What is felony insurance fraud?

Fraud is defined as an act committed by an insured individual who commits fraudulent acts to deceive the insurer into giving them a payment they would otherwise not be entitled to.  Insurance fraud can take on many forms and is considered a serious offense.

Large and powerful insurance companies will often push for significant fines and jail time for anyone convicted of fraud.  To be considered a felony, a certain dollar level must be met. Otherwise the crime will be considered a misdemeanor.

Some instances where felony insurance fraud might take place include:

  • Health and dental insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Home and mortgage insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Medicare insurance
  • Title insurance
  • Employment insurance

 

The key to proving felony fraud has taken place is that a prosecutor must show a defendant made false or misleading statements to an insurance company to gain something of value.  This attempt to exploit an insurance company will constitute fraud.

Because there are so many types of felony insurance fraud, it’s impossible to clearly define what type of defense will work best if you are accused.  With so many variables, each case must be examined and processed on its own facts and merits.

However, in general, the most commonly used defense is a lack of intent to defraud, meaning that a defendant genuinely made a mistake or believed that the insurance claim they filed was legitimate.

In addition to jail time, fraud penalties will often include making restitution to the insurance company, and in many cases, the fine or repayment will be over and above the amount that was defrauded.  In some cases, it could be as much as double the original amount.

The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.

Defending yourself against reckless driving charges

In many cases, a charge of reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor.  However, often times, it is coupled with a more serious charge such as driving under the influence, so defending yourself against reckless driving may play into a larger legal defense strategy.

Reckless driving can be defined in several ways, and generally, citations or charges will include things such as:

  • A willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property
  • Driving in a careless manner
  • Driving without due caution
  • Driving in such a way that it is a “material deviation” from what a reasonable person would be expected to observe under a given set of circumstances
  • Driving negligently in such a way that you fail to exercise proper control of the vehicle

Many states look at reckless driving as a complete and separate charge, so attempting to strike a deal that lessens the DUI charge generally does not happen.

Depending on the particular facts of your case, there may be several possible ways to defend against a reckless driving charge.

You may be able to argue that reckless driving rose out of necessity, possibly due to an emergency or a threat to you or a third party.  This defense can work if you are not the one who created the emergency.

You can argue that you drove in a negligent manner, which does not meet the standard of proof for reckless driving.  There are varying degrees of poor driving and a skilled attorney will be able to differentiate between negligent and reckless situations to your advantage.

Reckless driving applies when you disregard the law, and in cases where speed is a factor, you may be able to claim that insufficient signage existed to allow you to know you were breaking the law.  Of course, the speed at which you were traveling must be within something the courts might consider reasonable.

The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.

What are the circumstances that make a felony DUI case?

It can be known as driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, but whatever name is attached to it, felony DUI convictions can result in lengthy prison terms, depending on the circumstances of a particular case.

If you’re charged with a felony DUI, it’s imperative that you retain legal counsel as soon as possible to mount an effective defense, because making one false step along the way can cost you in so many ways.

To be charged with a felony DUI, there are certain standards that the crime must rise to.  The first of these is a person’s Blood Alcohol Level, or BAC.  Most states set a BAC of .08 as the minimum level required with which a person can be charged with a DUI.  If the BAC is much higher, then that can lead to a felony charge instead.

In addition, if a person is injured as a result of an accident you caused while driving under the influence and over the legal BAC, then you will most likely be charged with a felony as well.

A person who drives on a suspended license may also face felony DUI charges regardless of what other circumstances are involved in the case.  Because you’re no longer legally permitted to drive, this is viewed as a serious infraction.

If you’re a repeat DUI offender, this can elevate misdemeanor DUI charges to a felony.  State laws will vary, with some allowing more offenses without elevating the charges, but others will elevate the charges if any other single infraction has taken place.

An experienced attorney will mount a defense on your behalf by looking at several pieces of evidence and making sure that all procedures were followed in your arrest and booking process.  Finding fault in any part of the case can open the door to an acquittal or a negotiation for lesser penalties.

The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.

Defending yourself against misdemeanor battery charges

One of the more common crimes that a person can be charged with is assault and/or battery.

Many times, these kinds of cases spring up from domestic situations where husbands and wives get into a fight.  People are quick to judge in cases such as these, and a small case can easily blow up into something much larger, muddying up the facts in short order.

Both men and women can be victims of domestic battery.  Regardless of the victim’s gender, the number of cases of battery exceeds to well over a million incidents each year.

Regardless of the situation, because a battery charge can become a highly emotional situation, getting qualified legal help should be a priority if you are a defendant.  An attorney can mount a good legal defense against misdemeanor battery charges using several possible tactics.

One of the most common is that the defendant is actually a victim of false allegations.  Much of the time, charges can be made up out of anger, malice or a desire to “get even” with someone.  This is a common tactic in child custody cases where one parent will smear another in an attempt to gain a more favorable child custody ruling.

Another defense that is frequently used is self-defense.  Many times, a person will act in self-defense to protect themselves or to protect loved ones from harm.  Part of the defendant’s case will rest upon howeyewitnesses view the other spouse or actor and whether or not the defendant believed there was imminent danger to themselves or someone else.

Another defense strategy is to claim a lack of proof that the battery actually took place.  This may be difficult for a prosecutor to prove if there is a lack of eyewitnesses or a lack of physical evidence and there is no support for the testimony given in court.

The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.