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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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Can I Get a DUI for Using Prescription Drugs and Driving?Although it is illegal in every state, many people continue to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The use of any controlled substances can greatly affect their reflexes and reaction time, which may cause an accident. Car crashes can result in severe injuries or even fatalities. That is why the laws in Illinois are strict when it comes to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI stop can lead to arrest and steep fines, as well as jail time. However, if someone takes prescription medication and operates a vehicle, could that also result in a DUI charge? It is important to know what the law states on this type of legal drug use in Illinois so you can plan a strong criminal defense if you are faced with such charges. 

What Does “Driving Under the Influence” Mean?

The use of legal drugs, including prescription drugs, medical marijuana, and over-the-counter medications, can potentially lead to a DUI arrest and conviction just like a DUI related to alcohol. “Under the influence” is the term used when a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely was impacted to a significant degree by an alcoholic drink, a drug, or the two combined. That being said, someone can be considered under the influence of legal prescription drugs when driving. A lot of over-the-counter and prescription medicines can negatively impact motor skills, coordination, and alertness, even when the correct dosage is taken. A few of the typical side effects that can impact a person’s ability to drive include:

  • Dizziness;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Nausea;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Delayed movement;
  • Fainting; and
  • Inability to focus 

Various drugs can affect motorists in different ways depending on an individual’s height, weight, age, etc. Those drugs that impair judgment, reaction time, or motor skills are considered just as risky as alcoholic beverages. These side effects can lead to unsafe driving, often resulting in a car crash with injuries or fatalities.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_661207471.jpgIllinois has joined the ranks of states like California and Colorado to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana.  Although the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Act”) has been dubbed the most progressive marijuana bill in the country, it is certainly not without limits.  Here is what you need to know about the Act:

Who can buy marijuana?

Anyone 21 years of age or older.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_666918340.jpgOften times, criminal convictions go beyond lengthy prison sentences and include costly monetary penalties as well.  These penalties are not just limited to criminal cases but also apply to convictions for traffic matters.  A court may require a defendant to pay court costs, fees, and fines upon a finding of guilt.  Amounts vary from county to county, if not statutorily proscribed, and these financial obligations can quickly add up.  Failure to pay may lead to other sanctions including, but not limited to:

  • Incarceration;
  • suspension of one's driver's license;
  • increased time on supervision or probation;
  • unsuccessful termination from supervision or probation; or
  • increased court costs, fees or fines.

Additionally, these sanctions could potentially affect a person's ability to find or maintain gainful employment, housing, or professional licensing.  The potential financial burden that these fees may have on a person, coupled with the serious ramifications that may result from a person's failure to pay, led the Illinois legislature to enact the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act (the "Act").

Effective July 1, 2019, defendants will have additional options to help reduce their court costs, fees, and fines.  Specifically, defendants will now have the opportunity to petition the Court to convert some of their fees into community service credit, ask for a substance abuse treatment program credit, and apply for a fee waiver.  Depending on the circumstances, limitations may apply.

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