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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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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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Posted on in DUI

death, Elgin criminal defense attorneyBy now, virtually every motorist knows that the consequences for driving under the influence (DUI) can be severe. In addition to stiff criminal penalties, drinking and driving can result in injury or death to the driver, passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians. Tragically, 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Accidents involving drunk driving account for nearly one-third (29%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

In most cases involving DUI, prosecutors only have a certain amount of time in which to file formal charges. This is known as the statute of limitations. For a misdemeanor DUI offense, the statute of limitations gives authorities 18 months to take action. If the charge is a felony, prosecutors usually have three years from the date of the incident.

A new law, however, recently eliminated the statute of limitations for a felony DUI that causes a fatality. This means that if a person drinks and drives and causes an accident that results in at least one death, he or she can be prosecuted at any time. The three-year limitation will still apply to other felony DUI charges. House Bill 3084 passed both the Illinois House and Senate and became law late last year. The measure went into effect on January 1, 2018.

Consequences for DUI in Illinois

If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content of over 0.08, you will most likely be charged with driving under the influence. Generally, a police officer uses a chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test, such as a breathalyzer, to determine how intoxicated a driver is. If the driver fails the test, meaning that he or she was found to have a BAC over the legal limit, he or she will have their driver’s license suspended for 6 months. If the driver refuses to submit to a BAC test, he or she will automatically have their license suspended for one year. These suspensions are in addition to any consequences that may result from a criminal conviction. Penalties for a first DUI offense may include:

  • Driver&s license revocation for one year if the driver is over 21 years old and two years if the driver is under 21;
  • Maximum imprisonment of 6 months;
  • Minimum fine of $1,000;
  • Community service;
  • Drug and alcohol program participation; and
  • Motor vehicle registration revocation.

Criminal and administrative penalties only increase for subsequent DUI charges. In addition to the penalties listed above, a driver convicted of a DUI may also be required to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed on his or her vehicle.

Are You Facing DUI charges?

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, you need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights and help you understand your legal options. Contact an experienced Elgin DUI defense lawyer for help. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

http://www.republictimes.net/new-laws-for-illinois-in-2018/

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

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

bail, Kane County criminal defense attorneyBail is often mischaracterized on television and in the movies, as it seems as though a criminal defendant can simply pay some money and be released from all responsibility for their actions. A character wakes up in jail, for example, just in time for the guard to arrive saying that the character’s friend has posted bail. The episode or film then continues with no mention of the arrest again—case closed, right? Not even close.

In reality, there is virtually no situation in which posting bail will end criminal proceedings against a person charged with a crime. Bail is not a fine to be paid in lieu of a different criminal sentence. Instead, bail is intended to help ensure that a criminal defendant responds as required and that he or she is afforded the due process of law.

After an Arrest

When a person is arrested for a criminal offense, he or she has the right to a preliminary hearing, in most cases, to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed. Depending on when a person is arrested, getting him or her in front of a judge may take several days or even weeks. In many cases, the defendant will waive the preliminary hearing, but he or she still has the right to a trial. Thanks to overloaded court dockets, a trial may not be possible for a number of months. In the meantime, what happens to the suspect?

Depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the crime in question, the person’s prior history, his or her standing in the community, and his or her financial situation, the court has several options. The person may be released on his or her own recognizance, which means that the defendant is fully aware of the charges and he or she agrees to attend all future proceedings as required. Defendants may also be placed on house arrest, which requires the person to wear an ankle bracelet that contains a monitoring device. The judge may also set bail, which could include cash payments or liens against the defendant’s property. Finally, the defendant may be required to stay in jail until his or her trial if the crime is particularly heinous or the judge determines that releasing the suspect presents a serious risk of flight or other danger to the community.

New Law Emphasizes Monetary Bail Alternatives

Over the last several decades, there has been growing concern that monetary bail has a disproportionate effect on the financially underprivileged. A low-income criminal defendant, advocates claim, is much more likely to sit in jail prior to trial because he or she does not have the resources to afford bail. This reality has also led to municipal and county jails overloaded with inmates who are waiting for trial or have yet to be sentenced.

Illinois lawmakers addressed these concerns earlier this year by passing a bipartisan measure that offers better bail considerations for low-income defendants charged with non-violent crimes. Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill this month, making Illinois the largest state with a presumption against monetary bail. Curfews, in-home monitoring, and in-person check-ins with a probation-type officer provide alternatives and are expected to be used as appropriate. Judges may still impose financial bail terms, but only after careful consideration of the entire situation.

Call Us for Help

If you or a loved one has been arrested and has a bail hearing upcoming, an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney can help. Contact our office today and get the guidance you need during a difficult time. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/illinois/articles/2017-06-09/illinois-governor-signs-bail-relief-legislation-in-chicago

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-bruce-rauner-bail-bill-met-0610-20170609-story.html

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traffic stop, Elgin traffic violations attorneyBeing pulled over by police is a stressful experience for anyone, under any circumstances. The event can be especially nerve-wracking for young drivers who are often uninformed and unprepared to handle the situation. Young drivers are frequently pulled over by law enforcement on the roadways due to careless, distracted driving behaviors, such as texting and talking on the phone or interacting with other passengers. A traffic stop can quickly take a turn for the worst if the teen handles the situation poorly, which is why it is so important for every young driver to have a firm understanding of what to do when an officer directs them to the side of the road.

New Illinois Law Looks to Educate Teen Drivers

Whatever the reason for being pulled over, preventing an already tense situation from escalating is the number one concern for everyone involved. Many young drivers do not know how to act , highlighting the ongoing need to inform drivers about the proper way to handle a pull-over incident. Illinois lawmakers recently passed a measure that mandates that all driver’s education classes include a section on traffic stops for this very reason. The goal behind the law is to show teens the best way to respond and to keep problems during the interaction with police to a minimum.

The Basics

One of the best ways teens can ensure a pull-over interaction does not take an ugly turn is to observe a few simple steps when approached by an officer. Drivers should remain calm and keep their hands visible - preferably on the wheel. Many teens nervously rummage for their wallet or other identifying information as the officer approaches the vehicle, but searching through a bag or purse can actually send a red flag to the officer. Most importantly, the driver should cooperate with the officer’s requests. It is crucial to remain attentive, respectful, and cooperative throughout the entire interaction, as any argumentative behavior or actions that challenge or resist an officer’s direction will only make matters worse.

Should your teen find themselves in a difficult situation when pulled over by authorities, the next step is to consult with a knowledgeable traffic violations attorney in Elgin as soon as possible. Call The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 for a free consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-drivers-ed-police-stops-illinois-law-met-20160906-story.html

http://abc7chicago.com/news/new-law-requires-students-to-learn-how-to-handle-being-pulled-over-by-police/1461899/

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