Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Under Illinois law, there are three classes of misdemeanor offenses: A, B, and C. Class A misdemeanor penalties are the most severe, while Class C misdemeanors carry lesser potential penalties.

A Class C misdemeanor in Illinois carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,500 plus any mandatory court costs. The defendant may be placed on a period of court supervision, conditional discharge or probation for up to 2-years. Specific sentencing guidelines for Class C misdemeanors can be found under Illinois law 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-65.

Two of the most common Class C misdemeanors are Disorderly Conduct and Assault.

The DUI attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. are passionate about what they do and will provide you with both knowledgeable and aggressive representation in the courtroom. Our approach is different from other law firms because we focus on our client’s specific needs and create a personally tailored strategy for every case that we handle.

What truly distinguishes us from other DUI lawyers is our commitment to providing value for our clients. That is why we offer a free initial consultation to our prospective clients, so we can analyze your situation and advise you of your options before you pay any fees.

How can The Davis Law Group, P.C. defend my DUI case?

A Class B misdemeanor in Illinois carries a maximum penalty of up to 6 months (180 days) imprisonment in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,500 plus any mandatory court costs. The defendant may be placed on a period of court supervision, conditional discharge or probation for a maximum of 2 years. Sentencing guidelines for a Class B misdemeanor can be found under Illinois law 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-60.

Speeding 26 to 34 mph over the posted speed limit is one of the most common Class B misdemeanor offenses in Illinois. This offense is also referred to as aggravated speeding, excessive speeding or misdemeanor speeding. Overall, Class B misdemeanors are actually far less common than Class A misdemeanors in Illinois.

Although Class B misdemeanors are not as severe as Class A misdemeanors or felony offenses, they are still criminal charges carrying serious potential consequences. Any criminal conviction on your record may have long term consequences on your personal or professional life.

In order to stop a vehicle, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is committing a violation of Illinois law. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that law enforcement have specific and articulable facts that a crime has been committed, or is about to be committed, to justify the stop of a vehicle. An exception to this requirement is known as the community caretaking function, which allows a police officer to investigate if the driver appears to be in need of assistance.

Of course, there are a wide variety of offenses that can justify a vehicle stop. In DUI cases, the officer does not need to have a basis to believe that the driver is under the influence at the time of the stop. Minor moving violations or even equipment violations (i.e. a burnt out taillight or cracked windshield) are valid grounds to stop a vehicle. Most Illinois DUI investigations will begin with an allegation of improper lane usage, speeding or other common moving violations under the Illinois Vehicle Code.

When conducting an Illinois DUI arrest, the police officer must have probable cause to believe that a driver is under the influence. Probable cause is a higher standard than the reasonable suspicion necessary to stop a vehicle. Once a police officer has stopped a vehicle, that officer must be able to articulate specific facts supporting a belief that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, medical cannabis, or another intoxicating compound in order to arrest the person for DUI. This can be based on factors relating to the driver’s speech, appearance, and odor. Specifically, officers will often point to sign of impairment including bloodshot and/or glassy eyes, slurred speech, soiled clothing, unusual actions, inconsistent responses and the odor of alcohol and/or marijuana.

“Second chance probation” is a sentence in Illinois that allows certain offenders to clear a conviction from their record after serving at least two-years of probation (730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.4). This law, which became effective January 1, 2014, allows the court to sentence the defendant to probation without entering a judgement. Those who have previously been convicted (i.e. probation or conditional discharge) of any felony offense are not eligible for this sentence. In addition, this sentence is not available for violent offenders or defendants who have previously plead guilty or who have been found guilty of a violent offense. Second Chance Probation may be offered to defendants charged with certain probationable felony offenses such as possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis, theft, retail theft, and criminal damage to property.

When a defendant is sentenced to Second Chance Probation, the court will order a minimum period of 24-months probation and defer any further proceedings. Defendants sentenced to Second Chance Probation, in addition to other conditions, may not violate any criminal statute, may not possess a firearm, must make restitution if required, must obtain or attempt to obtain employment, must pay fines and costs, must attend educational courses, must submit to periodic drug testing, and must perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service.

If successful, the court will discharge the defendant and dismiss the proceedings. The defendant may be eligible for expungement of the arrest after 5 years.

Governor Rauner has signed into law a change to the Illinois DUI law involving driving while under the influence of cannabis (marijuana).

Until this change, it was illegal to drive with any amount of cannabis in a person’s system. It did not make any difference if the person was under the influence or impaired by the drug. Additionally, the law did not distinguish between the active ingredient in cannabis (THC) and the inactive ingredient (THC-COOH). It is only the active ingredient that causes impairment. This law was commonly referred to as a ‘zero-tolerance’ DUI law.

Under the new law, it is no longer illegal to drive with cannabis in your system unless you are impaired (under the influence) by the substance. Basically, there are two ways a person can be found guilty under the new law:

Construction is underway on a new eight-story criminal court at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Illinois. The new 200,000 square foot building is set to be completed by June 2018. The courthouse has not been expanded since 1989. It will include 12 new courtrooms and a walkway to the main courthouse. There is still some uncertainty as to the use of the top two floors.

The new building will also have an underground tunnel, which will allow inmates to be transported to the courthouse more efficiently. The Babcock Justice Center, which houses the county jail, is also slated for updates of the intake and booking areas and kitchen and dining areas which is scheduled to be completed in 2019. No additional jail cells will be added.

The Lake County Bar Association has expressed concerns over the current state of the courthouse including the safety and security of witnesses and privacy for meetings between attorneys and clients.

A new pilot program in Lake County offers treatment, rather than jail time for those struggling with drug abuse or addition. “A Way Out” is an initiative that will allow individuals that may be in possession of narcotics or paraphernalia to go to participating police departments requesting treatment. In exchange for their participation in the program, there will not be any criminal charges filed against them. The participants will be connected with the appropriate treatment facility immediately and the police may even provide their transportation to the facility.

A few participants have already entered the program after arriving at police stations asking for help. They were then transported to treatment facilities, mainly for opioid addiction.

Every three to six months, the program will be evaluated, changes will be made accordingly and additional police departments will be added.

Two new bills, which will make it easier for individuals with a criminal record to obtain employment, are now awaiting the signature of Governor Rauner. Under HB 5793, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation would be prohibited from barring criminals from working in certain fields, such as barbering, roofing and cosmetology, unless their crimes directly relate to the occupation for which they are trying to obtain a license. Simply put, it will be much easier for individuals with a criminal record to obtain occupational licenses. This is especially important since approximately 25% of Illinois residents need an occupational license to perform in their trade. The second bill will help individuals with criminal records obtain a license to work in healthcare.

Under current law, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation can deny occupational licenses to individuals with criminal records. Illinois provides for more than 100 licenses which may or must be denied because of a felony arrest, or sometimes even a misdemeanor.

New Bills Will Make It Easier For Felons to Find Work, www.wbez.org, June 1, 2016

A new Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission report released last month examined juvenile expungements from 2004 to 2014. It concluded that only three records for every 1000 juvenile arrests are expunged including those cases that are ultimately dismissed. In Illinois, it is not a criminal offense to improperly share records of juveniles, as it is in many other states. The study concluded that the laws and policies of this state threaten public safety and the ability for juveniles to transition to productive adulthood.

The Commission made recommendations to increase the scope of confidentiality and access to juvenile record expungement.

Report: Only A Fraction of Juvenile Records Expunged in Illinois, www.progressillinois.com, May 2, 2016

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