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Joliet criminal defense lawyerLaws regarding criminal offenses can be complicated since there are often varying degrees of charges based on the severity of the crime. For example, crimes committed against a child or elderly person may be classified separately from those against other alleged victims. Sexual crimes can be punished more severely due to the nature of the offense. The exploitation of a child is one such crime, and it is important to understand what constitutes this type of charge if you or someone you know is arrested for it in Illinois. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and help you get the charges dismissed if they were based on false accusations.    

How Illinois Defines Child Exploitation

It is important to note when discussing any crime against a child that children or minors are individuals who are under 17 years old. According to Illinois law, someone commits sexual exploitation of a child if he or she knowingly performs either of the following while in the presence (or virtual presence) of a child:

  • Engages in a sexual act

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Joliet criminal defense attorneyCriminal activity that involves theft and property can encompass many different offenses, such as trespassing, vandalism, shoplifting, robbery, and burglary. Stealing a car is a common crime in many states throughout the country, including Illinois. In some cases, a person may take a vehicle without the owner’s permission for specific auto parts, including wheels or rims, while someone else may wish to take the car for a joyride. Motor vehicle theft is an offense that is commonly linked to other crimes. For example, stolen cars are typically used in store or bank robberies since the stolen automobile is not tied to the perpetrator. Regardless of the reasons or the motives, anyone who takes another person’s vehicle can face serious charges under Illinois’ theft laws.

Illinois Punishments for Stealing a Car

Although many people may have heard the term “grand theft auto,” it is not an actual criminal charge. The theft of a vehicle falls under general theft statute in Illinois. In order to secure a conviction in these cases, the prosecution must prove there was intent to permanently deprive the car’s owner of its use or benefit. If someone did not intend to permanently separate the automobile from its owner, a theft charge may be dismissed.

The penalties vary depending on several factors, including the value of the stolen property and the owner. A perpetrator can face a myriad of punishments, including costly fines, a suspended or revoked driver’s license, probation, community service, restitution, or years of imprisonment.

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Joliet car accident attorneyDriving can be dangerous anytime someone gets behind the wheel. Various factors such as weather, road conditions, car maintenance, and driver behavior can all impact the chances of an accident. However, studies show that certain times of the day have a greater risk of being involved in a vehicle collision. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), car accident fatality rates are three times higher for nighttime drivers compared to daytime drivers. There are several reasons for these statistics, and those who are hurt in a vehicle crash should be aware of the factors that can impact their personal injury cases.  

Factors of Nighttime Driving

Certain issues that can contribute to the likelihood of a nighttime car accident may be related to the environment, while others are the direct result of driver actions or behaviors that happen more frequently in the late-night hours. It is important to note that low-light conditions can significantly compromise a driver’s depth perception and peripheral vision.

Common factors that can impact night driving include:

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Will County criminal defense attorneyOn January 13, 2021, Illinois lawmakers voted to enact the Pretrial Fairness Act, which would eliminate cash bail bonds and pretrial incarceration by 2023. In addition, the Act provides for certain law enforcement reforms. Part of the reasoning for this new law is that studies show these systems disproportionately harmed Black and Latin American individuals. A new system for pretrial release is to become effective on January 1, 2023. In the meantime, those facing charges for criminal offenses may be wondering if they are eligible for bail. Depending on the severity of the alleged crime, Illinois offenders may be allowed to post bail and get out of jail while they await trial and sentencing.  

Criminal Justice System Reforms

In addition to ending cash bail as an option for offenders, the Illinois campaign to enact other criminal justice system reforms has been led by a coalition of 15 organizations and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC). The Pretrial Fairness Act passed the state legislature; however, at the time of this writing, the bill is waiting on Governor Pritzker’s signature. Gov. Pritzker faces mounting pressure from different organizations, including police agencies, to reject or veto the bill. The Act creates a more expansive system for monitoring statewide law enforcement misconduct, requiring every police officer in Illinois to be equipped with a body camera by 2025.

The comprehensive bill’s provisions include the following:

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Joliet criminal defense lawyerWhen someone is charged with a crime, a number of things can happen within the criminal justice system. Typically, the defendant is arrested and read his or her rights, which includes the right to an attorney. In Illinois, a person may be eligible for bail depending on the severity of the alleged crime. Certain cases can also result in a trial, with a judge and a jury. You may have heard the phrase “incompetent to stand trial” from watching a movie or crime drama on television. What exactly does it mean to be found “incompetent” and how is this different from an individual being found not guilty by reason of insanity? Can mental illness prevent a defendant from being convicted of a criminal offense in Illinois? 

Mental Illness and Criminal Cases

Research shows that in the United States, approximately one in five adults live with a mental illness (51.5 million people in 2019). This type of illness can vary in degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are a few of the most common mental illnesses that individuals experience. 

In general, a defendant who claims to have a mental illness would undergo psychiatric exams and evaluations by healthcare professionals in order to assess his or her mental health and competency. Simply having a mental illness does not prevent someone from being charged or convicted of a crime. In addition, it is not the same thing as being found not guilty by reason of insanity, which is a plea where the defendant claims that he or she was so mentally incapacitated at the time of the offense that he or she did not intend to commit the crime, and thus is not guilty.

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