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Chicago Criminal Law Blog

Judge's ruling pushes toward bail reform

A Chicago judge ruled on July 17 that defendants who are not considered to be dangerous do not have to remain in jail while awaiting trial if they cannot afford bail. In a statement, the chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago, said that defendants should not be punished simply because they do not have financial resources to pay bail.

When a person is first detained, he or she will provide the county with information regarding whether or not he or she has the ability to pay bail. If the person cannot pay, no bail will be set. Judges will have the ability to release defendants on electronic monitoring, which does not require a payment.

Drivers who test positive for marijuana on the rise

Drivers who test positive for marijuana use are on the rise in Illinois and across the country, according to a new report. However, drivers who test positive for alcohol use are on the decline.

Using data from two National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the number of drivers testing positive for marijuana consumption jumped 50 percent between 2007 and 2014. Data from the National Roadside Studies found that around 22 percent of those driving in the daytime and almost 23 percent of those driving at night tested positive for some sort of drug use between 2013 and 2014. Marijuana was the most common drug used, with 9 percent of those tested in the daytime and 13 percent of those tested at nighttime testing positive for the drug. On the other hand, AAA found that drivers testing positive for alcohol consumption dropped 77 percent between 1973 and 2014.

2 accused of involvement in heroin overdose death

On July 10, it was reported that two Illinois men were charged in the heroin overdose death of another man. The death occurred in Crystal Lake, some 45 miles northwest of Chicago.

The incident occurred on May 18 when officers were called after a 20-year-old man was found to be unresponsive in a home located in the 1700 block of Nashville Lane. When officers arrived, they reportedly found items in plain view around the unresponsive man that were though to be involved in drug use. A seven-week investigation by detectives ultimately resulted in the arrest of two men who were believed to be involved in the man's death.

3 Illinois men charged after cocaine is seized

On Thursday, July 6, law enforcement authorities executed a search warrant at a home in a northern Chicago suburb. They found in excess of 400 grams of cocaine along with drug paraphernalia including packaging materials and scales. According to a Round Lake Park police statement, the search was part of a broader investigation into drug trafficking in the area. The cocaine had an estimated value of approximately $20,000.

After the search and resulting seizure, three area men were taken into custody on a variety of felony and misdemeanor charges. All three were charged with possession of a controlled substance as well as possession of such a substance with an intent to sell. Both of those are felonies. They were also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, which is a misdemeanor. In addition, two of the suspects were handed misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

Education and treatment for DUI offenders

California motorists who have pleaded guilty to DUI omay be required to attend an alcohol awareness program. It can be required as a condition of their probation or as part of their suspended sentence. The court orders attendance to these programs so that offenders can be educated about the effects of DUI and the dependency on alcohol. The programs are typically used in lieu of or to reduce stiffer punishments offenders might be subjected to, like incarceration, fines or the suspension of their driver's license.

Those who are successful with completing the alcohol therapy or education program may be allowed to drive again. However, those who are not in compliance with their program's terms may have to go back to court to face additional penalties.The Department of Motor Vehicles and the criminal courts in each state can compel DUI offenders to participate in treatment programs or education courses regarding alcohol. How the offenders fare will be a factor in their final sentencing.

Former Knicks coach facing DUI charges

Illinois sports fans may be aware of a car crash in early June involving former New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher. After the crash, he was taken into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. As of early July, he faces two charges of DUI.

In the June incident, Fisher's 2015 Cadillac was approaching an interchange on U.S. Route 101 when he swerved into a guardrail on the right-hand side of the road. The vehicle flipped over, eventually resting on its hood. Neither the driver nor passenger suffered injuries in the crash. However, the former coach was formally charged with two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Men face drug charges for selling pancake mix

Two Illinois men face decades behind bars after allegedly trying to convince undercover police officers that a package of pancake mix was actually a kilogram of cocaine. Distributing or attempting to distribute benign substances disguised as illegal drugs is a felony under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. The two Elgin residents, who are 18 and 19 years of age, have also been charged with multiple felony counts of manufacturing, possessing and delivering cocaine.

Police reports suggest that undercover officers purchased small amounts of cocaine from an 18-year-old man in Elgin on Feb. 7 and Feb. 10. Officers say that they then arranged to meet the man again to make a much larger purchase. The man is said to have agreed to meet the officers with a kilogram of the drug in Elgin Park on June 20. Reports indicate that the officers agreed to pay $27,000 for the cocaine. Police say that they took the man into custody along with his 19-year-old alleged accomplice after completing the undercover drug buy.

Law enforcement will be active in Illinois on July 4

Drivers in Illinois can expect law enforcement to be more visible and more active during the upcoming July 4th holiday period. Far more people take to the roads in Illinois during the summer months, and the state's Department of Transportation provides grants to local police departments to help them to deal with the increased traffic volume and launch initiatives designed to enforce traffic laws and prevent accidents.

The Joliet City Police Department has been awarded such a grant, and the department's chief says that the funds will be used to step up efforts to apprehend impaired drivers and enforce the state's seat belt laws over the extended weekend. More police vehicles will be on patrol, and special seat belt zones will be set up, but most of the additional officers will be deployed to sobriety checkpoints to help identify possible drunk drivers.

Man charged after allegedly pulling gun in parked car dispute

An Illinois man was taken into custody after he was accused of point a gun at another man's head. The incident occurred after the other man apparently parked in the accused man's parking place.

Sheriff's deputies reported that they received a 911 call from a 44-year-old man who claimed that the accused man put a gun to his head. He said he was able to get away from the accused man and went to the home of another resident. He also said that he would have moved his car out of the parking spot if asked to do so; however, he alleged that the other man blocked him in and made it difficult to escape.

Neighbor complaints lead to police raid on suspected drug house

Three men have been arrested after a tactical team from the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System supported local police in Alton during a drug raid on a house. Complaints from residents in the neighborhood near Anex and Edwards Streets alerted police to the possibility of drug sales at a house. During the police action, law enforcement detained multiple people and took three of them to jail on felony drug charges.

The delivery and sale of methamphetamine and cannabis were allegedly taking place at the location. The Alton deputy police chief said that information provided by vigilant residents played a crucial role in the police investigation.