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Driving With a Suspended License in Illinois

The State of Illinois can suspend or revoke a person’s driving privileges for 36 reasons. Over 500,000 people in Illinois are unable to legally drive. Driving[1] with a suspended or revoked license (DWLS) in Illinois[2] is a serious matter. It is a criminal offense. Many people assume getting a ticket for driving while suspended is no different than any […]

Illinois Misdemeanor Law

While the penalties are less serious than felonies, a misdemeanor arrest and guilty finding leads to criminal records with the FBI and state police. Illinois misdemeanors carry a maximum punishment of a fine and incarceration of up to 364 days in jail. Crimes for which a person may be punished by more than one year in jail […]

Plea Bargaining in Criminal Cases

If every criminal case went to trial, the criminal justice system would effectively shut down. The answer developed to address this problem is the plea bargain. A “plea bargain” is an agreement between the prosecutor, the defendant’s attorney and the defendant. In return for the defendant entering a plea of guilty to a criminal charge, […]

Arrest Warrants Issued in the United States

A judge commanding law enforcement officials to bring a wanted person before the court to answer to criminal charges issues an arrest warrant. The Fourth Amendment[1] to the US Constitution commands that the following conditions exist for an arrest warrant to issue: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons … against […]

DUI Breath Testing and Criminal Prosecutions

A driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is presumed to be intoxicated. Blood tests are more trustworthy, but breath tests are commonly used. The breath test is simpler to perform and administered by non-medical personnel with quicker results. Many situations exist that impair breath tests as a precise calculation of BAC. […]

The United States Felony Process

Americans are being locked up at ever increasing rates. Knowledge of the process leading to this result is important for all citizens. In 2008 the Washington Post reported that more than 1 of every 100 Americans was incarcerated. While there was a slight drop in Americans in jail or prison in 2011, the United States […]

The Role of Law Enforcement in Domestic Battery and Domestic Violence

Some states refer to the crime as Domestic Battery, some as Domestic Violence.  The essence is a personal criminal act by one person upon another with whom there is a family or household relationship. A domestic battery is a battery involving family or household members. Family or household members[1] are related by blood or marriage, former […]

The Purpose of Criminal Punishment

People who break the law are punished. Criminal penalties range from a small fine or community service to the death penalty. Why are criminals punished? To justify imposing punishment on one of its members, a society must have a purpose. Most people accept that there are consequences for criminal conduct. The consequences are generally unpleasant […]

Principles of Criminal Liability

A crime has been charged. The defendant pleads not guilty. What must the government prosecutor prove? Why? There are basic principles underlying the prosecution of a crime. A crime is composed of elements. These elements include a mental state, prohibited action and lack of legal justification. Each of these elements must be proven by the […]