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Oak Brook property crime defense attorneyIn the United States, property crimes are fairly common. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), property crime includes offenses such as burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The FBI states that around 90 percent of property crimes reported in the U.S. in 2017 were either theft or burglary crimes. Though the current trends suggest that property crime has decreased in the past five years, it still remains a common issue in Illinois and throughout the U.S.

Burglary

According to the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012, burglary occurs when a person knowingly enters a watercraft, motor vehicle, aircraft, building, home, or other dwelling without authorization and intends to commit a felony or theft. The classification of burglary crimes depends on a couple of different factors. If a person does not cause damage to the place they are entering, then the crime is a Class 3 felony, carrying a sentence of two to five years in prison. If damage is caused to the place they are entering, then the crime is a Class 2 felony and carries a sentence of three to seven years in prison.

Theft

General theft occurs when a person knowingly obtains unauthorized control over someone else’s property, including through the use of threats and deception. The classification of theft crimes depends mostly on the monetary value of the property that was taken. If the property was valued at less than $500, then the crime is a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of less than a year in prison. Charges can range all the way up to a Class X felony if the value of the stolen property was more than $1,000,000, which can mean a possible sentence of six to 30 years in prison. 

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Downers Grove criminal appeal lawyerNothing is perfect -- not even the criminal justice system. Though we often put our faith in the system, sometimes mistakes do happen, and innocent people are convicted while those who are really guilty walk free. Because there is no way to eliminate mistakes entirely, United States and Illinois law allows for certain actions to be taken if you or your lawyer believe that you were wrongly convicted or that you did not have a fair trial. Whether a mistake was made intentionally or unintentionally in a criminal case, you always have the right to file an appeal.

Filing an Appeal

The time directly after conviction and sentencing is critical. You only have 30 days from your sentencing to file a Notice of Appeal with both the Illinois Circuit Court and the appropriate appellate court. In order for your appeal to be valid, it must be based on an error that took place during your trial. The Court of Appeals will not re-try your case -- they will be looking at the mistakes that were made, which can include:

  • Errors concerning evidence, such as the exclusion of evidence that the jury should have heard or the inclusion of evidence that was unfair or prejudiced
  • Misconduct, whether intentional or unintentional, by prosecutors
  • Defense errors, such as insufficient or inadequate defense

Making a Decision

After the higher court looks at the case, the evidence toward errors, and the errors themselves, the court will make a ruling. The court can:

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Downers Grove domestic violence defense lawyerThe recognition of and response to domestic violence have improved over the last decade, but domestic violence still exists, and it is a serious and widespread issue. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 10 million people experience domestic violence each year. However, criminal charges related to domestic violence are not always fully understood, which is why it is important to get your facts straight and be informed about local laws. Here are four things you might not have known about domestic violence charges in Illinois:

1. Domestic Violence Can Only Occur Between “Family or Household Members” 

Any act of abuse that occurs between unrelated people is not considered domestic violence. Examples of relationships that are included under the definition of “family or household members” include:

  • Spouses and former spouses.
  • Parents and step parents.
  • Children and step children.
  • People who currently live together or used to live together.
  • People who dated or were engaged.
  • People who have a child in common.
  • People with disabilities and their personal assistants.

2. “Abuse” Can Include Many Different Forms of Behavior 

Abuse can manifest in physical, emotional, or even sexual forms. Examples of abuse can include:

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