What is the Difference Between Arson and Aggravated Arson in Illinois?

Under Illinois law, arson occurs when a person uses fire or explosives to intentionally damage another person’s property. Given the inherent danger of arson — especially fire’s ability to spread quickly — there are strict penalties against arson in Illinois. In certain severe situations, using fire or explosives can result in criminal charges for aggravated arson.

Illinois Laws and Penalties for Arson

The Illinois laws and penalties for arson appear under 720 ILCS 5/20-1. There are essentially three different types of arson crimes in Illinois — arson, residential arson and place of worship arson.

Arson

First, a person commits the standard version of arson if he or she knowingly uses fire or explosive to:

    Damage at least $150 of another person’s property without consent; or Defraud an insurer by damaging at least $150 of another person’s property.

Arson is a Class 2 felony in Illinois. The penalty structure for [...]

Illinois Sex Crimes: Grooming and Traveling to Meet a Child

In order to protect the safety and welfare of children, the State of Illinois has strict laws in place against child sex crimes. These legal protections extend past physical contact and sexual acts, safeguarding children from the threat of potential predators. In the age of the Internet and digital communications, however, it is often difficult to keep sexual predators away from possible child victims.

That is why Illinois prohibits the use of electronic communication devices to seduce or otherwise lure children into unlawful sexual acts. That is referred to as grooming. It is also illegal to travel to meet a child after grooming that child.

What is the Definition of and Penalty for Grooming?

As outlined in 720 ILCS 5/11-25, grooming is a sexual offense that involves the use of electronic communications. A person commits this offense if he or she uses an electronic device in an [...]

Illinois Gun Law Regulates Dangerous ‘Red Flag’ Owners

A new gun control measure will take effect in Illinois on January 1st, reported the Rockford Register Star. The Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act (the Act) enables the authorities to remove firearms from “red flag” owners who represent a danger to themselves or other people.

The Act will make Illinois the latest U.S. state to restrict gun ownership in the wake of mass shootings and similar acts of violence. In several such cases — including the Mercy Hospital shooting in Chicago — the shooter made past threats of violence. But law enforcement officers did not have the legal authority to confiscate the shooter’s firearms, even as a precautionary measure.

Once the Act takes effect in 2019, there will be a detailed framework in place to evaluate threats and, hopefully, prevent future acts of mass violence. Under tightly controlled circumstances, the Illinois circuit courts will be able to grant [...]

Illinois and Michigan in Race for Legal Sale of Marijuana in Midwest

With Michigan already on course to regulate the commercial sale of recreational marijuana, Illinois seems to be in second place in this race between Midwest states, reported the Chicago Tribune.

As of December 6th, Michigan officially legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The state has yet to roll out a comprehensive scheme for regulation, licensure, or taxation. As a result, Michigan does not yet offer any establishments that are licensed to sell recreational marijuana legally.

In the meantime, there is a lot of momentum in Illinois to legalize marijuana as well as regulate its commercial sale and purchase. Legalization advocates hope that this change will happen by late 2019 or early 2020, especially with the public support of Governor J.B. Pritzker and certain members of the General Assembly.

At this point in time, however, it is important to remember that marijuana remains largely illegal in Illinois. Until the [...]