Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

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815-666-1285

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Joliet, IL stalking charges defense attorney

A lot of people do not think of stalking as a form of domestic violence, but it can be just as devastating to a victim as physical abuse. Stalking can come in many different forms, especially now with the prevalence of electronic communication and social media outlets. Illinois law has different categories when it comes to stalking charges, but stalking is generally defined as engaging in conduct that makes another person, the victim, fear for his or her own safety and/or suffers emotional distress. Whether it be actually following someone or harassment through text messages, it is important to know how Illinois law defines the different types of stalking and their penalties if you are ever faced with this kind of charge.  

Types of Stalking

The obvious form of stalking that everyone knows about is the act of one person following another from place to place with the intent to commit bodily harm or even kidnap the victim. However, Illinois also observes stalking as being any of the following:

  • Threatening a victim with bodily harm

  • Sexual assault

  • Restraint of a victim or threats of restraint against the victim’s family

  • Taking unlawful surveillance of the victim without his or her consent or knowledge.

Any person convicted of stalking of this nature will be charged with a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to two years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses are charged as a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to five years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

Stalking becomes a more serious crime when bodily harm or actual abduction occurs. Then, the charges turn into aggravated stalking. The state of Illinois also views the violation of a temporary restraining order as aggravated stalking, which is a Class 3 felony for a first offense. Subsequent offenses will be charged as a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

As the use of social media websites has increased, cyberstalking has become more serious. Illinois law defines this offense as engaging in electronic communication directed toward a victim who becomes fearful for his or her safety or experiences emotional distress. In severe cases, victims have committed suicide as a result of cyberstalking. Any person convicted of cyberstalking can face a Class 4 felony sentence for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for subsequent offenses.

How to Avoid a Stalking Conviction

There are several defense strategies that an alleged stalker could utilize in order to avoid a wrongful conviction:

  • Intent: An alleged stalker could argue that he or she had no intention of causing harm to the victim of the stalking.

  • A mistake of fact: An alleged stalker could say that the incident under investigation was simply a “wrong place at the wrong time” type of scenario and that he or she was not purposefully following the alleged victim.

  • Duress or coercion: The alleged stalker could say that someone forced or persuaded him or her to stalk or harass the victim, and he or she would not have done so without the third party’s involvement.

  • Insanity: The alleged stalker could say he or she was not in the right state of mind to distinguish the difference between right and wrong when the alleged stalking took place.

The above defense strategies are only for stalking charges. Unfortunately, if a person is charged with stalking, he or she can sometimes also face charges of breaking and entering, trespassing, or intimidating a witness.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Cases involving stalking are usually complicated and sensitive for both parties involved. These are serious charges that can carry stiff penalties depending on the circumstances of the incident(s). If you or someone you know is facing stalking charges, you need to seek legal counsel so you understand your options for defending against these accusations. The Law Offices of Tedone & Morton P.C. will collect evidence and build a strong defense strategy for you. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County domestic violence defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285 today.

 

Source:

https://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/past-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-laws/criminal-stalking-laws-by-state/illinois

 

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Joliet, IL DUI defense attorney

Several things happen when a driver is pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence in Illinois. After the police officer approaches the car, he or she may observe any unusual behavior or appearance of the driver. Officers will look for signs of drunkenness, including blood-shot or watery eyes, slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol. If the officer suspects impairment, he or she will ask the driver to exit the vehicle to perform a DUI field sobriety test. The officer can also administer a chemical test, but most of the time that kind of test is performed after a driver is taken into custody on suspicion of DUI and arrives at the police station.

What Types of Field Sobriety Tests Are Performed?

An officer may ask a driver to perform several different tasks during a field sobriety test, such as counting by fives or reciting the alphabet backward. However, there are three main types of standardized field sobriety tests that are recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test: In the HGN test, the officer holds up a finger or pen and moves it back and forth, asking the driver to follow it with his or her eyes only. If there is substantial jerking of the eyes, or if the driver cannot follow the movement, the driver fails the test.

  2. The Walk-and-Turn Test: The driver is asked to take nine steps in a straight line before turning and taking another nine steps in the opposite direction. An officer is looking for lack of balance during the walk. If the driver has to stop to regain his or her balance at any time, uses his or her arms for balance, or takes the wrong amount of steps during the test, the driver fails the test.

  3. The One-Leg Stand Test: The officer will ask the driver to stand on one leg and count up from 1,000 until he or she is instructed to put his or her foot back down. If a driver loses balance or has to put his or her foot down before the test is over, the driver fails the test.

Since these tests are performed on-site at the stop, usually on a sidewalk or empty street, there are several factors that could make them inaccurate, which is why a driver may refuse to perform the tests. For example, even a sober person is likely to fail these tests if he or she suffers from a certain physical disability or a mental disorder that would prevent him or her from doing the tasks correctly. 

These tests may also be unreliable because of conditions at the testing site that could factor into a sober driver failing the sobriety test. If the pavement is wet or icy, this could throw off a person’s balance while performing the one-leg stand or the walk-and-turn tests.

Refusing a field sobriety test will typically result in the officer taking the driver into custody and performing a chemical blood alcohol test. The chemical test can also be refused, but the officer will then typically obtain a warrant for the test to be taken. The Illinois Secretary of State automatically suspends a motorist’s driving privileges for refusing to submit to chemical testing.

Contact a Joliet, IL DUI Defense Attorney

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime in Illinois. There are several consequences for a conviction, including loss of driving privileges and hefty fines. If you believe your rights may have been compromised during a traffic stop or field sobriety test, hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton P.C. to build your defense. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County criminal defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285.

 

Sources:

https://www.alcohol.org/dui/field-sobriety-test/

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

 

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Plainfield, IL firearms charge defense attorney

Thousands of people from across Illinois flocked to Chicago’s Navy Pier to see this year's fireworks show in celebration of the Fourth of July. However, the booms of the fireworks were not the only noise present throughout the city. According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, 16 people were shot and two were killed in violent crimes that occurred in and around the city on Independence Day. One potential reason for the high number of incidents may be the increased consumption of alcohol over the holiday weekend. Regardless of the time of year, Illinois has several rules for firearms that are meant to keep people in the state safe. Violations of these laws can result in being charged with a weapons crime.

Who Can Legally Own a Gun?

Anyone who wishes to own a gun for either home defense or concealed carry in Illinois must first apply for a Firearms’ Ownership Identification Card (FOID). The Illinois State Police are in charge of approving FOIDs, and there are several requirements that one must meet before legally owning a firearm:

  • Must be 21 years old or over, unless there is consent from a parent or guardian. Minors under the age of 18 are not permitted to own a gun.

  • Must not have been convicted of any felony.

  • Must not be addicted to narcotics.

  • Must not have been a patient in a mental institute within five years prior to the application.

  • Must not be intellectually disabled.

  • Must be a citizen of the United States.

Furthermore, there are steps that must be taken if gun owners want to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois. They must apply for a concealed carry license, pay a $150 fee, and attend 16 hours of training. A person with a valid concealed carry license will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in most places; however, there are places where it is never legal to carry a weapon, including schools, libraries, parks, and government facilities.

What if I Am Caught Using an Unlicensed Firearm?

Depending on the nature of the crime, unlawful use of a firearm can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in Illinois. Unlawful possession of firearms other than handguns or firearm ammunition is a Class A misdemeanor. The offender can face up to one year in prison, two years of probation, and up to $2,500 in fees.

Carrying a loaded gun is classified as aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. It is punishable as a Class 4 felony, and the offender can face up to three years in prison, 30 months of probation, and several fines. Possession of a stolen firearm is considered a Class 2 felony, resulting in jail time from three to seven years. The fine can be up to $25,000. Probation is possible for a Class 2 felony in Illinois.

Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a Class 1 felony, which carries a prison sentence up to 15 years and a fine up to $25,000. Furthermore, if a victim is injured or killed in an incident involving a firearm, the offender could also face charges such as manslaughter, assault, or even murder. Murder can result in a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Illinois has specific laws regarding firearms, and gun owners must meet their requirements for obtaining a FOID or concealed carry license. Due to the prevalence of gun violence, weapons charges are taken very seriously, and unlicensed gun owners could face criminal consequences. If you are facing weapons charges of any kind, the first step you should take is to hire legal counsel. The Law Office of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help build a strong defense on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County weapons charge defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K24-1.htm

https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/illinois/

https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2019/7/4/20682631/july-4-chicago-shootings-gun-violence

Plainfield, IL violent crimes defense lawyerMurder is one of the most serious of all violent crimes. A person accused of taking the life of another person faces the possibility of life in prison. Even the accusation of an attempt to kill someone can result in serious punishments. In Illinois, there is a fine line between assault charges and attempted murder charges. However, they are very different in the severity of their punishments.

What Is the Difference Between Assault and Attempted Murder?

Assault is defined as the threat of inflicting bodily harm or offensive physical contact upon another person. This can be an action as simple as forcefully shoving someone or as serious as threatening someone else with a firearm. If convicted of simple assault, the punishment is a Class C misdemeanor resulting in a prison term of up to 30 days and a $1,500 fine.

Attempted murder is similar to assault in terms of the definitions of the two crimes. The difference in the crimes comes when a person knowingly takes a substantial step toward the killing of another person. In order to be charged with attempted murder, intent to kill must be proven beyond a doubt. If convicted, attempted murder is a Class X felony punishable by a prison term ranging from 20 to 80 years. Punishments can also be increased depending on the crime:

  • If the crime occurs with a firearm, 15 years will be added to the prison sentence.

  • If the firearm is discharged during an attempted murder, 20 years will be added to the prison sentence.

  • If the discharging of the firearm results in bodily harm, but not death, to the victim of the attempted murder, 25 years will be added to the term, or the offender will be imprisoned for a natural life term.

  • The charges become a Class 1 felony when the offender is proven to have caused the death of another person by accidental means.

Defense Strategies

After being charged with attempted murder, an offender will have several different ways they may be able to avoid a conviction. They will have to prove that they never had the intent to take the life of the victim in the case. This could reduce the charge to simple assault.

An offender can also attempt to prove the crime was:

  • An act of self-defense, in that the offender had to fight back to protect his or her own life.

  • In defense of other persons involved in the incident.

  • An exercise of duty by a law enforcement officer.

  • An act of insanity, and the incident would not have occurred if the offender was in the right state of mind.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know is facing attempted murder charges, the consequences of a conviction can be life-altering. The first step you should take is to secure experienced legal representation. The Law Office of Tedone & Morton, P.C. will carefully review the circumstances surrounding your case and help you minimize the potential consequences by planning an appropriate defense. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County violent crimes attorney, call 815-666-1285.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=21100000&SeqEnd=23000000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K8-4

Will County violent crimes defense attorney

There are many different ways a person can be charged with kidnapping, and contrary to how it sounds, kidnapping can happen to both children and adults alike. An individual can be taken by someone he or she knows or does not know for ransom, or worse, to be tortured or killed. This is why kidnapping is considered a violent crime.

Illinois law defines kidnapping as a person knowingly doing any of the following acts:

  • Secretly confining another person against his or her will.

  • Forcibly transporting another person with the intent to confine him or her against his or her will.

  • Inducing another person from one place to another with the intent to confine him or her against his or her will.

  • Concealing a person under the age of 13 or with an intellectual disability against his or her will and without the consent of the minor’s parents.

In these cases, alleged kidnappers can be convicted of a Class 2 felony punishable by a prison term of three to seven years.

Understanding Aggravated Kidnapping

The state of Illinois also has laws for aggravated kidnapping, which is a crime of a more serious nature with more severe consequences. Aggravated kidnapping is classified as any of the following:

  • Taking another person with the intent to collect a ransom.

  • Taking a minor under the age of 13 years old or taking a person with an intellectual disability.

  • Inflicting bodily harm upon a victim other than discharging a firearm.

  • Wearing a hood or mask to conceal identity.

  • Committing the act of kidnapping while in possession of a weapon other than a firearm.

  • Committing the act of kidnapping with a firearm.

  • Committing the act of kidnapping and discharging a firearm.

  • Committing the act of kidnapping while discharging a firearm that results in bodily harm or death of another person.

Aggravated kidnapping is a Class X felony with prison terms increasing with the nature of the crime. First offenses are punished by a prison term of six to 30 years, with an additional 15-25 years, depending on the severity of the crime. Second and subsequent offenses are punishable by life imprisonment, a fine of up to $25,000, and restitution to the victim.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

A kidnapping conviction will change a person’s life, and aggravated kidnapping carries even more severe penalties. If found guilty, the offender will go to prison, but even if a person is found not guilty, they are still likely to suffer from a damaged reputation within their community. If you or someone you know is fighting kidnapping charges, an attorney from the Law Office of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you build the best defense strategy so you can avoid a prison term. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County violent crimes lawyer, call 815-666-1285.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+10&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=12200000&SeqEnd=13600000

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