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The use or threat of force can be a criminal offense in Illinois. Threatening someone with violence is assault while committing an act of violence against someone is battery. However, Illinois allows actions that would normally be assault or battery if you were acting in defense of yourself, another person, or your property. The difference between battery and self-defense can be murky and heavily depends on the context. Your belief that you were acting in self-defense may not be enough to prevent an assault or battery charge if your response was unreasonable or excessive. Establishing Self-Defense There are four key…
There are multiple factors that determine whether a retail theft conviction is a misdemeanor or felony, which is an important distinction for the offender. A felony conviction has stricter penalties, sometimes including mandatory prison time, and causes more limitations for people who have one on their criminal record. The value of the stolen items is one of the primary differences between a misdemeanor and a felony retail theft charge. Unfortunately for Illinois residents, the state has one of the lowest monetary thresholds for a felony retail theft charge, which puts defendants at greater risk of a felony conviction. Illinois Retail…
At some point in your life, you have likely been pulled over by a police officer. Maybe the violation was minor, like rolling through a stop sign or going five miles per hour over the speed limit. Perhaps the officer suspected that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In order to measure the severity of your traffic violation, Illinois has instilled a point system that is connected to your driver’s license. This is what the officer looks at, among other things, when they ask for your license and registration and then go back to their…
With the mass use of cellphones by teenagers and young adults, laws have had to be modernized to stay relevant and effective. Pornography involving people younger than 18 has long been banned in the U.S. Such content has become even more easily created and accessible now that cellphones are in the hands of adolescents. The convenience of built-in cameras and instant messaging has paved the way for a modern phenomenon known as “sexting.” Taking and disseminating sexually explicit photos is common among today’s teens. On average, one in five teens has sent or posted semi-nude or nude videos or…
With rising awareness of the potential abuse of prescription drugs, Illinois lawmakers have cracked down on the illegal possession and distribution of these drugs. Prescription painkillers and amphetamines can be as addictive as the well-known illegal drugs but are more readily available to some people because of their legal uses. A prescription drug charge in Illinois is a felony offense, and a conviction may result in mandatory prison time. With the right criminal defense lawyer, you can contest the charge and prevent severe consequences. What Are Criminal Offenses Related to Prescription Drugs? Prescription drugs are controlled substances, and it…
Underage drinking is a common activity among teens in social situations. Even those who do not enjoy drinking may feel pressured to fit in with their peers. Parents understand the dangers of underage drinking but may think of it more as a matter of parental discipline than legal punishment. Possession or consumption of alcohol by someone younger than 21 is a crime in Illinois with serious consequences. The penalties become harsher if the drinking is combined with other offenses, such as driving or using a fake ID. Possession and Consumption Underage possession or consumption of alcohol is a Class A…
Any conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will come with serious consequences, but the punishment can be even more severe if you are convicted for an aggravated DUI. Unlike a standard DUI, an aggravated DUI is certain to be at least a Class 4 felony and may come with mandatory prison time, larger fines, and longer driver’s license suspension periods. What constitutes an aggravated DUI in Illinois? There are several ways that your DUI charge can become aggravated: Third DUI Conviction: If you have been convicted for DUI twice before, a third or fourth conviction will…
One of the likely consequences of being accused of domestic violence is having an order of protection against you. Also known as a restraining order, it can prohibit you from: Being within a certain distance of the petitioner Attempting to contact the petitioner Entering your shared home Seeing your children without supervision The court may grant your accuser an emergency order of protection before you have been charged with any crimes if the court is convinced that you may be an immediate threat. You will get the opportunity to defend yourself against the accusations before the court decides whether to…