St. Charles robbery burglary defense attorneyContext is important in almost any situation. A word or phrase that is used interchangeably in everyday conversation cannot necessarily be used in the same way in the legal system. One such example of this is the use of the words theft, robbery, and burglary. Though many people use these terms to mean the same thing during personal conversations, these refer to separate criminal charges when used in legal situations. There are specific differences between the three crimes, and they each come with their own punishments. This is why it is important to know the differences if you have been charged with any of these crimes. 

Theft

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, a person commits theft when he or she:

  • Obtains unauthorized control over property; or
  • Uses threat or deception to obtain control over property; or
  • Obtains control over property, knowing the property was stolen; and
  • Intends to permanently deprive the owner of the use or benefit of the property

Sentencing for a theft charge depends on the situation surrounding the theft, how much the stolen property was worth, and whether or not the property was taken directly from a person. Charges can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class X felony.

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St. Charles DUI charges attorneyIn 2017, there were 330 people killed in alcohol-related car crashes in the state of Illinois. Those 330 people represented about 30 percent of all car crash fatalities in Illinois in 2017. It is not unusual for a simple DUI case to turn deadly, which is why Illinois police take drunk driving cases so seriously. In 2017, there were 27,046 DUI arrests recorded throughout the state by the Secretary of State’s office. Though DUI arrests are common, many people do not know what to expect when they are arrested for driving under the influence. Here is a breakdown the of the process that a DUI case goes through when you are arrested in Illinois: 

Before the Arrest

Before you can be arrested for a DUI, an officer must have had a reason to pull you over. This can be called reasonable suspicion or unusual operation. For them to pull you over, you would have had to been driving erratically or given the officer another reason to suspect you were under the influence.

Once the officer has pulled you over, you will probably be asked to submit to field sobriety tests, which will give the officer probable cause to arrest you if you fail them. 

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St. Charles package theft defense lawyerTaking packages from doorsteps or porches may seem like a somewhat harmless, or “soft,” crime to commit, but the consequences of such theft are serious. After all, one may think that the recipient of the package could easily blame the company for not shipping the item, or FedEx, USPS, UPS, or another carrier for losing the box along the route, and then simply have another item delivered at no cost to them. However, package theft is a serious crime, and anyone who has been connected to a single theft or a string of package thefts in a community needs to understand the predicament that they are in. If you have been charged or accused of package theft, you should contact a Naperville criminal defense lawyer immediately, even if you know that the allegations are a complete mistake. 

The Rise in Package Theft has Increased Law Enforcement Vigilance

One in five homeowners has been the victim of package theft in the last 12 months alone, losing an average of $140 in products. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors are cracking down on offenders with increasing vigor, particularly during the holiday season when package delivery skyrockets. Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is the busiest time for the post office, which ships a total of 16 billion items during that time period, including 750 million packages. UPS ships at least 750 million packages as well during the holiday season. These numbers do not include other shipping giants such as FedEx. 

Mail Theft

An even more serious offense than traditional theft is mail theft, which is a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code § 1708. A mail theft charge, regardless of the price of the property taken, carries up to a five year prison sentence for each offense, and federal prosecutors usually aim for the maximum sentence possible.

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Illinois white collar crime defense lawyerAs most people understand it, the term “white collar job” refers to a specific subset of occupations. These are the jobs that typically require individuals to attain college degrees, and sometimes advanced degrees, to perform. White collar crimes are no different. These are offenses that not just anybody can commit, because not everyone has the specialized knowledge or professional access to information or funds to commit these offenses. White collar crimes can go unnoticed for months, or even years, because they often do not leave victims physically harmed or create a commotion around sudden, violent actions. This does not mean they are any less serious than other types of charges.

Defining White Collar Crimes

There are two factors that separate a white collar crime from other types of crimes: who commits the crime and how he or she commits it. In order to commit a white collar crime, an individual must typically be in a professional or governmental position to access certain funds and information. For example, a financial advisor might lie about how he or she invested a client’s money or about the investments’ returns, taking a cut for him- or herself. Making personal purchases with corporate or government accounts is another type of white collar crime.

A white collar crime is not a violent crime or one that can be detected immediately. Instead, white collar crimes are defined by how the funds or critical information used to commit an offense are accessed. In most cases, individuals who are charged with white collar crimes have authorized access to the information they use, like clients’ bank account numbers and social security numbers. Identity theft, the act of stealing this type of information, may be deemed a white collar crime in certain instances.

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St. Charles criminal defense lawyer rightsExcept for in certain cases where there is probable cause to believe you committed a crime, you cannot be arrested until the police have a valid warrant for your arrest. This does not mean you will not interact with law enforcement before being arrested – you likely will. And during these interactions, there will be numerous opportunities for you to incriminate yourself. Successful criminal defense depends largely on avoiding self-incrimination. Keep the following tips in mind during your law enforcement interactions to avoid incriminating yourself.

Do Not Speak with Law Enforcement

If you remember nothing else about avoiding incrimination during your initial interaction with law enforcement, remember this: you have the right to remain silent. There are a few circumstances under which you are required to identify yourself to police. They are:

  • If you are stopped while driving a car, you must show your driver’s license; and
  • If you are in a public space, and law enforcement has reason to believe you were involved in a crime, they may ask you to identify yourself. If the officers have identified themselves as police officers in this circumstance, you must comply with their request.

Beyond identifying yourself, you are not required to answer any questions.

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