Oct 12

Overview of Cannabis Laws and Penalties in Illinois

Even though several U.S. states have legalized marijuana, recreational use remains illegal in Illinois. Outside of limited exceptions for medical use, Illinois law makes it unlawful to possess, manufacture, or distribute marijuana. The Cannabis Control Act (the Act) establishes the Illinois laws and penalties for marijuana, which is referred to legally as cannabis.

Definition of Cannabis

Under 720 ILCS 550/3, the Act provides a specific definition for the term cannabis. Illinois law includes the following compounds and substances in the definition of cannabis:

    Marijuana; Hashish; and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids; and Other substances derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa.

There is an important exception. The term cannabis does not include industrial hemp or similar fibers. Those materials do not qualify as cannabis under the Act.

Possession of Cannabis

Under 720 ILCS 550/4, the Act makes it unlawful to knowingly possess cannabis in Illinois. For this offense to [...]

Oct 5

Laws and Penalties for Theft Crimes in Illinois

Theft is one of the most common crimes in Illinois and across the United States. From grocery stores to museums to apartments and homes, anything of value is a potential target for thieves. Despite elaborate security systems and other devices, property owners always have to worry about theft. That is why Illinois law employs a broad definition of theft crimes as well as a severe punishment scheme.

Definition of Theft in Illinois

The Illinois definition of theft appears in 720 ILCS 5/16-1. There are several different types of this offense, which revolve around possession and unauthorized control. A person commits theft in Illinois if they intentionally:

    Obtain another person’s property without authorization; Exert unauthorized control over another person’s property; Use deception to gain unauthorized control over another person’s property; Employ threats to gain unauthorized control over another person’s property; or Take possession of stolen property, despite knowing or having
Sep 28

Three-Step Process to Expunge or Seal Criminal Records in Illinois

When law enforcement makes an arrest or files a criminal charge in Illinois, there is a corresponding entry on the alleged offender’s criminal record. This criminal record provides overarching details of all criminal activity, including but not limited to arrests, charges and convictions. The presence of a criminal record can have a negative impact on a person’s ability to obtain gainful employment or certain benefits.

To help alleviate this burden, Illinois features robust laws concerning the expungement or sealing of criminal records. Eligible individuals can apply for expungement, which essentially means erasing the criminal record. Individuals ineligible for expungement can apply for sealing, which basically means hiding the criminal record. There is usually a three-step process to apply for expungement or sealing of a criminal record in Illinois.  

Step 1: Obtain Copies of Criminal Records

Any person seeking to expunge or seal must first obtain copies of their criminal records. [...]

Sep 21

Analyzing Burglary Crimes in Illinois

Burglary is a scary prospect for any home or property owner. Not even the best locks or security systems can keep out determined thieves. That is why Illinois has strict laws against burglary. When a burglar breaks into another person’s property, he or she runs the risk of severe criminal penalties.

Burglary Laws and Penalties

Under 720 ILCS 5/19-1, it is unlawful to knowingly enter another person’s property with the intent to commit theft or another felony. Illinois law specifically includes the following types of properties:

    Aircrafts; Buildings; House trailers; Motor vehicles; Railroad cars; and Water crafts.

The concept of intent is central to burglary in Illinois. It does not matter if the perpetrator actually steals anything. So long as the perpetrator intends to steal something or commit a different felony, burglary laws can apply.

The Illinois penalties for burglary change depending on the circumstances. For example, burglary [...]