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Category Archives: Criminal Law

Wheaton Drug Crimes Defense LawyerPublic opinions about certain substances, like marijuana, have changed significantly in the last few decades. However, cocaine is still an illicit substance and criminal charges for cocaine possession are harsh. If you or a loved one were charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, reach out to a lawyer for personalized guidance on how to handle the situation.

Possession of Cocaine

Cocaine is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance in Illinois. Schedule 1 drugs have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical purpose. Consequently, possession of cocaine is considered a serious criminal offense. If you are caught with cocaine in your possession or in your property, you face felony charges. The severity of the charge depends on the amount of cocaine allegedly in your possession. Under Illinois law, possession of cocaine is a Class 1 felony offense. If you are convicted of cocaine possession, you could face many years in prison.

Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine

When an individual is found with large quantities of cocaine, cash, scales, baggies, or other items used in the sale of cocaine, he or she may be charged with possession with intent to deliver. Selling illicit substances like cocaine is considered a much greater offense than merely possessing the substance. Individuals convicted of possession with intent to deliver can face decades in prison.

What To Do Next

If you or someone you care about were accused of possessing or selling cocaine, contact a lawyer right away. Do not speak to the police. Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. This means that they can refuse police questions and remain silent. In many cases, remaining silent is one of the best ways to aid in your own defense.

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DuPage County DUI Defense LawyerIn Illinois, several different traffic violations and criminal offenses can lead to driver’s license suspension or revocation. One of the most common causes of driver’s license suspension or revocation is driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Losing your ability to drive can make it difficult or nearly impossible to get to and from work, attend appointments, and fulfill other important responsibilities. Fortunately, Illinois has programs in place for individuals who need to regain driving privileges after a DUI.

Regain Limited Driving Privileges Through an RDP

Once your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, it becomes illegal to drive. Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a criminal offense punishable by fines and jail time. If you lost your license after a DUI, you may be able to regain your driving privileges through a restricted driving permit (RDP).

Once an RDP is issued, you are allowed to drive, but only in limited circumstances. Each RDP is different. For some, an RDP allows them to drive to and from work or medical appointments. Others use an RDP to attend classes at school. An RDP does not reinstate full driving privileges, but it may allow you to drive in limited circumstances.

How Can I Get an RDP?

Restricted driving permits are sometimes called hardship permits because they are intended for those individuals facing a hardship of some kind. To get an RDP, you must show that the loss of your driving privileges has created a hardship in your life. For example, if your work is not accessible by public transportation, driving may be the only way you can keep your job. If you are seeking an RDP after a DUI, you will also need to complete a professional drug and alcohol evaluation. Based on the results of the evaluation, you may be required to take drug or alcohol education classes or attend a substance abuse treatment program.

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Chicago criminal defense attorney

When a person is arrested and charged with a crime in Illinois, there are a number of steps in the criminal justice process between that arrest and the resolution of the case. One of the first steps after an arrest is arraignment. The outcome of that arraignment can actually set the tone for the way the rest of the process will go. If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to have a skilled Chicago defense attorney representing you during the entire process.

What Is an Arraignment

An arraignment is a hearing held in a courtroom with a presiding judge. The person who has been arrested is now considered the “defendant.” The defendant will be called in front of the judge, who will formally read the charges the defendant has been arrested for. The judge will then ask the defendant to enter his or her plea.

Entering a Plea

The defendant has three choices for a plea – guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere. While the first two choices are fairly well known, many people may be unaware of what a nolo contendere plea means. Nolo contendere (no contest) means that the defendant is basically telling the court that although they do not wish to plead guilty, they also do not wish to contest or dispute the charges against them. It is critical to understand that entering this plea can have the same consequences and penalties as pleading guilty and should not be done without speaking to an attorney first. 

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Chicago criminal defense attorneyLast June, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the City of Chicago released a fairly negative report regarding the lack of protocols and procedures by the Chicago Police Department for its records management and production system. Included in the report was a list of corrective recommendations for the department to implement. One year later, a new investigation has found that the department has taken almost no steps to address the issues in the OIG report. The question for the public is: How does the Chicago PD’s flawed system impact defendants’ constitutional rights and their ability to defend themselves against criminal charges?

Inspector General’s 2020 Report

In the original report in 2020, the OIG noted significant deficiencies that may make it “impossible for the department to ensure that all relevant records were identified and produced when required to.”

Some of the more serious deficiencies cited by the OIG included:

  • Failure to determine the existence of records. The OIG concluded that the Chicago PD Subpoena Unit and Office of Legal Affairs did not have any reliable means of determining what records exist of a particular incident or case, making it difficult for the unit to identify and locate relevant records for production.

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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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