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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

cell phone, traffic violations, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyOn a typical morning commute, a quick look around will reveal that people multitask behind the wheel in some pretty interesting ways. Some are eating breakfast; others could be scanning a newspaper, while still others may be shaving or putting on make-up.  Of course, among the most common sights are drivers talking on mobile phones or texting while driving.

In January, the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety released its annual report examining various factors affecting safe driving. The report represents a comprehensive survey conducted by the research group GfK, exclusively for the AAA Foundation. In preparing the 2014 Traffic Safety Culture Index, researchers reviewed a wide range of safety concerns including running red lights, speeding, accident rates, and distracted driving.

For the purposes of the survey, distracted driving included the use of cell phones, both hand-held and hands-free, as well the use of mobile devices to send emails or text messages while operating a motor vehicle. Unsurprisingly, a large majority of drivers recognize the potential danger related to driving distracted, and especially to texting while driving. Almost 70 percent of participants support restrictions to hand-held cell phone use behind the wheel, and nearly 90 percent support limits on texting.

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Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois DUI attorney,Driving under the influence of any controlled substance, drug, or alcohol is a crime in the state of Illinois. Drugged driving has become more of a concern in recent years as some states have begun the process of legalizing marijuana or issuing medical marijuana licenses. It is not unlawful to merely have these substances in your system, presuming that you are lawfully entitled to possess them. However, at a certain threshold, the substances may begin affecting your reaction speeds, and thus your ability to drive and perform other tasks that may affect the safety of others. It is that point that you begin crossing over from a lawful activity into something that may put a misdemeanor or felony on your record if you injure someone while driving under the influence of such substances.

Drugged Driving: Intentional or Otherwise

Another serious misconception is that you cannot be “under the influence” of prescription drugs that you have been lawfully prescribed by a physician. Not only can many of these drugs affect reaction speeds, focus, and ability to drive, but the effects may be amplified significantly when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. While it is always dangerous (not to mention illegal) to take prescription drugs that do not belong to you, taking these drugs and driving poses serious safety concerns to yourself and others on the road.

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Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, supplying to a minor, alcohol legislation,Underage drinking has always - and may always be - a problem. Some parents advocate for “controlled environment” drinking, where they may allow their minor children and friends to drink alcohol so long as the parents are home and no one drives. While there are arguments to be made that this policy may decrease alcohol abuse later in life, Illinois has made it clear that these practices are against the law. A new law that went into effect January 1, 2015 will punish parents for providing alcohol to minors on their property, even on their boats, trailers, or other personal property. This law seeks to curb the epidemic of drinking and driving offenses on our roads and limit the amount of juvenile offenders susceptible to criminal involvement.

Supplying to a Minor in Illinois

The first wave of this parent-minor oriented legislation came back in 2013 when Illinois first specified that it is a crime to provide alcohol to minors at the parents’ home. This includes mere knowledge that minors are drinking in their household, whether they supplied it to the minors or not. According to the law, a violation of this sort may result in a Class A misdemeanor, the highest and most severe classification of misdemeanors.

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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.

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marijuanaRegardless of what side of the political debate you find yourself on, both 2013 and 2014 were big years for marijuana users throughout the country. With Washington, Colorado, and Washington D.C. legalizing recreational marijuana use, and many more states, including Illinois, ratifying laws allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes, many people think legalizing marijuana in our state is the next logical step.

Drug crimes offenses are still serious charges that can have lasting effects on your life and should be taken seriously, even though Illinois recently implemented the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, which is intended to help distributors and dispensaries ensure safety and compliance. With a new governor in place, patients utilizing medicinal marijuana are hoping to get the ball rolling; many have been waiting since the law was passed in 2013 for some relief.

Drugs are Still Illegal

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