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Chicago Criminal Law Blog

Bathroom break leads to drug charges in Illinois

The Illinois State Police says that an inopportune bathroom break in Champaign County on the afternoon of May 17 led to drug possession charges for two men. The 26-year-old and 27-year-old Tennessee residents were charged with marijuana possession and marijuana possession with the intent to distribute after about 5 pounds of the drug were allegedly recovered from their vehicle. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

An off-duty ISP deputy claims that he became curious when he noticed a Dodge Charger sedan that had been left unattended in the middle of County Road 300 East in the vicinity of Seymour at about 2:00 p.m. The deputy says that his suspicions were aroused when he noticed empty alcohol containers scattered on the ground beside the car and a man urinating in a nearby field. During an ensuing conversation with the two men, the deputy says that he detected the odor of burnt cannabis emanating from their vehicle.

Types of internet fraud

Illinois residents may have heard of various types of internet-based crimes such as using phishing to try to get someone's personal information. Activities like this fall under the larger umbrella of internet fraud.

Some types of internet fraud occur when software, also known in this instance as malware or scareware, is installed on a person's computer. This software might damage a person's computer and might use threats to try to get money from the person. A type of malware known as ransomware may target organizations and try to shut down access to data or systems. The person responsible might then demand paymentto restore access. Business email compromise is another scheme that targets businesses by compromising email accounts and illegally transferring funds. A similar scam, email account compromise, targets individuals in industries including law, banking and real estate.

Defining assault and battery

In the state of Illinois, a prosecutor may charge a person with both assault and battery despite the fact that the two crimes may be closely related. The state defines assault as conduct that could cause fear of being subject to physical harm. To prove a charge of battery, a prosecutor must show that there was contact that resulted in bodily harm. It may also be established that unwanted physical contact took place.

Finally, a prosecutor must show that a defendant knowingly committed battery. If a physical encounter results in severe bodily harm or a permanent disability, a battery charge may be upgraded to an aggravated battery charge. A charge may be upgraded if the victim was a child or a peace officer. It may also automatically be upgraded if a firearm or other deadly weapon was used in the commission of the crime.

Penalties for weed possession in Illinois

Illinois residents may have heard about a drug ordinance passed by the Peoria City Council on May 9. It says that a person caught with 10 grams of marijuana or less would pay a $125 fine for a first offense. The fine would increase to $250 for a second offense and up to $750 for a fourth offense. That fine could be paid at City Hall in person or mailed there according to the city manager.

A state law that went into effect in 2017 eliminates the possibility of jail time for those caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana. Instead, it imposes a fine of up to $200. The previous marijuana possession law allowed for fines of up to $1,500 and six months in jail. Cities are allowed to impose their own penalties, and fines range from $50 in Urbana to up to $500 in Chicago.

Authorities recover pot from home, charges filed

A 29-year-old Illinois man was taken into custody on May 2 after authorities recovered approximately a half pound of marijuana from the man's Kirkland home. Authorities said they believe that the man was selling the marijuana.

According to court records, DeKalb County Sheriff's officers obtained a search warrant for the home, which is located in the 33000 block of Hagan Drive. During the search of the home, officers reportedly seized the marijuana, vacuum-sealing equipment, digital scales and a baggie that had cocaine residue inside. Additionally, they reported that they also recovered a concentrated marijuana derivative called butane hash oil. The drugs were field tested by authorities during the search.

Judge sentences man on theft, burglary and contempt charges

Media outlets in Illinois have reported that a 51-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary and theft on April 28 after a DuPage County judge was unconvinced by his vow to change his ways. The man was cited twice for contempt of court for his outbursts during a contentious and lengthy trial, and he observed his sentencing hearing and learned of his fate from the confines of a soundproof booth. The man will serve nine months in the DuPage County jail for the two contempt of court convictions after completing his prison sentence.

The man was taken into custody in July 2015 after traveling to Illinois from Florida. He was on probation for felony grand theft charges at the time, and reports suggest that it was his probation officer who alerted police in Illinois about his plans to visit the state. The man had been convicted in Florida of stealing Lego sets worth about $2 million from Toys 'R" Us stores. Police officers assigned to follow the man said that they observed him enter 21 stores within 24 hours of arriving at O'Hare International Airport.

Guns and misdemeanor domestic abuse convictions don’t mix

A recent Supreme Court case has upheld a federal law stating that it is illegal to own firearms if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge. The determining Supreme Court case involved two men who had been convicted of misdemeanor assault charges against their romantic partners in Maine. Years after their conviction, the men were found to have both guns and ammunition in their possession, which violated the already established federal law that those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge cannot own firearms.

Frequently asked questions

Ignition interlock devices reduce drunk driving risks

Illinois, like most states, requires first-time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices fitted to their vehicles. Many road safety advocates believe that these devices can deter repeat drunk driving and save lives, and a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health seems to add weight to these arguments. The study, which was published in the April 2017 edition of the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine," suggests that the number of drunk driving accidents falls by 7 percent when mandatory ignition interlock laws are put into place.

According to the study, ignition interlock devices have saved an estimated 1,250 lives since the first law mandating their use was passed in 1993. The devices, which work in a similar way to roadside breathalyzer tests, prevent vehicles from starting when alcohol is detected in the breath samples provided. After studying the impact that interlock legislation has had across the country, the researchers concluded that laws requiring the installation of these devices in the vehicles of all drunk driving offenders were far more effective.

2 Illinois men detained on drug charges

On April 20, two men allegedly harassed a police officer who was leaving a Chicago courtroom. Reportedly, the two men followed the officer with their vehicle and shouted a threat to him.

The two men were stopped and taken into custody. Law enforcement later got a search warrant to search the home of the vehicle's passenger. According to police, they found a number of drugs in the home including liquid THC, anabolic steroids, cocaine and pills. Police also said they found a firearm and money from narcotic sales.

Police recover guns in home raid

Illinois residents may be interested to know that the St. Clair County Sheriff's Drug Tactical Unit has removed 43 guns in the first four months of 2017. This is the same number of guns that were removed in all of 2016. One case involved a man who was traveling to Colorado and returning with marijuana. Based on a tip, authorities went to the man's home and immediately smelled the drug when he opened the door.

Upon searching the residence, authorities say that they found 13 shotguns and nine handguns. This was in addition to ammunition and multiple types of drugs that included marijuana. The 47-year-old was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He was also charged with possession of a controlled substance as well as two counts of armed violence. His bond was set at $100,000.