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cook county criminal defense lawyerAmong the almost 200 new state laws that were scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2023, was the Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act. The SAFE-T Act provided significant overhauls in several areas of the state’s criminal justice laws. Some of these provisions went into effect in July 2022, but one area – pretrial detention – was not to go into effect until this month. However, a Kankakee County judge’s ruling on a lawsuit filed by state attorneys and sheriffs from 65 counties has put the new law on hold.

Pretrial Detention Under the SAFE-T Act

Under the new law, cash bail in Illinois is abolished. This provision of the SAFE-T Act – referred to as the Pretrial Fairness Act – the following changes are made to the Illinois cash bail system:

  • Eliminates money bond in Illinois


shoplifting, Lake County criminal defense attorneyShoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the country, but it can have effects that are far-reaching to businesses, lawmakers, and to society as a whole. The crime is so common, in fact, that there is a National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, working to both reduce the number of shoplifting incidents in the United States and to discourage would-be shoplifters from committing such crimes. More than 10 million individuals have been arrested or accused of shoplifting in the last half decade, and current estimates suggest that 1 in every 11 people in the United States have shoplifted at one time or another.

Common Misconceptions

Because it is frequently a minor misdemeanor crime, shoplifting is often considered alongside crimes committed by juveniles, which are often offenses that do not, and cannot, affect one’s permanent record. Yet, the effects of shoplifting do, in fact, stay on a person’s record for a long time and can effect a person’s ability to find work—perpetuating an ugly cycle that, in many instances, led to the incident in the first place.


shoplifting, retail theft, Lake County criminal defense attorneyWhile shoplifting may seem to be a rather victimless crime—the offense affects a corporation, rather than the livelihood of an immediate person—shoplifting is in fact a crime that affects us all, from law enforcement to retail managers to the legal system. Dealing with small or misdemeanor crimes such as retail theft costs money and time for communities from the ground up. And with more than 27 million shoplifters nationwide (that comes down to about one in every 11 people across the country), it is no small problem.

Surprising Statistics

Contrary to popular opinion, adults actually shoplift more than kids: three-quarters of all shoplifters are adults at the time of the alleged incident, though more than half of these admit to having begun shoplifting in their teenage years. Methods for shoplifting vary, but it is common that a person would buy something at the same time that he or she shoplifts, which some researchers say is thought to be a “cover” for these thieves. The crime is difficult to pinpoint, however, in part because the vast majority of these incidents are not pre-meditated; 73 percent of adult and 72 percent of young shoplifters report that they did not plan to steal in advance.


search warrant, illegal search, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyThe Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizures of their property by law enforcement. In most cases, police are required to obtain a warrant before they are allowed to search. However, the amendment does not guarantee against all search and seizures without a warrant. There are situations where the courts will allow evidence obtained without a warrant to be admitted.

Exceptions to a warrantless search of a person’s home are as follows:

  • The police have been given permission to search;
  • The person has already been arrested, and the house has been deemed in the person’s control. This is legally referred to as “search incident to arrest (SITA)”;
  • The evidence is in plain sight; and
  • The police officer feels there is probable cause to search. The legal definition and standard used for probable cause is “a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person's belief that certain facts are probably true.”

Exceptions to a warrantless search of a person’s vehicle include:


hate crime charges in Illinois, Rolling Meadows criminal attorney"This is my damn block!" Along with a string of other expletives, these were the last words that a 24-year-old woman heard when she was walking home with her friend on a warm summer night in 2013.

Immediately thereafter, a young man and about ten other people savagely beat the two women. The 24-year-old woman suffered a broken rib along with serious cuts and abrasions. Last month, the lead attacker pleaded guilty to two counts each of hate crimes charges and aggravated burglary. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Local authorities aggressively prosecute hate crimes. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has taken 44 people to court under the hate crimes statute since 2011.

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