Archive for June, 2016
June 22nd, 2016 at 11:34 am
Methamphetamine is one of the most popular illegal drugs in Illinois. There are several reasons why people prefer to use methamphetamine as their illegal drug of choice and why it is so popular. Reasons include the following:
- Methamphetamine gives the same high sensation as cocaine, but the high lasts longer with methamphetamines;
- Methamphetamine is easy to make;
- Methamphetamine is easy to take, being consumable through ingestion, inhalation and injection; and
- Methamphetamine is less expensive than cocaine.
Methamphetamine is a Serious Illegal Drug
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug, and users can suffer injury or even death. Moreover, methamphetamine is an illegal substance, and you can therefore be charged with serious drug charges if you are caught in possession, manufacturing, or selling methamphetamine. The State of Illinois takes methamphetamine drug charges so seriously that methamphetamine has its own set of criminal laws: The Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act under 720 ILCS 646.
Individuals who are arrested and charged with methamphetamine drug charges need to seek legal consultation from an experienced and skilled drug criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Only a criminal defense lawyer with years of experience knows the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act provisions inside and out, and will fight to get you the fair treatment you are entitled to under the law. Depending on your particular charges and circumstances, it may be possible to get your charges reduced or even dropped altogether.
The Basics of Methamphetamine Criminal Charges
The basics of methamphetamine drug charges are straightforward and include:
- Methamphetamine possession, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois;
- Methamphetamine manufacturing, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois; and
- Selling methamphetamine, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois.
There is a clear pattern here—drug charges associated with methamphetamine lead to felony level charges. Felony drug charges are nothing to laugh at as they can result in serious prison time, huge fines, mandatory attendance in a drug treatment program, and a criminal record that does not go away easily.
Sometimes a Plea Deal is a Good Idea
In some cases your guilt might be undeniable. A skilled lawyer will recognize the opportunity to try and work out a plea deal with the prosecution, which could result in a lesser sentence for you. Or, you may be able to avoid jail time altogether by agreeing to enter into a drug rehabilitation program. Consult with your lawyer about your options before deciding whether a plea deal is right for you.
Facing Meth Charges? Get a Lawyer
Methamphetamine drug charges are serious. Therefore, a skilled drug crimes criminal defense lawyer can go a long way towards getting you the best possible outcome in light of your circumstances. Do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately. We can assist you today.
June 20th, 2016 at 6:22 pm
Criminal defendants have a choice when facing criminal charges: they can either fight the charges in court, or they can enter into a plea agreement. In many cases, it is in a criminal defendant’s best interest to fight the charges that they are facing. By fighting the charges, it is possible to have the charges reduced or dropped entirely.
However, there may be a situation where it is in the best interest of the criminal defendant to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution, with the help of a skilled and seasoned criminal defense lawyer, to reach an agreement that results in lesser charges or lesser sentencing for the criminal defendant.
Nearly all criminal charges can be settled with a plea deal. In fact, a majority of criminal cases are resolved through a plea agreement. Plea bargaining is an effective means for resolving a case, which saves on time, court costs, and attorney fees. A plea agreement can provide certainty in the situation, and can be a great tool for reducing sentencing or avoiding jail time, especially when the criminal defendant was undeniably guilty of the crime.
Plea bargaining can be available in all types of criminal cases, including:
- Drug offenses;
- Assault and battery charges;
- Theft crimes;
- Fraud charges; and
- Drunk driving crimes.
Why Would a Criminal Defendant Ever Choose a Plea Agreement?
It is imperative that you consult with a criminal defense lawyer before you choose to go down the path of a plea bargain. A plea bargain generally involves admitting some amount of guilt, and thus generating a conviction and creating a criminal record based on that crime. There are a number of good reasons that criminal defendants choose to enter into a plea agreement. These reasons include:
- Reduction of sentencing;
- Reduction of the charges;
- Quick resolution of the criminal proceeding;
- Avoidance of jail time;
- A plea agreement provides certainty, whereas a trial is up to a jury; and
- Avoidance of unwanted publicity of the case (the news media can report on criminal cases before the court, and a criminal defendant might want to avoid the media spotlight).
If you think that a plea agreement is a good idea for you, you should ask a lawyer just to make sure that you are making a good decision. Your lawyer can go over the benefits and consequences of entering into a plea agreement and can offer you legal advice on how you should proceed in your case. Even if you do not like what your criminal lawyer has to say, the choice is still up to you. If you do choose to enter into a plea agreement, your criminal lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.
Is a Plea Agreement Right for You? Ask a Lawyer
If you have the opportunity to enter into a plea bargain, you should consult with an attorney first. You need to understand the benefits of a plea agreement, but also the potential consequences you might face in your particular situation. Our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys can help you. Reach out to us today for a consultation.
June 15th, 2016 at 8:53 am
There are certain criminal convictions that just stick with you, and a conviction for an act of domestic violence is one of the crimes that cannot be easily expunged from a convicted individual’s record. Your criminal record is viewable by police officers, potential employers (in certain circumstances), the military, and potential landlords. If you have a criminal record, you may also be required to disclose it if you want to apply for professional school and to certain jobs. A conviction for domestic battery can also negatively impact your child custody or child visitation situation, if you have one.
With such an extensive list of long-term consequences riding on your domestic battery conviction, it is important that you work closely with a skilled and diligent criminal defense lawyer to fight the charges that are pending against you.
Domestic Violence Convictions Can be Expunged
Domestic violence convictions can be expunged from your criminal record, but it takes a lot of work and time. There are certain criteria that must be satisfied in order to be eligible for expungement of a domestic violence conviction. These criteria include:
- The domestic violence conviction must be the only conviction you have on your criminal record;
- Your sentence must be served through court supervision, i.e., your sentence does not require you to spend time in jail; and
- Your conviction must have been more than five years ago if you want to seek expungement of the conviction from your criminal record.
If you are eligible for expungement of your domestic battery conviction, you still have a long way to go before getting a clean record. There are forms to complete and file with the court, and you may possibly have to go to court and defend why your domestic battery conviction should be expunged. You may even have to fight for you expungement if the state’s attorney thinks that your expungement is unjust, and objects to it. An experienced expungement lawyer can be useful at a time like this so that you can present your strongest possible case in support of your criminal conviction for domestic battery being expunged.
Charges Dropped or Dismissed
Domestic violence charges that are dropped or dismissed do not result in a criminal conviction. As such, you will not generate a criminal record with a domestic battery conviction on it, so there is no need to expunge your record. It is often best to attempt to get the domestic violence charges you are facing either dropped or dismissed in the first place, since it can help you not have to go through a trial, conviction or sentencing.
Reach Out to an Attorney for Help
Getting a conviction for a domestic battery can have serious consequences on your life, especially since there is no chance that the conviction will be expunged from your criminal record. It is important to fight domestic battery charges so that they are dismissed or reduced. A Rolling Meadows domestic violence defense lawyer can help. Let us assist you today.
June 13th, 2016 at 10:10 am
Teens get into all kinds of trouble with the law, largely as a result of not exercising the best judgement when making decisions. Many teens get into trouble for having drugs or controlled substances in their possession illegally. A teen might snatch a couple pills out of his or her dad’s oxycontin prescription, or a teen might hold a joint for a friend. Whatever the case might be, when juveniles get caught with drugs or other controlled substances, they can be charged with juvenile drug possession. Juvenile drug possession is a serious crime, and a conviction can have have long-lasting consequences on the teen’s life down the road.
Knowledge and Control
In order for a juvenile to be convicted of juvenile drug possession, the teen must know that he or she had the drug in his or her possession, and must have had control over the drug. The knowledge requirement is established when the teen knew that he or she had the drugs, and knew that they were drugs. If a teen had the substance in his or her possession, but reasonably believed that it was something other than a drug, then there cannot be a conviction for juvenile drug possession.
The control requirement is established if the teen had control over the drug in his or her possession, or control over the area where the drug was found. For instance, drugs found on a teen in his or her pocket would establish the control element of juvenile drug possession. Similarly, drugs found in a teen’s backpack or in the trunk of a teen’s car would also likely satisfy the control requirement, presuming that the search that uncovered the drugs, and the seizure were both legally conducted.
Your Child’s Defenses to Juvenile Drug Possession
If your teen has been charged with juvenile drug possession, it is important that you consult with an experienced juvenile drug charges lawyer as soon as possible. It is critically important to your teen’s future that his or her best possible defense be made against the drug charges. There are a number of different defense strategies and which is best for your teen will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding his or her alleged crime and arrest. Common drug possession defenses include:
- Lack of knowledge that the drug was actually a drug;
- Lack of knowledge that the drug or controlled substance was in his or her possession;
- The child was too young to understand what he or she was doing in possession of a drug;
- The teen has a legitimate prescription for the controlled substance found in his or her possession; or
- The teen was under duress to hold the drugs for someone else.
It is imperative that your child’s best defenses be raised in an effort to have the charges dropped or reduced.
When Your Teen Needs Legal Representation
If your teen has been caught with drugs and is facing juvenile drug possession charges, you should seek legal representation from an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile crime attorney immediately. Contact us today for assistance.
June 8th, 2016 at 11:08 am
A police officer simply cannot stop you in Illinois on the grounds of drunk driving. Rather, law enforcement is not permitted to make a traffic stop without a reasonable and articulable belief that the driver has violated a traffic law, i.e., a reasonable suspicion that a law was broken. Stopping a driver for anything short of a reasonable and articulable belief that the driver has violated a traffic law would be an illegal seizure of the driver, which is a violation of the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights. Many people who are facing a DUI may be facing charges that are based on no actual violation of a traffic law. When there is no evidence of a reasonable and articulable belief that the driver broke the law, it means that the traffic stop was illegal.
How Do DUI Charges Come About?
Once a legal traffic stop has been made, a police officer can then witness evidence or facts that could lead the officer to believe that the driver was recently drinking alcohol, at which point a police officer can make allegations that the driver is driving while under the influence. Police can make a DUI arrest when they have a probable cause to believe that the driver broke the law. However, that is not to say that a driver may have engaged in activity while behind the wheel that made police suspicious as to whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol. There is a line between violating a traffic law and conducting oneself in a legal fashion, and sometimes police make mistakes about where that line is drawn.
By way of a few examples, swerving within your own lane of traffic is not an illegal act. You might have been avoiding a pothole or other hazard in the road, weather conditions, such as a strong wind, might push your vehicle within your lane of traffic, or you might not have been paying close attention to your driving momentarily. However, as long as you stay in your own lane, you have not broken any traffic laws. Conversely, if you swerve between lanes of traffic in a dangerous or reckless way, or across a double yellow line into oncoming traffic, then you have committed a traffic violation and police can make a traffic stop.
Other reasons to make a traffic stop include:
- Speeding violations;
- Failing to comply with traffic signs and signals;
- Driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt; and
- Equipment violations, such as a broken tail light.
Let Us Assist You Today
Police must have a reason for pulling a driver over to do an investigatory traffic stop. If other facts present themselves to the officer that lead the officer to believe that the driver is driving while under the influence, then the officer can make a DUI arrest. If you are facing DUI charges, do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI attorney for professional assistance with your case.
June 6th, 2016 at 8:27 am
Generally speaking, police need to have a good reason—probable cause—to make a traffic stop. Otherwise the traffic stop is an illegal seizure under the Fourth Amendment. However, there are limited exceptions to the prohibition against illegal seizures, and one of those exceptions arises when police are acting in their community caretaking function.
Police Officers As Community Caretakers
The community caretaking function of a police officer occurs when an officer engages in an activity, other than the investigation of a crime, that helps those in the community. A few examples include helping lost children find their parents, responding to non-criminal calls such as helping people, assisting with missing person cases, or helping drunk citizens return to their homes (presuming that the drunk individuals are not violating the law).
The Community Caretaker Exception to Search and Seizure
In order for the community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment to apply, the police officer must be engaging in an activity or job duty other than the investigation of a crime, and the search and seizure must be reasonable and undertaken with the purpose of protecting the public or promoting safety.
Community Caretaker and DUI Example
Very infrequently does a police officer stumble upon a person who is drunk behind the wheel, but who is not in fact driving. Still, this can happen, and it has happened in the past. In The People v. McDonough, a police officer came across McDonough’s vehicle on the side of the road. The officer stopped to check if the driver was ok. The officer turned on his lights, and proceeded like a traffic stop—he approached the vehicle and asked the driver questions. During questioning, the officer noted evidence of alcohol intoxication on the driver’s breath and asked the driver to participate in field sobriety testing. The driver failed these tests and then refused to submit to a breathalyzer test. McDonough was arrested for DUI, and the Illinois Supreme Court found that the police officer’s stop was not a violation of McDonough’s Constitutional rights because of the community caretaker exception.
When the officer turned on his lights, he engaged in a seizure of the driver. However, since the officer was looking into the vehicle that was stopped on the side of the road as a community caretaker, rather than as an officer investigating a crime, the police officer’s seizure, or traffic stop, was legal. Therefore, the resulting DUI charges were based on a legal stop and seizure. Furthermore, the evidence of the alcohol on the driver’s breath was obtained through a valid search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment community caretaker exception, and thus could not be excluded at trial.
When You Need a DUI Defense Lawyer
There are exceptions to the search and seizure protections offered by the U.S. Constitution. If you are facing DUI charges, please contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately. We are happy to help you today.
June 3rd, 2016 at 7:40 am
Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal under Illinois law. A person is considered to be under the influence of drugs if his or her ability to drive safely is impacted by the drug use. Under Illinois’ zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugged driving, even a trace amount of drugs found in a driver’s blood, breath or urine, is sufficient to prompt criminal DUI charges. These laws apply to all drugs that are identified in:
- Illinois Cannabis Control Act under 720 ILCS 550;
- Illinois Controlled Substances Act under 720 ILCS 570;
- Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act 720 ILCS 690; and
- Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act under 720 ILCS 646.
The list of drugs covered by the above statutes include all kinds of drugs and controlled substances, such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, MDMA, and other popular drugs.
Reasonable Suspicion to Make an Arrest for Drugged Driving
In order to make an arrest for drugged driving, the law enforcement officer must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. No actual evidence of the drugged driving is required for the arrest to be made. However, law enforcement in Illinois is not as familiar with the signs and indications that a driver is under the influence of drugs, and the federal government wants to help change that.
According to KFVS12.com, Illinois is one of just four states in the country that was awarded federal grant money to help law enforcement identify signs of drug intoxication in drivers that have been pulled over or stopped. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility gave Illinois Department of Transportation grant money that will fund 10 Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement classes to law enforcement agencies across Illinois. Each class will educate up to 25 law enforcement officers on how to identify signs that a driver is under the influence of a drug.
DUI and Drug Testing
In Illinois, if you are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are required to submit to testing under the state’s implied consent laws. Under the implied consent laws, by merely using the public highways of Illinois, drivers consent to submit to chemical tests, or blood or urine testing, for determining whether a driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Law enforcement officers get to choose which type of testing is administered.
You have the right to refuse chemical and blood or urine testing, but there are consequences for doing so. Two main consequences exist when a driver refuses to submit to testing:
- Your driver’s license will be revoked and suspended.
- Your refusal can be used as evidence against you later in court.
Contacting a Rolling Meadows DUI Lawyer
A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs will leave you facing DUI penalties. It is important to work with an experienced drug offenses and DUI lawyer in order to fight the charges that are pending against you. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. We will assist you throughout each step of your case.
June 1st, 2016 at 7:36 am
The Illinois legislature is taking another shot at decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana. In recent years, the legislature has unsuccessfully attempted to accomplish decriminalization, with bills often being derailed during the approval process. A similar bill was proposed last year, but was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. However, Governor Rauner offered guidance to legislators on how to modify the bill so that it would have better success at being approved—the governor was concerned that the old version of the bill allowed people to carry too much marijuana and did not require the payment of a large enough fine. The new bill, SB 2228 incorporates the governor’s guidance.
With so many other states legalizing the use, purchase and possession of marijuana, it seems that states like Illinois are slowly catching on that possession of small quantities of marijuana might not be such a horrible crime that warrants serious consequences, such as arrest, jail time, and a criminal record. There are more than 100 local communities in Illinois that have already passed local measures that remove criminal penalties from marijuana possession, when the quantity in question is small.
Current Marijuana Possession Law
Under the current law, Illinois takes a fairly strict stance against minor marijuana possession. Under 720 ILCS 550/4(c) of the Cannabis Control Act, possession of between 2.5 and 10 grams of cannabis is a Class B misdemeanor. Those who are convicted can face up to six months in jail and/or a fine.
However, under the new law, in its current form as SB 2228, possession of marijuana in the amount of 10 grams or less would be decriminalized to a civil law violation that is punishable by the payment of a one hundred to $200 fine. The bill also allows for individual towns and cities to add other penalties on top of the penalties prescribed by the bill, and would require that citations for marijuana possession under the new bill to be automatically expunged bi-annually.
Despite passage in the Illinois Senate by a vote of 40-14, there is strong opposition to the bill from law enforcement officers and advocates who are against the legalization of marijuana. Regardless, the bill is expected to pass in the House.
Until minor marijuana possession is decriminalized, possession of between two and a half and ten grams is a Class B misdemeanor. Remember, if you are arrested for marijuana possession in Illinois, then it is important to get into contact with a drug offenses lawyer to help mitigate or reduce the charges you face, or get the charges dismissed altogether.
Let Us Assist You Today
While the proposed bill to decriminalize possession of a small quantity of marijuana is presently before the House of Representatives for review, that does not mean that marijuana possession has been decriminalized yet. If you are facing criminal charges for possession of a small quantity of marijuana, you should reach out to an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office for help. We can help protect your rights throughout your case.