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Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, federal charges, state criminal charges,In order to be found guilty of a crime, traditionally the prosecutor had to prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt: that the defendant charged with a crime both did in fact commit the criminal act (the “actus reus”) and did so while having the intent to violate the law (the “mens rea”). Requiring both a guilty act and a guilty mind has traditionally been a protection afforded to those charged with crimes and has served to focus prosecutors’ attention on those defendants who are more deserving of punishment due to their willful actions. But recent reports and stories suggest that more and more federal crimes are being created that do not require any “guilty mind” in order for a person to be found guilty.

The Importance of Mens Rea

 Typically, criminal statutes require some sort of “guilty mindset” in order to support a criminal charge. It would be unfair, for example, to convict someone of murder when that person did not mean or intend to kill the other person. Most criminal statutes require, at the very least, some knowledge or an awareness that one’s actions might result in a certain consequence. The traditional exception was traffic infractions and local ordinance violations. Because these offenses are generally minor and result in only the payment of a fine, it was generally accepted that no specific intent to violate the traffic law or ordinance had to be proven. But now reports and stories suggest citizens are being fined, placed on probation, and (in some cases) given prison sentences without the prosecution having to show any intent to violate the law at all.

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, property seizureA frequently overlooked consequence of federal criminal charges is civil forfeiture. In fact, a person does not even need to be charged with federal crimes in order to find his or her property subject to seizure by state or federal law enforcement agencies. Civil forfeiture laws are, in theory, designed to prevent a criminal from profiting from his or her criminal acts. For example, a drug dealer who uses a particular vehicle to transport drugs into and out of Illinois should not be able to keep the car or any of the money connected with that illegal activity.

However, since such laws were first reformed in the mid-1980s, there have been numerous stories of abuses of these forfeiture laws by law enforcement officials. Mothers have had their homes taken away under forfeiture laws because their children were found in possession of drugs; a nursery owner had $9,600 in cash seized by law enforcement because he took a “suspicious” trip to Houston to buy plants even though the man never faced any drug dealing charges.

The 1984 reforms introduced a practice known as “equitable sharing,” in which local law enforcement agencies would share in the profits of confiscated assets with federal agencies. Critics of civil forfeiture laws argue that this practice increases the incentives for local law enforcement to seize and retain property under these laws, even if the owner is not ever charged with any crimes.

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Illinois defense attorney, traffic violations, Illinois speeding laws,Sometimes a temptation is too much to bear: orange cones restricting Illinois drivers to a single lane of traffic, a speed limit set far below the normal limit for the road, and no one else around. Regardless of whether he is trying to reach his destination faster or she simply fails to see the traffic signage, an Illinois driver who is charged with speeding in a construction zone can face serious fines and administrative penalties.

What is a Construction Zone?

 Although most individuals are familiar with what a “construction zone” is, the term actually has a specific legal definition. A “construction zone” must meet the following characteristics:

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blood alchol content, BAC, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Illinois DUI attorney, State law in Illinois is extremely aggressive in its prosecution of drivers who operate a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition to a zero-tolerance per se driving law for cannabis, drivers are considered impaired if blood-alcohol level is .08 percent or higher. Illinois DUI laws also gives discretion to the apprehending officer to cite drivers for the same if blood alcohol is over .05 percent, but the penalties for drunk driving are not automatically triggered and depend on the decision of a court case (or plea deal).

Statutory Summary Suspension

Per Illinois DUI laws, drivers tested roadside with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) over .08 percent or who refuse testing at the scene will have their driver’s licenses immediately suspended. Drivers will then have 45 days to fight this in court. After that time, if still pending, the suspension is automatically triggered for six months. Those who fail chemical testing will have their driver’s licenses suspended for six months, although DUI laws allow for year-long suspensions which can be imposed for refusal to submit to chemical testing. The full range of DUI penalties depend upon whether it was a first-time offense, or factors such as whether or not bodily harm occurred as a result of the intoxication.

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prescription drugs, DUI, driving under influence, drug charges, Chicago defense attorneyDriving under the influence does not always require the use of alcohol or an illegal drug. Under Illinois law, a person commits a crime whenever he or she drives “under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving.” This can include prescription drugs. In fact, because prescription drugs are more difficult to chemically test on the road, courts may be more likely to convict a defendant for prescription drug DUI based on mere circumstantial evidence.

Evidence to Support a DUI Conviction in Illinois

In all DUI cases, a defense attorney will closely examine the circumstances of the police stop as well as the specific evidence collected which suggest that a driver was under the influence. In most cases the initial stop is spurred by violation of some traffic law — like weaving between lanes or speeding.

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