Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Chicago crime statistics,Abandoned buildings and vacant lots are frequently criminal hot spots. As Chicago officials search for ways to reduce crime within the city, the Chicago Department of Buildings has initiated their plan to demolish over 900 vacant homes and board up many others in hopes of curbing illegal activity. While the city has taken similar action in the past - over 250 buildings were demolished in 2012 - this project is different, as the Department of Buildings is working with the Chicago Police to specifically target high crime areas throughout the city. The first of the 900 homes to be demolished was brought down in February, with many more to come, mostly in the Calumet, Englewood, Harrison, and Deering police districts. Fewer Locations for Crime to Take Place Chicago officials say the goal is to remove potential gathering places for drug users, gang activity, prostitution, and other illegal activities. “We plan on expanding it to different locations throughout the city,” says the Chief of Patrol of the Chicago PD. “This is just one of the tools in our toolbox that we are going to utilize to make the city safer.” Police say that by fast tracking the demolition of these abandoned properties, criminals will have a tougher time finding locations to commit crimes. “These vacant buildings, we know that they are targets for gangs to gather and commit nefarious activity, such as storing weapons or selling illegal drugs.” In addition to the 900 some homes slated to be demolished, the city plans to board up hundreds of others. In 2015, the city boarded up around 3,000 vacant buildings in hopes of deterring criminal activity, and 425 have already been boarded up this year. Building Communities Up While some of the future vacant lots may be passed off to private developers, city officials are hoping that in addition to curbing crime, demolishing the vacant homes will help build up Chicago communities, thanks to an effort known as the Large Lot Program. According to the city, the Large Lot program helps re-establish communities by allowing vacated, city owned lots to sell to individuals who already own property on the same block for as low as $1. The city says the program aims to “stabilize neighborhoods, control public access to properties and prevent loitering.” The Chicago Buildings Commissioner says that thanks to the city's efforts, not only will crime be reduced, but community members will also be able to repurpose the abandoned spaces to enhance their community. Protection from Criminal Charges Be it on an abandoned lot or elsewhere, committing a crime can lead to serious consequences. As Chicago officials expand efforts to curb crime within the city, everyone should refrain from illegal activity. If you are facing criminal charges, your future may be in jeopardy. You need the help of a qualified Chicago area criminal attorney. Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel and his team have years of combined experience handling a variety of criminal cases. Do not leave your fate in the hands of the Chicago legal system. Call 312-629-0669 today to schedule your free consultation with us. We offer affordable, effective solutions to our clients. Sources:

Earlier this month, a man was placed under arrest for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence (DUI) when the vehicle he was driving left the highway, crossing into the center median, and struck a stationary police car. According to a report by The Chicago-Sun Times, the man was driving a pick-up truck on I-55 North at around 9:30 p.m. when the truck left the road and collided with the officer’s squad car.

The officer, as well as a police dog who was also in the car, were both killed in the crash. The driver of the pick-up truck was taken to the hospital and was then arrested once he was released.

Driving Under the Influence in Illinois

Any driver who has a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater is driving in violation of Illinois law (keep in mind that minors and commercial drivers are subject to lower limits).


Driver in Fatal Crash Did Not have a License

Posted on in Chicago News
Right before midnight on October 13th, there was a car crash on the east side of Aurora.  The crash left three people dead and another five injured, when a Dodge Charger drifted into the other lane into a full minivan.  The result of the head-on collision was devastating.  Especially since the driver of the Charger was driving without a license.

The family in the minivan lost two loved members, one was 57 year old Rose Cuanetl and the other was 77 year old Andrea Moyotl.  Two children were critically injured in the accident including the 17 year old driver of the vehicle.  Three males aged nine, twelve and 40 were injured in the wreck as well.  All of the injured passengers are expected to make a full recovery.

The driver of the Charger unfortunately did not recover from his injuries.  Oscar Rodriguez, 28, died from the crash on Broadway Avenue near Hazel Street.  Oscar shouldn’t have been driving at all, but decided to take his girlfriend’s car out for a drive.  There was no news about whether drugs or alcohol were a possible cause of the accident.

Rodriguez had a long rap sheet of traffic violations from all the way in 2003.  That was the first time that he was ticketed for driving without a license.  The State of Illinois has a three page summary of his offenses.  More recently he was cited again in 2009 and 2010.  In 2011, he served just 14 days in jail after pleading guilty in Kane County.

This is not an isolated incident but is fairly common in the state of Illinois.  Secretary of State Spokesperson Elizabeth Kaufman said that between 2010 and 2012 there has been more than 125,000 cases of people driving without a license.  That does not include those who have been driving with suspended or revoked licenses.  If you are driving with a revoked license there are ways to restore your eligibility to drive that does not involve breaking the law and putting yourself at more risk.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cook County today.

New Law for 2014 to Raise Speed Limits

Posted on in Chicago News

In August of 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law that will increase the speed limit to 70 miles per hour for some highways in Illinois.  Illinois is the 35th state to increase their speed limits to 70 mph.  The law allows eight counties to opt-out depending on their local safety concerns.  The eight counties are Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will.

Quinn approved the new law saying that “this limited 5 miles per hour increase will bring Illinois’ rural interstate speed limits in line with our neighbors’ and the majority of states across America, while preventing an increase in excessive speeding.”  The law also amended the previous definition of “excessive” from 31 mph over the speed limit to 26 mph over.

Quinn took the summer to consider the bill and decided that it was good for commerce and the drivers of Illinois.  Political support is also clear as the law passed 85 to 30 in the House and 41 to 6 in the Senate.  But there are many detractors to the new law including state police, roadway safety organizations, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.


Man Exonerated for Crime Sues Lake County Police

Posted on in Chicago News

By the time that Juan Rivera was taken into custody, the trail to find the killer of eleven year old Holly Staker had gone cold.  The girl had been raped and stabbed in Waukegan while babysitting for two children in the summer of 1992.  The Lake County Police Department had followed up on more than 600 leads to find the killer when they questioned the then 19 year old Juan Rivera for the second time.  He had originally stated that he was at a nearby party around the time of the crime.

Incongruities in his story lead the police to aggressively interrogate the man with a 9th grade education and psychological problems.  For up to four days, Rivera was subjected to almost constant questioning.  After banging his head against his cell, pulling out his hair and being restrained by handcuffs and leg shackles, he confessed to the murder in graphic detail.  His admission of guilt was the centerpiece in the case against him.

Rivera was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of the crimes in 1993.  In 1996, an appellate court reversed the decision based on errors in the trial and demanded a new trial.  By 1998, Rivera was retried and sentenced to life again. This time the appellate court did not overturn the decision.  It was only in 2006, when DNA tests confirmed that the semen was not Rivera’s that a third trial was ordered by the sentencing judge.  After being found guilty for the third time, an appeal in 2011 allowed Rivera to be exonerated and released in 2012.

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