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IL defense lawyerIf you are like some people, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach when you see a police officer, even if you did not do anything wrong. Getting pulled over by a police officer can be a daunting experience and one wrong move can cost you greatly. If you disrespect an officer, whether you mean to or not, the officer will most likely punish you to the full extent of the law for the reason he or she pulled you over. A simple traffic ticket can turn into a big deal. Often times, police officers will let you off the hook a little bit if you comply, which is why it is important that you know what you should and should not do when you are pulled over by a police officer.

Proper Etiquette After You Are Stopped

There are certain things that you should and should not do when you are pulled over by a police officer. Here are some tips that you should follow when you find yourself in the middle of a traffic stop:

  • As soon as you see flashing blue and red lights behind you, slow down and look for a safe place to pull over. If there is no safe place to pull over within a minute or so, you should turn on your hazard lights, which signals to the police officer that you acknowledge that he or she is trying to pull you over.
  • Once you have found a safe place to stop, turn your engine off and keep your hands on the wheel where the officer can see them at all times. This ensures safety for both you and the officer because the officer may become suspicious if he or she cannot see your hands.
  • Roll down your window completely when the officer comes to the side of your vehicle. If it is night time, it may be a good idea to turn on your vehicle’s interior lights so the officer can see you and the interior of your vehicle clearly.
  • Only reach for your license, registration, and proof of insurance when you are instructed to do so. Reaching for the glove box can also raise a red flag for the police officer.
  • Do not get out of your vehicle for any reason unless the officer instructs you to do so. This goes for both you and any passengers you may be carrying.
  • Be polite to the police officer, answer any questions he or she may have and comply with his or her requests. This can save you a lot of grief.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer

Getting on the bad side of a police officer can be detrimental to your driving record. Police officers do not respond well to civilians being rude and argumentative. If you find yourself in possession of a traffic ticket, a skilled Chicago traffic ticket defense attorney can help you fight the charges against you. At the Luisi Legal Group, we can help you form a personalized defense for your traffic ticket. Call our office today at 773-276-5541 to schedule a free consultation.

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IL DUI lawyerThere are many ways that you can lose your driving privileges in Illinois -- not paying child support, not taking care of parking tickets and not paying toll fees. However, the most common way Illinoisans lose their driving privileges is by being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or related charges. In Illinois, you are subject to an administrative license suspension, in addition to any criminal suspensions you may face. Failing a chemical test to measure your blood-alcohol content (BAC) and refusing to take a chemical test are two common DUI-related charges that result in a loss of driving privileges. In order to get your driving privileges back, you will have to attend an informal or formal hearing at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

Informal Hearings

If your driver’s license was suspended or revoked due to a DUI-related charge or conviction that did not involve a fatality and this was your first DUI, you do not have to attend a formal hearing and can attend an informal hearing. Informal hearings are held at certain driver services facilities throughout the state on a walk-in basis. You will provide the hearing office with all applicable documentation, which will then be sent to the main office in Springfield. The main office will mail you a letter stating the outcome of the hearing, which can be either a denial, a restricted driving permit or a full reinstatement of your driving privileges.

Formal Hearings

If this is not your first DUI disposition or your DUI charge involved a fatality, you will be required to attend a formal administrative hearing. You must mail in a written request for a hearing, which will take place at administrative buildings in either Springfield, Chicago, Joliet, or Mt. Vernon. During the hearing, a hearing officer will listen to all testimony, review all documentation and examine all evidence and witnesses. The hearing officer will then issue a recommendation based on all of that information.

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IL defense lawyerEach year, the FBI puts together a report on crime statistics and one of their reports focuses on hate crimes in the United States. In 2106, the FBI reported that there were 6,121 hate crime incidents that took place in the U.S., with over half of those incidents stemming from racial or ethnic bias. About half of all racially or ethnically based hate crimes were those that were anti-black or African American. The prevalence of hate crimes has risen by a significant amount in the past few years and recently, a Chicago man was arrested on charges of drawing swastikas on buildings.

Chicago Man Charged with Felony Hate Crimes

A 51-year-old man has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of hate crimes after the man is alleged to have drawn swastikas on multiple homes on the North Side. The man is being charged with two felony counts of hate crimes, along with three misdemeanor counts of criminal defacing of property. Chicago police say that the man was identified on home security video footage showing him using chalk to draw swastikas on garages and fences.

Illinois Hate Crime Laws

In Illinois, a hate crime is defined as any crime that is committed due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of another person or a group of people. Hate crimes can include assault, battery, stalking, intimidation, theft, damage to property, trespassing, and others. A hate crime is a Class 4 felony for a first offense and a Class 2 felony for a second offense. A first-offense hate crime can be classified as a Class 3 felony if it is committed on the grounds of a religious institution, a cemetery, a school, a public park or any public property within 1,000 feet of any aforesaid locations.

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IL DUI lawyerSeeing flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror usually causes panic or a sinking feeling of dread. If a police officer pulls you over because he or she suspects that you may have been drinking, you probably did something that caught their attention, which could have been as simple as forgetting to use your blinker while you were turning or as serious as swerving in and out of your lane. Most DUI stops in Illinois will follow the same procedure, but can vary depending on the individual officer and police department they are with. Being pulled over can be scary, but if you know what to expect, it can be a little less intimidating.

Timeline of a DUI Arrest

  • You could have been stopped at a routine roadside safety check, or the officer could be stopping you because they have probable cause or reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence. Most of the time you will have broken a traffic law in some way.
  • Once the officer has pulled you over, he will begin observing you while he asks for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. Most of the time he will be able to tell whether or not you are under the influence of alcohol from this observation.
  • If he thinks that you may be under the influence, he will ask you to get out of your vehicle to perform a couple field sobriety tests. If he does not think you are under the influence, he will let you go.
  • The officer will then conduct various field sobriety tests, which can be both standardized and non-standardized. The most common field sobriety tests used are the walk-and-turn test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the one-leg stand test.
  • If you failed any of the field sobriety tests, the officer has gained probable cause and will then place you under arrest for DUI and take you to the police station where you will be asked to submit to chemical testing of your breath, blood or urine.
  • If you refuse to submit to chemical testing or you fail the chemical test, you will be subject to a statutory summary suspension.
  • If your driver’s license is valid, you will receive a receipt which allows you to drive for the next 45 days. After those 45 days, the statutory summary suspension will go into effect.
  • You will be required to post bond or you may be kept in police custody until bond is posted. Your vehicle may also be impounded, towed or seized.

Are You Facing DUI Charges? A Skilled Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer Is Your Answer

What you do after you are arrested for DUI is of the utmost importance. If you will be subject to a statutory summary suspension, you only have 45 days until that goes into effect. Discussing your case with a Skokie DUI defense lawyer can help you figure out what your best plan of action is. Your next step should be to contact the Luisi Legal Group to see how our skilled attorneys can represent you and help you minimize the impact this will have on your life. Call the office at 773-276-5541 to set up a consultation.

 

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IL defense lawyerDomestic violence is a crime that is taken very seriously and has severe consequences for those who commit it. Though the type of punishments that offenders of domestic violence get are deserved, the extremely personal nature of the crime makes it difficult for those who are falsely accused to clear their name. In the state of Illinois, police officers are required to arrest a person if the officer has reason to believe that they have committed an act of abuse or neglect. Even if the officer makes no arrest during a domestic violence call, they must always fill out a police report with the alleged victim and the alleged suspect’s information and statements. If a person decides to file an order of protection against someone, this means they are telling the court that they have been abused and wish to seek charges against the abuser.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Though different states may have different definitions of domestic violence, Illinois defines domestic violence as any act of “abuse” perpetrated by a “family or household member.” An act of abuse can be:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Harassment;
  • Intimidation;
  • Interference with personal liberty; or
  • Willful deprivation.

Family or household members can include:

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IL defense lawyerMost people use the terms theft, robbery and burglary interchangeably and for the most part, they can be used that way in general conversation. In the criminal justice world, theft, robbery, and burglary each have their own meanings and often have different consequences, depending on which crime you are accused of. If you are accused of one of these crimes, it is very important that you understand what constitutes each crime and what kind of punishments you are facing.

Theft

The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 states that you are committing theft if you:

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style=When you get your driver’s license in Illinois, you are agreeing to a number of things, such as carrying insurance when you drive, obeying all traffic laws and driving in a safe manner. What some Illinois drivers may not know is that when they obtain a driver’s license, they are also giving their implied consent to be subject to a chemical test, such as a test of the blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance, which is used to determine whether or not the driver is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. When drivers are arrested for DUI and refuse to submit to these tests, they are subject to a statutory summary suspension of their driving privileges.

What Is a Statutory Summary Suspension?

In Illinois, when a driver is arrested for DUI and refuses to submit to chemical testing or fails a chemical test, he or she will automatically have their driving privileges suspended. Failing a test means that their blood-alcohol content (BAC) measured at a .08 or over or the THC content was either 5 or more nanograms per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of another bodily substance. A statutory suspension is not a punishment for a DUI conviction--consequences for a conviction would be added to the suspension. Even if you challenge the arrest in court, the suspension is still in effect.

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Posted on in Theft

Il defense lawyerOftentimes people will use the terms theft, robbery, and burglary interchangeably, though under the law, these terms have very different meanings and each contains different consequences. These crimes all include a person taking or attempting to take property from another person, but the elements of these crimes differ, as well as the consequences for committing them. Theft is a general term used when property is stolen from a person without the intention to return it. If you are being charged with a theft crime, it is important to know what you are being charged with and the penalties that you face.

What Constitutes Theft?

Theft is a broad term that can cover a variety of crimes. Theft encompasses any crime in which a person takes property from another person without the intention of returning it. In the state of Illinois, a person commits theft when they:

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IL defense lawyerBeing accused of a sex crime can be stressful and emotionally tolling for you, your friends and your family. Whether the accusation is true or not, being accused of a sex crime can not only cause problems between relationships with people in your life, but it can also cause problems at work or getting future jobs. Understanding common defenses to sex crimes can prepare you if you are facing these types of charges.

Innocence

One of the most common defenses to sex crimes is innocence, meaning that you are pleading that you did not commit the crime. This is perhaps the most basic defense in sexual assault cases. The defendant can argue that they couldn’t have committed the crime because they were in a different place at the time the crime was committed. This is called an alibi and must be supported by credible evidence that they could not have possibly committed the crime.

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Illinois defense lawyerA person does not need to have physical drugs on their person to be charged with a drug-related crime. If an individual is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, they may face a fine of up to $2,500 and a misdemeanor charge for a conviction in the state of Illinois. In order to avoid this outcome, a person must know what drug paraphernalia is and what the laws are surrounding it.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia can include any item that can be used to inhale or ingest an illegal substance such as pipes, bongs, or cocaine spoons or vials. It also includes kits that can be used in the production of drugs, devices, and equipment that can be used to increase the strength of a controlled substance, adulterants, and diluents, or substances that can alter the potency of a drug.

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Illinois defense lawyerCredit card fraud can take many different forms, and can even occur by accident. Penalties for being convicted of credit card fraud are serious, and can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge. Four common types of credit card fraud allegations include:

1) Failure to Obtain Consent of Cardholder

A cardholder must authorize use of the card by another person. This authorization can be either written or verbal. A cardholder can also designate an authorized user for their card, by including their name on the credit card account. Once the cardholder has formally authorized someone to use their credit card, the owner is responsible for any charges the authorized user incurs.

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Illinois drug lawyerA study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that one in four people, between the ages of 18 to 20, had used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes one or more times in their lives. Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin are one of the most commonly abused types of medication. Students may overestimate the benefits of using prescription stimulants and underestimate the risks, which can lead to negative consequences for the student’s health and personal life.

Reasons Behind Drug Use

College students may believe that using prescription drugs will enhance their academic performance, but research has shown that this may not be the case. In fact, studies have found that college students who misuse prescription stimulant medication received lower grades than their peers.

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI attorneyAn ignition interlock device (also sometimes referred to as an “IID” or a “breath alcohol ignition interlock device” (BAIID)) is a tool that can be installed in an auto that prevents the vehicle from turning on if the driver’s breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than a certain pre-programmed level. If an ignition interlock device is installed on your vehicle then you must blow into the attached breathalyzer before you drive. If no alcohol (or a permissible amount of alcohol) is detected on your breath then your car will start as usual, however, if you fail the breathalyzer test then your vehicle will be locked for a predetermined amount of time (generally the vehicle’s ignition will be locked for a few minutes after the first failed test and will be locked for a longer period of time if a second or subsequent breath test is failed). Additionally, some ignition interlock devices also require drivers to submit to random re-testing while driving.

Ignition Interlock Devices in Illinois

Here in Illinois, anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle that they wish to operate as a condition of having their driving privileges restored. The penalties associated with driving without an ignition interlock device when required to have one can be extremely steep in Illinois. In fact, LifeSafer.com notes that driving without an ignition interlock device in Illinois is a Class 4 felony offense that is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years and payment of a fine of up to $25,000.

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Illinois drug attorneyEvery year, around 10,000 people in the United States are killed in car accidents involving a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. In recent decades, law enforcement agencies have increased their efforts to combat drunk driving, and they are now looking to enforce laws against driving while under the influence of illegal drugs.

In 2015, the number of drivers who tested positive for drugs after being involved in a fatal accident was greater than the number of drivers who tested positive for alcohol. As more states legalize marijuana, and more people across the country abuse prescription drugs, opioids, and methamphetamine, police are looking to implement new tests that will allow them to make DUI arrests when drivers are under the influence of drugs.

Testing for Drugs

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Illinois drug lawsWhile the possession of marijuana is a criminal offense throughout much of the United States, its use is widespread, and support for marijuana legalization is growing. Currently, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia, and 64% of Americans support legalization. As several other states consider ballot referendums or legislation to legalize marijuana, Illinois residents are wondering if our state may be the next in line to make this change.

Current Illinois Marijuana Laws

In 2016, Illinois passed a law decriminalizing the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. While possession of marijuana is still considered illegal, anyone caught in possession of less than 10 grams will not be charged with a criminal offense; instead, they will face a civil fine of $100 to $200. Possession of more than 10 grams is a criminal offense ranging from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 1 felony, depending on the amount of marijuana.

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Illinois gun charge attorneyMass shootings occur with alarming regularity in the United States, and the most recent incident, in which a gunman opened fire on a crowd in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, resulted in 58 deaths and 546 injuries. In the aftermath of this tragedy, debate about gun laws and gun control has resumed, and politicians and pundits have brought up a familiar talking point, stating that the city of Chicago has strict gun laws, but also a high rate of homicides. But while this is something that is often asserted, is it actually true?

In order to clear up confusion about this issue and provide some context about the weapons charges people may face, here is some information about the laws concerning gun ownership in Chicago and the state of Illinois:

Weapons Licenses

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illinois defense attorneyBeing arrested and charged with a crime will have major, long-lasting effects on anyone’s life. When someone enters the criminal justice system, their criminal record can follow them for the rest of their life. In Illinois, nearly 50 percent of ex-offenders end up back in prison within three years due to their inability to find work.

After someone has been convicted of criminal charges and served their sentence, they may be able to have their criminal record sealed, which will improve their ability to find jobs, education, and housing. Unfortunately, the process of sealing these records is often difficult, but the state of Illinois is working to implement criminal justice reforms to address this issue.

New Illinois Criminal Justice Laws

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Illinois defense attorneyOn August 11, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new law eliminating the statute of limitations for felony sexual assault and sexual abuse crime against children. This law went into effect immediately, and officials praised the law, stating that will make it easier to prosecute these crimes.

Changes under the New Law

Prior to the passage of this law, Illinois statutes required sexual offenses against children to be reported and prosecuted within 20 years of the child’s 18th birthday. The new law eliminates that statute of limitations altogether, and it applies to any future crimes or existing crimes for which the statute of limitations had not yet expired. Following this change, 37 states and the federal government have removed the statute of limitations for some or all sex crimes against children.

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois drug crimes lawyerThe abuse of heroin and opioids has become a major health crisis in the Chicago area; more than 1,000 people died of drug overdoses in Cook County in 2016, which was a significant increase over the 693 drug overdose deaths in 2015. Law enforcement officials are working to combat this epidemic, and some advocates have encouraged them to charge drug dealers with drug-induced homicide in addition to standard drug charges.

Drug-Induced Homicide in Illinois

In Illinois, a person can be charged with drug-induced homicide if they provided illegal drugs to someone and the use of those drugs resulted in that person’s death. Drug-induced homicide is a Class X felony, and it is punishable by 15 to 30 years in prison.

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Illinoiscriminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyerAnyone who has been arrested on criminal charges faces a great deal of financial hardship, including bail, court fees, fines, attorney’s fees, and the possible loss of income. But what many people do not know is that when they are arrested, police can seize their money or property if they believe that it was used to commit a crime. This is known as civil asset forfeiture.

While civil asset forfeiture is meant to provide law enforcement with tools to disrupt the activities of large scale criminal organizations, the practice has come under fire in recent years due to its increased use in a wide variety of criminal cases. Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have argued that law enforcement officials disproportionately target lower-income individuals who do not have the resources to prove their innocence and reclaim their property.

These claims are backed up by studies from journalistic organizations such as Reason and the Chicago Reader, who analyzed data about civil forfeitures in Cook County. These studies showed that low-income neighborhoods in Chicago’s south side and west side were disproportionately targeted, especially for seizures of amounts less than $100.

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