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IL defense lawyerAccording to national statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, July 4 is one of the most dangerous days of the year for fatal car accidents involving alcohol. Drinking is a part of many Fourth of July celebrations, and understandably, law enforcement officers in Illinois and throughout the U.S. are always on high alert for drivers who show signs of impairment. A DUI arrest could easily ruin your holiday weekend, especially if you are in an accident resulting in injury or death. You should be careful to avoid putting yourself in a situation in which you could face serious criminal charges.

Refrain From Drunk Driving

Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are all holidays where family and friends enjoy getting together and celebrating. The best way to avoid DUI charges is to avoid driving altogether if your abilities may be impaired by alcohol. Here are some suggestions that can help keep you and others safe on holidays:

  • Celebrate at home. Hosting a celebration at your own home, even just for your own family or close friends, means that you will not have to figure out how to get home afterward. If guests are driving to your gathering and planning on drinking, you might even consider asking them for their car keys to prevent them from driving home drunk.
  • Understand the effects of buzzed driving. One of the most costly mistakes for drivers is underestimating the effects that even a small amount of alcohol can have on their driving abilities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that even with a BAC of 0.02, well below the legal limit, a driver’s attention, judgment, and visual functions may be impaired. If you plan to drink at all, staying off the road is your safest bet.
  • Arrange for a designated driver. As you make your plans for the holiday, try to identify someone in your party who will stay sober. A designated driver who abstains from drinking is a safer option than a driver who tries to monitor their alcohol consumption and driving abilities.
  • Use a rideshare service. If you cannot find a designated driver, or if the night does not turn out as expected, you can always hire a rideshare driver to help you get home safely. This may come with a cost, but it is far less expensive than the consequences of a DUI conviction.

Contact a Chicago, IL DUI Defense Attorney

If you are pulled over or arrested for driving under the influence, it is important to understand your rights, including your right to consult with a Cook County criminal defense lawyer. At Luisi Legal Group, we represent clients who are facing DUI charges and help them present the best possible defense. If you need experienced legal representation, contact us at 773-276-5541 and schedule a free consultation.

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IL defense lawyerFatal car accidents are a sad reality in Illinois, with around 1,000 people losing their lives each year. These crashes are an undeniable tragedy for the victims and their families, and they can also be incredibly difficult for the other drivers involved, who are left to cope with the mental impact and the legal consequences they may face in civil and criminal court. If you have been involved in a fatal car crash, you could face homicide and other felony charges, and it is important to work with an attorney who can help you protect your rights.

Understanding Reckless Homicide Charges in Illinois

It is important to note that not all fatal accidents will result in criminal charges against one of the drivers involved. However, if there is evidence that a driver was acting recklessly at the time of the crash, they may be charged with the criminal offense of reckless homicide. The standards for determining recklessness are similar to those for a regular reckless driving charge.

This means that in most cases, the driver must have been acting with “willful or wanton disregard” for other people’s safety, or have intentionally used an incline to make their vehicle airborne. However, certain other actions can also be considered recklessness for the purposes of a reckless homicide charge, including driving at least 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit in a school or maintenance zone or failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

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IL defense lawyerBurglary is commonly thought of as being synonymous with theft, but its legal definition is significantly more complicated. If you have been charged with a form of burglary in Illinois, it is crucial that you understand what you have been accused of and the severity of the possible penalties you may face. An experienced attorney can not only ensure that you are well-informed but can also provide you with the defense you need to protect your rights.

What Is Burglary?

According to Illinois law, burglary at its most basic is defined as unlawfully entering or staying in someone else’s property with the intention of committing a crime of theft or any felony offense. Burglary can happen in buildings and various types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats, aircraft, and railroad cars.

  • Burglary charges can significantly range in severity depending on factors including the location, the presence of other people, and the damage done. For example:
  • Burglary in a vehicle without causing damage is the least serious burglary charge, a Class 3 felony with up to five years in prison.
  • Burglary in a building, as well as burglary causing damage to a vehicle, are Class 2 felonies with up to seven years in prison.
  • Burglary in a school, daycare facility, or place of worship is a Class 1 felony. Burglary in a home is specifically known as residential burglary, and it is also a Class 1 felony. A conviction can result in up to 15 years in prison.
  • Residential burglary that takes place when the perpetrator knows that people are present, and when the perpetrator injures a person or uses or threatens force with a dangerous weapon, is known as the offense of home invasion. This is a Class X felony with a prison sentence of up to 30 years, which can be extended based on the specific circumstances.

Defense Strategies for Burglary Charges

Given the range of possible charges for burglary and related offenses, an experienced attorney may be able to help you reduce the charges or avoid conviction entirely. For example, if you are charged with home invasion, your charges may be reduced to residential burglary if you can demonstrate that you surrendered immediately upon realizing that people were in the home. If you are charged with burglary or residential burglary, your charges may be reduced to criminal trespass if you can demonstrate that you had no intention of committing a felony or theft. In a case of mistaken identity, your attorney may be able to help you avoid conviction by providing a strong alibi.

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IL defense lawyerEven though the right to own firearms is written into our country’s constitution, gun ownership has been a highly contested issue in the United States for years. Illinois was the last state in the country to legalize the concealed carry of firearms in 2013, finally allowing its citizens to keep a firearm on their person without it being in plain sight. To legally practice this right, however, you must follow certain rules and procedures, or you could face criminal charges.

Gun Ownership Laws

In the state of Illinois, you are permitted to own firearms, but only after you have received your firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card. The requirements for getting a FOID card include being at least 21 years old, not being a convicted felon, and not being addicted to narcotics, among other requirements.

If you wish to carry a firearm on your person and keep it out of plain view, you must have a concealed carry license (CCL). Requirements to receive a CCL are similar to those for a FOID card, but there are additional requirements that must be met. The requirements for receiving a CCL include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_drugs_20210331-223128_1.jpgIn Illinois, the criminal consequences for possession of illicit substances vary significantly by the type and quantity of the drug. Possession of cocaine or heroin are felony offenses punishable by several years to several decades in prison. The greater the quantity of the substances allegedly in your possession, the harsher the penalties. Second or subsequent offenses and cases involving certain aggravating factors such as possession near a school are penalized more heavily. Criminal charges for possession of an illicit substance have the potential to dramatically impact your life. If you have been arrested for possession of heroin or cocaine, it is crucial to assert your rights and build a strong defense against the drug possession charges.

Drugs Were Discovered During an Illegal Search and Seizure

Many drug-related arrests are the result of law enforcement officers searching an individual’s personal property. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ privacy and prohibits “unreasonable” search and seizure of property. Typically, to search a person or his or her property, a police officer must have:

  • Verbal consent from the property owner/occupier or the person being searched
  • A valid search warrant
  • A valid arrest warrant
  • “Probable cause” to believe that criminal activity is occurring

Police cannot simply stop and search someone without a valid reason for doing so. If evidence including drugs or drug paraphernalia is discovered by police during an unlawful search and seizure, that evidence may be inadmissible during any subsequent criminal proceedings. If key evidence in a criminal case was acquired through an unjustified search, the case may be dismissed entirely.

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IL criminal lawyerFebruary is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, which brings to light domestic abuse issues. This past year has been difficult for many people due to the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Unfortunately, this hardship has led to more reports of domestic violence in U.S. households. Spouses or romantic partners who have lost relatives to the virus or who are facing financial crisis due to a job loss may take out their anger and frustrations on each other. Arguments are normal within relationships, but when disputes turn to physical altercations, criminal charges can be filed. In some cases, however, a person may be falsely accused of abuse by a family or household member. If you are facing charges of domestic violence in Illinois, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you avoid a conviction.

Accusations of Violence

Uncertain and trying times like what Americans experienced in 2020 after the coronavirus spread throughout the country can take their toll on even the most optimistic people. The stress of being quarantined can put stress on any couple, leading to allegations of domestic violence, which is a crime in Illinois. It is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving a spouse or partner. Anyone who hits, kicks, chokes, harasses, threatens, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member has committed this offense. Under Illinois law, family or household members are considered those related by blood or people who are married or were married at one time.

Alleged acts of domestic abuse can take any of the following forms:

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IL defense lawyerThe start of a brand-new year often means the passage of new laws, which may affect certain criminal offenses. New Illinois legislation going into effect in 2021 includes increasing the minimum wage, capping the out-of-pocket costs for insulin, and enhancing the penalties for speeding in the city of Chicago. Beginning on March 1, 2021, any person driving 6-10 miles per hour (mph) over the speed limit in Chicago speed camera zones will receive a ticket. Motorists traveling 6-10 mph over the speed limit will be fined $35, and those traveling 11 miles or more over the speed limit will be fined $100. The city is launched a 44-day warning period that began on Jan. 15. This means anyone caught going 6-10 mph over the posted speed limit will receive a warning in the mail.

Vehicle Fatalities Increased During the Pandemic

Chicago city officials stated the new speeding law was issued in response to a substantial increase in vehicle speeding and traffic fatalities. A study by the Northwestern University Transportation Center last spring found despite a decrease in crashes during the coronavirus crisis, the severity of the injuries sustained increased. Illinois saw an 11 percent increase in vehicle-related deaths in just the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same time frame of the previous year. Traffic analysts figure it was due to drivers who felt like they could go faster since the roads were less congested.

Different locations have different speed limits. For example, highways and tollways allow for faster speeds, while local side streets and other places where children are present are lower. Those areas with speed cameras are marked by signs and typically have a speed limit of approximately 30 mph. School zone cameras are usually enforced daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and cameras in park zones are on from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The special cameras use 3D radar to identify cars that are moving faster than the posted speed limit and then they capture an image of the vehicle.

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IL defense lawyerAlthough a limited amount of recreational marijuana is legal in some states now, including Illinois, there are still many drugs that are considered illegal in the state. To combat the prevalence of drug use and its negative consequences, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act criminalizes the knowing possession, manufacture, and delivery of specific controlled substances. Under this law, certain dangerous drugs are categorized by Schedules. The possession of drugs like heroin or cocaine can carry significant penalties, such as a long time behind bars. In addition, if someone possesses certain drugs and intends to sell them, the punishments increase. A criminal conviction of this nature can impact an individual’s personal and professional life. That is why anyone facing such charges needs a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can provide quality legal representation to achieve a positive outcome.

Illinois Drug Schedules

According to Illinois law, controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are divided into five “schedules” based on factors, including their potential for abuse leading to addiction and if they are approved for medicinal purposes. Schedule I drugs are most likely to be abused and are not acceptable for medicinal use. Schedule V drugs are the least likely to be abused and are currently accepted for medical use. Examples of CDS for each schedule include but are not limited to the following drugs:

  • Schedule I: opiates, opium derivatives, hallucinogens
  • Schedule II: oxycodone, codeine, methamphetamine
  • Schedule III: buprenorphine, steroids, ketamine
  • Schedule IV: alprazolam, diazepam, tramadol
  • Schedule V: substances containing minimal amounts of narcotics

Penalties for CDS Possession

The criminal penalties for the possession of heroin, cocaine, morphine, LSD, and some hallucinogens are Class 1 felonies in Illinois. However, the penalties depend on the amount of the substance involved in the crime. For instance, the smaller amount, the less jail time as shown below:

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IL defense lawyerMany people think the terms assault and battery are synonymous. However, under Illinois law, they are two separate criminal offenses. Assault is defined as the threat of bodily harm that causes fear of harm to the victim. Battery is actual physical harm to another person. The penalties for these crimes can range from fines to jail time. In some cases, there are factors that elevate the crime to aggravated charges, which result in harsher punishments. A conviction for aggravated battery can impact a person’s professional and personal life. An experienced criminal defense attorney can explain the potential implications, and provide quality representation needed to avoid a conviction for this type of violent crime.

Simple Battery Charges

Basic battery charges in Illinois involve insulting or provoking physical contact or intentionally causing bodily harm to another. A few examples of actions that constitute battery include:

  • Pushing another person
  • Hitting and injuring someone with an object
  • Grabbing and ripping someone’s clothing in anger (clothing is an extension of the person)

The basic charge of battery is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, which carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

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IL defense lawyerWhen you hear the word “fraud,” you may imagine some form of theft or deceitful behavior. Fraud is often generally defined as “any act in which one person intentionally misrepresents an existing fact to another in order to induce the other person to act or to gain something of value.” It is important to note that there can be many actions that may be considered a type of fraud. In some cases, an individual may not even know what constitutes this type of crime. Illinois law defines seven categories under which criminal charges of fraud can be filed. The penalties vary depending on the circumstances, but regardless, the consequences can be serious. Therefore, if you or someone you know is facing such charges, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel from a skilled attorney who can build a solid defense on your behalf.

Understanding Fraudulent Actions

Fraud can include numerous acts, some of which are punished more severely than others. However, it can be difficult to prove fraud in some cases since the prosecution has to show the defendant knew it was wrong and committed it intentionally. The charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies depending on the party that was defrauded and the amount stolen. The punishments can include years in prison and fines exceeding thousands of dollars. In certain cases, an offender may also be ordered to pay restitution to the party directly affected by the fraud.

A few of the main kinds of fraud charges that are issued in Illinois include:

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IL defense lawyerThe state of Illinois takes traffic violations seriously, since disobeying traffic laws can lead to car accidents with injuries. Certain infractions can result in criminal charges, and a motorist losing his or her driving privileges for a period of time. This can cause great hardship if a person relies on driving to get to and from work to support his or her family. Depending on the offense, an individual may be able to obtain an occupational license, which allows him or her to drive to designated places at specific times for employment or school. However, if a driver operates his or her vehicle on a suspended or revoked license, the penalties can be steep. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help defend against these serious charges.

Reasons for Suspension or Revocation

In Illinois, after a conviction for a traffic violation, points are added to a motorist’s driving record, with the number of points varying according to the severity of the offense. Multiple violations can result in the suspension of driving privileges. A few of the most common traffic offenses that can warrant a license suspension or revocation.

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Failure to attend court hearings
  • Lapsed auto insurance
  • Multiple moving violations
  • Unpaid traffic or parking tickets
  • Other administrative suspensions

Illinois Punishment

Driving while your license is suspended is a criminal offense in Illinois. A first-time conviction of driving on a suspended or revoked license can put a driver in jail for 10 days, or he or she may be ordered to perform 30 days of community service.

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IL defense lawyerLaws are put in place throughout the United States to protect the safety and well-being of its citizens. Here in Illinois, property crimes are taken seriously, and they can result in significant punishments depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. There are many different types of criminal offenses that are categorized as property crimes, such as vandalism, trespassing, burglary, robbery, and home invasion. Although it may seem like home invasion would just be entering a person’s home unannounced, it actually involved more than that and can result in serious consequences. That is why it is essential that anyone accused of this crime consults an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help defend against such charges.

Not All Illinois Property Crimes Are Alike

Like many other states, Illinois law separates the offense of home invasion from that of residential burglary. Burglary of a residence refers to the unlawful entry or remaining in the home of another person with intent to commit a theft or another felony crime. Although home invasion is a similar act, it involves a person entering a home that he or she knows or believes is currently occupied. For a home invasion to be charged, any of the following actions would apply:

  • Threatens or inflicts harm while in possession of a firearm or other weapon
  • Deliberately causes physical injury to an individual in the home
  • Fires a weapon that causes harm or death to a person in the residence
  • Commits rape, criminal sexual assault, or other sex crimes in the home

Under Illinois law, home invasion is charged as a Class X felony since it is considered a violent crime. If a person is convicted of this crime, he or she could face a mandatory minimum sentence of six to 30 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. It is important to note that a defendant is not eligible for probation after being convicted of a home invasion.

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IL defense lawyerAlthough recreational marijuana was legalized in Illinois this year, there are still many other drugs that are classified as illegal in the state. These include cocaine, LSD, heroin, Methamphetamines, and Ecstasy. In addition, owning or carrying certain drug paraphernalia can result in serious criminal charges. The consequences of a conviction can be severe, from fines to a lengthy prison sentence, not to mention a stain on your record. Many people may not know that simply having an item that is used to ingest or make a drug is a crime. If you or someone you know is facing any type of drug crime charge, it is essential to seek the legal guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What Is Paraphernalia?

In Illinois, the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act defines drug paraphernalia as any materials or equipment used in the illegal production, processing, packaging, storing, hiding, testing, or use of drugs. Materials that are used to manufacture Methamphetamine are also illegal, but they are covered under a separate statute.

The law specifically identifies certain items as drug paraphernalia including:

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Cook

Chicago has been named one of the most dangerous cities, with extremely high crime rates. Turning on the news each night, you likely see devastating videos of gun violence leading to lost lives. While it is no secret that Chicago has more than its fair share of violent crimes, statistics show that property crimes actually make up 76 percent of criminal offenses in Chicago in 2018. As a city known for its crime, it is important to know what actions constitute the most common offenses if you are a Chicagoan. Knowing who you can turn to if you find yourself facing criminal charges is even more critical. The legal team at Luisi Legal Group assists clients in defending themselves against all of the following charges.

Theft

Of all the crimes committed in Chicago, theft is the most common, with nearly 65,000 offenses recorded in 2018. The definition of theft is fairly obvious; it means taking something that does not belong to you. This also includes knowingly obtaining stolen property, even if you are not the one who stole it. The consequences of theft are dependent upon the price of the item. The lowest charge one can face is a Class A misdemeanor for items under $500 in value. However, when the price begins to surpass $100,000, those found guilty have committed a Class X felony.

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IL defense lawyerCrimes can consist of various actions, some of which do not always involve physical confrontations. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 2018, 15 percent of all fraud complaints were related to identity theft. Overall, 33 percent of U.S. adults have experienced identity theft at some point in their lifetime. It can be relatively easy to find people’s personal and sensitive information on social media and networking sites, which can make them targets for phishing and imposter scams. Identity theft basically means representing yourself as someone else for financial gain. This offense is considered a form of fraud, which can carry significant penalties in Illinois. If you are facing charges related to identity theft, a seasoned criminal defense attorney can help you defend against this type of white-collar crime.

What Constitutes Identity Theft?

A person commits the offense of identity theft when he or she knowingly uses any personal identification information or documents of another person to falsely obtain credit, monetary funds, goods, and services, or property. An individual’s personal information can include name, address, date of birth, telephone number, Social Security number, credit or debit card account number, or passport. Types of documentation can include a person’s birth certificate, driver’s license, or state ID. In many cases, a person may use someone else’s credit card or debit card to make purchases, obtain a loan, or get cash out. Other acts include filing fraudulent tax refund forms or writing bad checks. Medical identity theft occurs when information is stolen, including health insurance member numbers, in order to receive certain medical services.

Identity theft typically includes three main types of actions:

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IL defense lawyerChicago’s Kennedy Expressway experienced a nearly 60 car pileup this Wednesday - the morning of icy conditions more usually seen in the winter months. This crash was a result of a combination of speeding and following too closely. These actions can lead to traffic tickets and fines for smaller crashes where it is obvious who is at fault.

The impact of this major crash was that 14 people were taken to the hospital and several more were treated on-scene. All of this could have been avoided if drivers practiced safer driving habits in the winter-like weather.

Safe Driving Tips for Icy Conditions

The roads become slicker even if it looks like ice is not sticking to the pavement. Drivers should slow their rate of travel because the faster one drives, the less control the driver has if the car starts to slide on the ice.

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IL defense lawyerLast year, there was a six-car pileup on the Kennedy Expressway which injured nine people and killed at least one person. A semi-truck struck stopped vehicles and the driver was charged with failure to reduce speed, according to the Illinois State Police department.

Since then, not much has changed in regards to speeding citations on the Kennedy or the other highways which connect Chicago to the suburbs. The most unfortunate part is seeing cars travel at far too high of a speed on roads that can already be dangerous because of the number of vehicles.

When Does Speeding Become Aggravated Speeding?

All drivers are responsible for knowing the speed limits on each type of road in Illinois. While there should be signs posted along the roads to remind drivers, everyone should know and maintain the proper speed in order to avoid collisions:

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IL DUI lawyerDriving after consumption of alcohol or drugs is a dangerous action. It can put the driver and those around him or her at risk of injuries or even death. This is why Illinois has strict penalties for those who choose to drive intoxicated.

Illinois State Police officers have the right to pull over any vehicle they suspect is being driven by a drunk driver. Signs that they look for are the car swerving across the road, braking and/or speeding suddenly for no reason, and misuse of car indicator lights.

The DUI Traffic Stop Process

Like any other traffic stop, the police officer will ask for the driver’s license and proof of insurance. They can also ask the driver if they are aware of what they have been stopped for. All the while, the officer is observing the condition of the driver. They are looking for signs that the driver is intoxicated:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Il defense lawyerThere have been many changes to Illinois law since the start of the new year. The number of new laws - including laws that have been amended - exceeds 250 and many of them deal with serious criminal charges, traffic violations, and more.

Of course, the law has been talked about the most before and after the new year was the legalization of recreational marijuana. Not only did this law change possession of marijuana charges, but it also annulled several minor possession charges that were committed before 2020.

The New Marijuana Law

The state of Illinois is the 11th state to make recreational marijuana legal. After the first of the year, the state opened several licensed dispensaries where people over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana.

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IL defense lawyerRoadways are becoming more dangerous every year. Especially now entering the winter season, it is important for all drivers to travel safely and obey the rules of the road. Any action on the road that is noncompliant with the law can be considered reckless driving which leads to consequences.

Illinois law says that reckless driving is any act while driving a motor vehicle that blatantly puts others in danger of injury or death. These actions are enforced through traffic citations when police officers observe reckless behavior on the streets.

Examples of Reckless Driving

The law is broad when it comes to determining reckless driving. The simple act of speeding can result in reckless driving charges because if someone is driving too quickly, they can easily collide with another vehicle or a pedestrian.

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