Madelyn Daley
Attorney at Law

US Local 618-509-9724

Belleville Criminal Defense Blog

Man faces multiple drug charges following search of home

Many drug-related arrests follow a search of the accused person's home or vehicle. In some cases, however, officers will perform a search in violation of the accused's Fourth Amendment rights. Under the Fourth Amendment, U.S. citizens are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures of their homes. In other words, if an officer performs a search without probable cause to do so, any contraband he or she finds may not be used in the case against the accused.

A 24-year-old Chicago man was recently arrested for drug crimes in Bloomington following a search of the man's home. According to the Assistant State's Attorney on the case, officers found a ledger in the home detailing various drug transactions. Police also allegedly found fairly large amounts of cocaine and marijuana in the home, as well as thousands of dollars in what is believed to be drug money.

School bus driver faces DUI charges

When people think of DUI charges, they often assume that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. However, many DUI charges stem from drivers taking over-the-counter or prescribed medications. According to Illinois law, a person prohibited from driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds or any combination of the three that causes the driver to become incapable of driving safely.

An Illinois school bus driver was recently charged with a DUI of medication when he was stopped for erratic driving while transporting a junior high wrestling team home from a school event. The driver was also charged with reckless endangerment of children. According to the school district, the driver had taken all necessary tests earlier in the school year and had passed all of them.

Illinois' strict stand against retail theft

Shoplifting may seem like a minor and harmless crime, especially if it occurs in a large retail chain. However, because of the millions of dollars retailers lose each year to shoplifters, Illinois lawmakers and law enforcement consider it to be much more than a teenage prank. In fact, in certain circumstances, shoplifting can be a felony charge, placing you at risk for high fines and even time behind bars.

In addition to the very rigid retail theft laws in this state, if a merchant suspects you of shoplifting, Illinois permits that merchant to detain you lawfully to check your identification or contact police. You may be surprised at how broad the definition of shoplifting is that allows merchants the leniency to hold you.

Defending against assault and battery charges in Illinois

Finding out that you are facing criminal charges for assault and battery can be traumatic and nerve-wracking. However, it is important to remember that being accused of a violent crime is not the same thing as being convicted of one. In order to get a conviction, the prosecutor on your case has a legal obligation to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Fortunately for criminal defendants, it can very difficult for prosecutors to meet this high standard. With the right criminal defense strategy, you and your attorney can fight the assault and/or battery charges against you and find ways to protect you from serious criminal penalties.

In order to prove assault and/or battery, the prosecutor will be focused on proving that you harmfully or offensively touched another person with intent or acted in a threatening manner to make another person fear immediate harm. To disprove these elements, many defendants use the defense of self-defense.

You can face DUI charges with a BAC level under .08 percent

Many Illinois drivers assume that they can only get charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol content level is .08 or higher. However, according to 625 ILCS 6/11-501, it is also against the law for a person to drive a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol to a degree that prevents them from driving safely or are under the influence of drugs.

In other words, you can be charged with a DUI with a BAC level under .08 if the officer at the scene finds that your driving ability is impaired. Merely having a BAC level of less than .08 is typically not enough for a solid DUI defense. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your vision, slow your reaction times and affect your decision-making abilities. Also, keep in mind that many things can affect how your body is affected by alcohol on any given day, including your size and weight, the amount you drink, the food you have eaten and your tolerance levels.

Recreational marijuana possession is illegal in Illinois

Many states across the country have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. While medical marijuana is legal in Illinois, growing or possessing marijuana, in any form, for recreational purposes is illegal and can result in criminal charges.

Charges for drug crimes can stem from carrying marijuana on your person or possessing it in your car or having it in your home. The severity of your charges will depend on the quantity of the cannabis in your possession. If you possess less than 2.5 grams, you could face a Class C misdemeanor charge and face up to 30 days in jail and up to $1,500 in fines. If you possess 2.5 grams to 10 grams, you could face a Class B misdemeanor charge, resulting in up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,500 in fines. Possessing 10 to 30 grams for a first-time offender qualifies as a Class A misdemeanor charge, which could lead to up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Any quantities over 30 grams are generally considered Class 4 felonies, which could result in three to 15 years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines, depending on the quantity.

What are drug paraphernalia charges?

While many Illinois residents know that buying, selling and possessing illegal substances is against the law, not many are aware that it can also be illegal to possess items that are related to those drugs, even if someone does not have drugs on their person. These charges are known as drug paraphernalia and are also considered drug crimes that one can be charged with. There are both federal and state laws that cover these charges.

Illinois driver faces drug charges following routine traffic stop

Many drug arrests occur after an officer stops a driver for a run-of-the-mill traffic violation. A 24-year-old Illinois driver was recently pulled over for several speeding violations. The man apparently gave the officer a fake name, as he allegedly had outstanding warrants and was avoiding arrest. The officer searched the vehicle after he reportedly smelled marijuana, and found prepackaged cocaine and cannabis, as well as Oxycodone pills.

The man was then arrested and charged with numerous drug crimes, including unlawful delivery of cocaine, unlawful delivery of cocaine, and unlawful delivery of cannabis. He was also charged with obstructing identification, lack of a valid driver's license, and speeding, as well as the two outstanding warrants. A 21-year-old female passenger was also cited for failing to properly restrain a child under the age of 8 in the vehicle.

Should you challenge the legality of your DUI traffic stop?

Illinois laws are strict on drunk driving, and a conviction can lead to complications and various penalties that can affect your life for a long time. You understand the importance of fighting back and building a strong defense, but you may be unsure of where to begin. It can be helpful to first review every aspect of your case – starting with the initial traffic stop.

It can be smart to review the traffic stop because there is a chance that you experienced a violation of your rights or there was no valid cause for law enforcement to pull you over to begin with. If this is the case, it could be grounds to challenge the entire case against you. Police officers have to have reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over for suspected DUI.

Plea bargains are an option for some in DUI cases

For those facing serious charges involving allegations of driving while drunk, understanding the legal process and the options for resolving a particular case is an important first step towards planning a path forward.

One option that will likely be discussed over the course of a consultation regarding defense strategies is the possibility of a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor assigned to the case and the defendant on a possible disposition of the case prior to trial. For the prosecutor, the general idea is that it is more efficient to handle the case this way and avoid the time and expense of a trial. For the defendant, the offer may be enticing if it means a lesser charge or a reduced sentencing recommendation.

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