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DuPage County criminal defense lawyerA recent story about an Illinois woman’s arrest in Hawaii for using a fake vaccine card went viral across media outlets and social media platforms. While some readers of the story found certain details of the case humorous, the charges she is facing and the potential penalties if she is convicted are anything but.

Counterfeit COVID-19 Vaccine Card

According to details released by the Honolulu Police Department, the Oak Lawn, IL woman arrived in Hawaii on August 23. Hawaii has a mandatory 10-day quarantine for all visitors to the state, unless the visitor can provide proof they are vaccinated. The woman uploaded a COVID-19 vaccine card to the state’s Safe Travels Program website; however, that upload was flagged by authorities on suspicion of being counterfeit.

One reason why the card was flagged is that the type of shot on the card was listed as “Maderna.” The actual spelling of that shot should be “Moderna.” When authorities looked further at the information provided on the woman’s form, there were signs that raised more red flags, including her failure to list what hotel she was staying at and false departing flight information. The woman also said she received her vaccine in Delaware, but when authorities checked, that state had no record of her in their system.

After ignoring all attempts to contact her, the woman was arrested a week later at the airport as she was getting ready to board a flight back home.

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Wheaton criminal defense lawyerIn our last blog post, we discussed some of the highlights of the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity – Today (SAFE-T) Act, recently passed by the Illinois legislature, as it applies to policing, arrests, and detention. The act also made changes to how the courts should address certain issues in sentencing if a person has been convicted of a crime, as well as changes to incarceration and decarceration programs. The following is a brief overview of these changes.

Changes in Sentencing

One of the criteria that judges look at when determining the sentence a convicted defendant will receive is whether or not they are a “habitual criminal.” This standard can negatively impact those who have criminal convictions during young adulthood, at a time when research shows that the brain is still developing and a person may be prone to poor decision-making and impulse control. Under the newly passed laws in Illinois, any convictions that a person had when they were between the ages of 18 to 21 will no longer be included in defining whether a defendant should be classified as a habitual criminal.

Judges will also now have discretion in issuing mandatory minimum sentences if one of the following applies:

  • The judge deems the defendant does not pose a public safety risk.

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DuPage County criminal defense lawyerEarlier this year, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity – Today, or SAFE-T Act, into law. The SAFE-T act makes extensive changes to the Illinois criminal justice system, many of which went into effect on July 1. The act aims to ensure that every citizen’s constitutional rights are protected in their interactions with law enforcement, the court system, and the corrections system. If you are facing criminal charges, you may find that it affects your case. Here, we look at some of the changes that the SAFE-T Act brings to policing, arrests, and detention in Illinois.

Changes in Policing

One important measure in the SAFE-T Act requires the creation of a statewide use of force standard to be used by all law enforcement agencies. This also includes tightening the legal standards for use of force, including by requiring the officer to consider the “totality of the circumstances” of not only the individual, but the surrounding environment as well.

Officers are no longer allowed to use deadly force with a suspect who is fleeing unless that person is a significant risk to someone else. Non-lethal projectiles, like rubber bullets, can no longer be fired randomly into a crowd or discharged while aiming at an individual’s head, back, or pelvis. Above-the-shoulder restraints, including chokeholds, are also no longer allowed. The law now requires all officers to intervene if they see another law enforcement officer using unauthorized force.

The SAFE-T Act also puts a deadline of 2025 for every law enforcement agency to provide body cameras to all their officers. Body cameras are also now required for all no-knock search warrants, and a department must have plans in place to protect children and any other vulnerable individuals who may be inside the premises during the search.

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DuPage County traffic ticket defense lawyerIn Illinois and many other states, it is illegal to use your cell phone and drive. The reasoning behind the law is that texting or talking on the phone while driving is incredibly dangerous. In 2019, for instance, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Therefore, police prioritize cell phone violations much like they would other serious traffic offenses like DUI.

However, cell phones are one of those modern-day conveniences that are difficult to live without. In addition to using it for communication, a cell phone also gives you directions, and it might serve as a radio for news and music in the car. With phones being more or less a necessity, it is important to understand the limits of Illinois distracted driving laws.

Electronic Communication Devices in the Illinois Traffic Code

In one sense, Illinois law is very clear about using a cell phone and driving. The law prohibits operating a vehicle “on a roadway while using an electronic communication device,” but the law also offers a number of exceptions. While most of them only apply to first responders and walkie-talkies, there are a handful of exceptions for everybody else.

According to the law, you are allowed to use your cell phone in the car if your vehicle is parked or in neutral while on the shoulder or on the roadway if traffic is obstructed; if you are talking to a dispatcher to report and communicate an emergency situation; and if you are using a hands-free device like a phone mount or headset.

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Wheaton IL assault and battery defense lawyerIn common use, and in the laws of some states, the terms “assault” and “battery” are often used interchangeably. However, in Illinois, while they are often heard in conjunction with one another, they each have specific legal definitions and are considered separate crimes. So, what is the difference between assault and battery in Illinois?

Assault Charges in Illinois

According to Illinois law, you assault someone when you act in a way that leads them to fear that you will physically harm them or make unwanted physical contact. As a simple example, if you say to a person, “I’m going to hit you” and raise your hand to slap them, then that could be considered assault. Actual physical contact or injury is not necessary for a person to press assault charges.

Illinois Battery Charges

As you may have guessed, Illinois defines battery as causing someone actual physical injury. Specifically, a person commits battery when he or she “causes bodily harm” or makes “physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature” with another person. If we alter the above assault example so that you actually hit the person instead of just threatening it, then it could be considered battery.

However, if you threaten to hit the person, make them think that you are going to hit them, and then make physical contact, then that could be considered both assault and battery.

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Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
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Davi Law Group, LLC handles criminal law matters for clients in Chicago and throughout the western suburbs including DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Kendall County and Cook County and the cities of Aurora, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Joliet, Kendall County, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park, Oak Brook, Oswego, Park Ridge, Roselle, St. Charles, Villa Park, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, Woodridge and Yorkville.

 

 

 

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