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"I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT HIM..."
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max-bender-702436-unsplash-copy-240x300On January 27, 2019, a man was charged with attempted murder after he shot a Chicago police officer. 32-year-old Swaleh Mohammed was arrested the night of January 26 and has been charged with six felonies. It is alleged that he shot a Chicago police officer in the officer’s protective vest when law enforcement was responding to a domestic dispute in the neighborhood of West Ridge.

Police were called to Swaleh’s home at approximately 6:45 p.m. and found him inside with a gun. He barricaded himself inside and, according to police, appeared to have some type of mental disability. He then shot at police who returned fire, but did not hit the suspect.

One of the responding officers was hit in his vest, but was unharmed. He was taken to the hospital and reported in good health.

simon-migaj-423321-unsplash-copy-300x200On January 21, an individual was arrested for allegedly kicking his girlfriend in the stomach and killing her unborn child.

A neighbor told police that she heard a woman screaming at approximately 3:30 in the morning on January 19 before calling authorities. A 19-year-old woman then informed law enforcement that she had severe pain in her stomach because her boyfriend kicked her multiple times after the two had an argument in their apartment.

After the altercation, the boyfriend, 22-year-old Kahlil Ellison, fled the scene but was swiftly apprehended and taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies. Authorities reported the argument was over a cell phone.

elti-meshau-208526-unsplash-copy-300x199A former Elgin resident has pled guilty to attempted murder and aggravated arson charges stemming from a 2017 incident. She was accused of entering her ex-boyfriend’s house in Roselle and then stabbing and attempting to suffocate a woman she found there. She then attempted to set the townhouse on fire. The woman she attacked and another man in the home were injured when they jumped out of a second floor window to avoid the fire that had been set. She then was accused of stealing a car to flee the scene. She has been held on $2 million bail since her arrest in July of 2017. She entered her plea in DuPage County court with the knowledge that she would be sentenced to 28 years in prison, according to The Daily Herald. At the time of her arrest, she was also facing additional charges of home invasion and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Attempted Murder in Illinois

Attempted murder in Illinois is a very serious charge. It is considered a Class X felony and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

kevin-gent-219197-copy-300x200On January 16, 2019, an Aurora woman was arrested and charged with three counts of felony aggravated battery and three counts of misdemeanor domestic battery at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora. The charges were spurred by a video of the incident captured by a witness who in turn called 911. The woman is accused of dragging her five year old child by the hair and holding him down and pinching his neck, causing bruising, according to The Chicago Sun Times.

What are the Punishments for Aggravated Battery and Domestic Battery?

In Illinois, aggravated battery is a Class 3 felony and is punishable by a term of imprisonment of between two and a half to five years with a potential fine of up to $25,000. In certain cases, this sentence can be extended to up to 10 years if certain aggravating circumstances exist. A previous felony conviction within the last 10 years or if the battery is committed against a victim 12 years of age or younger are just two of the aggravating factors that can be considered. Domestic battery is considered a Class A misdemeanor (although it can also be charged as a felony in some cases) and can be punished with up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2500. It is important to note that domestic battery is a misdemeanor that, upon conviction, even if you are sentenced only to court supervision, can not be expunged from your criminal record. This differs from many other misdemeanors and further exemplifies the seriousness of the charge.

ales-nesetril-1070103-unsplash-copy-300x199On January 17, a man from Winnetka was given a five-year federal prison sentence for fraud.

50-year-old Thomas Lindstrom led a scheme that cost his customers almost $14 million dollars in losses. As a result, the Northfield-based company that employed him was forced to close its doors.

The former options trader at the Chicago Board of Trade was given a prison term that was approximately half the recommended federal guideline. His lawyer argued that Lindstrom committed fraud because of his fear of failure and to maintain the lavish lifestyle he was living in the North Shore.

david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300Any case involving the use of a deadly weapon like a knife, shotgun, or other firearm is taken quite seriously in Chicago. In 2016, there were over 1,400 deaths in Illinois that were the result of firearms. The use of a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime inevitably increases the severity of the sentence given to the accused. This will include criminal acts of domestic violence, assault, rape, and sexual assault.

A criminal defense attorney in Chicago can discuss the laws that relate to weapons charges and provide counsel about the ideal strategy for your defense.

New Gun Laws in Illinois

brandi-ibrao-1140359-unsplash-copy-300x225Chicago marked a memorable day on the calendar this month — January 14, 2019.

That was the first day in 2019 when there were no reports of gun violence in the city. The day before, three people were wounded after being shot, but no one was killed. According to police, most of the violent crime and killing in Chicago is related to gang activity. Members commonly fight over territory they feel is theirs or retaliate against perceived offenses by rival gangs.

The level of crime in the city has remained steady in recent years for the most part. Last year, the number of homicides decreased in many areas of Chicago but increased in other areas of the West and South sides. Neighborhoods such as West Garfield Park and Englewood are still seeing much violence that is gang or gun related.

nicolas-barbier-garreau-256433-copy-300x240A police search without a warrant is illegal without consent. It is unlawful for a police officer to enter a person’s home or vehicle without a warrant, without consent, or without an exigent circumstance, such as seeing through a window or hearing domestic violence within the house. Additionally, it is unlawful for a law enforcement agent to coerce a person into consenting to a search, whether that coercion is expressed or implied. Furthermore, according to the Criminal Law Digest, “A defendant’s initial refusal to consent is an important factor in determining whether later consent is voluntary. The fact that defendant signed a written consent form is not dispositive in deciding whether consent was voluntary where circumstances show the consent was obtained through coercion.” This very scenario happened to a Chicago resident.

Fake Call of a Break-in Leads to Illegal Search and Seizure

Chicago police responded to an anonymous tip about a man growing marijuana in his residence. When the officers arrived at the residence, they found no one at home. They called the man with a fake story of a home break in, at which point the then suspect drove home and was confronted by the police officer. The defendant asked if the officer had a search warrant, which he did not. However the officer said that if the defendant did not sign a consent form right then and there, that he would be taken to jail, which would not have been lawful. And, if the defendant signed the form, he would not be arrested on that day. The defendant signed the consent search form, the officer found contraband, and he was arrested. The court  found that the police officer had tricked, intimidated, and threatened the defendant, and that the voluntary consent form was not actually signed voluntarily. The court remanded for a new trial, reversed the conviction, and threw out all evidence from the illegal search.

joris-v-541657-unsplash-copy-300x200“Drunk driving” does not always mean operating a car on the open road while intoxicated. Under Illinois law, a person may be found guilty of driving under the influence if he or she is in “actual physical control” of a vehicle, even if the car is parked and not moving. To illustrate, an Illinois appeals court recently upheld the conviction and eight-year prison sentence of a man who was found passed out behind the wheel of his parked car.

The Driver was Not Driving

The case arose from an April 2012 arrest in Chicago. A police officer, responding to an unrelated call, came across a parked car with the driver’s-side door open. The officer saw a man passed out behind the wheel. The officer observed the man had bloodshot eyes and his breath smelled of alcohol. The man subsequently failed a field sobriety test and declined a Breathalyzer test. The man had two prior convictions for driving under the influence.

jordan-andrews-401745-copy-300x200The Chicago Tribune recently published a report on the new Illinois laws that went into effect starting January 1, 2019. In all, more than 250 pieces of legislation are now on the books, ranging from gun control to sexual harassment to synthetic marijuana. One particular law will affect anyone with a driver’s license and a smartphone: There are now stricter penalties for anyone caught texting while driving, though many of the same prohibitions remain the same. An Illinois criminal defense attorney can explain how the new sanctions may affect your rights if you are cited for texting while driving, but an overview of the law may help you avoid a ticket.

Illinois Current Prohibition on Cell Phone Use While Driving

Before getting to how the new law changes the penalties for texting while driving, it is important to understand what types of conduct are unlawful. Currently, any driver under the age of 18 years is barred from any cell phone use while behind the wheel. Drivers 19 and older can use a phone while driving, but only via voice-activated and hands-free functions.