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McHenry County plea bargain lawyerMany people have heard the term “plea bargain” but do not know exactly what it means in the context of an Illinois criminal case. Whether you or a loved one are facing charges for driving under the influence, aggravated DUI, or another similar offense, it is important to understand what a plea bargain is and the advantages and disadvantages associated with plea bargains. There is no one-size-fits all strategy that works for DUI charges. The best way to explore your legal options after a DUI arrest is to speak with an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.

What Exactly is a Plea Bargain?

When someone is charged, or formally accused, of a crime, they have the option to plead guilty, “no contest,” or not guilty. If they plead not guilty, the case advances to trial where the defendant and prosecution are each given an opportunity to present evidence and arguments. The jury evaluates both sides, deliberates, and reaches a verdict.

Before the trial starts, the prosecution may offer reduced charges or penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. Essentially, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to an offense in exchange for some type of benefit. Sometimes, taking a plea bargain or plea deal is in the defendant’s best interest. For example, if there is ample evidence against the defendant and the jury will likely find him or her guilty, a plea bargain may be a better option than going to trial. However, if there is a chance that the defendant will be found not guilty or get the case dismissed, a plea bargain may be a terrible idea. Criminal cases are extremely complex and situations like this are very hard to navigate on your own. This is why it is important for criminal defendants to work with a skilled defense attorney.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_682215343.jpgIf you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you are no doubt anxious to know what penalties you face and what your future could hold. Most importantly, are you likely to go to jail?

The good news is that in Illinois, your chances of doing jail time for a first misdemeanor DUI arrest are minimal. Also, thanks to electronic home monitoring and other alternatives, you probably won’t have to pay bail either. But what about a suspended driver’s license?

If You Refused to Take a Breath Test

If you are asked by law enforcement to take a chemical test to measure your blood-alcohol content (BAC) or other substances, Illinois’ Implied Consent law requires you to do it. But actually, there are two different BAC tests, with two very different consequences for refusing them. First, the officer may ask you to take a preliminary breath test to see if there is probable cause to arrest you for DUI. In fact, you can say no to this preliminary test with no penalty. But once they arrest you, you no longer have that right. They will ask you to take an evidentiary BAC, and if you say no, then the Illinois Secretary of State can automatically suspend your license for a year.

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McHenry County underage DUI defense attorneyAs a parent, you probably hope that your child makes good decisions. Unfortunately, many young people experiment with alcohol before they are old enough to do so legally. Teens and young adults in this situation may face consequences including suspension of their driver’s license.

If you or your child are facing administrative consequences or criminal charges related to alcohol, contact a DUI defense lawyer for help.

Consequences for Under-21 Drivers under the Zero Tolerance Law

You may already know that the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Illinois is 0.08 percent. However, this limit only applies to drivers aged 21 or older. If a driver is under the age of 21, there is no legal limit. Driving with any amount of alcohol in your system is unlawful. Most underage drinking and driving penalties result from traffic stops. Police may pull over a young driver for speeding, failing to yield, not using a turn signal, or another traffic offense. If the officer suspects that the driver has been drinking, he or she may ask the driver to take a breath alcohol test or breathalyzer. Any BAC above 0.0 percent can lead to a 3-month driver’s license suspension if the driver is under age 21. If it is the driver’s second offense under Illinois’s Zero Tolerance law, the driver’s license suspension is increased to one year.

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McHenry County criminal defense attorneyWhether it is during a bar fight, domestic dispute, or in another context, being involved in a physical altercation with someone else can be a confusing and upsetting experience. To make the situation even worse, many people in this situation find themselves facing criminal charges for their involvement in the fight. Police responding to an altercation may not know exactly what took place. Sometimes, a person who was merely defending himself or herself is arrested. If you or a loved one are facing charges for assault or battery, you may be up against stiff penalties, including incarceration. It is highly recommended that you seek legal counsel from an experienced assault and battery defense lawyer.  

Assault and Battery Charges in Illinois

Though they are often charged simultaneously, assault and battery are two different criminal offenses in Illinois. Assault occurs when a person places someone else in fear of impending violence through threatening or offensive conduct. For example, pointing a weapon at someone or gesturing like you are going to hit them can lead to assault charges. Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to thirty days in jail, community service, probation, and/or fines. Assault charges may be elevated to aggravated assault if the alleged offense is committed against certain protected people or involves a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault may be a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense. Someone convicted of aggravated assault may face several years in prison.   

Battery refers to actual physical conduct such as punching, hitting, or kicking. Simple battery charges are punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. Aggravated battery involves attempted or actual grievous bodily harm and harm against certain protected individuals. Usually, aggravated battery is a Class 3 felony, but it may be considered a Class 2, Class 1, or Class X felony in certain circumstances. Individuals convicted of battery or aggravated battery can face significant prison time.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1789733465.jpgAs a parent or a guardian, the last place you want to hear from is the Department of Children and Family Services. However, DCFS receives thousands of calls from concerned individuals on an annual basis, meaning that many parents experience a knock on their door from DCFS agents who must look into a children’s wellbeing. 

What is a DCFS Case? 

The Department of Children and Family Services is a government agency that focuses on the safety and wellbeing of children. With a mission to protect children at all costs, agents who work for the Department of Children and Family Services investigate reports of abuse or neglect regarding children. 

DCFS will open a case in order to investigate the abuse or neglect claims that they have received. DCFS often hears about situations in which children are potentially being abused or neglected when people call into the 24/7 DCFS and report their suspicions of neglect or abuse. From there, DCFS will explore the validity of the claims. 

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