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Orland Park Criminal Defense AttorneyOne of the most ubiquitous myths about police officers is the rumor that police must identify themselves as law enforcement officers. On the hit television show Breaking Bad, a methamphetamine dealer suspects that an alleged buyer is really an undercover police officer. The alleged buyer says, “If you ask a cop if he is a cop, he is obligated to tell you.”  Unfortunately, the methamphetamine dealer falls for this trick, sells the drugs to the undercover officer, and is promptly arrested.

Many people wonder whether police officers are allowed to lie to criminal suspects. The answer is undoubtedly, yes. This is one reason it is so crucial for individuals accused of criminal activity to retain a skilled criminal defense lawyer.  

Sting Operations and Entrapment

Police often use undercover operations or “sting operations” to catch criminals in the act. Police may lie about their identity and intentions to apprehend criminals. For example, a police officer may pose as an underage girl online or pretend to be interested in buying illicit drugs to catch people breaking the law. Sting operations are perfectly legal. However, entrapment is not legal. The difference between entrapment and a sting operation is that entrapment involves coercing or forcing someone to break the law, while a sting operation merely provides an opportunity for someone to break the law.

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When Can I Be Charged with Forgery in Illinois?

Posted on in Criminal Law

Orland Park Forgery Defense AttorneyWhile forging a signature may be the most common and well-known form of forgery, the crime actually includes a wide variety of actions meant to defraud a person, business, or organization. In our digital world, new forms of forgery are increasingly possible, but the standard definition still provides a wide umbrella under which forgery can be charged. Under Illinois law, the crime of forgery is when an individual intends to defraud another person or institution, and then knowingly commits the prohibited act. This is further defined as making or altering a false document, presenting or possessing a false document, or unlawfully creating or using a digital signature, including a PIN.

Common Types of Forgery

While methods may change from year to year, deceiving another party for financial gain remains against the law. Here are some of the most common types of forgery:

  • Counterfeiting – This is the most common type of forgery, including forging someone else’s signature. This can include on a check, a driver’s license, or other official documents.

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What Are the Penalties for Arson in Illinois?

Posted on in Criminal Law

Illinois Arson Crime LawyerIn Illinois, you can be charged with arson if you used fire or explosives to damage someone else’s property or if you are suspected of intentionally damaging any building, including your own, with fire or explosives to commit insurance fraud. Depending on the circumstances of the case and the type of building that is alleged to be the target, you may be facing different varieties of arson charges. Make no mistake though, any arson charge is a serious one. You need to retain a criminal defense attorney who can aggressively fight the charges against you.

Types of Arson in Illinois

Whether it started as a prank or something more sinister, arson charges are serious. To be charged with arson under the above definition, the property damage must be $150 or more. That means even minor fires can lead to major charges. Here are the types of arson under Illinois law:

  • A basic arson charge is a Class 2 felony, and you are facing three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

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Orland Park Drug Possession LawyerEven though we now have a looser cannabis possession law in our state, Illinois drug laws in general are still very wide-ranging and severe. Just possessing over 30 grams of marijuana can still expose an adult to up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for a first offense (or more, depending on the amount possessed). For other controlled substances, like heroin, cocaine, or PCP, you may be looking at a Class 1 felony carrying several to many years in prison, and many thousands of dollars in fines.

One Big Question: What is “Possession”?

“Possession” is a broad and nebulous concept. On one hand, you do not have to literally, physically have the drugs on your person. Just having them in a car with yourself and other people can expose all of you to a charge of possession, as long as you knew or should have known that the drugs were there, and you had control over them. On the other hand, there are many factors to examine, and further questions to answer, to determine your possible culpability. First, did you know that the substance was in your friend’s car? Did you own or co-own the car? Did you have control over that space? Even if so, were you the only one who did? Was anyone else’s property found near the drugs? (And we are just getting started on the “possession” question. The State has a big burden of proof.)

Did the Search and Discovery Process Violate Your Rights?

Both the U.S. Constitution and Illinois law guarantee your freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. In your case, we would meticulously examine and analyze whether, for example, the vehicle was legally stopped by the police. Was there actually probable cause to search it? For over a decade, we have successfully defended many, many controlled-substance charges of all kinds by arguing against improper search warrants, or that a search itself was unlawful or illegal. Numerous times, after demanding hearings to examine whether our client’s vehicle was unlawfully stopped and detained, we have had the charges dismissed. Any time it is found that the stop or search which led to the discovery of a substance is invalid, then the State will be barred from using that substance as evidence. This usually results in the dismissal of the case, often without a jury trial.

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Orland Park Criminal Defense LawyerIt sometimes happens that innocent people are arrested on suspicion of committing a violent crime when in reality, they were merely defending themselves. This is disturbingly common in domestic violence cases, where the victim is mistaken for the primary aggressor and arrested. It can also happen after a fight in which one person initiated an attack and the victim capably defended himself. This has even been known to happen in murder cases. If you had to defend yourself against someone who became a physical threat to you and were arrested, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You may have a valid self-defense case that could get your case dismissed or get you acquitted at trial. 

When Can a Person Use Force in Self-Defense?

There are a few conditions that must be met before you are entitled to use force in self-defense. In Illinois, they are: 

  • Danger - There was an imminent danger to you or another person. In some cases, a threat to your property will suffice. 

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