Tag Archives: criminal defense attorney

St. Charles Defense Attorney

When you are arrested because you are accused of a crime, it can be a frightening experience. There is the uncertainty of what will happen to you, but also a feeling that you have no control of the situation. It is important to remember you do have rights as an arrested citizen. The United States Constitution gives each and every U.S. citizen certain rights when they face criminal allegations.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

In criminal trials, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff or prosecutor to prove the defendant is guilty, rather than the defendant having to prove they are innocent. It is presumed all defendants are innocent until they are proven to be guilty of the alleged crime. Guilt must also be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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 appeal, court case, verdict appeal, prosecution, Naperville criminal defense attorney, The last thing you may want to hear, after winning a criminal case at trial, is that the prosecution is seeking to appeal the verdict. Luckily, the state can never appeal the verdict, no matter what evidence is later found pointing to the guilt of a defendant. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that no person shall face trial and be in danger of punishment for the same crime twice. This is what is referred to as double jeopardy. This means there can be no retrial for the same crime after a defendant has been acquitted or convicted. The U.S. Supreme Court has defined an acquittal as any outcome of a trial that lets the defendant go free because of lack of evidence of his or her guilt, and also situations where the judge or jury finds the defendant was not responsible for the crime.

Sometimes, the prosecution may dismiss your charges before the trial begins. For double jeopardy purposes, the trial begins with the swearing in of the jury or the swearing in of the witnesses. If the prosecution dismisses, they can later refile the charges against you without violating the Fifth Amendment. If you are charged with a crime but you believe that double jeopardy applies because you were previously tried for the same crime, you can ask the judge to dismiss the charges. Should the judge refuse to dismiss, you can appeal this decision to the appeals court.

When Can The State Appeal

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criminal defense attorney, driving under the influence, DUI arrest, DUI defense, DUI in Illinois, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois DUI arrest attorneyIt may be counter-intuitive to understand a charge of driving under the influence for a driver who is not actually caught driving or operating a car by the arresting police officer. Nevertheless, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI in Illinois in certain circumstances, whether or not the police officers see you actually driving the car. In fact, the keys to the car do not have to be in the ignition, and the driver could be "sleeping it off" and still be convicted of a DUI.

Under Illinois law, a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while his or her blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more, or he or she is under the influence of intoxicating drugs. It is the phrase “actual physical control,” that often gives the police the basis to arrest you for a DUI, even when you are not actually driving a car.

What Constitutes Actual Physical Control?

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distracted drivingOn January 1, 2014 Illinois banned the use of electronic devices, including hand held cell phones, while behind the wheel of a vehicle. This new law is an expansion to 625 ILCS 5/12 610.2, Illinois’ previously enacted anti-texting and driving statute.

While the new law completely outlaws the use of electronic devices while a driver is driving a vehicle, there are a few exceptions that have been carved out by the legislature that allow for the use of some electronic devices. The statute provides for drivers to use Global Positioning Systems (GPS), CB and HAM radios, or a device that is “physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle.” In addition, the statute allows drivers to use an electronic device in hands free or voice-operated mode, and provides for the use of a head set. The fine for violation of the statute for a first offense is $75, $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

In addition, the new statute is a primary law, which means that an officer can pull you over if he sees you using your electronic device while driving. A secondary law is one where an officer must pull you over for something else and notice the secondary offense in order to issue a citation.

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fourth amendment, your rights, privacy, search and seizure, search warrantThe first Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution is known as the Bill of Rights. Under the Bill of Rights, Americans are guaranteed certain fundamental rights that protect them from government intervention into their personal affairs. Among those rights is the Fourth Amendment right protecting a person against unreasonable search and seizure.

The Fourth Amendment also requires that a warrant, based upon probable cause, must be issued by an impartial magistrate before the government is allowed to search any persons house, papers, or “effects.” However, there are few exceptions to this rule, which allow law enforcement into your home without a warrant, such as emergency circumstances or consent.

 The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a reasonable expectation of privacy also exists in those areas immediately surrounding a house or dwelling, known as the curtilage. This means that law enforcement cannot come up to an individual’s windows and peer in with hopes of finding contraband or incriminating evidence. It has always been within the rights of law enforcement to walk up to a person’s door and knock, looking to speak with the someone inside. However, the Supreme Court had never spoken to those times when law enforcement walks up to an individuals door with a narcotics dog and knocks, looking to speak to someone inside, until 2013 in Florida v. Jardines, 133 S.Ct. 1409 (2013).

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