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 drug crime defense attorney

Many drug possession charges and other criminal charges are the results of law enforcement officers searching the defendant’s property. Being the subject of a police search can be extremely stressful and confusing. When a police officer asks to search your property, do you have the right to deny the request? Your rights regarding searches of your personal property can vary depending on the circumstances, so it is crucial to understand the Illinois laws regarding search and seizure. If you are charged with a crime because drugs or other contraband are found on your property, and the search was not conducted legally, the evidence discovered in the search may not be admissible in court.

Police Searches of Your Home

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution places limits on when and how law enforcement can search an individual, his or her property, or seize contraband and other items. The Constitution states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…” However, in most instances, a police officer may not search or seize an individual or his or her property unless the officer has a valid search warrant signed by a judge or a valid arrest warrant. In some situations, the legal concept of “exigent circumstances” gives police the right to search a home without a warrant. A law enforcement officer has the authority to enter a home or perform a warrantless search if there is a risk of imminent danger, contraband is in plain sight, the evidence is being destroyed, or a suspect is attempting to escape.

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St. Charles Internet sex crimes defense attorney

Being accused of an Internet sex crime can be absolutely devastating, both personally and professionally. If you are found guilty of an online sex crime such as child pornography or indecent solicitation of a minor, you can face much more than incarceration. You may also be required to register as a sex offender and face a lifetime of social stigma. Finding housing and employment can be nearly impossible when you have a sex-related criminal conviction on your record. If you or a loved one has been charged with indecent solicitation of a minor in Illinois, contact a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately so that you can start building a strong defense against the accusations as soon as possible.

Illinois Law Regarding Online Solicitation of a Minor

Illinois law states that an individual commits indecent solicitation of a child if he or she solicits a person under age 17 to perform sex acts and intends to commit criminal sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, predatory sexual assault of a child, or aggravated sexual abuse. “Soliciting” is defined in the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) as requesting, demanding, authorizing, inciting, or advising someone to perform a certain act. Solicitation can refer to communications that take place in person as well as over the phone or using Internet communication.

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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 order of protection defense attorneyProtective orders, also called orders of protection or restraining orders, are designed to help protect victims of abuse, stalking, or harassment from being harmed by another person. While these types of orders can be an extremely valuable legal tool for victims of domestic violence, orders of protection can also be misused. If someone has filed an order of protection, and you are named as the respondent, you may not know what to do. Read on to learn about Illinois protection orders and what your options are if you have been issued an order based on false allegations of domestic abuse.

The Basics of Illinois Orders of Protection

There are three main types of protection orders in Illinois: emergency orders of protection (EOP), interims order of protection, and plenary orders of protection. An EOP can be obtained without the alleged abuser being aware of it. EOPs last up to 21 days. A plenary order can be obtained after a hearing with a judge, and it can last up to two years. An interim protection order can be ordered for the time period in between an EOP and the hearing for a plenary order. An order of protection may prohibit you from contacting the petitioner and can require you to stay a certain distance away from the petitioner’s home or workplace. You could also be required to surrender any firearms you own.

How Should I Respond to False Allegations of Domestic Violence or Abuse?

Being falsely accused of stalking, harassment, or physical violence is a terrible ordeal to go through. However, if someone has filed an order of protection against you, and you did nothing wrong, you should still follow the directions in the protection order. This includes not calling or otherwise contacting the petitioner or going near him or her. Failure to comply with a court-ordered protection order can have serious consequences, including both civil liability and criminal penalties. You could even face large fees or jail time for not following the directions contained in an order of protection.

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