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28 08, 2016

New Illinois Law Reduces Punishment for Possession of Less than 10 Grams of Marijuana

By |August 28th, 2016|Drug Charges|0 Comments

Over the years I have dealt with hundreds of clients who faced jail time due to a charge of possession of a controlled substance for small amounts of marijuana.  But in July, the Illinois Legislature passed and Governor Rauner signed PUBLIC ACT 99–697, a law that substantially alters Illinois’ approach to the possession of marijuana. Before Public Act 99-697, possession of 2.5 grams or less of cannabis was a Class C misdemeanor, meaning the possessor’s sentence could be 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.  Possession of more than 2.5 grams but less than 10 grams of cannabis was a Class B misdemeanor and the possessor faced a potential sentence of six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.  Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as a marijuana pipe, was a Class A misdemeanor with a sentence as high as 364 days of jail in addition to a fine ranging from $750 to $3250. Public Act 99-697 changed all this.  Under P.A. 99-697, possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis is no longer a criminal offense.  Rather, possession of less than 10 grams is considered a civil violation that is punishable by a fine of no less of $100 [...]

20 08, 2016

Two convictions of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child Can Mean Life Imprisonment

By |August 20th, 2016|Felony Criminal Defense, Sex Crime Defense|0 Comments

Recently I wrote a blog post about Simple Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child.  One thing I did not talk about was the possibility of being sentenced to life imprisonment if you were previously convicted of certain sex crimes. Under the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012, if you have previously been convicted of certain crimes and are then convicted of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child, then you will face life imprisonment as your sentence.  To face life imprisonment, you must be eighteen years old or older at the time the crime was committed; if you are under the age of eighteen, your sentence will be determined by the judge’s consideration of a long list of factors under another statute.  In addition, the subsequent crime must have been committed after your conviction of the first crime; in other words, you won’t be automatically sentenced to life imprisonment if you have two counts of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child relating to one incident.  If you have previously been convicted of one of the following crimes and are subsequently convicted of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault, then you must be sentenced to life imprisonment:  Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of [...]

12 08, 2016

Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child

By |August 12th, 2016|Felony Criminal Defense, Sex Crime Defense|0 Comments

I’ve handled all sorts of sex cases over the years, including cases that involve a child as the alleged victim. There are several things that must be shown for a judge or jury to find an individual guilty of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child. For the most basic form of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child, there are three requirements that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  First, it must be established that the accused is 17 years or older.  Next, the State has to prove that there was contact between a sex organ or anus of one individual and a sex organ or anus of the other individual. Finally, the victim must be under the age of 13.  If you are charged with Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child, you are facing a Class X felony with a sentence that can range from six to sixty years. There are also some additional factors that can add years to your sentence of simple Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child. If you commit the crime with a firearm but don’t discharge it, you are looking at an additional fifteen years added to the sentence [...]

1 08, 2016

Registering for the Illinois Sex Offender Registry While Homeless

By |August 1st, 2016|Sex Crime Defense|0 Comments

For years I have handled cases where someone who is in the Illinois Sex Offender Registry is accused of not registering when they are supposed to.  One group of individuals who frequently run into issues registering are people who are homeless; because they don’t have a home to register as where they live, it can be a little complicated to figure out when a homeless person needs to register. When you are in the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, you have what’s called a “duty to register.” You have a duty to register where you live, where you work, and where you attend school. For this post, we'll be focusing on the duty to register where you live. You are required by law to register with the chief of police in the municipality in which you live or have temporarily resided for three or more days, with two exceptions.  If you live in Chicago you are supposed to register with the Chicago Police Department Headquarters, and if you live in an unincorporated area, you register with the county sheriff instead.  You are required to register within three days of beginning school, establishing a residence, place of employment, or temporary domicile.  Finally, [...]

26 07, 2016

Driving on Revoked License or Suspended

By |July 26th, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

A suspended or revoked license can be extremely hard to deal with, and many people are tempted to just drive anyway; after all, the state only takes your license, not your car.  However, there are potentially serious consequences if you are caught driving on a suspended or revoked license.  You can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony based on the circumstances. Generally, a first offense would lead you to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.  In Illinois, Class A misdemeanors can lead to fines of up to $2500 and up to a year in jail.  In more serious circumstances or for repeat offenders, you may be charged with a felony.  These include situations where your license was revoked due to a reckless homicide or where you have been charged with driving on a suspended license multiple times.  Felonies in Illinois are graded from the lowest, Class 4, to the highest, Class 1.  A first conviction for felonious driving on a suspended license would usually be a Class 4 felony, which can result in jail time or probation between one and three years.  A second conviction would give you a Class 2 felony, which can be between three and [...]

22 07, 2016

What are the Penalties for Possession of Ecstasy? 

By |July 22nd, 2016|Drug Charges|0 Comments

In the matter of ecstasy and possession of drugs, over my years representing clients accused of possessing various sorts of drugs, I have had several clients accused of possession of ecstasy who want to know what kind of punishment they may face. MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, is a Schedule I drug under Illinois law which means that it is a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and no currently-accepted medical use for treatment in the United States.  Because there is no accepted use of MDMA in the United States, there is no regulation of how MDMA is manufactured and what chemicals that may appear in the drug.  This means that sometimes an ecstasy pill is laced with another drug.  What the drug is laced with may change what kind of punishment you may face for possession of the drug; for example, if it is laced with methamphetamine, then you could be charged with possession of meth. For non-laced ecstasy, because ecstasy can be pills, tablets, or powder, the punishment for possession ranges according to the weight of the drug or the number of pills that you have.  Under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, if you have less [...]

21 07, 2016

What is a Vehicle for Illinois DUI?

By |July 21st, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

What is a Vehicle for DUI Purposes in Illinois? According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, in order to be guilty of a DUI, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving or were in actual physical control of a vehicle.  In a recent post, I discussed what it meant to be in actual physical control of a vehicle, but that begs the question of, what is considered a vehicle for DUI purposes? Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, a vehicle is every device which allows for a person or object to be transported on a highway (which includes roads as well as what we typically think of as a highway), not including devices powered by humans, that run on tracks, or snowmobiles. For example, a car would be considered a vehicle—it is used to transport people and objects, drives on highways and roads, isn’t powered by humans, doesn’t run on tracks, and isn’t a snowmobile.  Likewise, a truck, a motorcycle, a tractor, moped, and a scooter will also meet this definition. You will notice that there is no requirement that the vehicle have a motor—even a horse can meet this definition! This definition also deals [...]

17 07, 2016

Can I Receive a DUI if I am Not Driving?

By |July 17th, 2016|DUI Defense|0 Comments

Having handled so many DUI cases over the years, I have seen several clients who were charged with a DUI but claimed that they were not driving the vehicle and argued that this meant that they can’t be guilty of a DUI.  According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, in order to be guilty of a DUI, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either were driving the vehicle or in actual physical control of the vehicle.  We all know what it means to be driving a car, but what does it mean to be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle? While there is no simple definition of “actual physical control,” we know that you do not need to be driving the vehicle to be in actual physical control of the vehicle.  Since there is no clear definition, the courts often look at a number of factors to determine if you were in actual physical control of the vehicle.  The factors most considered by the courts are 1) whether you were positioned in the driver’s seat, 2) whether you had the key needed to start the vehicle, 3) whether you were alone in the vehicle, [...]