St. Charles child abuse attorney Shaken Baby Syndrome

Being accused of causing an infant’s injury or death can be devastating. People may assume that just because a person was charged with a child-related offense, this means he or she actually committed the crime. Even if the accusation is unfounded, being accused of shaking a baby can result in life-changing consequences. You could endure years or even decades behind bars if convicted. If you are facing criminal charges because you allegedly caused an infant to suffer from Shaken Baby Syndrome, contact an experienced criminal law attorney to discuss your defense options.

Understanding Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), also called Shaken Impact Syndrome, refers to the damage caused when an infant or small child is violently shaken. It is estimated that between 1,200 and 1,400 incidences of Shaken Baby Syndrome occur in the United States every year. Babies who are shaken can suffer brain damage, internal bleeding, detached retina, and other severe injuries. These injuries often lead to the baby’s death or long-term disability. A doctor or medical examiner may conclude that Shaken Baby Syndrome caused an infant’s death or injury when the infant exhibits symptoms such as:

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St. Charles assault and battery attorney

When an individual’s safety or the safety of his or her loved ones is threatened, a normally non-violent person may become fiercely protective. He or she may take actions that he or she would never take otherwise, including using physical force against the person threatening his or her safety or property. The Illinois Criminal Code describes the requirements that a criminal defendant must meet in order to claim self-defense. Depending on the unique situation, claiming self-defense may help a person charged with assault or battery avoid a conviction.

When Is Physical Violence Justified?

Intentionally harming another person is against the law in most cases. However, if a person uses physical force against another because he or she must do so to protect his or her well-being and/or property, this may not be considered a criminal act. According to the Illinois Criminal Code, an individual is allowed to use force against another person if he or she reasonably believes that the action is necessary to defend against another person’s “imminent use of unlawful force.” In order to successfully claim self-defense in Illinois, a defendant must prove that the following elements were present:

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St. Charles DUI defense attorney

Imagine the following scenario: you decide to have a few drinks at a local bar after work. However, you lose track of time and end up consuming a significant amount of alcohol and staying at the bar much longer than you intended. It is now nighttime, and you are too intoxicated to drive. In a situation like this, you may decide to avoid drunk driving by sleeping in your vehicle and driving home once you have sobered up. However, according to Illinois law, you may be charged with a DUI even if you were not actually driving.

Illinois DUI Law

Section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code states that it is a criminal offense for a person to drive or be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle when:

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St. Charles criminal defense attorney expungment

Having a criminal record can prevent a person from obtaining adequate employment, limit the person’s ability to find safe and affordable housing, and disqualify him or her from certain educational opportunities. However, everyone deserves a second chance, and a person’s past should not dictate his or her future. One way that Illinois residents may be able to avoid the negative consequences of having a criminal record is through record sealing or expungement. However, not all crimes are eligible to be expunged or sealed, so it is important to understand the difference between the two options.  

Record Sealing in Illinois

If an individual has his or her criminal record “sealed,” this means that the record is largely hidden from public view. Most employers cannot see records that have been sealed, but law enforcement officials or prosecutors are still able to view sealed records. Only some criminal offenses are eligible for record sealing. These include:

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St. Charles criminal defense DUI attorney

In Illinois, it is against the law to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. During a police stop in which an officer suspects that a person was driving under the influence (DUI), breathalyzers or field sobriety tests may be used to estimate a driver’s BAC. However, a police officer cannot force a driver to submit to a breath test or field sobriety test. Technically, Illinois motorists do have the option to refuse the test. However, doing so may result in several negative consequences.    

Understanding “Implied Consent” in Illinois

Many people do not realize it, but they actually give police officers permission to test their blood alcohol content when they choose to drive on Illinois roads. Illinois law states that drivers give “implied consent” to testing for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol or drugs in their system. Police officers are permitted to request a breath test or other chemical test if there is probable cause to believe that someone who is in “actual physical control” of a vehicle is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a law enforcement officer suspects a motorist of driving while intoxicated, he or she will typically ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests and/or a breath test. If the driver refuses to take these roadside tests, this refusal may give the officer probable cause to make an arrest. Following the arrest, a driver will be asked to take a breath, blood, or urine test to measure their BAC. The implied consent laws apply to these post-arrest tests, and refusal to submit to this type of testing will result in administrative penalties, in addition to any criminal penalties resulting from a DUI conviction.  

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