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Category Archives: Criminal Law

Wheaton assault defense attorney, assault chargesThe First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects our rights to free speech, so you can say whatever you would like, right? Not necessarily. There are a few caveats associated with your freedom of expression. Others also have the right to feel safe. Therefore, government officials have the right to step in if your speech incites violence or violates peace. However, the perception of fear varies from person to person. If the words that leave your mouth cause an overly-sensitive individual to fear for his or her life, then are you susceptible to assault charges?

Sticks and Stones

Physical contact may leave lasting, visible marks on a human body. However, words can be just as powerful. The words we use, assisted by body language and voice inflection, can cause powerful emotional reactions in those around us. For this reason, assault charges are not reliant on actual contact, but the feelings provoked in others. Each state defines assault differently. In Illinois, assault is:

  • Engaging in conduct that allows someone else to believe that he or she is in danger of a physical attack (battery);
  • The victim's fearful response must be reasonable and genuine;
  • Any other reasonable person would also be in fear of an immediate battery;
  • The verbal attack must intend to cause fear; and
  • Behavior and voice inflection must show intent to attack.

Does Sensitivity Matter?

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Wheaton domestic violence defense attorney, Illinois Domestic Violence ActDomestic violence is a silent epidemic running rampant in our country. In Illinois alone, over 65,000 cases of domestic violence were reported in 2014. However, many of these cases were falsely reported to obtain other goals of the accuser. In other incidents, the information was embellished, creating harsher penalties than necessary. Accusations of this magnitude are life-altering upon conviction. The Illinois Domestic Violence can work for you or against you, depending on your defense strategy.

What is the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA)

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) was created in 1986, starting a new era in the world of domestic relations. The IDVA regulation defines the terms of domestic abuse, explains to whom it relates, and outlines law enforcement actions to protect victims. Consider the following specifications:

  • Who: Domestic abuse pertains to spouses and former spouses, children, parents, roommates, anyone with a past romantic relationship, people with disabilities, and those who are thought to have a child in common.
  • Behavior: Abuse is physical violence, harassment, forcing someone to watch the violence, forcing someone to do what he or she does not want to do, or denying care to someone unable to do care for him or herself.
  • Officer Reaction: Officers are not obligated to make an arrest but given probable cause to believe violence occurred, the preferred result is an arrest.

Possible Defensive Options

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justifiable force, DuPage County criminal defense lawyersWhen your actions have caused death or bodily harm to another, you may be faced with criminal charges. What happens, though, when your actions were in self-defense, or done to protect your home or a loved one? Is this still a criminal matter, or can you use justifiable force as a viable defense in your case? The answer to this depends on the situation. However, the following information can help you understand the basics of justifiable force in Illinois. 

When Might Justifiable Force Apply? 

Justifiable force cannot be used for every circumstance or every case. To effectively exercise this defense, you must have been defending yourself or another person from an unlawful act (i.e. sexual assault, battery, murder) or from death or bodily harm. Alternatively, you may be able use justifiable force in a situation where you were protecting your own property or a family member’s property from a break-in, attack, or other unlawful act. Still, this is not a blanket defense. There are other nuances to justifiable force that you must be aware of before trying to use it in your case.

Justifiable Force Versus Stand Your Ground 

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DuPage County fraud defense attorney, credit card fraudCrimes most commonly occur without the watchful eye of others — people are afraid of being caught and the conscience is not as easily ignored. Over recent years, there has been a steady increase of online purchasing and the rise of credit card fraud. The temptation of getting untold amounts of items without paying for them becomes overwhelmingly enticing for many and is surprisingly easy to accomplish through credit card fraud. However, a conviction of such magnitude is something that is to be considered and combatted with the assistance of a legal professional.

Forms of Credit Card Fraud

Ultimately, credit card fraud is using the account information of another individual for one’s purposes without consent. However, this is a highly generalized statement, and the behavior has multiple levels and can occur in varying forms. It is possible that someone has committed fraud without knowledge. The eight varying types of fraud consist of the following:

  • Using lost or stolen cards — the most common type of credit card fraud;

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DuPage County criminal defense attorneyTo those who are dealing with police for the first time, it is an unnerving process. There are legal terms and lingo that are unfamiliar. There often is someone at the station being disruptive, increasing tensions around the room. The fear of the unknown gets the best of many, and anxiety inhibits the ability to comprehend what is happening. With terms such as “arrested” and “charged” incorrectly used in daily conversation, understanding the circumstances becomes even more of a challenge. It is important to realize that once an arrest occurs, a criminal record is created that will follow you until you go through the expungement or sealing process.

Arrested

“You are under arrest! You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say…” the rest becomes a blur to the individual in handcuffs being dragged away to the patrol car. The seemingly long speech that they are legally obligated to give you is known as your Miranda Rights. If you were to listen to them in their entirety, they are clear and concise, letting you know that you have the right to an attorney and if you say anything it can be used against you. You should always heed this warning and not say a word until a lawyer is present. Arrested just means that you are in the custody by the police. The arrest is the act of handcuffing and going to the police station to sit while the prosecutor determines whether or not a case exists. Although the decision has not been made and there may never be a conviction or even a case, the arrest itself will appear on your record.

Charged

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Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
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