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New Illinois Law Encourages Probation for Low-Level Offenders2017 brings some good news for certain low-level offenders who could be facing a prison sentence. A new law effective Jan. 1, 2017 requires judges to review presentence reports and give reasons why an offender is being sentenced to jail time if the crime is a Class 3 or Class 4 felony and the offender has no prior violent convictions.

Thus, if you are convicted of a crime that could be punishable by probation or conditional discharge, and you have never been sentenced to either before, a judge must explain why a prison sentence is appropriate.

This law should have the effect of reducing the number of offenders sentenced to a prison term and increase the number of offenders receiving probation. Supporters of the law say that it will:

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Poor Impulse Control Rooted in Teen Brain Development Teens and juveniles are known to act without thinking about the consequences. This is known as poor impulse control, and scientists believe that there is a particular area of the brain that is responsible for such behavior.

What Is Poor Impulse Control?

Poor impulse control is often viewed as immaturity or poor decision-making. This characteristic typically comes up in teenagers. As any parent can attest, younger children are often more cautious than teens.

Neuroscientists say that teens’ poor impulse control comes out the most when they are in social situations. This can lead to teens committing crimes or being accused of crimes. For example, a teen may be more likely to take drugs, get into a fight, or drive dangerously when around other teenagers.

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Police Take Winning Lottery Ticket During Drug RaidA woman in Decatur, Illinois lost her winning lottery ticket when her home was raided after her boyfriend was suspected of dealing drugs. The winning scratch-off ticket was worth $50,000.  How could the police do this legally?

The answer is that there is a procedure in Illinois called asset forfeiture that allows police to seize property that is suspected to be related to a crime or the fruit of a crime. In the case of the winning lottery ticket, police believed that the ticket was purchased using proceeds from drug dealing.

A trial court ruled that the lottery ticket could be returned to the girlfriend, who was the person who scratched the ticket off. However, the appellate court reversed, holding that police could keep the ticket and the winnings.

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Your Rights If You Are Suspected of Shoplifting, theft, criminal lawShoplifting is a common crime. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the U.S. in the past five years, according to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention.

Being accused of shoplifting or theft is unique in that police are not usually involved, at least at first. Usually, a security guard or someone else employed by the store is the person to first accuse someone suspected of shoplifting. Because of this, there are different rules that stores and security guards must follow.

What happens if you are suspected of shoplifting? First, a store employee may stop you, and they can stop you before you exit the store. Under Illinois law,  a store can detain you if they have “reasonable grounds” to believe that you shoplifted. The store can only detain a suspect in a “reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time” for the purpose of:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_internet-crime.jpgCyberstalking is more than just Google searching or Facebook snooping. Under Illinois law, cyberstalking is specifically defined act and is punishable by prison time under the law.

There are two types of cyberstalking scenarios. Generally, they are:

  1. Harassment of another on at least two separate occasions through electronic communication that causes the target to fear for his or her safety (or the safety of another) or that causes the target emotional distress.
  2. Creation and maintenance of a website for at least 24 hours that is accessible to one or more third parties that make harassing statements or communicates a threat of bodily harm to another.

Cyberstalking is a class four felony.  Class four felonies are punishable by one to three years in prison. Additionally, a fine of up to $25,000 could be imposed. Illinois law also provides for specific laws against cyberbullying for school children.  

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illinois marijuana law changesAround the United States, there has been a concerted movement toward decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana. In Illinois, a bill was passed in which decriminalizes small amounts of the drug, meaning that any offense resulting from getting caught with marijuana will be civil in nature. However, there are many different aspects of the change that can come across as unclear to the average person.

The Facts

SB 2228 eliminates the criminal penalties for anyone caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana and imposes a fine of between $100 and $200, in most cases. It also establishes a precedent for any charges to be expunged after six months, if the offender does not get in any other legal trouble. This law also includes language that regulates the threshold over which a driver is ruled to be impaired. Previously, this was one of the main roadblocks that prevented the passage of a similar bill in 2015 that Governor Rauner pushed to include such a qualifier.

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Posted on in Juvenile Law

underage drinking and driving in IllinoisMany minors fail to realize the devastating legal consequences associated with underage drinking in the state. Indeed, Illinois is one of the states that has zero tolerance for underage drinkers as well, which means that getting caught indulging can lead to serious, long-term repercussions.

Obtaining and Drinking Alcohol

One of the most common alcohol-related acts that result in criminal charges for minors in Illinois involves using fake IDs to purchase alcohol. In Illinois, it is illegal for a minor to buy, consume, possess, or receive alcohol, and being found to have done any of these is an automatic three-month suspension of one’s driving privileges. Transporting alcohol is also illegal, and anyone in the vehicle may incur a fine, with the driver being on the proverbial hook for at least one-year mandatory suspension.

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dupage county expungement lawyerWhat many people do not realize is that if you are arrested or charged with a crime, a criminal record is automatically created even if the charges are later dropped. This can create problems later in life, especially with such common acts as applying for a job or trying to obtain credit. Sometimes, it may be possible to have your record expunged, which means that your previous charges or arrests can be erased. This is quite different from having your record sealed, which only blocks your criminal record from public view.

Do I Qualify for Expungement or Record Sealing?

Not everyone will be eligible to have his or her criminal record expunged. If you cannot, however, you may be able to have your record sealed. The criteria for having a criminal record expunged differ from state to state, but in Illinois, they are fairly straightforward. The most important point is that you must never have been convicted of a criminal offense or a municipal violation. If you have been, you will be automatically ineligible to expunge your record (with the rare exception of specific crimes committed by honorably discharged veterans).

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