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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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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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Chicago criminal defense attorneysIf you are facing criminal charges, you may be overwhelmed by the legal process that lies ahead. Depending on the nature and severity of the alleged offense—along with your own criminal history—you could be eligible for probation in lieu of serving time in jail. But, what is probation and who qualifies? A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you make sense of a challenging situation.

What Is Probation?

Probation is a sentencing alternative that offers offenders substantially more personal freedom while they serve their sentences. In most cases, an offender on probation can live at home, go to work, and live most of a normal life, but always under the close supervision of a probation officer. An individual on probation is required to abide the terms set by the court and his or her behavior is closely monitored. In some cases, probation begins immediately upon a finding of guilt while in others, it begins after a reduced jail sentence.

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Cook County criminal defense attorneyDid you know that in 2015, more than 1,000 individuals at the Cook County Jail spent more time behind bars than they were actually sentenced to serve? These cases were not the result of clerical errors, lost files, or mistakes by jail staff. Many of them, rather, were the result of low-level criminal offenders not being able to afford cash bail. Instead of serving only their prescribed sentence, these inmates first sat in jail waiting for trial or for a plea bargain to finalize. Their crimes, in most cases, were so minor that their sentences were shorter than the amount of time they had already spent in jail.

Thanks to a new law signed last month by Governor Bruce Rauner, however, such cases should no longer be common in Cook County or anywhere else in the state. The measure, which took effect immediately, is being praised by criminal justice reform advocates as a significant step in the right direction.

Bail Basics

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Chicago criminal defense attorneyThe Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that approximately 28 percent of the current U.S. population is comprised of immigrants, both with and without documentation. Many people operate under the misunderstanding that once immigration status is achieved, it cannot be taken away. Thus, it may come as an unpleasant surprise to discover that this is not the case.  It is possible to lose one’s legal immigration status if convicted of specific crimes, or if convicted of crimes that speak to a negative character trait such as deceit. While most criminal lawyers are not well versed in immigration law, having one who understands the interplay between the two disciplines can mean the literal difference between life and death, in extreme cases.

Crimes That Establish Removability

While in theory, any crime may be enough for an immigrant to get the attention of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there are two specific classes of offenses that render the perpetrator removable in most cases. Aggravated felonies and crimes of moral turpitude both essentially present an immigrant as unable to prove good moral character, which is a requirement for both lawful permanent resident status and citizenship. These crimes also render the person inadmissible because, with such an offense on their record, they would not have been granted a visa in the first place. If one is inadmissible, he or she will usually be issued an Order of Removal.

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