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IL defense lawyerAnyone with misdemeanor or felony charges on their record used to have to fear that they would be automatically disqualified from a prospective job, but recent federal and state legislation helps provide an even playing field for all job applicants, regardless of what their criminal record looks like. Employers have a little leeway in determining whether any past convictions should bar you from the job you are applying for, but there is a much greater chance that anyone can make it much deeper into the hiring process before those discussions arise. If you ever need help determining if your criminal record can be sealed or expunged, or if you think a potential employer is violating any of the laws discussed below, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act

On January 1, 2015, the “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” took effect. Prior to this, employers were allowed to inquire about applicants’ criminal records during the application process. This typically led employers to make a swift negative judgment of anyone with a felony or misdemeanor on their record, even if the applicant was more than qualified for the job in question.

The Job Opportunities Act forbids this. Instead, employers are only allowed to ask about an applicant’s criminal record if they have already been deemed qualified for the position. This rule is designed to help push employers to give former convicts a second chance. There are a few fields, like medicine, that still allow for employers to conduct a criminal background check on applicants since many types of misdemeanors might immediately suggest that the applicant is not up for the task.

If an employer deems that an applicant’s past conviction is a cause for concern and they do not want to hire them because of it, they are encouraged to notify applicants in writing of the specific offense that disqualified them from the job. Although this can be up to the employer’s discretion, the Qualified Applicants Act’s purpose is to push employers to only turn an applicant away if their record poses a serious, tangible risk in that profession.

Contact a Kane County Defense Lawyer

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act was designed to help reintegrate those with prior felony or misdemeanor convictions reintegrate into society and receive a fair chance at attaining a job that they are capable of holding. To protect your rights and ensure that you are being given the opportunities that you deserve, work with the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola. Our Aurora criminal defense attorney will strive to defend your case in court and help expunge or seal whatever possible from your record. To schedule a free consultation today, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-illinois-laws-criminal-records-118-biz-20170117-story.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-4.5-55

 

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IL DUI lawyerIn the state of Illinois, even just one conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will revoke the offending driver’s license for a certain amount of time.

Minors who drive while intoxicated will be charged under the zero-tolerance law and lose all driving privileges for at least two years. Adults can have their license revoked for life depending on the amount of DUI convictions they have on their record.

Illinois Restricted Driving Permit

Not having a valid driver’s license is impactful especially for adults who have to commute to a job. They could lose working time if they do not have a car in order to get to work on time.

Teenagers who drive to school have a similar problem and can miss school time without transportation.

To fix this problem, Illinois allows some DUI offenders to apply for a restricted driving permit. This court-approved document allows a driver to attend school or work but does not allow pleasure or leisure driving.

To be eligible for a restricted driving permit, a driver must:

  • Prove that hardship will exist if they cannot drive
  • Pass a current drug or alcohol evaluation
  • Provide proof of attendance in a treatment program

If a driver has multiple DUI convictions on their driving record, they may still be issued a restricted driving permit, but must also use a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device to monitor their alcohol consumption before driving.

Obtaining a restricted license makes continuing work and/or school easier until a driver can reinstate their license.

What Needs to Be Done to Reinstate a License?

There are obvious requirements that must be met in order for a driver to earn their license back. They must maintain a clean driving record and pass an alcohol evaluation with proof of treatment.

There are other steps a driver must take to earn their license back:

  • Provide proof of attendance in a remedial education program
  • Appear before an officer of the Secretary of State to prove that public wellbeing will not be harmed if allowed to drive again
  • File proof of financial responsibility and pay a $500 reinstatement fee
  • Pass the driving exam - written, vision, and driving

A driver’s license is reinstated when all the steps have been completed and the Secretary of State files all appropriate information on the driver’s record.

Contact an Elgin, IL DUI Attorney

It can be a difficult road after being convicted of a DUI. Often the process becomes confusing for the driver who wishes to reinstate their license. The lawyers from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola can help clients through the process and make sure they are not being mistreated by the courts. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County DUI lawyer, call our office at 847-488-0889.

 

Source:

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

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warrant, Kane County criminal defense attorneyIn today’s digitally connected world, information is everywhere. If you need an answer to a question, a few taps on your smartphone can allow you to run a Google search. If you want to contact your friend, you can send him or her an instant message or even connect through video chat instantaneously. The stream of data, however, goes in both directions. Any time that your phone is turned on, it is sending signals to nearby cell towers about your location and whether you are available to receive a call.

Over the last few years, law enforcement agencies have been able to gather information from these signals with little more than a request to the wireless service providers, but a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court says that a warrant must be obtained first.

The Case in Question

In 2013, a Detroit man was convicted on several charges related to armed robberies that had taken place in and around the city. The prosecution’s case was helped by cell phone evidence gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from the defendant’s cell phone service carrier. Using the Stored Communication Act, government agents needed only to show the wireless carrier that the information they were requesting was relevant to an ongoing investigation. The government did not believe that a warrant was necessary because they were not pulling the content of calls or messages. Instead, they were looking for location points.

The FBI was able to effectively track the man’s location at any given time over a stretch of more than four months—a task that included more than 13,000 individual points of location. Every time the man’s phone sent or received a location signal from a nearby cell tower, a record was made, and the government obtained access to those records.

At trial and on appeal, the courts refused to suppress the evidence, holding that the man did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy as it pertains his cell phone location records. The man continued his appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case earlier this year.

A Landmark Ruling

Last month, the Supreme Court reached a 5-4 decision to overturn the man’s conviction. The high court held that gathering cell-site location information (CSLI) is considered a search under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As such, a warrant is required before such data can be obtained by investigators.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of criminal cases have included CSLI evidence over the last two decades. Legal experts believe that the Supreme Court’s ruling will open the door to motions by defendants whose cases included such information. The decision also means that investigators will need more than a simple request letter to obtain CSLI in the future.

We Can Help

If you have been charged with any type of crime and you believe that your Fourth Amendment rights have been compromised, contact a skilled Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.wired.com/story/carpenter-v-united-states-supreme-court-digital-privacy/

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-402_h315.pdf

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Illinois RICO Act, Kane County criminal law attorneyA DuPage County jury recently became the first jury in the county to convict a person under a recently-passed Illinois law designed to combat gang violence. The man was convicted of being part of a drug ring operating throughout the county. Other alleged members of the drug ring are currently awaiting trial.

The Illinois law that the man was convicted under is known as the Illinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, but is often shortened to Illinois' RICO. The law is modeled after a federal law that was supposed to give police and prosecutors more advanced tools to deal with the more sophisticated types of organized crime that have arisen recently. Illinois' RICO has a similar goal, with a particular focus on making it easier to shut down street gangs. However, these laws can also be controversial. Despite their positive goals, some people believe that they make it too easy for prosecutors to threaten stiff penalties for people with little relation to the gang's activities.

Illinois' RICO Law

Illinois' RICO law is designed to combat groups engaging in criminal activity, which the law refers to as "enterprises." An enterprise is any group of people who are "associated in fact" to engage in some conduct. The phrase associated in fact means that the group need not be a formal group, such as a club or a company. Something like a street gang, which is an informal organization, would count as well, as long as it is (1) an ongoing group, (2) has various members functioning as a unit, and (3) has an ascertainable structure beyond simply being a group engaging in conduct.

In order to violate RICO the conduct the group engages in must be a "pattern of predicate activity." Predicate activity is legal jargon for certain specific crimes. The list of crimes in the law is long, but some examples include homicide, robbery, street gang recruitment, and the sale of drugs. In order to be a pattern, there must be at least three separate, but related, acts within three years of each other.

RICO Controversy

While many prosecutors celebrate this law as providing tools necessary to clean up street gangs, there are also concerns about the power this gives to police and prosecutors. RICO violations come with serious penalties, such as a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum of 30 years, which are placed on top of the sentences for the underlying crimes that made up the predicate acts. This means that someone only vaguely related to the gang or running minor errands can end up facing penalties that are disproportionate from their crimes.

If you have recently been charged with RICO violations or some other crime, reach out to an Kane County criminal defense attorney today. Our firm is here to help you defend your rights.

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victims rights amendment in Illinois, Elgin criminal law attorneyVoters across the state recently went to the ballot boxes to make decisions about their elected officials, but these are not the only decisions they faced. The Illinois ballot also included an unusually high number of referendum and advisory questions, questions that allow voters to weigh in directly on the process of making laws. One of these questions was a possible constitutional amendment that affected the Illinois Crime Victims' Bill of Rights. This amendment, which passed by an overwhelming margin of over three to one, made a variety of changes to expand the rights of victims in the criminal process. It also gave the victims the ability to enforce these rights in court.

What the Amendment Does

Section 8.1 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution is the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights. Prior to the amendment, the section provided victims with a variety of rights like the right to be present at the offender's trial. The Amendment modified some of these rights and added new ones. For instance, the Bill of Rights provided victims the right to dignity and privacy throughout the proceedings. The amendment modified that provision to add a right to not be intimidated, harassed or abused. The amendment also added a provision to require courts to consider the victim's safety when determining issues of bail and release after an arrest or conviction. The full text of the changes made by the amendment is available here. In addition to these substantive changes, a new portion of the law provides victims with "standing" to enforce these rights in court.

What Standing Is

Standing is a legal doctrine that determines who has the right to sue for an injury. The intricacies of the doctrine can be quite complicated, but in its basic form, it requires the person in the lawsuit to have some interest in the case at hand. For instance, it would be nonsensical for a person who sees a car accident happen to sue the person who caused it on behalf of the victim. This doctrine had previously presented a problem for victims seeking to enforce their rights in court because the courts did not recognize their standing in the case. This constitutional amendment changes that. Now, victims may legally enforce the rights provided to them. While it is not entirely clear how courts will handle these challenges, it may allow victims to force judges to respect their rights, such as letting them make a statement to the court at sentencing, a right they always had, but could not always ensure was properly respected by judges.

If you have found yourself involved in a criminal proceeding either as a defendant or a victim, contact an Elgin, Illinois criminal defense attorney today to learn more about your rights and how you can exercise them.

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