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Domestic disturbances are an unfortunate but common occurrence in everyday life.  Stress, relationship troubles, misunderstandings, and intoxication can all lead to a domestic disturbance.  Allegations of domestic violence carry consequences you may not realize, one of which is regarding federal and state gun laws.

Domestic Violence

Before we examine the details of how a charge of domestic violence can impact your right to own a gun, it might help to understand how the law defines domestic violence.  Under Illinois law, domestic abuse can be claimed by a lot of people, including spouses, former spouses, roommates, parents, children, stepchildren, the person you have a child with, someone you dated or were engaged to.

Crimes can be categorized into one of two major categories: crimes against individuals and crimes against property.  One of the more common property crimes that often occurs in the Chicagoland area is burglary. Many people are under the mistaken impression that burglary requires that perpetrator to unlawfully take another’s property. Under Illinois law, the actual taking of property is not required for a person to be charged with burglary, and a burglary case may even be brought against a person if they had no intention of stealing anything at all. Because of the potentially serious legal consequences a burglary suspect may be facing, it is important for anyone accused of burglary to discuss their case with a Chicago criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The early intervention of an attorney can often significantly affect the outcome of a case, and an attorney may even be able to have the completely dropped.

The Illinois Burglary Statute

Illinois’ burglary law can be found in ILCS 5/19, and makes it illegal to knowingly enter or remain in a building, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, or horsetrailer without authority with the intention of committing a theft or a serious crime. In other words, a person does not need to actually commit an additional crime, but only must have the intent to do so. In addition, while most burglary involves the taking of property, the intention to commit any other serious crime is sufficient. For example, a person who entered another person’s home with the intent of causing serious bodily harm could potentially be accused of burglary in addition to the violent act that may or may not have actually occurred. Illinois law also criminalizes the possession of burglary tools. The statute allows a judge or a jury to draw an inference of intent to sufficient to support a burglary charge if a person is found with a device intended to pick a lock.

Illinois criminal statutes classify each criminal offense as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The law then further divides offenses into certain classes of misdemeanors and felonies. The particular classification of your charge will depend on the circumstances surrounding your particular case, and the potential penalties you face will depend on the class of charge.

Felony charges in Illinois are divided into the following categories:

  • Class 4 felony (the least serious)

police-dui-checkpointMillions of Americans are arrested for driving under the influence every year. The criminal justice system still takes DUIs very seriously due to the immense danger impaired drivers pose to themselves and others.

If you have been arrested for a DUI recently, you might not know what to expect in the coming weeks or even months. In addition to losing your license, being charged with a DUI can raise your insurance rates and affect your future employment prospects.

It’s important to learn about the consequences that could occur following your DUI arrest, and the steps you should take to mitigate any damage the incident could do to your life.

duiAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 1.5 million Americans are charged with driving under the influence every year. DUIs and DWIs are considered a serious matters due to the dangers impaired drivers pose to themselves and others. The justice system understands the risks posed by such drivers, which is why they carry such severe penalties for them.

Most states have a set standard of minimum mandatory penalties for drivers convicted of DUIs. This means you will likely face jail time regardless of your BAC level when you were charged or other circumstances around your arrest.

The only way to avoid these penalties is to get your charges dropped. However, this can be a difficult process without the help of a qualified DUI defense attorney.

Driving is a privilege afforded to many residents all throughout Illinois, but it is one that comes with specific responsibilities. Those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol may see that privilege revoked, and may even be forced to spend time in jail.

In all states, a person with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol. Under Illinois law, even if a person does not meet the .08% BAC, he may be charged with driving under the influence, as some people are heavily impaired even with a BAC below .08%. However, people who are charged with driving under the influence with a BAC below .08% are not subject to an immediate license suspension.

Under Illinois Law, whether you are charged with a DUI in Lake County or Cook County, anyone under the age of 21 with a BAC of less than 0.08%, but still with a detectable amount of alcohol in their system, will be convicted of a DUI and their license will be suspended for a minimum of 3 months. If a minor’s BAC is above 0.08% the suspension is a minimum of 2 years.

“The 2010 US census is a fascinating statistical look at a wide range of factors impacting life in the United States, not least of which is the effect of crime – robbery and burglary in particular. Using the data from the Robbery and Property Crimes report, the infographic below takes a look at crime in modern America – where it happens, when it happens, and how often.” – “Crime Rates in America [infographic]” Video Security and CCTV Surveillance Blog – November 24, 2012.

Depositphotos_142957869_s-2019DUI Tests & Warrants in Illinois

Over the recent St. Patricks’ Day holiday weekend, several area law enforcement agencies conducted specialized efforts to catch those who may have been driving under the influence of alcohol. The Police on Lake County, IL especially cracked down on Drunk driving in Waukegan during that weekend.  It is common for police officers to make extended efforts to catch Illinois DUI offenders during certain events and holidays, including New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, Memorial Day, and at similar times.  Obviously no one should get behind wheel when they are incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.  But it is particularly important for local residents to understand when they may be under even tighter scrutiny by officers and what their rights are if pulled over on suspicion of a DUI.

For example, last week the Daily Herald reported on one community’s “No Refusal” St. Patrick’s Day Weekend put on by a local state’s attorney’s office and a few law enforcement agencies in Illinois.  Essentially, the joint effort was a means by which search warrants could be obtained quickly for those pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. In total, only two DUI arrests were made and no actual warrants were issued.

This is the age of Facebook, Twitter, and any other instant message update available.  These social media platforms have been useful for consumers to warn each other about speed traps and sobriety checkpoints.  Illinois motorists should take a lesson from this recent news report by being aware how tweets and posts about sobriety checkpoints may inspire police to change it up.  If you have already fallen victim to a sobriety checkpoint, you need a qualified Illinois DUI Defense Attorney to help you navigate the justice system.  With Labor Day weekend just around the corner, you should be aware of your rights when approaching these checkpoints.

The Constitutionality of Checkpoints

You may not know that the Supreme Court had to rule on the constitutionality of checkpoints because being stopped by police, whether on the street, in your car, or at the border amounts to a seizure that implicates the Fourth Amendment.  Although not all stops require individualized suspicion, all stops must be reasonable.

The answer to this question depends on who is doing the tracking and under what circumstances.  What you should be most concerned about is whether police are allowed to use GPS tracking devices to monitor your movements.  There are two scenarios where this is likely to happen, the first is where police are tracking you as part of an investigation and the other would be from violating an Order of Protection.

Police Investigation

This issue was recently taken all the way to the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Jones.  In Jones, local police and FBI were investigating a drug trafficking operation in D.C. that ultimately led to a life sentence of Defendant Jones.  Part of the investigation involved installing a GPS tracking device on Jones’s vehicle, which police monitored 24/7 for a month.  This helped secure his conviction at trial, but on appeal the court held that it violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.  The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, using the reasoning that the government invaded Jones personal property and conducted an extensive search that went beyond the bounds of the Forth Amendment.  Ultimately, Jones’s conviction was reversed because he was originally convicted using this illegal evidence.

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