in prison;
  • Class 2 Felony: Punishable by 3-7 years in prison;
  • Class 1 Felony: Punishable by 4-20 years in prison; and
  • Class X Felony: Punishable by 6-30 years in prison.

In addition to imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000, those convicted of a felony face additional consequences such as difficulty finding employment, being excluded from certain job fields, forfeiture of gun ownership rights, and trouble finding a place to live.

Contact a Kane County Aggravated DUI Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, contact The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola for legal guidance with your case. To schedule a free initial consultation with an Elgin DUI defense attorney, call 847-488-0889 today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=49&ActID=1815

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