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Criminal Defense

IL defense lawyerOne of the most innate human instincts is the fight or flight response. When we are faced with something intimidating, dangerous or scary, there is a split second in which your body decides whether you should stand your ground and fight the obstacle or if you should protect yourself and flee from it. Though we do not have to rely on this instinct nearly as much anymore, some people can still be overtaken by it in stressful situations, say, such as a car accident. Fleeing the scene of a car accident is not only impolite, but it is also illegal and can lead to criminal charges.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property-Damage

Some people may think that they do not have to stop after an accident if nobody was hurt; that is not the case. By law, you must still stop if you get into an accident involving property damage and give the other driver your information, such as your name, phone number, vehicle registration number, and your complete insurance information. Failure to do so can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge. If you are convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you could face up to one year in prison and a maximum of $2,500 in fines. The Secretary of State’s Office will also suspend your driver’s license if the damage to the other person’s vehicle is estimated to be more than $1,000.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Bodily Injury or Death

If you flee from the scene of an accident that involved death or bodily injury, the consequences become more serious. By law, you are required to stop right away, provide help to anyone who needs it and exchange information with the other driver. You are also required to call 911 if someone is in serious condition and needs medical attention. If calling 911 is not necessary, you are required to report the accident to law enforcement within 30 minutes or risk criminal charges.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shoplifter.jpgJuvenile crime has decreased over the past couple of years, but certain crimes still tend to be popular with teenagers. According to the FBI, there were more than 93,000 juveniles arrested for suspicion of committing theft or larceny in 2017. In the United States, a juvenile is considered to be anyone who is under the age of 18, though the state of Illinois will prosecute those who are 17 or older for serious crimes. Although juveniles are not tried in the same court as adults, the charges that both juvenile and adult offenders face are the same and can become very serious rather quickly.

What Is Retail Theft?

Illinois law provides for general theft, but there is also a separate statute for charges relating to retail theft. General retail theft occurs when a person takes possession of, carries away or transfers any merchandise from a retail establishment with the purpose of depriving the merchant of the benefit or full or partial retail value of the merchandise.

Retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor as long as the retail value of the merchandise that was stolen was no greater than $300. Penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines and/or up to two years of probation. If the retail value of the merchandise exceeds $300, then the charge is increased to a Class 4 felony. Penalties for Class 4 felonies include one to three years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines and/or up to 30 months of probation.

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IL juvenile lawyerIn 1899, Illinois was the first state to do something that no other state had done before -- create a juvenile justice system. Prior to then, juveniles were tried in adult court and were treated as adults were. Illinois lawmakers realized that juveniles had different needs and abilities than adults did and that a separate court and justice system was necessary. The juvenile justice system emphasizes the importance of rehabilitating and protecting youth after they commit a crime -- not punishing them. The juvenile justice system also awards certain rights to both children and their parents or guardians when they are in trouble with the law. Many people may not know about these rights, but it is important that you exercise those rights if your child has gotten into trouble.

Rights of Juvenile Offenders

Every person is guaranteed certain rights by the United States Constitution, but juveniles have special, additional rights because they are a part of the juvenile justice system. Rights that juveniles have include:

  • Right to Remain Silent: Like all other American citizens, children who are arrested and interrogated by police have the right to remain silent. They must be notified of this right before any interrogation begins. This is known as the right against self-incrimination.
  • Right to Legal Representation: Another one of the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, children have a right to be represented by a lawyer during the criminal process. If you do not have the means to hire a private lawyer, a public defender who is knowledgeable about juvenile justice will be appointed to your child.
  • Right to Talk to a Parent or Guardian: Before your child submits to any questioning, they should inform the officer that they would like you to be present during questioning. Police must immediately try to contact you.
  • Right to Know the Charges Against Them: Police are required to tell your child what charges are being held against them and why police believe they committed a crime.

Rights of Parents

Parents also have rights when their child is arrested. These rights include:

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IL defense lawyerMost crime in the United States is committed by adults -- but that does not mean that juvenile crime is uncommon. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were over 8 million arrests in 2017, but only an estimated 815,173 -- or 9.9 percent -- of those arrests were for people under the age of 18. Of those juvenile arrests, an overwhelming amount (769,985 or 94 percent) of them were teenagers. Law enforcement officers have reported that there is a noticeable trend in the types of crimes that teenagers commit. Here are the top crimes that teenagers have been known to commit:

Theft/Larceny: In 2017, there were 93,178 arrests to juveniles for suspicion of committed theft or larceny. In Illinois, theft is committed when a person knowingly takes control over property owned by someone else, whether that is by deception or threat of harm. It also occurs when a person obtains control over property and knows that the property is stolen. Shoplifting occurs when a person takes property from a retail establishment without paying for it. Theft/larceny charges can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods.

Vandalism: There were 28,842 juvenile arrests for vandalism in 2017. According to Illinois code, vandalism is the act of damaging, destructing, defacing or otherwise destroying property of another person. The type of vandalism that teenagers commit is typically tagging and graffiti, drawing on walls or defacing cars.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_404002519.jpgFar too often, a fun and relaxing evening spent with family and friends can end up being a night spent behind bars, due to drinking and driving. Being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is serious. You may lose potential employment opportunities, the ability to drive, and even your vehicle, in more serious cases. In the state of Illinois, anyone who is accused of a DUI must go through a drug or alcohol evaluation before sentencing for the offense.

Why Does the Offender Have to Be Evaluated?

The evaluation was made to determine the offender’s alcohol and drug use and the risk to public safety. The offender’s driving record, chemical test results, test score and category, and an interview with an evaluator will be reviewed during this process. 

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