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Joliet criminal defense lawyerWhen considering what to expect in a criminal trial, the average person likely thinks of the court proceedings they have seen in movies or television shows. While that may provide the most basic understanding of a trial, there are many smaller pieces that often get left out. This blog will briefly go over each step of the trial process that a criminal defendant can expect. It is important to note that there are many ways a trial may veer from this path, but if you are facing a criminal trial, it is highly recommended that you find a criminal defense attorney who can help prepare you for the following stages.

Jury Selection

In the United States, criminal defendants have the right to be tried by an impartial jury. The court and attorneys have the responsibility to appropriately and thoroughly examine the jurors prior to trial. The examination is meant to remove any jurors who demonstrate any bias, opinion, or prejudice that could impact their decision-making ability in regard to the crime at hand.

Opening Statements

Once the jury has been selected, the trial can begin, starting with opening statements. The prosecution has the burden of proof and will give their statement first. It is critical for the prosecution to refrain from using any derogatory language when describing the defendant. Once finished, the defense will then have their turn. Both parties will take the opportunity to detail the case, their perspective, and an outline of what they hope to prove.

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Joliet IL DUI defense attorneyDrunk driving can lead to very dangerous situations, and Illinois has laws in place to curb drunk driving as much as possible. The rules regarding DUIs for underaged drivers are especially strict, and it is important to be aware of the possible consequences if an officer has probable cause to suspect you have been drinking. Even if you are below the legal limit for the typical DUI requirements, you may still face severe punishments as an underage driver.

The Illinois Zero Tolerance Law

Unfortunately, many alcohol-related car accidents involve underage drivers, and Illinois has implemented a Zero Tolerance Law in an effort to minimize the risk. The Zero Tolerance Law states that a driver under the age of 21 who is caught with any trace of alcohol in their system can have their driver’s license suspended. If the officer has probable cause to suspect the driver has consumed alcohol, the law requires the underage driver to consent to chemical testing. If the driver is found to have a BAC of more than 0.00, their license will be suspended for three months for a first offense. If an underage driver refuses to be tested, their driving privileges will be suspended for six months for a first offense.

Further Consequences for an Underage DUI

In addition to a suspension under the Zero Tolerance Law, underage drivers can also face more severe penalties if they are convicted of DUI. A first-time offender can face a driver’s license revocation for a minimum of two years, which is twice the length of the minimum revocation for a driver who is of legal drinking age. If an underage driver is facing their second DUI conviction, their driving privileges could be revoked for a minimum of five years. Additional punishments for a DUI conviction include possible jail time and heavy fines. If there are any passengers in the vehicle under the age of 16, these penalties will likely increase.

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Will County Criminal Defense LawyerThe COVID-19 pandemic not only changed the way Americans live their lives, but it also created many opportunities for committing fraud. Many of these schemes involved the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged hundreds of defendants with crimes that were based on these schemes.

The FBI recently announced a new fraudulent scheme they are cracking down on - counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards. The agency has also declared that anyone who is charged and convicted of this crime faces harsh penalties. And as we approach the weekend of Chicago’s annual four-day Lollapalooza music festival, Illinois lawmakers are also warning people that it is not only illegal to make counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards, but also to use them.

COVID-19 Vaccine Cards

When a person receives their first shot of the COVID vaccine, they receive a card with their personal information and the date and brand of vaccine they received. If they require a second dose, that information is also entered on the card. This card is the only proof that the individual is fully vaccinated.

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Illinois Eliminates Cash Bail

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Will County Criminal Defense LawyerIllinois has become the first state in the country to eliminate cash bail for defendants who are arrested for a crime under the Illinois Pretrial Fairness Act, which was part of the state’s larger criminal justice reform bill. The new law is being lauded by defendant advocacy groups, who say that cash bail requirements penalize poorer defendants but benefit wealthy ones. Law enforcement officials have been vocal in their stance against the act, saying that it will ultimately put the general public at risk because of criminals being allowed to remain free pending trial.

Illinois Cash Bail System

When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, a judge determines how much bail a defendant will need to post in order to be released while awaiting trial. In Illinois, the current system is a cash bail system. This means that the defendant is required to pay a certain percentage of the amount of bail the judge sets in order to be released. In most cases in Illinois, the bond amount that needs to be posted is usually 10 percent of the bail amount the judge set. For example, if the judge sets bail at $10,000, the defendant would have to post $1,000 cash to be released.

Proponents who pushed for the no cash bail law say that requiring people who have no financial resources to sit in jail until their trial concludes is cruel and unfair. If a person cannot make bail, they are forced to sit in jail until their trial is concluded, often forcing them into making plea deals just so they can get out of jail.

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Will County Gun Possession LawyerGun violence in the city of Chicago has reached almost epidemic proportions. The issue is not only well known throughout Illinois but continues to consistently appear in national headlines, as well. Last year, Chicago had more than 3,200 shootings, a 50 percent increase from the previous year. Homicides also increased by 50 percent from 2019. And while there has been a slight decrease so far this year, the numbers of shootings are still high.

Chicago Mayor Announces New Gun Program

So far in 2021, Chicago police have confiscated more than 6,300 illegal firearms and anticipate that they will collect more than 12,000 illegal guns by the end of the year, even more than last year’s record-breaker of 11,000 seizures. In an effort to combat these numbers, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced a $1 million rewards program to get illegal guns off the street. In her announcement of the program, the mayor said the number of illegal guns seized in Chicago is more than double the illegal firearms confiscated in both L.A. and New York City combined.

Details of the plan are still being finalized, including when the plan will be launched and how much individual rewards will be. All calls will go through the Chicago P.D.’s tip line.

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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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