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McHenry County juvenile theft defense lawyerJuvenile crime has decreased over the past couple of years, but certain crimes still tend to be popular with teenagers. According to the FBI, there were more than 62,000 juveniles arrested for suspicion of committing theft or larceny in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available. In the United States, a juvenile is considered to be anyone who is under the age of 18, though the state of Illinois will prosecute those who are 17 or older for serious crimes. Although juveniles are typically not tried in the same court as adults, they may face similar charges and penalties that can become very serious rather quickly.

What is Retail Theft?

Illinois law not only defines the offense of general theft, which occurs when someone unlawfully takes possession or control of property that belongs to someone else, but also the specific offense of retail theft. Retail theft occurs when a person takes possession of, carries away, or transfers any merchandise from a retail establishment with the purpose of depriving the merchant of the benefit or full or partial retail value of the merchandise.

Retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor as long as the retail value of the merchandise that was stolen was no greater than $300. Penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, and/or up to two years of probation. If the retail value of the merchandise exceeds $300, then the charge is increased to a Class 4 felony. Penalties for Class 4 felonies include one to three years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and/or up to 30 months of probation.

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McHenry County first-time DUI attorneyEven if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is not at or beyond the legal limit of 0.08, you can be stopped by law enforcement if alcohol is suspected to be impacting your ability to drive. If this is your first time being pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI), it can be a frightening experience, but you are entitled to have an experienced attorney on your side to help guide you through the process. There are important things that you should be aware of if you have been charged with an Illinois DUI.

Administrative Penalties for Illinois DUI

Many people think that upon conviction for a DUI, they will immediately be jailed, lose their driver’s license, and essentially be labeled for life. In reality, a first-time DUI may result in administrative penalties and some criminal charges, but it is far more likely to be seen as a mistake, albeit a serious one, rather than an indication of any kind of long-term pattern of behavior. This is especially true if no one is injured or killed and no property damage occurs. State prosecutors are much more likely to work out a bargain with a first-time offender to give them a chance to not re-offend.

Administrative penalties are handed down by an administrative law judge or governmental agency, rather than through a criminal court. One example is a statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license for refusing a chemical test when law enforcement has probable cause to believe you are under the influence, which is a violation of Illinois’s implied consent law. A statutory summary suspension is issued by the Office of the Secretary of State instead of a criminal court judge.

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Crystal Lake IL DUI defense attorneyGood citizens are everywhere, and they are called that because they are generally “good.” Their behaviors mean no harm but only to help the community or someone in need. Some are inclined to notify law enforcement when they witness what they believe to be a crime, and anonymous tips from these individuals pour into police stations regularly. A significant portion of these tips is from drivers or passengers on the roadway reporting someone who appears to be driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.

What Do the Police Do With This Information?

If a tipster calls 911 to report an emergency, such as a drunk driver on the road, the operator will immediately begin to attempt to get as much information out of the informant as possible. The 911 center keeps a record of the call and can call the number back to obtain more information. This information alone is enough for police to stop a vehicle or driver matching the tipster’s description so that the officer can ask questions and gather more information.

Can an Officer Make an Arrest?

According to the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an officer must have probable cause before making an arrest. One source of probable cause is an officer or an informant witnessing the suspicious behavior firsthand. Anonymous tips alone are not always sufficient to establish probable cause, as it can be difficult to determine the credibility of the source. For example, an anonymous informant may have a personal vendetta against the suspect, motivating them to make a false accusation.

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Crystal Lake DUI defense attorneyAlcohol consumption is a common part of life for many people in the United States and throughout the world, used in everything from social gatherings to religious ceremonies. Responsible consumption is often relatively harmless, but excessive drinking can pose increasing risks for both drinkers and the people around them.

Those who drink alcohol have a legal responsibility to refrain from driving while inebriated. In Illinois, the legal limit for driving is a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08. If you are found to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher, you can face legal consequences in the form of charges for driving under the influence (DUI). However, alcohol can begin to affect one’s body even at BAC levels below 0.08, and the effects increase at higher concentrations. If you drink alcohol, you should familiarize yourself with these different stages.

Physiological Effects of Different BAC Levels

Every person handles alcohol differently, which means that one person with a certain BAC might feel different effects than another person with the same BAC. An individual’s metabolism, size, body weight, genetic and acquired tolerance, and many other factors could affect how your body processes alcohol.

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Crystal Lake juvenile defense lawyerYour teen told you they were out with friends—perhaps friends that you have met dozens of times and you know their parents. Then, you get a phone call. At first, you think it is a joke or a prank, but the realization sets in that your child has been arrested for shoplifting, but the authorities are letting you take them home for now. What does that mean? The questions begin spinning through your mind, from how you will handle the situation as a parent to how this affects college applications and the future. The good news is that you are not alone; we are here to help.

Why Was My Child Released to Me?

Many juvenile shoplifting situations do not result in the young person being taken to jail. Instead, the police will often release the suspect to the custody of his or her parents after taking a report from the management at the store where the incident allegedly occurred. In the days and weeks that follow, you will receive further information about the case in the mail, including the dates and times of required court appearances. Your child must show up for these, and it is your responsibility to ensure that he or she does so.  Failure to appear will result in a warrant being put out for your child’s arrest and potentially other charges. You can assist your child by watching the mailbox and following up with the court.

What Else Can I Do to Help My Child?

It is common for parents to fluctuate between wanting to hold their children accountable for their bad decisions and wanting to protect them from the criminal consequences. A few helpful tips for parents wanting to achieve the best possible outcome in this awkward situation include:

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