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Chicago IL criminal defense attorneyRoutine traffic stops for minor violations, like driving with a faulty tail light, failing to properly signal a turn, or exceeding the posted speed limit, are common occurrences, and in most cases they result in a ticket and fine, or even just a warning. However, sometimes what starts as a routine traffic stop can result in much more serious criminal charges, including for driving under the influence (DUI) or illegal possession of drugs, weapons, or stolen property. If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, it is important that you understand your rights.

Common Misconceptions About Traffic Stops

Many people believe that they are required to answer an officer’s every question and consent to their every request during a traffic stop. A person’s natural instinct may be to cooperate, and they may even hope that the officer will let them off with just a warning because they were so polite. The reality, however, is that anything you say to the police officer could become evidence used against you later in court. In addition, your statements could give the officer probable cause to arrest you for a more serious offense, or to search your vehicle.

You Cannot Be Forced to Incriminate Yourself

You should never lie to a police officer, of course, and you are required to provide certain information, such as that which is on your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of auto insurance. This information generally includes things like your name, address, age, and date of birth. However, you are under no obligation to provide the officer with any additional information. If an officer asks you a question that could be incriminating, such as, “Have you been drinking tonight?” you have the right to politely respond with something to the effect of, “I prefer not to answer any questions without the advice of an attorney.”


Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyer, IL criminal defendant rights, Being accused of any type of crime can be completely overwhelming and confusing, whether it is a federal drug crime or an allegation related to child pornography. A criminal defendant may not know that he or she still has certain rights after being arrested and charged with a crime. These rights are protected by the United States Constitution and other state and federal laws. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It is important to know about the rights every criminal defendant has and what to do if your rights have been violated.

The Right to Remain Silent

Even if you have never before been arrested, you are probably familiar with the “right to remain silent.” This right is listed along with many others during the Miranda Warning—which should have been read to you during or after your arrest. You have a right to stay silent when questioned by police so that you can avoid incriminating yourself. Many criminal defendants inadvertently give police and prosecutors evidence which is later used against them by talking too much in the moments after the arrest, so it is critical that you do not consent to police questioning until you have an attorney present. An experienced criminal defense attorney will help you avoid the tactics that police often use in an attempt to get you to admit to a crime.


Posted by on in Criminal Defense

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, Illinois criminal lawyer,If the FBI comes knocking on your door, are you required to speak to them? It is rarely advisable for you to speak with the FBI or police without an attorney present. As a criminal defense law firm, we see too often situations arise where someone attempts to speak to police and ends up damaging his or her own case.

You may think that you are helping clear something up or that you have nothing to hide, so why wouldn’t you speak to the police. However, suspects or witnesses never know the amount of information the FBI has or the direction of the case.

It is your right in the United State Constitution to remain silent and to have a lawyer. Using those rights does not mean you are guilty nor does it make you look guilty in the eyes of a judge or jury.


Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal justice statutes,One of the fundamental rights guaranteed under both the U.S. Constitution and the Illinois State Constitution is the right not to be tried twice for the same crime. This is called double jeopardy. While the underlying principle is clear, in practice it can be confusing.

When Have You Been Tried For a Crime?

The question of what it means to be tried for a crime is at the heart of double jeopardy laws. Many assume that if someone is charged with a crime, appears in court and the charges are dropped, they have been tried for the crime. However, under both federal law and Illinois state law, simply making an appearance in a criminal case does not mean you have been tried.


post-conviction relief, lawyer, attorney, Chicago criminal defense lawyer, Illinois, attorneyA criminal conviction has serious and lasting consequences for a person accused of a serious crime. Many convictions are based on circumstantial and incomplete evidence. In some cases, evidence discovered after trial may serve to prove a defendant's innocence, or at least raise reasonable doubt about the conviction. For that reason, Illinois law does make it possible for convicted defendants to seek post-conviction relief if there is evidence of “actual innocence.”

The Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act establishes a three-stage process for determining whether a defendant is entitled to relief. In the first stage, a judge must decide if the defendant's petition is “frivolous” or wholly without merit. If it is not, the petition proceeds to the second stage, where the defendant must make a “substantial showing” that his or her constitutional rights have been violated. The second stage is not an evidentiary hearing. Rather, the judge must decide whether the defendant has offered sufficient new evidence which, if true, would justify setting aside the conviction.

Prosecutors may ask the court to dismiss the petition at this second stage. If the court denies said motion, the petition proceeds to the third and final stage, where the judge conducts a hearing to assess the defendant's proposed new evidence.

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