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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_damage.jpgAnger can result in a person lashing out in a variety of ways. They can lash out verbally by threatening a person who is causing their anger or they can lash out physically by assaulting someone or damaging their property.

In the state of Illinois, property damage can lead to either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the seriousness of the damage that occurs during the violation. The more money it costs to fix the property that was damaged, the higher the consequences for the offender.

Illinois Criminal Property Damage Law

Illinois law makes it clear what is considered a property damage offense and what the proper consequence should be based on the evidence provided. The following are offenses that are included in the Illinois Criminal Property Damage Law:

  • Knowingly damaging another person’s property
  • Recklessly damaging someone’s property by means of fire or explosion
  • Starting a fire on someone else’s land
  • Knowingly injuring a pet owned by someone else
  • Damaging property to collect insurance payments

The least severe punishment for property damage is a Class A misdemeanor and it is charged when the damage done is less than $300 to fix. The misdemeanor punishment is one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Punishments increase from there:

  • Class 4 Felony: property damage between $300-$10,000 or when the damage takes place against a school, place of worship, or farming equipment. Punishments include a prison term of one to three years and fines of up to $25,000.
  • Class 3 Felony: property damage between $10,000-$100,000 leads to punishments of a prison term of two to five years and fines of up to $25,000.
  • Class 2 Felony: property damage more than $100,000 leads to punishments of a prison term of three to seven years and fines of up to $25,000.
  • Class 1 Felony: property damage against a place of worship, school, or farm equipment that is over $100,000 leads to punishments of a prison term of four to fifteen years and fines of up to $25,000.

A misdemeanor charge can be increased to a Class B misdemeanor if the property that was damaged or tampered with is a fire hydrant or other piece of fire department emergency equipment. Punishments include a prison term of six months and a $1,500 fine.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Even one conviction on your criminal record can change the course of your life. It can affect the kind of college you can attend, the kind of job you want to be hired for, and the type of house you can purchase. If you or someone you know is fighting property damage charges, hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola to build a defense strategy and keep your record clean. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K21-1

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

police search warrant in Illinois, Elgin criminal defense lawyerThe U.S. Constitution provides people with a variety of rights and protections with relation to law enforcement and the criminal justice system. One of the most important of these rights is the protection from unlawful searches provided by the Fourth Amendment. Usually, what separates a lawful search from an unlawful one is whether the police had a warrant to perform the search. Whether a search is performed with a valid warrant can make all the difference in the outcome of a criminal case because of a legal doctrine known as the "exclusionary rule."

The exclusionary rule is a rule of evidence that governs whether the prosecutor is allowed to use evidence during a trial. Its name comes from the fact that it excludes any evidence that was recovered during an unlawful search. It also excludes from the trial any evidence that the police found because of evidence they uncovered during an illegal search. This rule is designed to discourage police from performing these sorts of searches because anything they discover will be useless to the prosecution at trial.

The Warrant Process

The warrant process is important because if it is not followed correctly then it can trigger the exclusionary rule. Warrants are legal documents issued by judges that give the police permission to search. This means that the police officers must speak to the judge and present that judge with evidence they already have about the crime. Their goal in doing this is to convince the judge that they have probable cause to believe that the search they want to perform will result in their finding the evidence of a crime. If they convince the judge of this, then the judge will issue a warrant. This warrant will give the police the right to perform a specific search, usually only looking for specific items at a specific location.

Reasons Warrants May Be Invalidated

Warrants can be invalidated through a variety of different issues, usually either because of problems with the process of how it was issued or of how the search was performed. Common issues with the process relate to the type of information that the police were giving the judge. For instance, if the police provide the judge with old information, then the warrant might be invalid since it would not relate to the likelihood that the search would actually turn up evidence of a crime. Conversely, an issue of execution would be exceeding the scope of the search warrant. If the police have a warrant to search for a large item, like a stolen flat screen TV, then opening drawers and finding drugs would exceed the warrant's scope.

If you have been charged with a crime after what you believe was an unlawful search, contact a Kane County criminal defense attorney today to learn more about your rights.

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new law for physciatrist evaluation, Kane County criminal lawyerOne of the prerequisites for a defendant's being tried for a crime is that he or she is mentally and physically fit to do so. From a legal standpoint, fitness means that the person is able to understand what is going on in the legal proceedings, and he or she is able to assist in his or her own defense. Illinois courts believe it is important that the accused be able to understand and engage with the legal process so that they can be sure of getting the fairest trial possible. Now, Illinois has passed a new law that provides judges with more information about these psychiatric evaluations by requiring the analysts to turn over their notes and other background materials to the court, a requirement that is soon expected to spread to other states.

The Purpose of Psychiatric Evaluations

Psychiatric evaluations are a way for both sides in the case to produces evidence about the defendant's fitness to stand trial. They are not necessary in all cases because the court presumes that a defendant is capable of being tried. A defense attorney is required to raise a "bona fide" question as to that fitness.

If the defense attorney is capable of doing that, then the defendant will undergo psychiatric evaluations, usually from multiple psychologists or other qualified experts. In the past, these experts were required to simply submit a report with a diagnosis, an explanation of how that diagnosis was reached, and an opinion on whether the diagnosis impairs the defendant's ability to understand the process and participate in his or her own defense. These reports could be fairly sparse, which created problems when the experts disagreed with each other. The judge, who has to make the final decision in many instances, had very little information to go on for settling the disagreement.

The New Rule

The new law, which was passed in August and goes into effect at the beginning of next year, attempts to solve this problem by providing the judge with more information. The experts are now required, upon a written request, to turn over their background materials such as notes, other evaluations, and videotaped interviews of the defendant. Additionally, the law now mandates that the experts must videotape their interviews with the defendant, unless doing so would be impractical.

Many practitioners are hailing this law as revolutionary, and believe that this new method of disclosure will come to represent best practices, since the judges will have more information to make more accurate decisions.

Criminal charges can be extremely serious, and may carry life-altering consequences. If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, seek help from a dedicated Kane County criminal defense attorney. Our law firm is here to help ensure that your rights are fully represented and that your side of the story is told in the courtroom.

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