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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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IL defense lawyerThe state of Illinois has a highly specific law regarding gun ownership and concealed carry rules. Guns are legal to carry as long as the owner has the proper paperwork which gives them the right to carry.

Those who illegally carry a firearm will face misdemeanor charges for first offenses and possible felony charges for subsequent offenses. Illegal gun carriers will also face felony charges if they discharge their weapon resulting in injury or death of a victim.

Requirements for Owning and Carrying a Firearm

There are two types of permits that a person needs in order to legally possess a gun in Illinois. Homeowners who wish to possess a firearm for security purposes only need to apply for a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID). If a person meets the requirements for the FOID, they can then possess a gun within their home, but cannot carry it out of their home unless it is unloaded and stored inside a proper container.

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Posted on in Theft

IL defense lawyerStores have many methods of keeping their merchandise and location safe from thieves, but it can still happen from customers and employees alike. People who attempt to steal from a store will face serious consequences if they are caught. Retail theft may be a tempting idea for people who are desperate for food or clothes, but offenders will be charged with misdemeanor or even felony charges if caught.

What Does the Law Say?

The state of Illinois punishes alleged thieves whether they are a person off the streets or someone who works for the business. It also covers a variety of ways that people can attempt to steal. Most simply grab an item and leave the store, but other types of theft that the law covers are:

  • Altering and/or removing labels from items to make them “less expensive” when the cashier rings up the item.
  • Taking an item from the container in which it is being stored with the intention of stealing the merchandise.
  • Removing a shopping cart from the business without their consent.
  • Attempts to convince the merchant that they are the rightful owner of the merchandise they are trying to steal.
  • Using a theft deflection device to try hiding their unlawful action from the merchant.
  • Employees who under-ring a product so they do not pay full price.
  • Using a self-checkout line to attempt to not ring up a product properly.

The least severe charge for retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor which is given out when the value of property stolen does not exceed $300. Using an anti-theft device is also a Class A misdemeanor for first offenders; subsequent offenses are elevated to Class 4 felony charges.

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IL defense lawyerMarijuana will soon be legal for recreational purposes in Illinois, however, there are still specific dispensaries that will sell the drug. Other illegal substances such as opioids and narcotics are not to be sold in the state or brought into Illinois from other states/countries. Selling or trafficking illegal substances is breaking the Illinois Controlled Substance Act, and can lead to a drug crime conviction punishable as a felony. Consequences vary depending on the amount of drugs involved in the violation.

What Is Illinois Controlled Substance Act?

Illinois created the Controlled Substance Act to clearly define what would happen if a drug dealer is caught during a sale or if someone is found trafficking in drugs from other states. The law covers controlled substances, counterfeit substances, and controlled substance analogs.

The Act includes detailed accounts for what type of felony punishments a person can face if they are charged with drug dealing of substances such as cocaine, morphine, methamphetamines, and LSD:

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IL defense lawyerThe state of Illinois does have separate laws in place to differentiate between robbery and burglary. Both are very similar crimes that involve someone breaking into a specific property, vehicle, or business and either taking items or has the intent to steal items.

The act of burglary is defined by Illinois law as a person(s) unlawfully entering a property without permission of the owner with the intent to steal items while on site. Even if no property is taken, a person can be charged with burglary if the intent to steal is proven.

Illinois law defines robbery as a person(s) taking property from another person with the use of force or threat. The law does not cover automobiles, but Illinois does have a separate law for vehicular theft.

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IL defense lawyerIllinois State Police estimates that every year distracted driving is the cause of more than 1 million crashes. Of those accidents, the economic damages - injury and death - add up to close to $40 billion. This is why Illinois is cracking down on cell phone usage while behind the wheel. The law changed on July 1 and now states that using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle will be considered a moving violation on the first violation.

What Was the Previous Law?

Before the first of July, drivers who were stopped because of cell phone usage behind the wheel were given a verbal warning that if it were to happen again, they would face a traffic violation. The subsequent traffic stops would result in a moving violation and a fine would be issued depending on how many violations the driver has had:

  • First offenses are punishable by a $75 fine.
  • Second offenses are punishable by a $100 fine.
  • Third offenses are punishable by a $125 fine.
  • Fourth and subsequent offenses are punishable by a $150 fine.

What to Expect Now

The major change to the Illinois law is that now any violation of cell phone usage while driving will go on a driver’s permanent record as a moving violation even if it is the first offense. The fines remain the same as before, but according to a report from the Chicago Tribune, if a driver receives three violations in one year, their license will be suspended.

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IL defense lawyerIllinois has plenty of rules for motorists to remain safe when driving through construction zones. According to the Illinois Highway Safety Plan, motorists are more likely to be injured in a construction zone accident than workers, but the rules are put into place to avoid any accident or injury. Those who do not adhere to the construction zone rules are putting their lives and the lives of the workers at risk. Motorists who are caught will be charged with a commercial driver’s license violation which leads to traffic tickets and fines.

What Are the Punishments for Construction Zone Violations?

Distracted driving is one common violation that can result in a motorist being pulled over and ticketed. If someone is talking or texting on a cell phone, the fine is $75 for first offenses and increases to $150 for subsequent offenses.

Speeding in a construction zone is a ticketed offense whether or not there are workers present. This is because 90 percent of work zone fatalities are motorists and not workers, according to the Illinois Highway Safety Plan. First offenses for speeding in a construction zone are punishable by a minimum fine of $375 and subsequent offenses result in a minimum fine of $1,000. If the subsequent offense happens within two years of the first offense, a motorist will have their CDL suspended for 90 days. 

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