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Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...
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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal justice statutes,Inmates and their accomplices on the outside have often utilized crafty methods to smuggle contraband. Now, as drones grow in popularity and number across the country, some creative inmates have begun using the unmanned aircraft to deliver banned items like drugs, weapons, and cellphones to prison yards. While Illinois itself has yet to have an incident like this occur, other surrounding states have had recent, problematic incidents with drones, and one Illinois lawmaker has proposed a new measure in hopes of keeping drones away from prisons within the state.

New Technology, New Problems

Prisons across the country are worried about the use of drones as incidents of inmates receiving banned substances dropped in prison yards by drones have increased over the past year. A few months ago in Mansfield, Ohio, a drone delivered a package containing marijuana, tobacco, and heroin to a prison yard, which sparked a violent brawl between the inmates. In Maryland, two men were recently arrested for plans to use a drone to deliver pornography, a cellphone, and illegal drugs to a prison. Last October, officials at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary discovered a drone that had crashed on prison grounds carrying a cellphone, heroin, and hacksaw blades.

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happy hour, alcohol discounts, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyAfter more than 25 years, Illinois residents looking for cheaper drinks after work will be able to legally find them. Illinois lawmakers, earlier this year, passed a measure that repealed the ban on happy hour throughout the state. The new law took effect on July 15, 2015, and while most restaurant and bar owners are excited about the prospect of additional business, some still have concerns over the potential for danger among inebriated customers, including the possibility of drunk driving.

Why Was It Banned?

Throughout the 1980s, public safety campaigns around the country focused heavily on the dangers of alcohol-related accidents. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) successfully raised awareness of the problem, which, in turn, led to a demand for more aggressive preventive measures. Some municipalities, including here in Illinois, thought that a solution might be found in limiting discounted drinks to reduce binge drinking and drunk driving accidents. The state, as a whole, followed suit in 1989, albeit with rather inconsistent provisions. Happy hours were banned, but full-day specials were permitted, and many restaurant and bar owners found other, clever ways around the law anyway.

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concealed carry, weapons charges, Illinois Weapons Charges LawyerLong known throughout the country for its strict gun control laws, the state of Illinois seems poised to become immersed in debate again as recent legislation has reignited public interest regarding firearms and the concealed carry statutes. Many around the state expect a new wave of political discussion as the state legislature, along with Governor Bruce Rauner, recently approved the first changes to the concealed carry law since it was hurriedly passed more than two years ago. While the new law makes few substantial changes, it may signal the beginning of a new chapter in the ongoing public safety conversation on the effectiveness and application of gun laws.

This spring, nearly 140 weapons-related bills were introduced before the Illinois General Assembly, most of them aimed at easing strict gun control provisions in the law. The flood of proposed bills follows a rather quiet period in which both sides of the gun debate agreed to refrain from seeking changes to the concealed carry law for at least a year after its passage. With that period now in the rearview mirror, advocates for looser gun laws and proponents of heavier restrictions have renewed their efforts to balance constitutional freedoms and public best interest.

The law passed this summer was primarily aimed at cleaning up a few technical details of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act passed back in 2013. Among its changes are provisions for appealing a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card denial on the basis of minor developmental disabilities. It also clarifies a gun carrier’s duty to inform law enforcement that he or she is currently in possession of a legal firearm, allowing a carrier to show his or her concealed carry permit rather than requiring a verbal statement.

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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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concealed gun, Illinois weapons law, Illinois defense attorney, As of July 9, 2013, Illinois residents must obtain a Concealed Carry License to carry a concealed firearm in the state. The Illinois State Police Department issues permits for the same. Under both federal and Illinois law, individuals are eligible to apply for concealed firearms permits if they are over 21 years of age, do not have a felony or other disqualifying issue on their record (such as being confined to a mental institution within the last five years), and pass a 16-hour training course.

Non-residents from most other states do not have reciprocity in Illinois. Concealed carry permits issued only by Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Virginia currently qualify. Retired police officers who qualify annually under state guidelines are also allowed to carry concealed weapons.

The open carrying of firearms is almost entirely illegal in the state except when hunting, in a fixed place of business with the owner’s permission or in one’s own home. Without a concealed gun license, firearms must also be stored both unloaded and sealed in a case when transported.

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