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Geneva Criminal Defense Law Blog

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.

First state lowers its blood alcohol limit below 0.08

For nearly 30 years, the standard blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit across the country has been 0.08 percent. Thanks to recent changes, one state has stricter limits for drivers.

Utah passed legislation in 2018 to lower the state’s BAC limit to 0.05 percent, effective December 30. For a man weighing 180 pounds, instead of having four drinks to reach the legal limit, he can only have about two. For a woman, it may be even fewer.

Professor at Northern Illinois University Gets 3rd DUI

A tenured professor at Northern Illinois University was recently convicted at trial of her third DUI offense. The incident happened on April 2, 2017, when the woman's second DUI case was still pending.

Law enforcement officers report that the professor's child was in her vehicle when she was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. The 44-year-old woman faces a minimum of six months in jail along with 400 hours of community service. The penalties are aggravated because she had her seven-year-old daughter in her car at the time of her arrest.

Illinois man was allegedly driving 81 mph in a 35 mph zone

A 34-year-old Illinois man was taken into custody during the early morning hours of Nov. 30 after allegedly driving 81 mph in a 35 mph zone. In addition to a speeding ticket, the Oak Park resident faces a raft of charges including driving while under the influence, drug possession, driving without insurance and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.

An officer from the Riverside Police Department says that radar equipment clocked the man's car traveling 46 mph over the posted speed limit on South First Avenue in the vicinity of Parkview Road at approximately 12:31 a.m. The vehicle was also being driven erratically, according to the officer. When he approached the vehicle after conducting a traffic stop, the officer says that he noticed a cup containing ice and liquid in the center console and detected the odor of marijuana emanating from the interior.

Illinois steps up seat belt and DUI enforcement for holidays

Close to 200 local police and sheriff's departments throughout Illinois will increase their traffic enforcement operations from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. With the support of federal highway safety dollars, the Illinois Department of Transportation has coordinated the activities of the state police and local law enforcement agencies to increase traffic patrols, write tickets for seat belt violations and arrest intoxicated drivers.

Working under the slogans Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, police officers will establish enforcement zones. They will check for drivers who aren't wearing their seat belts and children without proper car seats. Police want to send a strong message to wear seat belts, and they intend to write tickets. Individuals who travel in vehicles without proper restraints represent half of all people who die in traffic accidents.

When does DUI rise to a felony in Illinois?

Not all DUI charges are the same in their stakes here in Illinois. Some can cause a person to face especially severe potential consequences. Among these are charges of aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI covers DUI offenses that fall into the felony, rather than misdemeanor, level. A conviction on felony DUI charges can expose a person to long prison sentences and significant fines.

So, what a person does regarding defense strategy can be extremely important when the drunk driving charges he or she is facing rise to the felony level.

Can they still unfairly take your assets after forfeiture law?

Earlier this year, House Bill 303 came into action. This new bill minimizes one of the biggest threats to both criminals and non-criminals arrested by the police: civil asset forfeiture. Before this year, law enforcement could seize any property that they believe played a part in your supposed crime. Many officers abused this system and seized hundreds of millions of dollars in the last decade, and the majority of assets they acquired were from low-income workers.

Thanks to the new law, the government must prove that the owner’s property was involved in the crime, there is stricter enforcement on what can count as evidence and the owner no longer must pay 10 percent of the property’s value before they can challenge the case in court. It serves as a major step forward in offering the arrested party more rights and less unfair treatment that could financially devastate them.

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