Category Archives: Criminal Defense

St. Charles drug charges defense attorney

State and federal laws are always changing. In fact, over 250 new laws are planned to take effect in Illinois at the beginning of the new year. It is crucial to stay up-to-date with these law changes so that you know exactly what your rights are in the event you are charged with a criminal offense. Read on to learn about some of the most important changes taking place in Illinois law this January.

Recreational Marijuana Is Legal for Illinois Residents Over Age 21

The most newsworthy new law taking effect this January is the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes. Illinois residents aged 21 and over will be legally allowed to purchase marijuana products from licensed retailers in the state starting January 1, 2020. Illinois residents can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, up to 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and up to 500 milligrams of THC in cannabis-infused products.

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St. Charles criminal expungement and sealing attorneyEveryone makes mistakes from time to time, and that does not make someone a bad person. Individuals who have arrests or criminal convictions on their records deserve a second chance to live a law-abiding life. Unfortunately, having a criminal record can sometimes prevent a person from gaining the education and skills needed for lawful employment. Some employers outright refuse to hire a person if they have a criminal record – even if the record only shows a minor offense. Obtaining quality housing can also be hindered by a criminal record. If you have been charged or convicted of a criminal offense in Illinois, you should know that you may qualify for record expungement or sealing.

When Can a Criminal Record Be Expunged or Sealed?

You may have heard the terms “expungement” and “sealing” when it comes to erasing a criminal record. If a record is sealed, the information about your criminal charges is hidden from a criminal background check, but police and other government personnel will still be able to view your criminal records. Crimes that involve cruelty to animals, orders of protection, or offenses that require you to register as a sex offender are typically not eligible to be sealed.

When a record is expunged, the offense is completely deleted from your record. You will most likely be eligible for expungement if you were arrested for a crime but never convicted. In some cases, you may be able to have your criminal record expunged if you were convicted of a crime and have completed the sentence, as long as you have not committed any subsequent offenses during a certain waiting period. Similar to record sealing, you are not able to expunge records that include sex crimes involving a minor.

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St. Charles drug crimes defense attorneyYou probably already know that it is against the law to possess, sell, or distribute controlled substances in Illinois. However, you might not know that in some cases, distributing or delivering drugs can lead to homicide charges. Illinois enacted the Drug-Induced Homicide law in 1989. Under this law, if a person delivers a drug to another person, and that individual dies as a result of using the drug, the deliverer can be charged with drug-induced homicide. Someone convicted of drug-induced homicide in Illinois can face up to 60 years of incarceration.

Illinois’s Drug-Induced Homicide Law Is Hotly Debated

Illinois statutes state that a person commits drug-induced homicide if he or she unlawfully distributes, delivers, or sells an illegal drug to another person, and that person dies as a result of the drug. Drug-induced homicide is a Class X felony offense and is punishable by 15-30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. In some cases, the prison sentence for drug-induced homicide can be extended to 60 years. There is a large amount of controversy surrounding this law. Some people believe that it is grossly unfair to charge a person with homicide for selling drugs to another person, and if the other person voluntarily consumed the drugs, then he or she took the risk. Others believe that the magnitude of the current opioid crisis in Illinois necessitates harsh penalties for selling fatal drugs. Since 2008, opioid overdoses have led to almost 11,000 deaths in Illinois. Drug overdoses, in general, are now considered the leading cause of death for people under age 50 in the United States.

Illinois' “Good Samaritan Law”

Drug-induced homicide is one exception to the Illinois “Good Samaritan Law.” The Emergency Medical Services Access Law of 2012 provides protection against being charged with a criminal offense for seeking help for someone who is overdosing. In some cases, if a person seeks emergency medical treatment for another individual who is overdosing, both the person seeking help and the person overdosing are protected from drug possession charges. However, the person seeking help could still be prosecuted for drug-induced homicide if he or she is the one who sold or distributed the drugs, and the overdose leads to death.

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St. Charles assault and battery defense attorney

Although we often hear the terms “assault” and “battery” together, these are two distinct criminal charges under Illinois law. Being convicted of assault and/or battery can lead to heavy fines, a permanent criminal record, and possible incarceration. Having a conviction for assault or battery on your record can seriously damage your professional opportunities as well as your personal reputation. If you or a loved one have been charged with assault, aggravated assault, or battery, make sure you fully understand the criminal charges being brought against you and how to defend against these serious charges.

What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

The crimes of assault and battery often occur within the same incident or altercation. An assault is defined as behavior that reasonably puts another person in fear of harm, while battery involves the actual infliction of harm or injury. An individual can be charged with assault even if he or she does not physically touch the alleged victim in any way. For example, raising your hand in a way that makes the other person believe you are going to strike him or her can be considered assault. A great number of actions can be considered battery, including slapping, kicking, punching, spitting, and other provoking or insulting contact. You may be surprised to learn that a person does not need to suffer actual bodily harm or pain in order to be considered a victim of battery. Actions that are demeaning or intentionally inflammatory can constitute battery under Illinois law.

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St. Charles crimes defense attorney

Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a shocking and overwhelming experience. In some cases, a person can be falsely accused of an offense. It is important to know that individuals accused of a crime are protected by the United States Constitution as well as other statutes. It is critically important for anyone who is facing criminal charges to remember that he or she is entitled to certain rights as a criminal defendant, in addition to being innocent until proven guilty. When a defendant’s rights are violated, it can dramatically affect the outcome of any future criminal proceedings.

Your Right to Remain Silent

If you have ever watched a true crime television show or movie, you probably heard the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent.” This right is specifically stated in the Miranda Warning, a list of notifications typically given by police to a criminal suspect upon arrest. The right to remain silent is protected by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S Constitution. The Constitution states that a criminal defendant cannot be “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Put another way, you cannot be forced to incriminate yourself. If you are arrested and taken into police custody, calmly tell police officers that you are utilizing your right to remain silent and then say nothing. Do not consent to any police questioning or interrogations until you have a lawyer present. Choosing to remain silent will ensure that you do not say anything that can be used against you in any resulting criminal proceedings. It also helps ensure that you are not tricked into saying something you do not mean during a stressful interrogation.

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