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Elgin IL criminal defense attorneyIn recent years, advocates for criminal justice reform have fought against bail requirements for criminal defendants. When a person is charged with a crime, they will usually be required to pay an amount of bail set by a judge before they can be released from police custody. Advocates have argued that this places an unfair burden on lower-income defendants, and the practice has led to many people being required to remain in prison while awaiting trial if they are unable to raise the funds to secure a release. Recently, Illinois passed a law that will eliminate cash bail, along with other changes meant to protect the rights of defendants and address police accountability.

Pretrial Detention and Release in Illinois

The new law, which was passed on January 13, 2021, and is currently awaiting Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature, will make all defendants eligible for pretrial release without the requirement to post monetary bail. However, there are a number of exceptions that may prevent a person from being released. These include situations in which a person is charged with a violent crime, including:

  • Felonies involving the use or threat of physical force, such as first-degree murder or sexual assault

  • Stalking cases in which the defendant is likely to present a threat to the alleged victim

  • Domestic violence cases in which the defendant allegedly presents a threat to one or more family members or people in their household

  • Weapons charges involving allegations that the defendant poses a threat to a specific person

In some other cases involving felony charges, a person may be denied pretrial release if it is believed that they are likely to flee or not show up for future court dates. However, the burden of proof will be on prosecutors to demonstrate that a defendant should be held in pretrial detention instead of being granted release. These changes to the pretrial release system in Illinois will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

Other Criminal Justice Reforms

In addition to making these major changes to the bail system, the law also includes several provisions meant to protect the rights of prisoners and detainees. People in the custody of police or the department of corrections will have the right to receive reasonable medical treatment without unnecessary delays. Those who are in police custody will also have the right to make up to three phone calls before being questioned by officers.

The law also took steps to address police accountability and reduce police brutality. It bans the use of chokeholds and certain types of military equipment by police, while also requiring officers to use the proper crowd control measures. It also requires officers to intervene and render aid if another officer uses excessive force, and it will require police departments throughout Illinois to use body cameras by 2025.

Contact Our Aurora Criminal Defense Lawyer

While these changes will help protect the rights of those who are charged with crimes in Illinois, defendants will need to be sure they are represented by a lawyer during a criminal case. The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola can provide the defense you need, and we will help you understand the steps you can take to avoid a conviction. To learn how we can help with your case, contact our Elgin criminal defense attorney at 847-488-0889 to set up a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/chicago-politics/hb-3653-heres-a-look-at-whats-included/2415933/

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/25/960465847/illinois-becomes-1st-state-to-drop-cash-bail-system

https://www.pantagraph.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/a-look-back-at-how-lawmakers-ended-cash-bail-in-illinois/article_b2f5d01d-f354-5b2e-86b5-4245ef416438.html

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Posted on in Felonies

IL defense attorneyThe state of Illinois has multiple laws that cover kidnapping and other similar crimes that relate to kidnapping. The general definition as written by Illinois law says that kidnapping is the act of taking, restraining, and hiding another person against their will.

This victim does not have to be a child, though punishments for abducting a child are more severe. It is also more common for the victim to not know their abductor, but crimes such as parental kidnapping do exist in Illinois.

Regardless of the relationship to the victim, abductors who are caught can face felony charges and be punished by means of jail time and monetary fines.

What Types of Kidnapping Does Illinois Punish?

The most common type of abduction is a random stranger encounter. This is when an alleged kidnapper singles out a random victim and then carries out the crime for whatever reason. Another common kidnapping happens within a broken household; a divorced person without custody of their child may attempt to kidnap the minor from the other parent to get revenge on their ex-partner.

These types of kidnappings can have specific reasons for the crime:

  • Revenge
  • Ransom
  • Sexual violations
  • Extortion
  • Human trafficking

Besides kidnapping for ransom, the above-mentioned types of kidnapping are punished as a Class 2 felony. Those convicted will face a jail term of 3-7 years and pay a fine of at most $25,000.

Aggravated kidnapping is a more serious type of abduction in which the victim is being held for ransom or the abductor used a dangerous weapon when carrying out the crime. Also, if the abductor hides their identity with a mask, they will be charged with aggravated kidnapping.

This crime sees charges elevated to a Class X felony with a prison term of 6-30 years and a fine of at most $25,000. If the court chooses - or if other felonies were committed during the kidnapping - then extra jail time of 15-25 years will be added to a sentence.

Illinois law also covers lesser crimes that relate to kidnapping including:

  • Unlawful restraint and aggravated unlawful restraint
  • Child abduction
  • Luring a minor
  • Aiding or abetting a child abduction
  • Harboring a runaway

How to Defend Allegations of Kidnapping

The most common strategy to avoid a kidnapping conviction is to prove that the alleged victim gave consent or wanted to be with the person that supposedly kidnapped them. For adult victims, this can be easy to prove, but when the victim is a child, the court is less likely to believe this explanation.

If the child is under 13 years of age or has a mental disability, the court will find that they are not capable of giving consent to another person to take them away from home or family.

Other defense strategies include proving:

  • Mistake of fact
  • Insanity
  • The victim did still have free will to leave

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Allegations of kidnapping or any of the other Illinois laws against abduction can have serious consequences to a person. The lawyers of the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola can help defend the rights of anyone being wrongfully accused of kidnapping. 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/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=12200000&SeqEnd=13600000

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drugs, Kane County drug crimes attorneyAs per the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, police cannot search a person’s private residence without a search warrant issued by a judge. So, if police believe you have illegal items in your home, that suspicion alone is usually not enough to merit a legal search. However, the laws which protect citizens’ privacy are quite different when it comes to motor vehicles. Because we operate vehicles on public roads, police have much more freedom when it comes to searching a person’s car or truck. If police have searched your vehicle and discovered marijuana, amphetamines, opioids, or other illegal drugs, you may be facing harsh criminal consequences.

When Can Police Legally Search a Vehicle?

Although police have more authority to search motor vehicles than homes, they are still required to follow certain rules regarding vehicle searches. An officer cannot stop and search a vehicle without a reasonable cause for doing so.

There are five main ways a police officer is authorized to search someone’s vehicle. Firstly, if the driver of the vehicle gives the officer consent, the officer may search the vehicle. It is important to always politely decline police vehicle searches if given the chance. A search is also permitted If the officer has probable cause to believe evidence of criminal activity such as stolen items, drugs, or illegal weapons is in the car. Furthermore, police may search a car if they believe doing so is necessary for their own protection. For example, if police have stopped a vehicle but worry the drivers are armed and dangerous, they may be permitted to search the car for weapons. Police may also search a vehicle after a person is arrested. Lastly, police can search a vehicle if they have a search warrant.

Unwarranted Searches Can Result in Dropped Charges

If police searched your vehicle and discovered illegal drugs in it, make sure to discuss the legality of the search with a qualified criminal attorney. If it can be demonstrated that police did not have a valid reason to search the car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle, the evidence obtained from that search can be thrown out. If the evidence against you is dismissed, the criminal charges will most likely be dropped.

Do Not Face Drug Charges Alone

Illinois law says that those found transporting drugs in their car may face fines, probation, loss of driving privileges, and jail time. Possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in Illinois, but possessing more than 10 grams of cannabis or having drugs like heroin, cocaine, morphine, amphetamine, and barbituric acid/salts can result in much more severe criminal penalties.

If you have been arrested on drug charges, speak to an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call 847-488-0889 today to schedule your free initial consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

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

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Posted on in Weapons Charges

gun, Kane County criminal defense lawyersOver the last several years, there has been no shortage of tragedies involving gun violence. Mass shootings in Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, and Nevada have raised the public consciousness regarding the availability of firearms and the associated rights promised by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the wake of these terrible events, many states have passed so-called "red flag" laws that allow authorities to temporarily seize guns from individuals whom the courts have determined pose a threat to themselves or others. Earlier this month, Illinois became the 13th state to pass such a measure as Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 2353 into law.

Firearms Restraining Order Act

The new law is called the Firearms Restraining Order Act, and it created a new type of specific restraining order for preventing a person from possessing, purchasing, or handling a firearm. The law also established a process for those who fear that a loved one may present a danger to themselves or others to take action.

Under the new law, a family member of the individual in question may file a petition to confiscate weapons the person due to a perceived danger. A police officer can also file the petition. A circuit court judge must hold a hearing to review the evidence and decide whether to issue a firearms restraining order. If the situation is severe enough, the hearing may be considered an emergency and be held on the day of the filing without notice to the subject. The subject has the right to a hearing within two weeks if the order was issued on an emergency basis.

If an order is issued, the subject will be not be permitted to own, possess, receive, buy, or control a firearm for a period of six months. Their Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card will be suspended as well. The subject of a firearms restraining order can request one hearing to terminate the order, and he or she must prove that he or she no longer poses a threat. As the end date approaches, the person who filed the original petition may request a renewal and must show that the subject still presents a danger.

Concerns of Possible Abuse

While the new law is intended to promote public safety, there are many in the community who are skeptical about how it will be applied. Some believe that these orders could be used to damage a person’s reputation unfairly and to simply take their guns away without sufficient justification. Others have expressed concern over the availability of orders without notice to the subject. To address such concerns, the new law includes provisions that allow petitioners who make false statements to be prosecuted for perjury.

We Can Help

If you have questions about how the new law could affect your rights to legally own a firearm, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-illinois-gun-violence-laws-orders-of-protection-20180713-story.html#

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=91&GA=100&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=2354&GAID=14&LegID=102977&SpecSess=&Session=

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trial penalty, Elgin criminal defense attorneyNearly every person or entity involved with the American criminal justice system is aware of the existence of the so-called "trial penalty." This penalty refers to the harsher sentences imposed on criminal defendants who exercise their right to a trial compared to those who accept plea bargains. There is little question that some form of a trial penalty is acceptable, but a new report from a national organization of defense attorneys suggests that the differences in sentences have become so severe that the penalty is threatening the right to a trial guaranteed by the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment.

The Sixth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution promises, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…" The amendment also guarantees a defendant the right to face the witnesses against him or her, as well that the right to legal counsel.

In any accepted plea bargain, a criminal suspect waives his or her right to a trial—often in exchange for reduced charges and a lesser sentence. How much the charges are reduced and how much of a lesser sentence have become serious concerns for defense lawyers and criminal defendants across the country.

A New Report

Earlier this month, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) released a report called The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How to Save It. The report was the result of more than two years of research that looked back on more than 50 years of case results in the United States. According the report, the rate of federal criminal cases that go to trial has been dropping for the last half-century. Less than 3 percent of such cases go to trial today at the federal level, and about 6 percent of state criminal cases do. About 20 percent of federal criminal cases went to trial just 30 years ago.

One of the most troubling practices that contributes to the severe trial penalty, according to the report, is that prosecutors tend to threaten charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences if a defendant does not accept a plea bargain. For example, most Class 1 felonies in Illinois carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of at least four years. A prosecutor could threaten to charge a defendant with a Class 1 felony count of criminal sexual assault unless the suspect pleads guilty to a Class A misdemeanor for criminal sexual abuse. The disparity between the two charges—and their respective sentences—would make any defendant think about waiving the right to trial and pleading guilty, even if they did not commit the crime.

The report suggests that eliminating such threats would go a long way in making the trial penalty more reasonable. Other suggested ways to mitigate the problem include requiring full discovery before a guilty plea can be entered and including a judge in the plea negotiation process.

Call Us for Help

If you have been charged with a crime and you are being pressured to plead guilty, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today and get the guidance you need before you make any life-changing decisions.

Sources:

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/new-report-presents-crucial-findings-trial-penalty-imposed-against-defendants-who

https://www.nacdl.org/trialpenalty/

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