Has Your Child Been Charged with Juvenile Offense Crimes in Chicago? What You Need to Know

The reality has finally hit you – your child is going to court. Youreceived a summons for your child’s court date for a felony or misdemeanor – so what are the next steps?In Chicago and Cook County, juvenile crime courts follow different protocols than the protocols in adult courts. The main objective for juvenile justice courts, if your child is convicted, is to provide restorative justice options that will give your child the opportunity to grow from their experiences without permanent penalties.

Of course, there are still many issues to consider when your child goes through the juvenile justice process – did you know that certain factors can lead your child to be tried as an adult? Or that your child will still have a record of their conviction that may impact their professional lives? It is necessary to have a juvenile offenses defense attorney to inform you of everything that you need to know about the process and the aftermath of a juvenile offenses trial.

After a delinquency petition has been filed, which is a form indicating that the court is alleging that your child has committed a crime, there are diversion options you can choose that would allow your child to avoid a trial. For those minors who have committed crimes that are not Class X or Class 1 felonies, one type of a restorative justice program could offer “continuance under supervision” where your child will follow guidelines of the program and check in with a probation officer. Once the diversion program is completed, your child will not be an adjudicated delinquent – which means your child will be eligible for expungement of the crime from their record. Another diversion program is “court supervision” where the court themselves specifically determine the conditions that your child must meet in order tonot receive a conviction. The difference with this program is that your child will not need to be monitored by a probation officer.

With programs such as these, and having an experienced Chicago juvenile offenses attorney such as David M. Smith, your child’s future will be as bright as ever.

Charged with a First Offense DUI in Chicago? How to Overcome the Consequences of One Mistake

You may have had a few drinks, and without thinking much of it, decided to drive home. This was a mistake. As you recount the events of that night – the pulling over, the blood alcohol concentration of over .08 percent, the license suspension – you begin franticallysearching for answers. How do you prevent one mistake from completely changing your life?

The repercussions of a 1st offense DUI are minor compared to those of multiple DUI offenses; however, there are still repercussions that you need to be well aware of. In Chicago and elsewhere in Cook county, there will be fines that cost up to $2,500 as well as up to a year of license suspension. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be sentenced to jail for up to a year.

Your first task after receiving a license suspension is to have an attorney submit a petition to prevent the license suspension within 45 days of the initial suspension.

In regards to your 1stoffense DUI case, there are multiple factors to consider. Mainly, an experienced defense attorney will question the validity of the blood alcohol concentration test. You may also want to look at your case in depth to analyze the legality of the encounter with the police officerincluding probable cause, proper screening, coercion, unlawful detention, failure to conduct observation period, private property laws, etc. With careful search, you and your DUI attorney will be able to build a strong case to contest your charges.

In the case that you are convicted – there are options that will make your life easier during the license suspension. For 1stoffense DUIs, individuals have the opportunity to apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit within 31 days after the official license suspension. With this, you will need to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device within 14 days of receiving your MDDP.

All things considered, it is important to have a seasoned Chicago1st offense DUI defense attorney to provide the aid you need to approach your trial with the tools to succeed.

Charged with a Felony? How to Avoid Conviction in Chicago

One mistakeis enough to convict you of a felony. In Chicago and elsewhere in Cook County, being charged with a felony feels as if all the doors to future opportunities have been permanently closed. Some conviction penalties includelarge fines, difficulties in finding employment, incarceration, and the death penalty. Even worse, if the jury finds aggravated factors in your case, your penalties can increase exponentially. Without a doubt, the repercussions of a felony conviction can change every aspect of your and your family’s life.

Although being charged with a felony can be emotionally draining, the best solution to countering a felony charge is to think of your situation as a math equation. The right variables need to be in place in order for your court trial to end in a “not guilty” or a plea bargain. The first and most important variable in your equationis to get the most experienced felony charges defense attorney in Cook County, Chicago. Having an attorney with years of knowledge and strategy will make a large difference in the outcome of your trial.

The other variables include general knowledge of felony programsas well as understanding your own criminal background. Some counties, including Cook County, have programs such as the Bad Check Restitution Program. This program, in particular, is if the felony charge was based on an individual taking money, such as through a credit card.  In those cases, a person can avoid conviction by taking mandatory classes and paying the stolen money back. This option is available to individuals who do not have any previous criminal background. Consulting a felony charges defense attorney will better enable you to understand all of the options available to you.

Even if a plea bargain or restitution program is not right the path for you – you have the opportunity to defend your caseat a court trial. Keep in mind: It is the burden of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. With a Chicago,felony charges defense attorney, such as David M. Smith, you already have the advantage in the courtroom.

The Truth About Drug Charge Convictions in Chicago

Our television screensare congested with up-to-date information on cases such as homicides, murders, and hit-and-runs. InCook Countyas well as the rest ofChicago, we know that being convicted of these crimes has the potential to drastically alterthe lives of the defendants as well as their families. It would seem that, in comparison, a drug charge is a common and even minor offense; however, the consequences can be just as devastating.

A conviction for drug possession with drugs such as heroin or cocaine can result in spending decades in jail,depending on the amount that was found as well as the intent of use. For instance, the penalties drastically increase if the prosecution proves that the drugs were also intended for selling purposes. Further repercussions such as future employment, traveling abilities, college admission, and student loanscan create insurmountable difficulties for those convicted. With such hefty consequences for drug charge convictions, having a skillful drug charges defense attorney can provide the support needed to prevent or lessen the penalties incurred as a result of a conviction.

Although it can feel hopeless when being charged with drug possession or another drug-related charge, there is a way to protect yourself. There are two factors that are taken into account before a drug charge conviction can be made – admissibility and lab results. In regards to admissibility, you need to carefully analyze the situation in which the officer found the drugs on your person. Did the officer have probable cause to go through your possessions or self? During your trial, a drug charges defense attorney would be able to contest admissibility in court, and therefore, your charges may be dropped. With lab results, you can contest the lab result which would takeadditionaltime further extending thetrial and could lead to the prosecution dropping the case or lesser penalties.

Don’t forget: there is a way to succeed. Get a successful Cook County,Chicago drug charges defense attorney like David M. Smith, Attorney at Law, to navigate the difficulties involved in a drug charges case.

The Best Defense for Computer Sex Crime Allegations

The isolation, embarrassment, and the shame of being convicted of a computer sex crime are at the forefront of your mind. “How do I protect myself from these accusations?” you ask yourself with a rising concern for your future wellbeing.

In Chicago and Cook County, being charged for a computer sex crime includes a range of crimes relating to photography, emails, texts, or any other form of sexual communication with a minor. Also, computer sex crimes include the production and distribution of any material that is of a sexual nature that involves a minor.

The best line of defense to protect yourself from these accusations is to hire a skillful and accomplished computer sex crimes defense attorney. Although it may seem hopeless, carefully combing through your unique case will enable you and your defense attorney to develop tactics to counter the prosecution’s claims head on.

The prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – this includes proving that you, and only you, held the illegal material in your possession or made contact with the minor. There are many cases that would point out the flaws of the prosecution allegations in a computer sex crime trial. When downloading different materials from the internet, the illegal material may have been accidently downloaded as you were downloading something else. A hacker could have accessed your computer to view illegal materialsthrough your computer while concealing their identity. Your computer may have been accessible to multiple users – other users that have attempted contact with minors. In addition to these lines of defense, the most important question to ask is “did the officer have the proper warrant or probable cause to look at your personal belongings?” Sometimes officers may have warrants for only certain electronics but will take all your electronics anyway for their investigation. If they did not get the specific warrant to take the electronic holding the illegal material – the evidence may be inadmissible.

With these factors in mind, having a Chicago computer sex crimes defense attorney will empower you to protect yourself when facing the heavy burden of a computer sex crimes charge.

The Key to Defending a Criminal Offense Charge in Chicago

Remember: Innocent Until Proven Guilty

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, you can forget that legal presumption in the midst of an investigation, your main objective is to try to keep your life together. I repeat, Innocent Until Proven Guilty, because you need to know that it is the burden of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Of course, how do you take a criminal charge and change in into a “not guilty”? The answer is simple: you need the best criminal defense attorney to create a resourceful and thoughtful course of action for your case.

Depending on the type of criminal charge, whether misdemeanor or felony, convictions can range from hefty penalties to spending decades in jail. In Cook County ofChicago, some convictions can include both. The key to dealing with a criminal offense charge is to think like the prosecution. What evidence does the prosecution have that would indicate your guilt? What strategies would you use to try to get a conviction in your own case?Looking through a different lens will give you and your attorney the ability to anticipate any angle the prosecution will throw at you during thetrial.

In addition, you need to have the tools available to counter the prosecution’s claim. What is your alibi? It is important to look through every detail of the case and determine the most beneficial type of defense for your unique situation. Sometimes the answer to finding documentation on your alibi or any information that would prove your innocence is in the smallest details of the case. Don’t worry if this information is hard to come by! The prosecution must still prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – it is your attorney’s job to bring out the flaws of their case. No matter what type of criminal offense you’re charged with, attorneys such as David M. Smith, the best criminal defense attorney in Chicago and Cook County; will have the tools and strategies available for you to navigate the most advantageous path for your trial.

Understanding the basics of a Civil Order of Protection

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act is a law that pertains to family members and governs what acceptable and unacceptable behavior is.  Domestic violence may include physical or mental abuse, harassment, intimidation, stalking or otherwise interfering with another family member’s personal liberty.

In instances where one member of a family has hurt or is threatening to hurt another family member, the courts may issue a formal legal document known as a Civil Order of Protection.  This document is a court order signed by a judge and protects the person making the request (known as the petitioner) from the person who has hurt the petitioner (known as the respondent).

A Civil Order of Protection can only be filed against someone with whom the petitioner has a special relationship.  This may include:

  • Married or formerly married couples
  • People who are closely related, such as children, siblings or parents
  • People who currently or formerly lived together
  • People who currently or formerly dated each other
  • People who are currently or formerly engaged to each other
  • People with disabilities who want protection from their caregivers

There are two types of Civil Orders of Protection.  You will need to decide if your situation involves a Criminal Order of Protection, or meets the standards for an Independent Civil Order of Protection.

If an adult makes a request, a minor can be a protected person under a Civil Order of Protection as well.

When the Civil Order of Protection is issued, the Sheriff’s Office will enter the information into a database, and you can also make arrangements to have schools, day care facilities or other pertinent organizations notified that a child is now protected under this order.

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

Driving on a revoked license

It’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Illinois if your driver’s license or permit has been revoked or suspended.  The types of penalties you could face will vary depending on your unique circumstances, but they could be considerable.  That’s why it’s in your best interests to hire a criminal defense attorney who handles these types of cases on a regular basis.

For cases where your license was suspended for moving violations or other less serious charges, you could still be facing up to 364 days in jail (although it’s highly unlikely) and be required to perform several hundred hours of community service, depending on the number of prior convictions you have.

If your license has been revoked due to a DUI conviction or leaving the scene of a hit and run accident, you could be looking at a possible felony charge, with mandated minimum jail times for at least 30 days.

For suspensions due to reckless homicide or similar offenses, you could be facing mandatory jail time of at least 30 days and a lifetime revocation of driving privileges in some instances.

Needless to say, mounting an effective defense is paramount to preserving your driving privileges.  And different types of suspensions will require different kinds of defense strategies.

Some of these defenses may include:

Were you improperly stopped by the police and did they possibly mishandle your arrest, perhaps by not reading you your rights?

Were you forced to drive because of a family emergency or in some other instance that would justify driving on a revoked license (such as an acute medical condition)?

Were you aware that you were driving on a revoked license?  Never admit this during a traffic stop.  It is incumbent on the state to prove that you were served notice and were made aware of your situation.

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

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.