May
25
2018

Comparing DUI and Aggravated DUI in Illinois

Categories: DUI |

In the interest of public health and safety, the State of Illinois has enacted strict laws against driving under the influence (DUI). To gain a full appreciation of these laws, the following sections will outline definitions of and penalties for DUI and aggravated DUI. What is the Definition of DUI in Illinois? The Illinois definition of DUI appears in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. In larger terms, Illinois makes it illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Intoxication can come from alcohol, illegal drugs, pharmaceuticals, or any combination of those compounds. In terms of alcohol, specifically, the legal limit in Illinois is a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08. If the driver is intoxicated or impaired — and, thus, incapable of safe driving conduct — then it may qualify as a DUI. What are the Penalties for DUI in Illinois? Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, the penalties for DUI in Illinois change based on the number of offenses and circumstances of the offense. In most cases, DUI is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to 12 months in jail, $2,500 in fines, 24 months of probation and 12 months of driver’s license suspension. Though certain circumstances — such as a[...]
May
18
2018
Possession of child pornography is a type of child sex crime in Illinois. This law is designed to protect children and other people with mental disability from predatory sexual practices. In that vein, there are severe consequences for voluntary and intentional possession of child pornography in Illinois. In order to gain a full appreciation of this legal issue, the following sections will explore the definition of and penalties for possession of child pornography in Illinois. Definition of Possession of Child Pornography The Illinois definition of child pornography appears in 720 ILCS 5/11-20.1. Essentially, it is illegal to possess any materials that depict sexual conduct with minor children or people with serious mental disabilities. Illinois law includes photos, videos, and other visual depictions of child sexual acts. That being said, there is an important restriction on possession of child pornography in Illinois. The perpetrator must know — or have a reason to know — that he or she is in possession of child pornography. If the perpetrator does not know that the pornographic materials feature a minor child under the age of 18 or a person with a serious mental disability, then it is not necessarily a crime in Illinois. Penalties[...]
May
11
2018
When a driver commits a moving or traffic violation in Illinois, such as driving under the influence (DUI), the driver receives demerit points on his or her driver’s license. The number of points assessed will depend on the circumstances of the offense.  How Does Illinois Assess Driver’s License Points? Illinois employs a tiered system for assessing driver’s license points for moving violations. Minor violations result in low point totals, whereas major violations, especially those that endanger other people or property, result in high point totals. Please find below a breakdown of common moving violations and the corresponding number of points. Driving with a broken or malfunctioning head, side, or tail light results in 10 points; Driving below the minimum speed limit results in 5 points; Driving 1-10 miles per hour above the maximum speed limit results in 5 points; Driving 11-14 miles per hour above the maximum speed limit results in 15 points; Driving 15-25 miles per hour above the maximum speed limit results in 20 points; Driving more than 25 miles per hour above the maximum speed limit results in 50 points; Ignoring a traffic control device results in 20 points; and Reckless driving results in 55 points. For[...]
May
4
2018
Reckless driving is a traffic offense that is similar to driving under the influence. Illinois law prohibits both offenses in the interest of public safety. In order understand the boundaries of reckless driving in Illinois, the following sections will outline key definitions and penalties under the law. What is the Definition of Reckless Driving in Illinois? The Illinois definition of reckless driving appears in 625 ILCS 5/11-503. There are two variations of this offense under Illinois law. A person commits reckless driving in Illinois if they: Operate a vehicle and carelessly endangers other people or property; or Use an incline, railroad crossing, bridge or hill to intentionally send a vehicle airborne. What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Illinois? In most cases, reckless driving is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. The potential penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include a sentence range of 364 days, fines up to $2,500 and 24 months of probation. However, reckless driving can become a Class 4 felony under certain circumstances. If the driver injures a child or school crossing guard, then felony charges may be appropriate. The potential penalties for a Class 4 felony include a sentence range of 12 to 36 months,[...]
April
27
2018
When a person is arrested for or charged with a crime, the relevant details appear on that person’s criminal record. Generally speaking, a criminal record is accessible to the general public, including family and friends, employers, banks and other organizations. Consequently, a criminal record can lead to serious consequences, personally and professionally. In certain circumstances, however, it is possible for a person to erase or hide his or her criminal record. Expungement, Sealing and Executive Clemency In order to erase or hide a criminal record in Illinois, there are three potential routes — expungement, sealing, and executive clemency. Below is a breakdown of important information for each of those methods. Expungement: This legal mechanism effectively erases a criminal record. After a successful expungement, the criminal record will disappear entirely. In the end, expungement makes it seem like the criminal record never existed in the first place. Sealing:This legal mechanism effectively hides a criminal record. The sealing process removes a criminal record from public view. But certain government and law enforcement organizations retain access to sealed criminal records. Executive Clemency: This legal mechanism is available to people who do not qualify for expungement or sealing. Executive clemency allows the governor to[...]
April
20
2018
Arson crimes in Illinois refer to the use of fire or explosives to damage property. Not all arson crimes are the same under Illinois law. Depending on the actions and intentions of the arsonist perpetrator, the charge and penalties can fluctuate. The following sections will provide Illinois definitions of and penalties for three different types of arson crimes under 720 ILCS 5/20-1. What is the Definition of Arson? The definition of arson appears in 720 ILCS 5/20-1(a). There are two variations of arson under Illinois law. Either the offender: Uses fire or explosives to damage another person’s property; or Damages any property using fire or explosives in an attempt to defraud an insurer. In either of the variations outlined above, the damaged property must be worth $150 or more to qualify as arson under Illinois law. What is the Penalty for Arson? The penalty for arson appears in 720 ILCS 5/20-1(c). Illinois classifies arson as a Class 2 felony. The potential penalties for a Class 2 felony include a sentence range of three to seven years, fines up to $25,000 and four years of probation. What is the Definition of Residential Arson? The definition of residential arson appears in 720[...]
April
13
2018
There are many reasons for which a person may face driver’s license suspension or revocation, including driving under the influence (DUI). Driver’s license suspension refers to a temporary measure. If the driver satisfies all requirements, he or she can regain driving privileges. On the other hand, driver’s license revocation is a permanent measure. In those circumstances, there is no guarantee that a driver can regain driving privileges. The following sections will provide an overview of six situations in which a person may lose driving privileges in Illinois. DUI The Illinois definition of DUI includes being impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription medication. If the driver registers a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more, then he or she is impaired. Driving privileges will be suspended or revoked, depending on the circumstances. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, Illinois employs a zero-tolerance approach. If an under-21 driver registers any trace of alcohol in a BAC test, then he or she is impaired. Driving privileges will be suspended or revoked, depending on the circumstances. Failure to Appear or Pay This type of license suspension occurs when the driver fails to appear or pay for a previous traffic violation[...]
April
6
2018
In the interest of preserving public welfare and safe highways, the state of Illinois has enacted harsh penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). It does not matter if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a driver is incapable of driving safely, then he or she runs the risk of a DUI charge. Illinois drivers must tread carefully in this arena, as the penalties for even a single DUI offense carry significant weight. Illinois Penalties for DUI When a person drives or otherwise operates a vehicle while impaired, there are severe consequences. For example: A driver who commits a single DUI offense is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and subject to one year in jail, $2,500 in fines, and two years of probation. Additionally, there is a mandatory 12-month suspension of driving privileges. A driver who commits a second DUI offense is also guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and faces the same penalties described above. The second offense requires either jail time or community service. It is vital to note that the penalties above are not exhaustive. If the driver has a BAC of 0.16 or more or is transporting a child under[...]
March
30
2018
During the March 2018 primary elections, approximately 63% of Cook County voters endorsed legislation of marijuana for recreational use, reported The Chicago Tribune. The marijuana legalization issue entered the primary ballots in the form of a non-binding referendum question. Specifically, voters were asked whether adults aged 21 and older should be allowed to consume marijuana recreationally. Such use would be subject to state regulations, taxes, and other applicable rules. Since Illinois legalized medicinal marijuana in 2013, the attitudes toward recreational use have changed drastically. Colorado, Washington and California — among others — legalized recreational use as well as established tax structures and other regulations. Illinois could be the latest state to change its approach to recreational use of marijuana. That being said, it is vital to note that this referendum did not make any change to existing rules and regulations. The Illinois legislature has not adjusted the state-wide laws concerning marijuana. Consequently, existing laws governing marijuana use in Illinois will remain in place for the foreseeable future. That is why the following section will provide an overview of current Illinois laws concerning marijuana, which is often referred to legally as cannabis. Cannabis Control Act The Cannabis Control Act (the Act)[...]
March
23
2018
There are some significant differences between kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping in Illinois. The following sections will outline key definitions and penalties for both of these kidnapping offenses. Definition of Kidnapping in Illinois As detailed in 720 ILCS 5/10-1, it is unlawful to knowingly imprison or otherwise detain another person without legal justification. Illinois law includes force, threat of force, and deception as possible ways in which a perpetrator can kidnap a victim. If the perpetrator acts against the victim’s free will, then it can qualify as kidnapping in Illinois. Penalties for Kidnapping in Illinois Kidnapping is generally a Class 2 felony in Illinois. The penalties for a Class 2 felony include but are not necessarily limited to: Sentence Range of three to seven years; Extended Term of seven to 14 years; Fines up to $25,000; Mandatory Supervised Release Term of two years; and Probation or Conditional Discharge for up to four years. Definition of Aggravated Kidnapping in Illinois As established in 720 ILCS 5/10-2, a kidnapping offense can become aggravated kidnapping under certain circumstances. Aggravated kidnapping applies to following situations: Ransom Demand: If the perpetrator demands a ransom to release the victim, then it qualifies as aggravated kidnapping; Minor Child:[...]
March
16
2018
A 40-year-old woman received a one-month sentence for drug crimes committed while serving as a sheriff’s deputy in Kane County, Illinois, according to an article by the Daily Herald. Illinois State Police officers began investigating the Kane County woman in 2015. At that time, the officers received information alleging that the woman was diverting seized prescription drugs that were destined for the sheriff’s evidence locker. In order to verify this allegation, Illinois State Police officers planted marked packages of prescription drugs in a dropbox at the Pingree Grove Police Department. The officers also established video surveillance to track the marked pharmaceuticals. Law enforcement monitored the pharmaceuticals for approximately two days, but the officers did not observe the marked drugs moving from the dropbox to the sheriff’s evidence locker. A search of the evidence locker did not turn up the marked pharmaceuticals, either. Illinois State Police then obtained a search warrant for the woman’s home. After searching the woman’s home, officers seized between 2,000 and 3,000 prescription pills. The seizure led authorities to indict the woman in April of 2015. The woman initially faced a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance, which included a potential three-year stint in prison.[...]
March
9
2018
This blog post will provide an overview of the different types of robbery crimes in Illinois. The following sections will provide definitions and penalties for standard robbery, aggravated robbery, and armed robbery. Definition of Robbery in Illinois As underlined in 720 ILCS 5/18-1, robbery is a theft crime. If the perpetrator steals another person’s property using force or threats of force, then it becomes a robbery, though it is important to note that robbery does not apply to the theft of cars or other vehicles. There are separate laws and penalties for car theft. Penalties for Robbery in Illinois Under 720 ILCS 5/18-1, robbery is generally a Class 2 felony in Illinois. A Class 2 felony is punishable by up to 84 months in jail, 48 months of probation, and $25,000 in fines. Under certain circumstances, such as robbery committed at a school or church, robbery can become a Class 1 felony in Illinois. A Class 1 felony for robbery is punishable by up to 15 years in jail, 48 months of probation, and $25,000 in fines. Definition of Aggravated Robbery in Illinois As established in 720 ILCS 5/18-1, there are two types of aggravated robbery. If the perpetrator indicates[...]
March
2
2018
In the wake of yet another mass shooting, the Illinois General Assembly passed several pieces of legislation to improve statewide gun control, according to an article by the Belleville News-Democrat. In order to grasp the significance of these changes, the following sections will provide an overview of each specific gun control bill. Minimum Age for Certain Weapons Officially referred to as HB1465, this bill makes it unlawful for a person under 21 years old to possess an assault rifle, assault rifle modification, .50-caliber rifle or .50-caliber ammunition in Illinois. HB1465 also makes it unlawful to sell, gift or otherwise deliver this category of firearm to a person under 21 years old. HB1465 also addresses feeding devices that are capable of loading a firearm with large quantities of ammunition. In the future, it will be unlawful to sell, gift or otherwise deliver such feeding devices to a person under 21 years old. Prohibition on Bump Stocks Officially referred to as HB1467, this bill makes it unlawful to possess a bump stock, trigger crank, or similar firearm modification in Illinois. This style of firearm modification allows nearly automatic fire from a semi-automatic weapon. Moving forward, Illinois will make it a crime to[...]
February
23
2018
When a person is convicted of DUI or certain traffic violations in Illinois, he or she may face driver’s license suspension or revocation. During the suspension or revocation period, Illinois prohibits the driver from operating a motor vehicle. There are certain exceptions to this prohibition, including the restricted driving permit (RDP). In most cases, driver’s license reinstatement is not available until the end of the suspension or revocation period. Additionally, certain drivers face lifetime revocation from which there is no possibility of reinstatement. Once a driver is eligible for reinstatement, he or she must attend an informal or formal hearing. The outcome of that hearing will determine whether the driver is able to regain driving privileges. The circumstances of the suspension or revocation determine whether the driver can attend an informal or formal hearing. Informal Hearings Informal hearings are available on a walk-in basis at numerous Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services facilities across the state. Drivers do not need to schedule an appointment for an informal hearing. Informal hearings are only available to drivers with a single DUI offense or minor traffic violations. Additionally, informal hearings are not available if the driver caused the death of another person. Formal[...]
February
16
2018
The following article will break down the differences between the restraining orders available to sexual assault and stalking victims in Illinois. While both mechanisms are referred to as “no contact orders,” there are slight differences between sexual assault and stalking victims. At this juncture, it is important to note that victims of domestic violence must pursue a different avenue for relief in Illinois. For an in-depth explanation of the orders of protection available to domestic violence victims, please reference this recent Prior Law Firm blog post — What is the Illinois Approach to Orders of Protection?. Sexual Assault Civil No Contact Orders A sexual assault civil no contact order is a legal mechanism designed to protect the victims of nonconsensual sexual acts. This type of restraining order is also available to the victim’s family members and crisis center workers. Remedies In granting a sexual assault civil no contact order the court can: Instruct the perpetrator to refrain from contacting the victim; Prohibit the perpetrator from going to certain places; Stipulate instructions for the well-being of pets and property; Require the perpetrator to change schools, if the victim attends the same school; and Provide other orders and instructions necessary to protect[...]
February
9
2018
An Illinois judge ruled to expand the statewide qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. Specifically, the judge determined that patients suffering from “intractable pain” should qualify for medical marijuana in Illinois. Intractable pain is a general term for all types of pain that are resistant to standard medical treatment. At present, Illinois public policy does not include intractable pain in the list of approximately 40 debilitating conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. This dispute arose in January of 2016. That is when the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) refused to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. As a result, a private citizen suffering from intractable pain filed a lawsuit and asked for judicial intervention. In reviewing the lawsuit, the Illinois judge determined that the IDPH director made an erroneous decision. Evidence showed that the World Health Organization lists intractable pain as a special condition in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. The judge also considered evidence of 45 clinical studies, demonstrating limited adverse effects from medical marijuana. Overall, the Illinois judge ruled that patients suffering from intractable pain could[...]
February
2
2018

Breaking Down Illinois DUI Statistics

Categories: DUI |

The Illinois Secretary of State maintains a fact book with important considerations for driving under the influence (DUI), including several detailed statistical breakdowns. Before delving into the details, it is important to note that the statistics below represent 2016 data. The Illinois Secretary of State will update the handbook once 2017 data is available. Illinois DUI Statistics for Average Offender The average DUI offender in Illinois is overwhelmingly male, with men representing approximately 75% of total DUIs. The average offender is also 34 years old, with offenders aged 35 or less representing approximately 57% of total DUIs. Additionally, the average DUI offender in Illinois was arrested: Between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.; During a weekend; and With a BAC of 0.16. Illinois DUI Statistics Based on BAC Illinois DUIs based on BAC have the following distribution: Drivers with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.09 represented approximately 7% of Illinois DUIs; Drivers with a BAC between 0.10 and 0.14 represented approximately 36%; Drivers with a BAC between 0.15 and 0.19 represented approximately 35% of Illinois DUIs; and Drivers with a BAC of 0.25 or more represented approximately 6% of Illinois DUIs. As the data above indicates, drivers are most likely to[...]
February
1
2018
Illinois is kicking off the new year with a legislative bang by rolling out 215 new laws, including a number of criminal defense updates, according to an article by The Chicago Tribune. The following sections will provide an overview of several key updates to Illinois law. Juvenile Criminal Records From 2018 onward, Illinois will expunge the criminal records for certain juveniles. Outside of homicide and specific sex crimes, expungement will occur automatically 24 months after the criminal case concludes. By providing an avenue for rehabilitation, this law aims to help juvenile offenders avoid further criminal activity. Firearm Offenses There is also a new law that increases the potential jail sentence for repeated firearm offenses. The previous sentence range for a certain repeat firearm offense was three to 14 years. The new law increases the minimum sentence to seven years and keeps the maximum sentence at 14 years. Homicide and Murder Concerning the crime of homicide, the Illinois legislature decided to eliminate a mitigating defense commonly referred to as “gay panic.” Moving forward, a homicide defendant will not be able to excuse violence on the basis of the victim’s sexual orientation. Furthermore, the victim’s sexual orientation is no longer a valid[...]
January
19
2018
Under the Criminal Identification Act in Illinois, the expungement or sealing process allows qualifying individuals to erase their criminal record. It is important to note that expungement or sealing is only available to certain individuals under certain conditions. Furthermore, this process is only available for Illinois convictions. An out-of-state or federal conviction is not eligible for expungement or sealing in Illinois. In order to fully grasp the conditions under which a conviction may be expunged or sealed, the following sections will examine five threshold questions. Do You Have Any Pending Criminal Charges or Cases? If the answer to the question above is yes, then expungement or sealing is not available to you. You will have to wait until conclusion of the existing criminal charges or cases to apply for expungement or sealing. If the answer to the question above is no, then you can proceed to the next question in the expungement and sealing process. Are You an Honorably Discharged Veteran? If the answer to the question above is yes, then you may be eligible for expungement or sealing. Honorably discharged veterans convicted of a Class 3 or Class 4 felony – non-violent, non-sexual and non-firearm in nature – can[...]
January
12
2018
An order of protection in Illinois is a legal mechanism available to victims of domestic violence. Commonly referred to as a restraining order, an order of protection is a legal command from a judge to cease domestic violence or other family abuse. Who is Eligible for an Order of Protection for Domestic Violence? An order of protection is available to victims of domestic violence to prevent further abuse. This type of order is only available to family members or people living together. Victims of domestic violence can obtain an order of protection if they: Have a blood relation to the abuser; Are currently or were previously married to the abuser; Live or lived with the abuser; Share parental rights with the abuser for a child or multiple children; Have a blood relation to the abuser through a child or multiple children; Are currently or were previously in a romantic relationship with the abuser; or Have a disability and suffered abuse from a custodian or family member. How Does an Order of Protection Help Victims of Domestic Violence? If a victim of domestic violence qualifies for an order of protection, a court of law can apply 18 different remedies. In granting[...]
January
5
2018
A Texas man faces criminal charges for aggravated DUI in Illinois after killing a woman in a fatal car crash, according to an article by The Southern Illinoisan. The car accident in question occurred on September 18th on Interstate 57 near Franklin County, Illinois. At that time, the Texas man was driving a tractor-trailer on the northbound side of the highway. After crossing over the median, the Texas man smashed into the woman’s passenger vehicle. The Illinois State Police responded to this accident and conducted the initial investigation. Once the authorities were ready to bring formal criminal charges, officers from Franklin County traveled to Texas on December 10th to arrest the man. The Texas man now faces criminal charges for two counts of aggravated DUI. To better understand the gravity of this situation, the following sections will explore Illinois laws and penalties for aggravated DUI. What are the Illinois Laws Concerning Aggravated DUI? As specified in 625 ILCS 5/11-501, a standard DUI escalates to an aggravated DUI under specific circumstances, including drunk driving: A school bus with passengers on board; That leads to serious harm to a person; In a school zone that leads to serious harm to a person;[...]
December
29
2017
Despite recent allegations of sexual misconduct, a famous conductor with ties to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will not face criminal charges in Illinois, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. The conductor denies these allegations and continues to maintain his innocence. In the past month, the Lake Forest Police Department received several claims of sexual misconduct concerning the conductor. Several of the acts described occurred approximately 30 years ago, between 1986 and 1987, when one victim was only 16 years old. After conducting a thorough investigation into these allegations, the Lake Forest Police Department was unable to find substantive evidence of misconduct. As a result, the conductor will not face criminal charges at this time. In light of these recent allegations of sexual misconduct, it seems appropriate to review the Illinois legal approach to sex crimes. To that end, the following sections will explore the characteristics of criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, and predatory criminal sexual assault. What is the Illinois Definition of Criminal Sexual Abuse? As detailed in 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50, criminal sexual abuse is a broad sex crime. The presence of any type of unwanted sexual conduct, even in the absence of penetration, can qualify. The[...]
December
22
2017
Illinois drivers who lose their licenses due to DUI or other traffic offenses may be eligible to pay their reinstatement fees online. Under certain circumstances, drivers can submit the required fees to the Secretary of State and regain driving privileges. Which Reinstatement Fees are Eligible for Online Payment in Illinois? The Illinois Secretary of State only accepts online payment for the following types of driver’s license reinstatement fees: Traffic Offenses: These suspensions carry a $70 fee and are only available for online payment 10 days before the suspension ends; Court Orders: These suspensions carry a $70 fee and are only available for online payment once the court receives proof of order completion; Child Support: These suspensions carry a $70 fee; Field Sobriety (single offense): These suspensions carry a $250 fee; Field Sobriety (several offenses): These suspensions carry a $500 fee; Mandatory Insurance: These suspensions carry a $100 fee; Parking and Tollway: These suspensions carry a $70 fee and are only available for online payment after receipt of a Notice of Final Disposition; Revocation: These suspensions carry a $500 and are only available for online payment after receipt of a recommendation to reinstate; Uninsured Accident: These suspensions carry a $70 fee;[...]
December
15
2017
Springfield law enforcement officers busted a massive marijuana operation, according to an article by The State Journal-Register. The perpetrators were using an abandoned warehouse in Springfield for marijuana trafficking. Springfield law enforcement conducted surveillance on the abandoned warehouse since the summer, when they received a tip about illegal activities. After raiding the warehouse, law enforcement discovered approximately 950 marijuana plants and high-tech equipment for growing marijuana. In busting up this marijuana trafficking ring, Springfield police charged two men with various criminal offenses. Both men face charges for manufacture and delivery and possession of marijuana as well as conspiracy. One man also faces criminal weapons charges. Both men are presently in Sangamon County Jail with bail set at $200,000 each. Considering the impact of this current events story, a refresher course on Illinois laws and penalties for marijuana trafficking seems to be in order. What is the Illinois Approach to Marijuana Trafficking? As outlined in 720 ILCS 550/5, outside of certain medically approved exceptions, the manufacture, delivery, or sale of marijuana is illegal in Illinois. It is also illegal to posses a large amount of marijuana with the intention of manufacturing, delivering, or selling. There is an important exception. If a[...]
December
8
2017
A 65-year-old woman from Virden, Illinois, faces criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI), after losing control and crashing into another vehicle, according to an article by The State Journal-Register. This drunk driving incident occurred at approximately 5:10 p.m. on Illinois Route 4, not far from Alpha Road. At that time, the Virden woman began to swerve and went onto the right shoulder. Then she overcorrected, bringing the vehicle back onto the road and across the center driving line. That is when the Virden woman collided with another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. After the collision, both vehicles eventually came to rest on the west side of Illinois Route 4. First responders arrived and discovered that the Virden woman crashed into a car containing a 73-year-old woman and 4-year-old boy, both from Springfield, Illinois. First responders rushed both the Virden and Springfield women as well as the boy to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Authorities revealed that the Springfield woman sustained life-threatening injuries as a result of the car crash. After receiving medical treatment for her injuries, the Virden woman was charged with DUI, improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed and operating a car with a[...]
December
1
2017
Illinois law makes it extremely difficult for certain sex offenders to leave prison, even after serving their entire sentences, according to an article by Peoria Public Radio. Stringent parole requirements have forced several offenders to stay in prison beyond their sentences with very little hope for release. A Rockford, Illinois man is among those caught in this never-ending cycle. The Rockford man served his six-year sentence for aggravated criminal sexual assault. Parole requirements only allow for the man’s release if he secures appropriate housing. In this man’s case, he must find housing that is disconnected from the Internet and a certain distance from any schools, parks, or other locations where children gather. Unable to afford housing on his own, the Rockford man asked his family for help. His family members were either too close to children or unable to remove Internet connectivity. As a result, the Rockford man has been in prison for an extra six years on top of his original sentence. According to a report from the Illinois Department of Corrections, it costs approximately $22,000 annually to incarcerate an inmate in Illinois. This means that Illinois has paid approximately $132,000 over the past six years to keep the[...]
November
24
2017
Several Illinois doctors have banded together to form Physicians Against Injurious Narcotics (PAIN) to advocate for the replacement of opioids with marijuana, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. The PAIN doctors have seen the devastating effects of prescribing opioids for pain. They also cited data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicating that 40 people die each day from opioid medications. This is the type of danger that has Illinois and federal health officials warning of a public emergency. Specifically, the PAIN doctors have thrown their collective weight behind new legislation in Illinois. The premise is simple; give patients a choice. For any patient qualified to receive opioid medication, the PAIN doctors feel that medical marijuana should be provided as an option as well. At this point in time, Illinois law allows certain patients to use medical marijuana. But the program is strict, with a limited number of eligible conditions. The PAIN doctors would like to see the Illinois medical marijuana program expand from the existing 27,000 participants. Among other changes, the proposed legislation would remove fingerprinting and criminal background checks from medical marijuana requirements. The approval process would also see streamlined changes. Instead of[...]
November
17
2017
Today we will examine statistics from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system concerning various crimes. Managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the UCR provides a centralized depository for crime statistics across the United States. Starting in 1930, the FBI took responsibility for collecting and publishing UCR crime data. Today, the UCR system collects data from more than 18,000 sources, including cities, academic institutions, states, tribes, and federal agencies. At this point in time, the FBI has published UCR crime data for 2015 and 2016. The FBI divides UCR data divides crimes into two major buckets. Violent crime includes murder and manslaughter, two definitions of rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crime includes burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. In examining UCR data for Illinois from 2015 and 2016, we will look at both the totals and the rate per 100,000 people. This adjusted rate will give us a better idea of the frequency and density of the crime data. UCR Crime Data for the United States and Illinois   Concerning violent crimes, the UCR system provides the following data for the United States and Illinois.   UNITED STATES 2015 Violent Crimes (total): 1,234,183 2016 Violent Crimes (total): 1,283,058[...]
November
10
2017
Two men face criminal charges for attempted murder and aggravated arson after they allegedly hit, stabbed, and then lit a victim on fire in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, according to an article by The Southern. The Cave-in-Rock Fire Department arrived on the scene in response to a structural fire. Firefighters found the victim in rough shape, bleeding from his wounds and suffering from burns. At that point, the fire had spread to the victim’s residence. Firefighters were able to extinguish the residential fire and transport the victim for medical treatment. Based on the victim's identification of his assailants, authorities arrested and charged the alleged perpetrators.   The Illinois State Police, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, and the Hardin County Sheriff's Office continue to work in concert to investigate these crimes. In the meantime, it feels like a great time to review Illinois laws and penalties concerning arson. What is the Illinois Definition of Arson? We can find the Illinois state definition of arson under 720 ILCS 5/20-1. Essentially, arson occurs when a perpetrator damages another person’s property with fire or explosives. Generally speaking, arson applies to property worth at least $150. Arson does not apply if the property owner[...]
November
3
2017
Today we will explore an important concept in criminal law – the difference between robbery and aggravated robbery. It should be noted that we will discuss the state-specific approach to these crimes in Illinois. The statutory schemes in other states will differ in many ways. What is the Definition of Robbery in Illinois? We can find the state-specific definition of robbery under 720 ILCS 5/18-1. There are two elements to the crime of robbery in Illinois. First, the perpetrator must steal property from someone else. Second, the perpetrator must use force or the threat of force in stealing the property in question. It is important to note that robbery does not apply to the theft of motor vehicles. There is a separate Illinois statute that addresses the theft of motor vehicles. What are the Penalties for Robbery in Illinois? Generally speaking, robbery is classified as a Class 2 felony in Illinois. Conviction of a Class 2 felony can result in: Sentence range of three to seven years; Extended term of seven to 14 years; Fines up to $25,000; Mandatory supervised release term of two years; and Probation or conditional discharge up to four years. There are exceptions. If the robbery[...]
October
27
2017
Before we delve into the finer points of aggravated DUIs, we need to take a step back and review standard DUIs. Essentially, it is illegal to drive in Illinois while intoxicated or incapable of driving safely. Illinois law accounts for intoxication on the basis of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.   Illinois law under 625 ILCS 5/11-501 provides us with the definition for aggravated DUI. The crime of aggravated DUI applies if a person commits a standard DUI: Three or more times; While driving a school bus with passengers; That results in severe injury to another person; In a school zone and results in severe injury to another person; That results in death of another person; While using a suspended or revoked driver’s license; Without ever having a valid driver’s license; Knowing that the vehicle did not have valid insurance; That caused injury to a passenger younger than 16 years old; or While driving passengers on a for-hire basis. What are the Penalties for Aggravated DUI in Illinois? Illinois law under 625 ILCS 5/11-501 also provides us with the penalty structure for aggravated DUI. There is a tiered system in place, with penalties escalating for subsequent offenses or[...]
October
20
2017
The Evanston Police Department is receiving a flood of calls detailing alleged child sex crimes by a former high school teacher, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. This flood of calls started around October 11, 2017, after a man posted on social media about being molested by the teacher in question. After hearing about other long-running instances of sexual abuse, the man did not want to empower a child predator to hurt more victims. So he posted about his molestation, which dated back to the 1980s. Since this man’s initial social media post, other alleged victims have come forward to post about molestation and sexual assault by the same teacher. Evanston police have also received approximately 30 calls. Though, according to police, most of the calls have involved hearsay or background information. There are no formal charges pending at the moment. Despite the lack of formal charges, the high school in question sprang into action. The high school issued a “no-trespass order” to the teacher on October 12, 2017. The teacher is barred from the high school campus as well as school-related or school-sponsored events. This news development also raises an interesting question about the statute of limitations[...]
October
13
2017
The North Central Narcotics Task Force completed an investigation, arrested a man and woman as well as seized large amounts of marijuana, according to an article by the Northwest Herald. A combination of more than 50 law enforcement agencies, the North Central Narcotics Task Force investigates major crimes within Kane, McHenry and DeKalb counties. Among other criminal activities, the task force investigates gangs as well as illegal weapon and drug trafficking. Accused of trafficking multiple ounces of illegal drugs, the man and woman face charges for possession and delivery of marijuana. In light of this news story, it feels like a great time to review Illinois laws and penalties concerning marijuana. What is the Illinois Legal Approach to Marijuana? Under the Cannabis Control Act (the Act), Illinois provides its state-specific approach to laws and penalties concerning marijuana, which is legally referred to as cannabis. While the Act makes it unlawful to possess marijuana, there is also some leeway for smaller amounts. Essentially, the Illinois legislature understands that marijuana use is widespread and pervasive amongst Illinois citizens. In order to deal with this type of widespread and pervasive use, the Act sets out “reasonable penalty system” for criminal offenses involving cannabis.[...]
October
6
2017
In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Illinois gun laws are back in the news, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. During a discussion on gun control, a White House official questioned whether strict laws actually prevent gun crimes. The official pointed out that strict gun laws across Illinois have done little to prevent gun crimes from affecting 4,000 victims last year in Chicago. While that is a fair point, proponents of strict gun control argue that there is a larger picture to consider. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, approximately 60% of illegal guns recovered by police in Chicago come from Indiana, Wisconsin, or Mississippi – states with lax gun control. Given all of the recent noise concerning Illinois gun laws, it feels like a great time to engage in a history lesson of sorts. We will review Illinois gun laws, past and present, below. What is the History of Illinois Gun Control? Back in 1982, the city of Chicago rolled out a comprehensive ban on handguns. The ban made it illegal to have a handgun in your home or carry a handgun in public. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the[...]
September
30
2017
In a unanimous decision, the Illinois Supreme Court voted to allow the use of hearsay testimony in the highly publicized murder conviction of former police officer Drew Peterson, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. Peterson is currently serving a sentence of 38 years for the 2004 death of his third wife and 40 years for scheming to kill a prosecuting attorney. Authorities have remaining questions concerning the 2007 disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife. But as the fourth wife’s body was never found, there is a lack of evidence to charge any suspects. Defense attorneys for Peterson appealed the murder conviction based on the use of hearsay testimony. Hearsay is legal device that prohibits witnesses from testifying as to things they did not see, hear, or experience directly. Generally speaking, hearsay is not allowed in criminal trials because the defendant cannot challenge the validity of the statements offered. In Peterson’s case, the Illinois Supreme Court determined that hearsay was allowed under special circumstances. Pointing to evidence that Peterson disposed of certain witnesses to prevent their testimony, the court allowed hearsay in this case. Disappointed with this result, Peterson’s defense team will likely try to appeal to the United States[...]
September
22
2017
After a violent hazing incident, five Wheaton College football players now face felony charges for aggravated battery, mob action, and unlawful restraint, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. The perpetrators allegedly barged into a freshman teammate’s dorm room in March of 2016. After tackling their victim, the perpetrators duct taped his wrists and ankles. Then they carried the victim through a crowded dorm to the parking lot. While driving the victim to another location, the perpetrators applied more duct tape and stripped the victim’s clothes. In addition to beating the victim repeatedly, the players also tried to insert an object into the victim’s rectum. Finally, the perpetrators dumped the victim half naked on a baseball diamond and drove off. To fully grasp the impact of this violent incident, we need to review Illinois laws concerning aggravated battery, mob action, and unlawful restraint. How Does Illinois Define Aggravated Battery? We can find the definition for aggravated battery in Illinois under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05. Essentially, Illinois defines aggravated battery as regular battery committed under certain circumstances. As a reminder, battery in Illinois occurs when causing harm to another person or insulting or provoking another person with unwanted physical contact. Battery[...]
September
15
2017

Aggravated DUI Lands Illinois Man in Prison

Categories: DUI |

A Fairmont man received a five-year prison sentenced for aggravated DUI, after causing the death of a young woman last year, according to an article by The News-Gazette. The man was driving near the Vermilion-Edgar County line when he veered off the road to avoid an animal. The man overcorrected when roadside gravel caused the vehicle to slide. At that point, the vehicle flipped over and smashed into a utility pole. The young woman was a passenger in the middle-front seat, wearing only a lap safety belt. She was ejected from the vehicle on impact and later died from her injuries. A second male passenger was treated for minor injuries. Shortly after the crash, authorities measured the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at 0.12, above the legal limit. Authorities also found beer cans in the driver’s vehicle. In light of this news development, this is a great time to review the laws and penalties for DUI and aggravated DUI in Illinois. How Does Illinois Define DUI? Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, Illinois outlines its state-specific approach to DUI. This section of Illinois statutes makes it illegal to operate a vehicle while “incapable of safely driving.” The legal limit for intoxication in Illinois[...]
September
8
2017
Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that removes the statute of limitations for child sex crimes in Illinois, according to a press release from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett and State Representative Michelle Mussman, Public Act 100-0080 changes the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 to remove the statute of limitations for child victims of sex crimes. The new law applies to all future child sex crimes and any presently unexpired child sex crimes. So long as the victim was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, then the statute of limitations disappears for: Criminal sexual abuse, Criminal sexual assault, Aggravated criminal sexual abuse, Aggravated criminal sexual assault and Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. Attorney General Lisa Madigan helped spur the charge to amend existing laws and remove the statutes of limitations for child sex crimes. As Madigan stated in the press release: “Sex crimes against children are a horribly tragic violation of trust that can take a lifetime to recover from. This new law will ensure that survivors are provided with the time they need to heal and seek justice." Before Public Act 100-0080,[...]
September
1
2017
Authorities arrested two Chicago men who allegedly conducted a series of illegal firearm sales, according to an article by DNAinfo. Over the course of four months, the men sold 16 firearms, including but not limited to an AK-47 rifle, sawed-off shotgun, and .22-caliber pistol. In two of the transactions, authorities benefited from cooperation. A buyer in New York recorded the interaction and transaction, reporting everything to law enforcement. A buyer in Illinois also reported the interaction and transaction to the authorities. Both men are facing federal charges in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The charges included illegal weapon possession and alteration of a serial number. The maximum sentences range from five to 10 years in prison. While the alleged perpetrators in this news story are being charged in federal court, it feels like a great time to examine Illinois laws concerning the illegal use and sale of firearms. How Does Illinois Address the Illegal Use and Sale of Firearms? Referred to as unlawful use of a weapon, the Illinois Criminal Code addresses illegal use and sale of firearms in section 720 ILCS 5/24-1. In most circumstances, people are allowed to carry firearms in public[...]
August
25
2017
After Governor Bruce Rauner signed two new bills into law in August of 2017, Illinois will feature enhanced protection of rights for former criminal offenders, according to an article by Illinois Policy. The goal of both bills is to help former criminal offenders find gainful employment and integrate back into their communities. The first bill, House Bill 2373 (HB2373), adjusts the requirements for record sealing under the Criminal Identification Act. This bill expands the conditions under which a former criminal offender can apply for record sealing. Individuals who did not commit violent or sexual felonies are eligible for record sealing. If a criminal record is sealed, the general public and private employers are unable to access the records without a court order. Additionally, HB2373 allows the Illinois courts to seal records in cases of public indecency, which is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense. HB2373 also prevents Illinois courts from sealing records for violations under the Humane Care for Animals Act. The second bill, House Bill 3817 (HB3817), adjusts several requirements under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. This bill most notably allows for automatic expungement of juvenile criminal records under various circumstances. If a record is expunged,[...]
August
18
2017
In July 2017, Attorney General Lisa Madigan rolled out comprehensive guidelines for responding to sexual assault in Illinois, according to a press release from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. With detailed instructions on how to respond to complaints of sexual abuse, Illinois law enforcement will be in a better position to help and support victims. Titled “Comprehensive Guidelines for Law Enforcement Policies on Responding to and Investigating Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse,” Madigan’s initiative mandates a number of changes, including updates to reporting policy, test results and test consent. Reporting: Authorities must prepare reports in writing for every claim of sexual assault. It does not matter who reported the crime or where the crime happened. Test Results: Victims have the power to ask for the test results concerning sexual assault evidence. But if the release of such information would jeopardize an open case, law enforcement authorities can decline to respond. Test Consent: Victims have more time to consider whether to consent to test analysis of sexual assault evidence. For adults, the deadline increases from 14 days to five years after the crime. For children, the deadline is five years from their 18th birthday. This development is the latest[...]
August
11
2017

Illinois DUI Fatalities Beginning to Level Off

Categories: DUI |

After successfully decreasing the number of DUI-related deaths in the state for decades, that trend in Illinois seems to have flattened out, according to an article by the Daily Chronicle. To gain a better understanding of what this means, we need to look at the numbers. Over the last 30 years, DUI fatalities dropped by approximately 60%. Over the last 15 years, DUI fatalities dropped by approximately 50%. Over the last several years, however, DUI fatalities have stayed constant. Looking to the latest DUI statistics published by the Illinois Secretary of State, we can see this trend play out over a decade-long period. 2004: 604 DUI fatalities 2005: 580 DUI fatalities 2006: 594 DUI fatalities 2007: 507 DUI fatalities 2008: 434 DUI fatalities 2010: 354 DUI fatalities 2011: 323 DUI fatalities 2012: 393 DUI fatalities 2013: 389 DUI fatalities 2014: 369 DUI fatalities Considering the information outlined above, it feels like a perfect time to review Illinois laws and penalties concerning DUIs. What are the Illinois Laws Concerning DUIs? We can find Illinois laws concerning DUIs in 625 ILCS 5/11-501. Under this section, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated and “incapable of safely driving.” Illinois sets the[...]
August
4
2017
An Illinois judge declared that the state law prohibiting ballot photos was unconstitutional, according to an article by the Belleville News-Democrat. On Election Day in 2016, a Madison County man attempted to take “ballot selfie” after voting. An election official told the Madison County man not to take a photo of his ballot. The reason was simple. Taking a photo of your ballot violates Illinois law. In response, the Madison County man brought a lawsuit against the county clerk, contending that this law violates First Amendment rights. After considering the arguments of both parties, a Madison County associate judge declared the law unconstitutional. Contained in 10 ILCS 5/29-9 and titled “Unlawful observation of voting,” Illinois law prohibits individuals from intentionally voting in a manner that “can be observed by another person.” Illinois law under the same section also prohibits individuals from intentionally observing “another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote.” Essentially, Illinois law exists to protect secrecy of the voting process and ballot box. By preventing individuals from sharing their vote or watching others voting, these laws defend against vote buying and voter intimidation. If any individual commits either of the above-mentioned actions, that individual is[...]
July
28
2017
With a statewide budget crisis in full swing, Illinois legislators are mulling over the legalization and taxation of marijuana as a potential solution, according to an article by DNAinfo. Separate bills proposed by State Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Kelly Cassidy both advocate for the legalization of marijuana, commonly referred to as cannabis in Illinois law. The bills would allow adults to “possess, grow, and buy small amounts of marijuana.” Voting on both bills was intentionally delayed until the start of the next legislative session in January. This delay will give legislators a chance to research and solicit feedback in advance of voting. Despite the proposed legislation, it is important to remember that cannabis remains illegal in Illinois. That is why we will explore Illinois laws governing cannabis in the sections below. What are the Laws in Illinois Concerning Cannabis? The Cannabis Control Act (the Act) outlines the Illinois rules and regulations concerning cannabis. Codified as 720 ILCS 550, the Act recognizes that “the use of cannabis occupies the unusual position of being widely used and pervasive among the citizens of Illinois despite its harmful effects.” As a result, the Act establishes a “reasonable penalty system” for cannabis-related offenses,[...]
July
21
2017
Citing a six-year-old hate crime charge, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is attempting to block the hire of an Illinois man, according to an article by The Chicago Tribune. The hate crime charge in question was never prosecuted, however, raising questions about this course of action. The CPD applicant in question, Patrick Lavin, was formerly an undergraduate student at Southern Illinois University. Approximately one year before he graduated, Lavin was involved in an argument over a taxi that turned physical. Two groups began jostling with each other, resulting in injuries to several people. One of the injured parties was gay, leading authorities to charge Lavin with a hate crime as well as felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor battery. Lavin maintains that the hate crime label was and is inappropriate; he never intended to injure anyone on the basis of sexual orientation. Prosecutors eventually dropped the hate crime and felony aggravated battery charges. Lavin then pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery. A few years later, Lavin was able to get this case expunged successfully. In the spirit of full disclosure, Lavin divulged everything about this incident on his CPD application. But CPD guidelines allow for the disqualification of an applicant “if there[...]
July
16
2017
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed off on a bill that takes aim at repeat gun offenders, according to an article by Reuters. This bill increases the minimum sentences for repeat firearm offenses under the Illinois rules governing unlawful use of weapons. Passed as SB1722, this bill is also referred to as the Safe Neighborhoods Reform Act (SNRA). In addition to adjustments to gun laws, the SNRA also allows the Director of State Police to create the Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force. This task force is “dedicated to combating gun violence, gun-trafficking, and other violent crime” across Illinois. As reported by Reuters, the SNRA will increase the minimum sentence for repeat firearm convictions from three to seven years. In order to hand out a more lenient sentence, judges will now have to submit their justification in writing. As one of the chief supporters of the SNRA, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson believes this initiative “will make someone think twice about picking up a gun before they ever use it." Considering the implications of this news story, we should review Illinois firearm laws concerning unlawful use of weapons. What is Unlawful Use of a Weapon? The Illinois Criminal Code addresses firearm[...]
July
14
2017
Illinois resident Brendt Christensen is currently awaiting trial on kidnapping charges, according to an article by The Chicago Tribune. Christensen is charged in connection with the disappearance of Yingying Zhang, a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois. Prosecutors admitted that while Zhang is still missing, she is most likely dead. Prosecutors also claim to have recordings of Christensen describing intimate details of Zhang’s abduction. Christensen’s criminal defense attorneys question the credibility of this alleged recording. Referencing their client’s constitutional rights, they want to ensure a fair trial as well as a chance to examine all of the evidence. In light of this news story, it feels like an appropriate time to review the Illinois laws concerning kidnapping. What does Kidnapping Mean in Illinois? The Illinois Criminal Code defines kidnapping in 720 ILCS 5/10-1 as a Class 2 felony, providing the guidelines quoted below. “He or she knowingly: (1)  and secretly confines another against his or her will; (2)  by force or threat of imminent force carries another from one place to another with intent secretly to confine that other person against his or her will; or (3)  by deceit or enticement induces another to go from one place to[...]
July
7
2017
A McLean County case involving criminal sexual abuse and failure to register as a sex offender is on hold presently, while the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to hear the case, according to an article by The Pantagraph. The case centers on Mark Minnis, a Normal, Illinois resident. In 2010, when Minnis was 16, he was adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for engaging in sexual relations with a girl who was 14. As a result of this decision, Minnis received a 10-year requirement to register as a sex offender for the misdemeanor of criminal sexual abuse. It is important to note that adjudication as a juvenile delinquent is not the same as a conviction. The purpose of this process is to “remove juveniles from the ordinary criminal process in order to avoid the stigma of a prior criminal conviction and to encourage treatment and rehabilitation,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. In this way, minors can sidestep the negative repercussions of a criminal conviction, while receiving treatment to prevent future criminal activity. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that methods like adjudication as a juvenile delinquent have a positive impact on the rehabilitation of minors. A report from the Illinois[...]