The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120

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Elgin criminal defense attorneyIt can be hard to know exactly what your rights are when it comes to police searches. Under federal law, police may only search homes and vehicles under certain circumstances. If a police officer wishes to search your home, he or she will usually need to acquire a search warrant before entering the property. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other motor vehicles do not always necessitate a search warrant. One way police may legally search a person’s vehicle is if the driver gives them permission to do so. Most legal experts believe that citizens should never give police permission to search their vehicle—even if they have nothing to hide.

When Police May Search Your Car

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizure of personal property. In order to legally search a vehicle, police must have a valid reason, a search warrant, or the driver’s permission. More specifically, police may lawfully search a vehicle only if:

  • The driver or owner of the vehicle gives the officer permission to search the vehicle;
  • The police officer has probable cause to believe there is evidence related to a crime in the vehicle;
  • The vehicle was towed and impounded by police;
  • The officer believes a search is necessary to protect his or her own safety; or
  • The driver has been arrested.

Agreeing to a Vehicle Search

If police suspect that a vehicle contains illegal drugs, contraband, hidden weapons, or other evidence of a crime, they may wish to search the vehicle. If there is no probable cause or other reason they may legally search the vehicle, the police may simply ask the driver for permission to search the vehicle. Police often use indirect language to ask permission and may say something like, "You don’t mind if I take a look around, do you?" They may even imply that you do not have a choice in the matter. However, you always have the option to calmly respond, "I do not consent to a search."

Why You Should Not Consent

Even if you have nothing to hide, you should exercise your constitutional right to be free from unnecessary searches because refusing a search protects you if you end up in court. If you decline a search and the officer searches the vehicle anyway, the officer will have to prove in court that there was a good reason, or probable cause, to do so without a warrant. Sometimes, refusing can prevent the search altogether.

Call Us for Help

If you have been accused of a crime based on evidence found during a warrantless search of your car, speak with an experienced Kane County criminal defense lawyer. Call The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 to schedule your confidential consultation today.


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attorney, Kane County criminal defense attorneyWhen you are up against a criminal charge, the attorney you hire can have a massive impact on the outcome of your case. So, knowing this, how do you choose? How do you ensure, beyond all doubt, that your criminal defense attorney will represent you effectively and protect your interests? It all starts with performing your due diligence. Of course, the decision is always up to you, but following information may be able to help you find the attorney that is most suited to your specific needs.

Hire the Right Type of Lawyer

First thing is first: it is important that you hire an attorney who has experience with your particular situation. As an example, hiring an attorney who works only on divorce or immigration issues when you are facing drunk driving charges is probably a poor choice. Instead, turn to an attorney who has extensive knowledge and experience with sensitive criminal matters. These attorneys are more likely to recognize and plan for the unique challenges that may arise in your case.

Determine Competency to the Best of Your Abilities

Unless you have a degree in law, it may be a little difficult to discern for certain whether or not your prospective attorney is competent. However, you may feel as though something is "off." For example, if it feels as though your attorney is sidestepping your questions or having difficulty explaining things in a way that you can understand, he or she may not know the answer. Likewise, if they are unable to effectively communicate with you—which also requires listening on their part--they may not be as well-versed in the law as you would like.

Also, do your homework. Research the attorney’s reputation and where they went to school. Look at their overall background. Have they won any specific awards? Are they affiliated with the local, state, or national bar association or other legal organization? Do they participate in community action and serve as an advocate for more than just their clients? None of this can give you a complete answer, but your gut instinct is often correct. In a matter as serious as this, it is often best to err on the side of caution.

Let Us Help

At The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we understand that the attorney you choose when facing a criminal matter is important. We welcome your questions and will work with you in determining if we are the right legal team for your case. To learn more, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney today. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation.


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Posted on in Drug Crimes

drugs, Kane County drug crimes defense attorneyIllinois has fairly strict laws about drug possession, distribution, and trafficking. The latter two are decidedly more serious, as one might imagine, but many become confused when dealing with the prosecution process. There are state and federal charges, with varying degrees of severity, and those unfamiliar with the law may have trouble determining which regulations apply to them and which do not.

Classifying Drugs

The Illinois Controlled Substances Act sets forth information on which drugs are classified under which schedule, and grants the state of Illinois the authority to reschedule any drug if it is rescheduled under the corresponding federal law. There are five schedules, with Schedule I including the most dangerous drugs and Schedule V listing the least dangerous.

There are a number of factors that go into federal and state authorities classifying a drug under a certain schedule, including but not limited to the potential for abuse, the degree to which the drug can be used for legitimate medical purposes, and potential long-range effect on individual and public health. This is relevant in terms of assessing distribution and trafficking offenses because public health is a concern. A drug may be is placed on a certain schedule due to widespread fear of abuse or belief in its potential to cause long-term effects, distribution or trafficking of the drug can cause significant harm to public health.

Distribution vs. Trafficking

What many people fail to grasp is that distribution and trafficking are different offenses, even though the two words may be colloquially synonymous. Distribution is generally referred to in Illinois law as delivery, and as such, money does not have to change hands for a distribution charge to be warranted. In some cases, charges of ‘possession with intent to distribute’ have been brought when someone has a large quantity of drugs in his or her possession or many of the tools needed to distribute—such as a large supply of bags or a quantity of cash—even if no sale or delivery to someone else has been made.

Distribution becomes trafficking when state lines are crossed—not necessarily physically, as trafficking charges can be brought against those who mail controlled substances if knowledge and intent can be proven. The relevant statute permits extremely harsh sentences and monetary fines for those convicted of such an offense. The law requires that anyone convicted of trafficking be sentenced to no less than twice the minimum possible amount of time, which can add up if the type and amount of drug trafficked are significant. Simple distribution does not cross state lines.

Ask a Knowledgeable Attorney

Being charged with drug distribution or trafficking is extremely serious, and in such a situation, it is imperative to enlist the help of 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.


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Posted on in License Reinstatement

license, Elgin license reinstatement lawyerLearning that your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked in Illinois can be quite an upsetting occurrence – especially when it is a law enforcement officer who informs you of this fact during the course of a traffic stop. You may have had no idea that your driver’s license was suspended or revoked, yet you may be placed under arrest and charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense (depending on the number of times you have been convicted of driving while your license was suspended or revoked). What is more, restoring your driving privileges can be just as confusing as knowing how to address your criminal charges.

Discovering the Reason for Your Suspension or Revocation in Illinois

A "suspension" is a temporary cancellation of your driving privileges for a specific period of time or until a certain condition is fulfilled. A "revocation" is an indefinite cancellation of your driving privileges that may or may not be reversed.

Regardless of how the court and prosecutor will treat your criminal offense, you will need to determine the reason for your suspension or revocation. When you know the reason why your license is suspended or revoked, you can then take the steps necessary to get your driving privileges reinstated. Some common reasons why an Illinois driver’s license is suspended or revoked include:

  • Failing to pay or resolve a traffic ticket;
  • Failing to pay or resolve multiple parking violations;
  • Being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; and
  • Failing to address your child support obligations.

The law enforcement officer who pulled you over is not likely to have information as to why your license is suspended or revoked. If you are unsure of the reason for your suspension or cancellation, you may need to contact a Driver Services office and speak with a representative and/or obtain a copy of your complete driving record. Reinstating your driving privileges can require you to pay fines or child support obligations, wait for a specific amount of time to pass, or s other tasks.

What About My Criminal Charges?

Getting your driving privileges reinstated resolves only part of your issue. You must also address any charges filed against you as a result of your act of driving without the privilege to do so. If you have not had any previous convictions for driving while your license is suspended or revoked, your charges may be dismissed if you are able to reinstate your license. Otherwise, you and your attorney may need to challenge the charge by contesting the accuracy of your driving record, the sufficiency of the notice of suspension or revocation you received, or other deficiencies in the case against you.

If you have discovered that your license was suspended or revoked and have questions about what your next steps should be, contact an experienced Kane County driver’s license reinstatement attorney. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.


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Posted on in Weapons Charges

firearm, Kane County criminal defense attorneyWeapons and firearms laws in Illinois have long been among the most restrictive in the country. It is, however, possible for private citizens to own and carry a firearm under certain conditions. Failure to comply with the appropriate laws regarding firearms can have extremely serious criminal consequences, so it is important to understand how to remain legal at all times.

Firearm Owner&s Identification

The state of Illinois currently requires that anyone who owns a firearm must have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued in his or her name. One must have a valid FOID in order to buy or possess firearm ammunition as well. Plain and simple, if you do not have one of these identification cards, you could face criminal charges if you are found to be in possession of either a firearm or ammunition. In order to qualify for such identification, you must provide a complete an extensive application and pay required fees.

Concealed Carry

Illinois also maintains a concealed carry law, meaning that legal firearm owners may be permitted to carry a concealed firearm. To do so, an individual must obtain a concealed carry permit in addition to the FOID. That is to say, a person can only carry a concealed firearm legally if he also has been issued a license to carry a concealed firearm by the Illinois Department of State Police. This firearm can only be a handgun (loaded or unloaded), but must be completely or mostly invisible from the public or in a vehicle. Concealed carry laws do not authorize the concealed carrying of a stun gun, a laser, a rifle, a spring gun, a machine gun, or a paintball gun, among others.

Transporting a Firearm Without a Concealed Carry Permit

When you transport a firearm in your vehicle--to a shooting range or hunting camp, for example--the weapon could be considered concealed. How can this be legal without a concealed carry license? Illinois provides that you may transport a legally-owned firearm, but it must be unloaded and secured inside a case. Without a concealed carry license, it is a Class 4 felony to carry an uncased, loaded firearm that is immediately accessible.

Legal Help for Weapons Charges

If you have been charged with a firearm violation, you need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights. Contact experienced Elgin criminal defense lawyer Brian J. Mirandola today and get the high-quality representation you deserve. Call 847-488-0889 for a free, confidential consultation.


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