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Will County criminal defense attorney for firearm chargesCurrent Illinois state law requires residents to have a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card in order to purchase or possess a firearm or ammunition. Failure to have a FOID card can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances and the criminal record of the individual being charged. However, a recent ruling by an Illinois judge and a new bill working its way through the Illinois legislature could change all that.

Court Ruling

A White County Circuit Court judge has ruled that requiring citizens to have a FOID card is unconstitutional. The ruling was made in a criminal case from 2017 where an elderly White County resident was charged with violating the law because she owned a rifle but did not have a FOID card. The judge dismissed the charges against the woman, saying that requiring a FOID card violates both the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, section 22 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

This was the second time the case was dismissed in the county court. A prior ruling in 2018 also ruled that the charges violated the woman’s rights, prompting the state to immediately appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court. The higher court did not hear the case, sending it back to the lower court because of questions regarding the process the lower court used to reach its decision.

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Will County criminal lawyer for hate crime chargesThere has been much focus in the media and by law enforcement over the past few months about hate crimes directed against Asian Americans. Much of this violence against victims has been in response to the COVID-19 pandemic triggered by the false narrative put out by politicians and organizations that blame the creation of the virus and its global spread on China. One study has estimated that almost 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents have occurred within the past year in the U.S., with the majority of these incidents – almost 70 percent – directed at female victims.   

Hate Crime Statistics

According to data compiled by Statista Research Department, there were 838 active hate groups in the United States country in 2020. At least 19 of those groups make their home right here in Illinois. A hate group is defined as any group that has beliefs or practices that malign or attack an entire class of people based on their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, disability, color, sexual orientation, and more. Hate groups often engage in certain activities that help promote their hate, including meetings, rallies, speeches, publishing, and criminal acts.

Hate Crime Laws

Both the federal government and the state of Illinois have laws against hate crimes. In Illinois, the specific law against hate crimes is addressed in 720 ILCS 5/12-71. The statute lists a variety of criminal acts that can be charged as a hate crime, including:

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Joliet criminal defense attorneySpringtime marks the start of warmer weather and sunshine in many parts of the country. It also means spring break for students and time off of school. Considered a well-deserved reprieve from lectures, midterms, and homework, some students may go home to see their family and friends. College students also often make plans to travel to warmer destinations or even big cities like Chicago for a week of fun. While most young adults had to put off their spring trips last year due to COVID-19 lockdowns, many are looking forward to letting loose on spring break this year. However, there are many actions that can result in criminal charges if they are not careful.  

Actions that Can Lead to Trouble

Without parental supervision or school administrators around, it is not uncommon for college students to party while on spring break, which may include dancing, drinking, and even doing drugs. However, even those 21 and over can do things that are illegal. Unfortunately, this illicit behavior may lead to unintentionally injuring themselves or harming others. For example, driving a car, motorcycle, or electric scooter after consuming too much alcohol can cause an accident with serious to life-threatening injuries. 

Controlled substances hinder a person’s ability to think clearly and make sound decisions even when not operating a vehicle. Being impaired can cause someone to be uninhibited and act in ways they normally would not when sober. What may seem like a harmless act of taking something small off a store shelf or from another person’s bag may lead to theft charges. Exposing their private parts or making lewd comments in public can all lead to an arrest. Forcing another individual to do something sexual without their consent is also illegal. 

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Joliet criminal defense lawyerThe topic of hate crimes has been in the news more and more over the past few years. In efforts to increase awareness about these types of crimes, police officers and government officials have focused more attention on hate crimes. Time, energy, and resources have been put into thoroughly investigating hate crimes, and legislation has enhanced the penalties for them. In Illinois, those who commit hate crimes are often charged with a felony offense and punished to the fullest extent of the law. To avoid being charged with a hate crime, it is important to understand what actions constitute them and also the criminal punishments if convicted of one.   

Violent Acts Committed Against Others

A hate crime occurs when a person commits a crime against another person or group because of their perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. Typically, the acts committed against individuals in a hate crime are violent in nature and can include such offenses as:

  • Assault 

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Joliet criminal defense attorneyMany people think assault and battery are one and the same. However, under Illinois law, they are two separate offenses. The crime of assault in Illinois refers to intentional actions that cause a person to feel afraid of impending violence. Battery in Illinois consists of insulting or provoking physical contact, including intentionally pushing or harming someone, such as hitting and injuring them with a dangerous object. Domestic battery is when battery is committed against a family or household member, such as a spouse, intimate romantic partner, or child. If certain conditions are present during the commission of this crime, it may be classified as aggravated domestic battery, which carries significant penalties if convicted. 

Aggravating Factors Elevate the Punishments

Aggravated battery is typically classified as a misdemeanor even though it is more serious in nature than simple assault or battery. However, it may be charged as a felony depending on the circumstances of the case. Factors that make the crime aggravated include:

  • Committing assault or battery with a firearm

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Will County Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association Lions Minooka AV 2019 Rotary DuPage County Bar Association
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