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Murder and manslaughter are fatal offenses, and both fall under the category of homicide or unlawful death caused by another person. However, the determining factor lies in the intent behind the act.
What classifies as murder?
Murder is the intentional act of taking another person’s life. It involves a deliberate decision to cause death, distinguishing it from other forms of homicide where intent might not be as clear. Some states typically include malice aforethought as an element, meaning the perpetrator planned or intended to kill the victim.
If the perpetrator acted deliberately and with premeditation, the act of killing that
Continue Reading Understanding murder vs. manslaughter

When someone faces violent crime charges, the stakes are already high. But what happens if they have prior convictions? Understanding the potential impact of past legal struggles on new violent crime charges is crucial for anyone going through the intricacies of the justice system.
The weight of history
Prior convictions do not just fade away; they can play a significant role in how new charges are handled and sentenced. If an individual has previous convictions, especially for similar offenses, they may face harsher penalties under the law. This is because courts often view prior offenses as an indication of a
Continue Reading How do past convictions influence new violent crime charges?

Over the past five years, well over 30,000 Illinois residents have been convicted of a charge known as “unlawful use of a weapon.” Critics say this charge is unnecessarily broad, and a new bill working its way through the state legislature could help narrow it down by simply changing its name.
House Bill 4500 would rename the charge, calling it “unlawful possession of a weapon,” and making similar changes to certain related criminal charges. In May, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed the bill.
What’s in a name?
If it becomes law, House Bill 4500 would change the names of certain
Continue Reading State Senate OKs bill to change names of weapons charges

While arresting a suspect is a routine process for police, the act of placing a suspect under arrest is not always simple or procedural. At times, a suspect may not cooperate or create challenges. If the suspect attempts to flee or fights apprehension, they could end up facing additional charges.
Resisting arrest can be a complex allegation, as it could involve the use of force and a question of whether this level of force was acceptable and lawful. If you are accused of resisting arrest, it is important to fully understand the circumstances that led to these charges, the potential
Continue Reading Elements of resisting arrest and possible defenses

A drunk driving arrest can leave you riddled with nervousness and fear about your future. After all, depending on the facts of your case, a DUI conviction can lead to jail or prison time, license suspension or revocation, and damage to your reputation that can affect everything from your employment to your time with your children. With so much on the line, you need to craft a persuasive criminal defense strategy.
But you might feel like that’s impossible when looking at the evidence that the prosecution has against you. They might have field sobriety test and breathalyzer test results that
Continue Reading These medications could cause a positive breath test result

Illinois law enforcement and prosecutors take weapons laws seriously and those who are charged with firearms or ammunition violations could face severe penalties if they are convicted. State law regarding possession of firearms or firearm ammunition dictates who can possess these items, how old they must be and what consequences they can face for a violation.
It is essential for people confronted by these allegations to understand the law and how to craft a comprehensive defense designed to avoid a conviction or reduce the charges. In some cases, there can even be an acquittal.
Know the facts about firearm violations
Continue Reading What to expect when facing firearms and ammunition charges

Cameras are everywhere today: traffic and security cameras, news crews and other professional productions, and nearly everyone around us has a video camera on their phone. Most of us have become accustomed to this idea, but it can have profound implications for us if we are ever accused of a crime.
Police often dig through whatever video footage they can find, looking for evidence that might link a suspect to a crime. They can look through all sorts of material that is publicly available and may be able to get warrants for material that is not.
Of course, it isn’t
Continue Reading Civil liberties advocates warn against police abuse of facial recognition technology

The Federal Bureau of Investigation works closely with local law enforcement officials to investigate and break up large, formally organized gangs that sell illicit drugs produced by Mexican drug cartels. The FBI operates such joint task forces out of all of its 56 field offices in the United States.
Some task forces are organized to investigate specific criminal or national security threats, and one of these is the Southern Illinois Transnational Organized Crime West (TOCW). This task force is operated out of the FBI Field Office in Carlyle, Illinois.
This task force was organized to fight large scale drug organizations
Continue Reading Police–FBI task force arrests eight in Illinois investigation

When we think about traffic tickets, we think about tickets we get while driving. However, in Illinois, traffic laws extend beyond motorists to include pedestrians and cyclists. Both pedestrians and cyclists can receive tickets for various offenses, such as failing to yield, disregarding traffic signals or impeding traffic flow. Understanding these regulations is crucial for maintaining road order, safety and avoiding traffic tickets.
Pedestrian responsibilities
Pedestrians are those that utilize the roadways and sidewalks on foot. These individuals must adhere to traffic control devices and utilize designated crosswalks. Disobeying signals or jaywalking can result in citations (traffic tickets) handled by
Continue Reading Can I get a traffic ticket while walking or riding my bike?

Have you been charged with drug possession? If so, then you’re probably worried about the impact it can have on your future. This is understandable given the stakes involved. After all, a conviction could leave you facing jail time and a haunting criminal record that can make it hard for you to secure and maintain gainful employment.
But even if the evidence seems stacked against you, there might be effective criminal defense strategies that you can utilize to either secure a favorable plea deal or beat the prosecution outright. Let’s take a quick look at some of them.
Drug possession
Continue Reading How can you defend yourself against drug possession charges?

Owning a firearm is a right afforded by the second amendment, and many residents in Illinois choose to exercise this right. While this is established to be a right, it is a right that could be revoked if one is convicted of a serious crime. The misuse or mishandling of a firearm could have dire consequences. And facing allegation of a gun crime could impact the accused significantly.
It can be an overwhelming experience, as gun charges carry with them significant penalties. Fortunately, there are several defense options available to those facing this or other weapons charges.
Gun crimes
Continue Reading Developing a strong defense against gun charges

Allegations of any criminal wrongdoing can threaten your freedom and your future. Accusations pertaining to violent crimes, though, can be especially threatening. And all too often, individuals who were acting within their rights at the time of the alleged offense are arrested, convicted, and stripped of their liberty, all because they don’t know how to properly defend themselves.
But how can you effectively defend yourself against allegations of violent crime? One of the strongest defense strategies that you might be able to utilize is self-defense. In this post, we want to look at Illinois’ self-defense law and how you might
Continue Reading What you need to know about the Illinois ‘Castle Doctrine’

Under the U.S. Constitution, law enforcement officers are generally not allowed to conduct an illegal search and seizure of any area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy without a warrant. However, under the automobile exception, there are several ways for an officer to search your vehicle without a warrant. Here are a few common exceptions to the warrant requirement.
Probable cause
If an Illinois officer has probable cause to search your vehicle, they may do so without a warrant. If an officer has a reasonable belief that a person was involved in a drug crime, and a reasonable
Continue Reading Do police officers need a warrant to search your vehicle for drugs?

A DUI conviction can derail life as you know it. It can lead to jail or prison time, hefty fines, license suspension or revocation, loss of employment, and damage to your reputation and career. Thinking about all of that can be stressful, for sure, but you shouldn’t let your fear of the possibilities paralyze you into inaction. Instead, use it as motivation to build the strongest, most aggressive criminal defense you can manage.
But what are your options when it comes to building a DUI defense? Fortunately, you might have several ways to attack the prosecution’s case. Let’s look at
Continue Reading Four powerful ways to defend against DUI charges

No one wants to get pulled over for DUI, especially if you did have one or two drinks before you got behind the wheel. Even though you might be convinced you are not over the legal alcohol limit to drive, the entire experience can make you so nervous that you appear drunk.
Police officers must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. This means you must have already acted in a manner that gives them reason to believe you are driving drunk.
Many people do not know their rights at DUI stops
You may assume that once you are pulled
Continue Reading You do not have to take field sobriety tests

If you’re under investigation for committing a violent crime, then your freedom and your future is on the line. The pressure of this reality can be crushing, and it might drive you to act in a way that seems beneficial but actually turns out to be harmful to your criminal defense. This includes voluntarily talking to the police.
When you’re under suspicion form criminal wrongdoing, it might be tempting to contact investigators to try to set the record straight and clear yourself of any suspicion, but this is extremely dangerous.
Reasons why you shouldn’t talk to the police if you’re
Continue Reading Why you shouldn’t talk to the police during an investigation