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Court-Supervision-300x200When a criminal defendant pleads guilty, or is found guilty, of a criminal charge, the impact of the punishment depends on the sentence imposed by the Court. The Court can impose a variety of sentences in a criminal case. Perhaps, the best, or the least severe sentence in Illinois could be Court Supervision. The most severe punishment would be a conviction and the imposition of a jail sentence. I want to take this opportunity to discuss Court Supervision and why this may be the best option for your criminal or traffic case. This will be a general discussion of Court Supervision in Illinois. You should consult with your criminal defense lawyer to see how a sentence of Court Supervision would apply to your case and your particular situation.

The main benefit of getting Court Supervision is that if you successfully complete all of the terms of the Court Supervision sentence, you will not have a criminal conviction on your record. Court Supervision is a criminal sentence that is imposed on the majority of misdemeanor cases in Illinois. This is especially true if this is your first criminal case and the case did not involve violence or serious injuries to anyone. Court Supervision is very common in traffic cases. But just like everything in the law, the details are important because it’s not as simple as it initially appears.

If you are pleading guilty to a criminal offense and getting Court Supervision, at the time of sentencing, the Court will accept your guilty plea but will not enter a judgement of conviction that will go on your criminal record. Instead, the Court will impose a sentence and will set a final termination date to determine if you lived up to your end of the bargain and did everything the Court wanted you to do. Most of the time, if you are pleading guilty to a criminal offense, your lawyer will have entered into an agreement with the prosecutor that spells out all the terms of your sentence. One way to think about Court Supervision is to think of it as being like Court Probation. Like I tell my clients, when you plead guilty, the Court will take your guilty plea and leave it in the Court file until the final termination date. If you successfully complete your Court Supervision sentence, the Court will remove your guilty plea from your file and will tear it up and not put it on your criminal record. However, the Court computer and public Court records will show your criminal charges and the sentence imposed by the Court. Most criminal cases that result in Court Supervision can be Expunged or Sealed which means that it will not appear in a background search. Depending on the criminal charges you are facing, Court Supervision may be your best option.

Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-300x238The internet has made it easy for people to sell items online to make some extra money. Popular websites, such as eBay and Craigslist, have made it easy for almost anyone to instantly go into business by simply using a computer or a cell phone to get into the retail business. However, you should be aware of the potential pitfalls of doing business like this. Recently, I was hired to represent a client charged with violating the Illinois Counterfeit Trademark Act. The Counterfeit Trademark Act (765 ILCS 1040/) makes it a crime to sell look alike goods or services bearing a fake trademark or logo. The client that I was hired to represent was selling knockoff high-end watches on Craigslist that he had purchased legally from China. The client was buying the watches for about $50 and selling them online for between $200 and $250. This was not the clients main source of income, but it made him enough money to comfortably pay his bills and provide for his family. That’s until the client was arrested charged with violating the Counterfeit Trademark Act. It was not until the client came to my office bad he found out that what he was doing was against the law and that it carried some pretty serious criminal and monetary penalties.

I want to discuss this crime and lay out the penalties and consequences of being charged with violating the Illinois Counterfeit Trademark Act.

The idea behind making it illegal to sell counterfeit goods is to avoid confusing and duping consumers. You can be guilty of violating the Counterfeit Trademark Act even if the buyer and seller are aware that the item is a knockoff. Not all knockoff items are considered to be counterfeit. For instance, gym shoes that look like the real Nike gym shoes are not automatically considered to be counterfeit just because they look like the real Nike gym shoes. What could make them illegal is if they have a Nike logo on them that looks like the real Nike logo. The fake Nike logo is what could fool a consumer into believing that its the real thing. Think of counterfeit goods as infringing on the Trademark of a brand and making money trying to do that.

Marijuana-300x226Illinois has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois. As of January 1, 2020, you can legally possess up to 30 grams cannabis flower. If you are visiting the State of Illinois, you can legally possess half of the amount that residents of Illinois can possess.

Since marijuana possession was legalized in Illinois at the beginning of this year, I have noticed a big increase in the number of people arrested for the illegal possession of cannabis in their motor vehicle. The issue of having marijuana in a vehicle is misunderstood by many people and is leading to the arrest of many people. The other day, I met with a client who was pulled over by a police officer for a speeding violation. When the police officer asked the client if he had anything in his vehicle, the client voluntarily admitted that he had a small amount of cannabis in the ashtray of his vehicle. The client mistakenly believed that since the possession of marijuana is now permitted in Illinois, that he could transport marijuana in his vehicle without any limitations or consequences. After the client admitted that he had marijuana in his vehicle, he was asked to exit his vehicle and was placed under arrest. This is has become a common occurrence in Illinois

Under Illinois Law, you cannot smoke marijuana in any motor vehicle. You cannot smoke marijuana near anyone under the age of 21. Anyone under the age of 21 cannot legally possess any amount of marijuana in Illinois. You can legally transport marijuana in your motor vehicle but it must be out of arm’s reach of the driver and must be completely sealed in its original packaging. The same rule applies to medical marijuana patients who are transporting medical marijuana in their vehicle. If you buy Medical Marijuana at the Medical Marijuana Dispensary, they will put the product in its original packaging in a paper bag and staple it so that you do not have any problems if you are pulled over by the police.

Juvenile-Criminal-Charges-300x200Children are not considered adults until they reach 18 years of age. But what happens if a child, under the age of 18, commits a crime? Can they be charged and prosecuted as if they were an adult, or will the criminal justice system treat them as a juvenile who will be prosecuted in Juvenile Court?

Why Does It Matter?

Juveniles, that are prosecuted in Juvenile Court, are treated much less harshly than adults who are charged with the same crime in Adult Court. For one thing, it is much less likely that the juvenile will be confined in jail. Incarceration for juveniles is reserved for the most serious cases and the most violent and most chronic juvenile offenders. The main focus of Juvenile Court is to rehabilitate the juveniles. Rehabilitation, is just part of the focus in Adult Criminal Court. Adults are prosecuted and punished in Criminal Court so that the public can be protected, a message can be sent to the public, the defendant can be punished, and the defendant can be rehabilitated. Since rehabilitation is just part of the focus in Adult Criminal Court, it is much more likely that a juvenile will be incarcerated if they are prosecuted in Adult Criminal Court. Since the main focus of Juvenile Court is to rehabilitate juveniles, judges have greater flexibility to craft sentences that are less harsh than the sentences that you usually see in an adult criminal case.

Expungemet-300x200The consequences and fallout from being arrested and facing criminal charges can last long after your case is finished. If you are found guilty, the case can follow you around for the rest of your life. If you win your case, and are found not guilty, or if the charges are dismissed, a routine background search may reveal the criminal charges. Even though the case was dismissed, or you want, a prospective employer will see that you were accused of a crime and may hold that against you in deciding whether to hire you.

But you may be able to remove the case from your record so that you can pass a background search. Illinois allows certain criminal cases to be removed from your record. This is called an Expungement.

What is Expungement?

Criminal-Trial-300x201DuPage County government officials have announced that DuPage County will be closing down the Downers Grove Field Court and moving all of the cases at that Branch Court to the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton. The change is expected to take place by the end of the year. The Downers Grove Field Court is located at 4000 Saratoga Avenue in Downers Grove. It is located inside American Legion Post 80. The Downers Grove Field hears Traffic Cases, Municipal Ordinance Violations, and minor Misdemeanor violations from The following municipalities in DuPage County: Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lemont, Lisle, Oakbrook Terrace, Westmont, Willowbrook, Woodridge, and the Illinois State Police.

According to the DuPage County Board, the move was made because the Chief Judge of DuPage County wants the Downers Grove Field Court closed and move to the main Courthouse on County Farm Road in Wheaton. DuPage County Board members claim that security concerns were the main reason for making the move. Late last year, metal detectors were installed at the entrance to the Downers Grove Field Court. At least two DuPage County Sheriffs were assigned to the entrance to screen the people entering the building. Prior to that happening, there was no security at the entrance to the facility in Downers Grove.

The overwhelming majority of criminal cases are at the DuPage County Courthouse on County Farm Road in Wheaton. DuPage County has 4 Branch Courts that handle mostly Municipal Ordinance Violations and traffic ticket cases from specific municipalities in a limited geographic area in DuPage County. The Branch Courts also handle some minor Misdemeanor cases from those municipalities. This is a little like the Municipal District Courts in Cook County. Cases arising out of certain suburbs are sent to one of 6 Municipal District Courts in Cook County. For instance, a traffic ticket in Schaumburg will be at the Third Municipal District Courthouse in Rolling Meadows. The 4 Branch Courts in DuPage County are the Wheaton Branch Court, Downers Grove Branch Court, Glendale Heights Branch Court, and Addison Field Court. All 4 Branch Courts used to be in separate locations. A few years ago, the Field Courts in Glendale Heights and Wheaton, were moved to Rooms 1001 and 1003 of the DuPage County Courthouse. That left the Downers Grove Field Court and the Addison Field Court as the only Branch Courts that were not at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton. Now that the Downers Grove Field Court is being moved to the DuPage County Courthouse, the only remaining Branch Court that is not located in Wheaton will be the Addison Field Court.

Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-300x226As the Coronavirus spreads and the resulting crisis deepens, the impact to our Courts and criminal justice system are deepening. The Covid-19 virus has lead to the unprecedented closure of Courts throughout the State of Illinois. Every County Court system, as well as the Federal Courts, have been substantially impacted by this growing National crisis.

Courts that are regularly bustling with Defendants, Police Officers and Courthouse employees, have seen traffic come to a complete stop. Some Branch Courthouses in the area have been completely closed, while most of the main County Courthouses are open and operating with skeleton crews that are handling emergency matters and Bond Hearings for recently arrested Defendants. Courthouses that had numerous courtrooms open only have one courtroom open to deal with essential matters. Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening in the Chicago Metropolitan Area.

Cook County

Demand-for-Trial-300x201Clients frequently tell me that they want to get their criminal case done quickly. I am frequently told by clients that I should demand a trial immediately so that the case can be finished as soon as possible. It is important to understand what it means to make a demand for trial in a criminal case and why it may not always be the wisest decision to make. I want to take this opportunity to discuss what it means to demand a trial and explain to my readers what the implications of a demand for trial could be so they can make the best decision about how their criminal case should proceed.

According to the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, every criminal defendant has the constitutional right to a Speedy Trial. The Sixth Amendment protects defendants from waiting too long for a trial. We don’t want Defendants to be held in custody, or to be fighting criminal charges, to wait too long before being found innocent. The remedy for the violation of your Sixth Amendment right to a Speedy Trial is dismissal of your criminal case, with prejudice. This means that your case will be dismissed forever and you can never be charged again for that crime.

The right to a Speedy Trial is also set forth in the Illinois Constitution. However, the United States Constitution, and the Illinois Constitution, do not provide details about how much time you have to be tried in a criminal case. The time limits are set forth in a specific Statute in Illinois which provides the details of how much time the state has to bring you to trial once you make a Speedy Trial Demand. If you have been released from jail, the state has 160-days to bring you to trial from the date that you make a formal written Demand for Trial. If you are in custody, the state has 120-days from the date that you made a formal written Demand for Trial to bring you to trial.

Coronavirus-Court-Closings-300x200The Coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on our daily lives. The pandemic has had a substantial impact on our Court system and on the multitude of criminal cases that are pending in the area-Courthouses. Each County has taken substantial steps to stem the outbreak of this pandemic by limiting Court operations and taking affirmative steps to limit human contact in the Courthouses in the hopes of slowing down the progression of the virus which is at the heart of this problem. While most of the steps taken by all the Courts are similar, there are minor differences between the various counties in the area. I want to take this opportunity to point out what is happening from County to County, and how this may impact you, and your criminal case.

Circuit Court of Cook County

On March 13, 2020, the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Timothy Evans, issued a Court Order that became effective on March 17, 2020. Judge Evans’s Order provides that all matters pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County are rescheduled at continued for at least 30 days from the original Court date. All the judges will be available to hear emergency matters. Preliminary Hearings, Bond Hearings, and Arraignments, will proceed as originally scheduled. If the parties reach a plea agreement, Judges will be available to accept the Plea Agreements and resolve cases. Traffic and Misdemeanor cases will be continued to the next key date as long as the next key date is at least 30 days from the original Court date. The Order from Judge Evans provides that the Clerk of the Circuit Court will provide postcard notice of the new Court date to the defendant.

DUI-1-200x300As one of the busiest and most experienced DUI attorney in Illinois, this may be one of the most common question I get whenever I speak to a client about their DUI case. The short answer to this question is no. But you should understand the consequences of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer, or chemical test, when you are placed under arrest for a DUI. Illinois is an implied consent state. This means that you give consent to a chemical test to determine the blood alcohol contact in your blood by merely driving a motor vehicle on a public highway or roadway in Illinois. So let’s discuss what happens if you are pulled over by a police officer and the police officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test, or provide a blood sample, to determine what the blood alcohol content (BAC) of your blood is and you refuse the request.

The Breathalyzer Test is the most common test used in Court to prove that your BAC was over the legal limit. In Illinois, if the BAC of your blood, was a .08 or above, you could be found guilty of a DUI. Another way of determining the BAC of your blood is a blood test. In Illinois, if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle on the roadway while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that police officer can request that you take a Breathalyzer or Blood test to determine what the BAC of your blood is. If you submit to a Breathalyzer Test, or a Blood Test, and the BAC was a .08 or above, in addition to facing a DUI criminal charge, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your license for 6 months because of the BAC reading of .08 or above. This is called the Statutory Summary Suspension. This is an automatic suspension of your license that happens once the arresting police officer notifies the Secretary of State of the Breathalyzer Test results or the Blood Test results. If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer Test or provide a blood sample, the Secretary of State will suspend your license for 1 year. The 6 month and 12 month Statutory Summary Suspensions will kick in 46 days after the date of your DUI arrest.

If your license is suspended due to a Statutory Summary Suspension, you may be allowed to have a Blood Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) installed on your vehicle which will allow you to drive during the 6 or 12 months of your Statutory Summary Suspension. However, in order to be eligible for a BAIID, you must not have had a DUI in the past five (5) years. In addition, a BAIID may be too expensive and too intrusive for some motorists. I recently represented a client who is an executive for a major corporation. He was concerned that if his employer found out about the DUI, he would lose his job. Since he would regularly go to lunch and dinner with his coworkers, he was concerned that they would find out about his DUI if he ever had to drive any of them to lunch or dinner. At the same time, he was required to drive his vehicle almost everyday as part of his job. For this client, the Statutory Summary Suspension was a major source of concern. I was able to solve this problem by getting the state to agree to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension as part of the ultimate resolution of his DUI case. However, if your license is suspended due to a Statutory Summary Suspension, the only way to legally operate a motor vehicle in Illinois is to have the BAIID installed in your vehicle. If you are caught driving without a BAIID during a Statutory Summary Suspension, you could be facing serious criminal consequences. Plus, if you are charged with driving you Statutory Summary Suspension without a BAIID, this could make it much more difficult for your lawyer to fight the underlined DUI case in Court.