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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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IL defense lawyerEach year, there is more than $45 billion lost from inventory shrinkage in the retail industry in the United States. Inventory shrinkage is caused by things such as fraud, internal theft, shoplifting, and even organized retail crime. Though it may seem like a victimless crime, retail theft harms the economy. This is why retailers and law enforcement officials have placed increased focus on catching shoplifters and prosecuting them in recent years. In Illinois, retail theft encompasses a wide variety of behaviors, not simply just taking an item without paying for it. In some instances, retail theft charges can become felony charges, which mean you face harsher consequences than if the charges were just misdemeanor charges.

Misdemeanor Retail Theft Charges

In general, a first-offense retail theft charge will be considered a Class A misdemeanor. This means you will face up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines and/or possible probation time as a punishment. Retail theft is typically a Class A misdemeanor for first-time offenders as long as the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $300 or $150 for motor fuel.

Felony Retail Theft Charges

It does not take much for retail theft charges to escalate to felony charges. The offender's prior history with theft, robbery, burglary, forgery or other related crimes can dictate whether or not a charge is elevated to a felony charge. If the person has been convicted of retail theft of merchandise less than $300 and was previously convicted of theft, robbery, burglary or related crimes, the retail theft charge will become a Class 4 felony. This means the person can face one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

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IL defense lawyerIf you have a driver’s license in Illinois, then you have an Illinois driving record. One of the most common traffic violations in the state of Illinois and in the United States is speeding. Because speeding can cause real damage to property and other drivers, Illinois law enforcement officers and others in the criminal justice system take speeding charges very seriously. Every time you are pulled over or issued a ticket for any moving or non-moving violation, it is recorded onto your driving record. For certain jobs, a marred driving record can be detrimental, which is why some people seek to have their traffic violations expunged - but can you?

Minor Traffic Offenses and Expungement

The short answer is, maybe. For the most part, minor traffic offenses cannot be expunged in Illinois. A minor traffic offense is defined as a petty offense, business offense or Class C misdemeanor under the Illinois Vehicle Code. Typically, only criminal offenses are able to be expunged, so since a minor traffic offense is not a criminal offense, it cannot be expunged. There is one way around this rule, though. If you were arrested for a minor traffic offense, but you were released without being charged, you may be able to expunge or seal that record.

Misdemeanor Speeding Tickets and Expungement

There are two levels of speeding in Illinois and they carry two different crime classifications. If you are arrested for speeding between 26 mph and 34 mph, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. If you are arrested for speeding 35 mph or more over the speed limit, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. You can petition to expunge these arrests if:

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