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Itasca criminal defense lawyer domestic violenceUnfortunately, not every married couple lives happily ever after. Life can present its fair share of challenges, such as a job loss or the death of a close friend or relative, and these issues can put a significant strain on a relationship. Some spouses may turn to alcohol or drugs as a means of coping with stress. When controlled substances are added into the mix, arguments can escalate and even lead to physical confrontations in certain situations. According to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in three women and one in four men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. If you find yourself facing charges of domestic violence, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. In some cases, the accusations may be based on false information or inadequate evidence.  

Illinois Domestic Violence Act

According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, it is a crime if a person hits, chokes, kicks, threatens, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of a household or family member. Under the law, this can include the following individuals:

  • Family members related by blood

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DuPage County criminal defense lawyerLaws are put in place at the local, state, and federal levels in an effort to protect society. As technology continues to advance, existing laws may need to be amended to remain relevant and effective. More than 200 new laws went into effect in Illinois at the start of the new year, impacting a number of different areas. Some of this new legislation affects the fines and penalties for various traffic violations. If motorists choose to disregard or disobey any traffic law, they may be subject to criminal charges, depending on the circumstances.  

Punishment for Violating Scott’s Law 

Scott’s Law applies to Illinois motorists who pass any police or emergency vehicle that is stopped along the roadway. Scott’s Law requires drivers to slow down, switch lanes, and proceed with caution when approaching emergency or disabled vehicles on the side of the road. As of January 1, 2020, the fines and penalties for breaking the law increased. Now, the fine for a first offense is $250 and $750 for consecutive violations. The new law also established the Scott’s Law Fund, which hires Illinois State Police off-duty troopers to enforce Scott’s Law. Additionally, the fund develops educational materials to increase awareness of the law and the importance of driving safely. 

Fines Regarding School and Work Zones

In Illinois, and throughout the country, school zones have lower speed limits than other roadways to protect children. Speeding in a school zone can result in a traffic violation. As of January 1, 2020, the fines for illegally passing a stopped school bus doubled, from $150 to $300 for the first violation and from $500 to $1,000 for a second or subsequent violation. 

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Itasca property crimes attorneyThere are many acts that constitute a criminal offense in the United States. However, not everyone might know that certain actions that can result in an arrest, and they may be unaware of the potential punishments. In Illinois, a property crime is defined as the theft or destruction of another person’s property. Depending on the circumstances, the charges can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, with varying penalties if someone is convicted. It is important to note that property is not just limited to a piece of land or a personal possession, such as a house, a vehicle, or expensive artwork. In some cases, intellectual property can be stolen, which refers to inventions, writings and artwork, designs, names, symbols, and images. Essentially, anything of value to the owner can be considered property.  

Examples of Property Crimes

There are many different types of property crimes according to Illinois law. These can include the following acts or behaviors: 

  • Arson

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Itasca criminal defense lawyerThe phrase “violent crimes” can refer to various types of criminal offenses. Under Illinois law, violent crimes involve harm or the threat of harm to another person. One of the most serious of these offenses is homicide. Illinois law distinguishes between the types or “levels” of homicide as follows: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and involuntary manslaughter/reckless homicide. The main difference between the crimes is the state of mind of the alleged offender at the time of the killing. Generally, this means one act may be intentional or premeditated, while another may be accidental. This key distinction can be very important in building a criminal defense strategy for the defendant. 

First-Degree Murder

First-degree murder is the most serious homicide charge. According to Illinois law, it is defined as intending to kill or do great bodily harm to another person, while knowing that the act would cause death, and without lawful justification. In other words, the perpetrator acted intentionally, and the killing was not committed in self-defense. 

Felony murder refers to a legal doctrine that states that if a defendant commits a forcible felony (such as armed robbery), and that act results in someone’s death, the offender can be charged with first-degree murder as a result of that death.

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DuPage County weapons offensesGun laws vary significantly from state to state. Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws and associated criminal penalties in the country. Illinois residents who violate firearm laws can face heavy fines and years of incarceration as a result. If you or someone you know has been charged with a firearm-related crime, it is crucial that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney to learn about your defense options.

Gun Owners Must Obtain a FOID Card

Illinois residents who wish to legally own a firearm or ammunition must obtain a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) from the Illinois State Police. Other than certain individuals who are exempt from this rule, such as members of the Armed Forces, anyone caught owning a firearm without a FOID card can face criminal consequences. Having a firearm in your possession without a FOID card is considered a petty offense in some circumstances and a felony offense in other circumstances.While this might seem like a rather dramatic range, there are many variables that must be taken into account by prosecutors. 

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Owning a gun with an expired FOID card that has been expired for six months or less is typically only a petty offense. If you own a gun without a FOID card but you qualify for a FOID card, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor unlawful possession of a firearm offense. This crime is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500. A second or subsequent FOID violation can be considered a Class 4 felony offense punishable by three years’ imprisonment and heavy fines. 

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