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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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wheaton criminal defense lawyerIn order to secure a conviction on charges of drug possession, the State of Illinois generally needs evidence of the drugs in question. In most cases, this evidence is obtained through a search of the offender’s person or property. However, these searches are not permitted under just any circumstances. If you are facing drug possession charges, you should understand when Illinois law enforcement is—or is not—justified in executing a search.

When Can Law Enforcement Get a Search Warrant?

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides protection from unreasonable search and seizure. In effect, this means that law enforcement cannot legally search you or your property on a whim. They must have a reason to do so, and in most cases, they must also have a warrant issued by a judge. A judge will only grant a warrant if law enforcement can produce a written statement given under oath that shows probable cause of finding evidence of a crime. In order to obtain a warrant, law enforcement also must be specific as to the person or property to be searched, as well the types of evidence that may be seized.

There are also rules for how Illinois law enforcement must execute a search warrant. For example, the warrant must be executed within 96 hours of its issuance, with the officers making note of the specific time of execution. Usually, officers must make an attempt to announce themselves to any occupants of a property before carrying out the warrant, but the issuing judge may waive this requirement under certain circumstances. In any case, law enforcement is authorized to use force to execute a warrant if necessary.

Searches Without a Warrant

There are certain situations in which an officer can execute a search and seizure of property without a warrant, including:

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wheaton criminal defense lawyerAllegations of domestic violence can have serious consequences for the accused, especially if they result in a conviction for a criminal offense like assault or battery. However, in some cases the consequences can start to take effect much sooner. If you are accused of domestic violence, you could be immediately arrested and detained, and it is important that you understand your rights.

Are Domestic Violence Arrests Mandatory in Illinois? 

Many states have mandatory arrest laws for cases involving allegations of domestic violence, requiring a responding law enforcement officer to take the accused into custody if there is probable cause to believe that domestic violence has occurred. Illinois law is not as strict in this regard, but officers still have the discretion to make an arrest, with or without a warrant, if there is cause to believe that a person has committed an act of domestic violence.

Law enforcement officers are also required to take all reasonable actions to protect an apparent victim from further abuse. Depending on the circumstances, this could include the arrest of the alleged aggressor, as well as the seizure of any weapons that were likely used. Even if an officer does not make an arrest, they are required to file a police report of the allegation and advise the apparent victim of their right to press charges.

If you have no prior history of domestic violence and the incident that the officer is responding to appears to be relatively minor, you may be able to avoid arrest. However, if the incident occurs while you are subject to an order of protection, you will almost certainly be arrested for violating the order, and you could face additional misdemeanor or felony charges.

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wheaton reckless driving lawyerUnder Illinois law, traffic violations range widely from minor offenses resulting only in fines and driver’s license points, to serious crimes that can result in prison sentences and additional consequences. Reckless driving is an example of the latter. However, it can be difficult to know whether you will face this serious charge after an arrest because of the somewhat vague definition of reckless driving. This makes it all the more important to hire an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.

Reckless Driving Defined

According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, there is one specific offense that constitutes reckless driving: knowingly using an incline on the road to make your vehicle airborne. However, this is far from the only situation in which a person can face reckless driving charges. The definition of the offense also includes any situation in which a driver shows “willful or wanton disregard” for people or property, which may encompass many behaviors related to speeding, ignoring traffic signals, erratically changing lanes, driving in the wrong direction, and more.

A regular reckless driving charge is a Class A misdemeanor, meaning that a sentence could include less than one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500. Reckless driving is also one of the most serious offenses in the Illinois driver’s license point system, with a value of 55 points. If you have other traffic convictions on your record within a short time, reckless driving could contribute to the suspension or revocation of your license.

If reckless driving causes injury or great bodily harm to another person, the offender can be charged with aggravated reckless driving, which is a Class 3 or 4 felony depending on the circumstances. This can come with a much steeper sentence, including up to five years in prison. Reckless driving charges are also often accompanied by charges for other serious offenses, including aggravated speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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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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