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Geneva Criminal Defense Law Blog

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Everyone makes mistakes. But sometimes mistakes can have far-reaching consequences you might never predict.

Old criminal convictions, charges and arrests can stay on your record for years, making it difficult to land a job, rent property or even get a bank loan. Sometimes even a criminal charge can affect you in ways you might not think of, even if there was no conviction. Even if an old charge or conviction is affecting your life, there are ways to move forward.

Illinois man charged after rushing his daughter to a hospital

An Illinois man was taken into custody on April 4 after reaching speeds of 100 mph while being chased by police. The man admits that he was behind the wheel without a valid driver's license and ignored posted speed limits, but he says that he does not regret his actions as they likely saved the life of his daughter. The high-speed chase ended at the Touchette Regional Hospital where the 1-year-old girl was treated and released after choking on a penny.

Media outlets picked up the story after learning that the man was bonded out of a St. Clair County detention facility by a nurse from the hospital that treated his daughter. The girl's mother learned this when she visited the jail to see the man. She told reporters that a group of nurses had chipped in to raise the money needed to get the man released.

Rude gestures protected by First Amendment

Illinois residents may have been tempted to say rude things or make rude gestures toward police officers. According to a federal appeals court, that is not grounds for an officer to conduct a traffic stop. The case in question involved a female driver in Michigan who received a citation for a non-moving violation. She had allegedly been speeding at the time that the traffic stop was conducted.

Although it could be argued that the officer let the woman off easy, she returned the favor by extending her middle finger to the man. In response, the officer pulled the woman over again and wrote the speeding ticket, which she said was a violation of her First Amendment rights. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit agreed saying that while she may have been acting in an offensive manner, what she did was not illegal.

Protecting your ability to drive professionally after a DUI

For those who drive for a living, getting a DUI can come with devastating consequences. Even if a police officer pulls you over while driving in your personal vehicle and off the clock, a DUI conviction for first-time offenders can result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.

Whether you drive a bus, semi-truck, private car, taxi or more, getting a DUI on or off the clock can be serious. When you hold your commercial driver’s license (CDL), the penalties can be swift and harsh, threatening your livelihood and ability to continue in your career.

Man charged with felony eluding after high-speed chase

A 20-year-old Illinois man faces a raft of charges including a felony count after allegedly attempting to elude police officers on the night of March 7. The Montgomery Police Department says that the man fled the scene at speeds in excess of 100 mph when officers pulled his vehicle over for speeding at the intersection of Reading Drive and Goodwin Drive at approximately 11:00 p.m.

According to the police report, the man pulled his vehicle over as instructed but then pulled away, ran a red light and headed toward central Aurora at a high rate of speed. Officers say that they abandoned the pursuit shortly after it started because the man's recklessness posed a serious threat to the safety of other road users.

Common questions about BAC tests

While the Breathalyzer test is among the most common way to determine an Illinois driver's blood alcohol content, there are other methods available. For instance, a police officer could measure it through hair follicle or urine testing. It is also possible to do so through saliva and blood. Generally speaking, blood draws are done if an individual refuses to consent to a Breathalyzer test. It can also be conducted after an accident.

Although they are not perfect, Breathalyzer tests have been determined to be accurate enough to be entered into evidence in an impaired driving case. However, if there are flaws with the way the machine is designed or used, readings used to charge a person could be thrown out in court. It is important to note that any commercial device used by a consumer may not be accurate. Furthermore, readings from such a device are generally not allowed to be used as evidence.

Defense strategies when accused of domestic abuse

Domestic disputes occupy police departments on an almost daily basis in Illinois. Although many of these incidents represent legitimate criminal cases, situations arise when people must defend themselves from criminal allegations of domestic violence. The law places an obligation on prosecutors to meet certain burdens of proof. Evidence that contradicts an accuser's story or an outright lack of evidence might protect people from conviction.

Someone wrongly accused of domestic abuse might benefit from presenting evidence about an alibi. Information that places someone in a location other than where the alleged attack took place could lead to a case dismissal. Similarly, evidence that points to the correct suspect could exonerate a wrongly accused person.

Speeding tickets are unfairly harsh on the poor

Motorists who exceed posted speed limits in Illinois face steep fines and increased auto insurance premiums, and repeat offenders may even have their driving privileges suspended. However, what may be a relatively minor inconvenience for affluent drivers can be a life-changing event for those who are struggling to make ends meet. This was the conclusion that a researcher from Princeton University reached after studying the financial repercussions of 4.5 million speeding tickets handed out in Florida between 2011 and 2015.

The researcher obtained the credit reports for 3.7 million of the cited drivers, and he found that a disproportionately high percentage of them lived in poor neighborhoods. Civil rights activists claim that many municipalities prioritize deprived areas for their code and traffic enforcement efforts because they often collect fees and penalties in addition to fines. The credit reports also reveal that poor drivers are more likely to encounter adverse financial events following a speeding citation.

Trucker given traffic ticket after highway accident

An Illinois car accident has led to a traffic ticket for a trucker after two police officers were injured on Jan. 15. The two police were already stopped by the side of the road on I-74 in Peoria County at an existing car accident at the time of the crash. While they were at the scene, a large tractor-trailer skidded on the highway, hitting their cars in an additional collision.

The truck driver was issued a traffic ticket for driving too fast for the weather conditions even though he was apparently not exceeding the speed limit. The crash took place at around 5:15 a.m., while darkness still prevailed. One of the two police officers was inside her vehicle while the other was outside at the time of the accident. Both were taken to the hospital with minor injuries and later released. Police also said that both police cars had their emergency lights on before the crash.

A clearer understanding of domestic violence

When Illinois residents hear the term domestic violence, they like may envision a situation where one partner is physically abusing or hurting the victim. The truth is that domestic violence takes on a number of forms. Physical harm is one aspect of domestic violence. However, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological abuse are all considered domestic violence.

A key aspect of domestic violence is the way that it makes the victim feel. The victim may feel helpless, they may doubt themselves, and it may affect their ability to live their life to the fullest. It is important that people have a clear understanding of what domestic violence is as this will allow them to determine if they are in an abusive situation and give them the tools necessary to possibly help others in that situation.

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