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Wheaton cyberbullying defense lawyerFor young people in the 21st century, growing up under the influence of the internet and social media has resulted in different forms of bullying than in the past. Though cyberbullying is not new, it has continued to evolve as social media formats change. Internet usage among young adults has changed from IMing to DMing, from texting to tweeting, and from posting on Tumblr to selecting the best filter for an Instagram photo. Because the social media realm is ever-changing, new bullying tactics emerge as online trends change. 

Cyberbullying can occur through messaging, social media sites, and gaming programs. The United States at large has recognized the problem of cyberbullying; however, laws and regulations change state-by-state. Illinois has taken actions to reduce cyberbullying and improve youths’ experiences in junior high and high school, and those accused of cyberbullying should work with a criminal defense attorney to understand their rights and legal options.

Illinois Law: On Paper and In Practice 

Illinois has laws and policies against cyberbullying, in keeping with the majority of the country. Illinois has passed legislation highlighting the terms bullying, harassment, and intimidation when discussing cyberbullying. Anti-bullying laws are meant to protect individuals from harassment due to their race, religion, sex, age, marital status, etc. Using digital means to attack any person based on these distinguishing characteristics is considered cyberbullying, and it can result in criminal charges, as well as consequences for students such as suspension or expulsion from school. 


 Illinois divorce lawyerDisorderly conduct is a common crime that has recently come more into focus given the current rise in protests happening around the country. Any conduct that has the potential to disturb the peace can, in theory, qualify as disorderly, and if you are arrested or charged with an offense of this type, understanding it fully can make a difference in how it plays out.

The Statute Is Vague

Illinois’ statute defines disorderly conduct as any behavior that is unreasonable and causes alarm or provokes a breach of the peace. This can encompass several different types of conduct and is often used as a catch-all of sorts for any behavior that is held to be somehow wrong or inappropriate without it being quite criminal enough to provoke a more specific charge. Numerous types of incidents would fall under disorderly conduct, such as domestic disputes without substantial injury, certain types of protest, public drunkenness, and the like.


Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, ban the box law, Illinois recently joined four other states in passing legislation that forbids employers to ask about criminal offenses until after the person applying for a job is either selected for an interview or is hired. Despite the hope that this “Ban the Box” legislation will give some of the estimated 70 million adults in the United States who have a crime on their record a chance at a career, there are other concerns people have about their prior offenses. Many people are aware that there are processes in place in which a person may have a criminal history expunged, or erased from public databases.

Understanding Expungement

Expungement is not the same as a dismissal; it will not change the ultimate disposition of your case. Expungement is, however, an opportunity for you to remove your criminal past from public record and to help you move forward. According to the law, to expunge means “to physically destroy records or return them to the [person requesting the expungement] and to obliterate the [person’s name] from any official index or public record, or both.” Juvenile records may also be expunged in some circumstances once the juvenile is no longer a minor.


Posted on in Drug Crimes

drugThere are three primary driving considerations behind criminal punishment in the United States: deterrence, retribution, and rehabilitation. Deterrence theories suggest that if people know about the punishments associated with crimes, they will not commit them. Deterrence can be either general or specific. Specific deterrence aims to discourage the individual criminal from committing future acts by providing them with a punishment for their actions, while general deterrence seeks to make an example out of the offender, thereby deterring others from similar conduct.

Retribution is the “you get what you deserve” type of mentality. This theory supports that punishment is a necessary evil when one commits a crime. The punishment, however, must be “proportionate” to the crime committed. This standard makes retributive justice difficult to implement because it is difficult to sentence offenders for similar crimes when every circumstance is unique. Regardless, the United States Sentencing Commission produces recommended sentencing guidelines based on the severity of the crime and the offender’s past criminal convictions, which can help judges determine what kind of sentence an offender should receive for his crimes.

Rehabilitation is arguably the most important theory of justice, but also the most difficult to implement in our justice system. Rehabilitation is the idea that instead of punishing offenders by having them sit in a jail cell, they should participate in programs that will better their lives, help them recover from previous hardships, and then be permitted to re-enter society as contributing and productive members. Rehabilitation is particularly important when you consider that it can cost anywhere from $14,000 to $60,000 per offender, per year to keep someone in prison in the United States. Rehabilitation not only offers a way to save taxpayers money in this regard, but certain rehabilitation programs may be the difference in saving an offender from a life of crime. It can also alleviate some prison overcrowding concerns.


illinois criminal defense representationSome local Illinois residents facing criminal charges attempt to handle their own case in court without the aid of a criminal law attorney. No matter what the rationale for trying to represent yourself may be, it is critical to understand the many pitfalls of this approach. The criminal justice system is quite complex, and every case requires a mix of legal expertise, procedural acumen, and familiarity with techniques of advocacy. As a result, it can be almost impossible for a defendant to navigate the system successfully without the guidance of an attorney.

In most cases, self-representation seems like the best option for financial reasons. When making these decisions though, it is critical to think long-term. What decision will best position you to get beyond the immediate challenges without loss of your freedom or permanent damage to your reputation? In many cases, protecting your future interests requires the experience, skill, and advocacy that only a criminal defense attorney can provide.

Common Reasons for Self-Representation


dupage county criminal attorneyThe primary duties of a criminal defense attorney include protecting your rights and building a strong defense for your case that will allow for successful prosecutor negotiations or a dismissal in court. While the specific defenses that can be used against criminal charges vary depending on the specific allegations and details of each case, the following are some common defense strategies used by experienced Illinois criminal lawyers:

Learn the defendant's story. Sometimes, criminal defendants openly confess to the crime to their attorneys, while other times they completely deny involvement. In additional instances, a defendant may admit to only part of the offense, but provide an alternative explanation for their involvement. A qualified defense attorney will listen closely to what the defendant states and decipher the truth of what happened.

Compare the defendant’s truth with the prosecutor's "truth." Even if both the defense attorney and the prosecutor heard the same basic story regarding the events in question, they may each present the facts of what happened in two different ways. For example, a prosecutor may state a defendant punched their client because he or she was angry. However, a defense attorney may tell a different version, claiming that the defendant punched the accuser because he or she swung first and made them fear for their own safety. Explaining the facts and truth of a case in an alternate manner is an important skill for a defense lawyer.


According to a story in the Chicago Tribune, an off-duty police officer on his way to work began his shift a little earlier than planned when he noticed two men stealing mail from a postal truck and stopped them in the act. The men were not in uniform, yet they were unloading packages from a U.S. Postal truck parked on the 5900 block of West Fulton Boulevard. The officer watched them load the packages into a Black SUV that was parked close by. After loading the vehicle, the men sped off.

The officer began following the men and called into 911 with the description and information about the men and the SUV they were driving. Officers who were monitoring the radio spotted the men and began following them. When one of the men realized they were being followed by police officers, he began throwing the stolen mail out of the vehicle and onto the street.

Officers pulled the SUV over and arrested one of the men, Darrick Smith, 43, of Chicago, who was charged with burglary. The other suspect fled and was not caught. Police believe the two men broke a window in the mail truck, using a large piece of concrete that was found lying next to the truck.


Timothy N. Morris, 29, was found guilty of calculated criminal drug conspiracy and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on October 1. The crime is a Class X felony which carry mandatory sentences of 6 to 30 years in prison upon conviction. The Naperville Sun reports that Morris has to serve at least 75 percent of his term in prison and pay about $2000 dollars in fines and court costs. Furthermore, he will be supervised for three years after completing his time in prison.

Morris was part of a narcotics ring that operated last year in the Naperville-Aurora area and Chicago.  Naperville Police Department’s Special Operations Group arrested three other suspects in connection with the drug ring: Ian E. Lona, Gilda L. Ruales, and Teresa I. Sanchez. They were arrested on October 6, 2011, in Naperville and Morris was arrested 14 hours earlier on Chicago’s west side.

Police started investigating the actions of the group after Ruales had been arrested for selling cocaine in Aurora. Later, police found out that Ruales and Sanchez were dealing drugs in Naperville and Aurora. Following this lead, undercover police agents purchased cocaine and hundreds of ecstasy pills from the members of the ring.


Posted on in Criminal Defense

A 22-year-old man had an argument over a bicycle that led to him getting shot and killed. The incident took place in the Jeffery Manor neighborhood, according to authorities. The Chicago Tribune reported a story on the case.

The 22-year-old man was outside, and he was arguing with another man over a bicycle when the shooting happened, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said. According to officials, the victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the shooting.

The 22 year old man was identified as Parrish Flournoy by the Cook County medical examiner's office. Flournoy does not live in the area where the shooting took place, and it is unclear why he was in the area.


Posted on in Drug Crimes

The Chicago Tribune recently reported a story about a pharmacy technician, who is facing thirteen drug charges after the police found marijuana and over 2,300 prescription pills in her car. The medication uncovered in her car included Hydrocodone, Oxycontin, and Adderall. The pharmacy technician admitted to selling the medication on the streets for profit.

On August 2, the Lake County Sheriff's department responded to a call about a reckless driver and a black Toyota matching the description was found parked at a McDonald's parking lot in Volo, says a news release from the Lake County Sheriff's office. The officers approaching the vehicle smelled burning marijuana and noticed a clear plastic bag containing marijuana inside the car, says the release.

The driver of the black Toyota, Holland R. Hernandez, 26, was taken into custody, and the police searched her car. The search left the police with more than 2,300 prescription pills and over $4,700 in cash, in addition to the marijuana. The police also found a shotgun with ammunition shells attached to the weapon in the trunk of Hernandez's car.

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