Chicago Criminal Defense Blog
It’s been national news for some time now that Chicago has been plagued by shootings and weapon related murders. But recently, the Chicago Police and the Mayor’s office revealed that they have employed new technology to combat gun violence in some of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
“Shotspotter” gunshot detection technology has been installed in various locations in several high crime areas in Englewood and in the Harrison District. The technology is being billed as “predictive” and “analytical” and it is supposed to help police predict, combat and stop violent crime. Police in these districts will be using “Strategic Decision Support Centers” which will employ technology to combine real time information with analytical support from the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab Analysts.
The technology is billed as being able to detect gunfire, and then immediately convey real time information to help pinpoint the location of the shots to police command centers, and officers in the field by radio, as well as by cell phone. As for the legalities of this sort of surveillance technology, it does not peek into homes and the devices can be placed in public view, much like the blue box cameras currently in place in many high crime areas within the city and some suburbs.
If one wishes to read more about this technology, one can go to the company website. The site explains the technology, the costs involved, and the benefits of its usage. There are testimonials from law enforcement agencies across the United States, including our neighbor to the North, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Chief of Police in Milwaukee says that the technology allows them to gather intelligence and to focus their efforts at prevention as well as detection of gun violence.
Once this technology is in place and is being employed, the next shooter may get the surprise of his or her life when, in an instant, police are converging on the scene from every direction. If it works as advertised, perhaps the police will already be waiting at the scene of a shooting before it even happens. Predictive technology wielded by those at the University of Chicago will allow the police to do much more than they ever have in the past, and without the necessity of hiring many more officers to go into the field, because the Strategic Command Centers will be able to place the officers in locations where it is known that they will be needed.
If you have been charged with any sort of criminal offense, whether or not it involves weapons, call the gun crime lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. Our lawyers have years of experience in the defense of these matters, and will work tirelessly to defend your rights and your freedom. Call us today at (800) 996-4824 for a free, no obligation consultation at either our Chicago office, our Arlington Heights office, or another location near you. Help is only a phone call away.
Compared to penalties for controlled substances, penalties for cannabis are generally less severe. In response to the recent developments within the scientific and medical communities regarding the medical uses of cannabis (marijuana) to treat any number of physical or psychological disorders (including, most recently, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD), the Illinois Legislature revamped much of the law in Illinois as it pertains to possession and use of the drug (the laws regarding the trafficking of, or manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to distribute cannabis outside of the recognized medical marijuana network of distributors are unchanged for the most part).
The Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act
Up until 2005, methamphetamine (and related substances) was enforced under the Controlled Substances Act. However, the increase in meth related crimes got the attention of our lawmakers. They noted that, unlike most drugs, meth can be made anywhere with chemicals readily available to the public, and with relative ease. They noted how extremely hazardous such chemistry is to the immediate environment where it is being made, the huge health hazard to the chemists themselves, their property, and those exposed to the environment. They also noted how very dangerous the drug itself is to the users, as the drug is highly addictive, and long term abuse literally destroys a person’s health; shortening and taking lives.
With those things in mind, the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act was enacted into law in 2005, and it removed most amphetamines and their precursors with certain exclusions still covered by the Controlled Substances Act (like MDMA) . They are now covered under the new Act. The delivery, or possession with intent to deliver, of methamphetamine carries the following penalties:
In recent years, much controversy has occurred over encounters between law enforcement and civilians during traffic stops. The officers expect compliance with their requests and their demands, but sometimes civilians may not comply as readily as the officers would like. Tempers can flare and a routine stop can become elevated into a more serious encounter. People have been hurt or even killed in some of these encounters gone wrong.
In order to address this growing problem, our Illinois Legislature passed a new law, which essentially requires all driver’s education programs, whether in a public school, private school, or a driver’s education company (for driver’s under 18 years of age) to include to address these issues, in Chicago and across Illinois. In their courses of study, they now need to include instruction concerning police procedures during traffic stops, including a demonstration of the proper actions to take, and how to properly interact with police during a traffic stop. This law is to take effect during the 2017-2018 school year for public and private schools, and June 30, 2017 for driver’s education schools when teaching someone under the age of 18.
Whenever anyone is operating a bicycle on a state highway (which means any publicly maintained roadway, street, avenue, etc.), it has always been the law that the Rules of the Road, as they apply to automobiles, also apply equally to bicycles and their operators. But apparently, our legislature felt that the law needed clarification with respect to right of way issues as detailed in Article IX of the Vehicle Code, chapter 625 ILCS 5/9-101. In an amendment to Section 11-1502 of the vehicle code, which originally stated that the vehicle rules of the road already apply equally to bicycles, the legislature added some additional language. It is intended to remind us all that at an intersection, crosswalk, traffic merge, etc., the rules that require one to yield, or that grant one vehicle the right of way over another, apply equally to bicyclists as they do to motorists.
Years ago, an emergency responder was tragically killed when a driver crashed into him while he was responding to a roadside emergency. The result is known as “Scott’s Law,” and it requires that, whenever an emergency vehicle has its hazard warning lights activated, be they blue, red or amber, upon any highway with at least four lanes of traffic, of which no less than two go in the direction of the hazard vehicle, that any approaching vehicles must either move over to a non-adjacent lane, or greatly reduce speed to pass with caution. Violations of this ordinance are considered a business offense punishable by a fine of $100.00 up to $10,000.00, and can result in suspension of driving privileges upon a conviction.
There have been many stories and many incidents over the years, when people would drop or throw heavy objects, such as large rocks, down onto highways from overpasses (any structure that passes over a highway), causing severe property damage, as well as great bodily harm, or even death, to vehicle occupants. Illinois previously had a law on the books that made this action a Class 2 Felony, and if a death resulted, a Class 1 Felony, punishable by anywhere from four to fifteen years in prison. But apparently, experience demonstrated that the law, as originally written, was not comprehensive enough to fully protect the general public from people throwing or dropping objects from above onto highways when the object originated from an area not covered under the definition of “overpass.”
Currently, there are three classes of speeding offenses in Chicago and across Illinois:
- Petty offenses
- Class B misdemeanors
- Class A misdemeanors.
Convictions for speeding offenses may have serious consequences on a person’s life and impact their ability to obtain driving privileges in the future. Fines and costs for speeding offenses can be quite high and can cause severe financial hardship as well.
Recently, a local man, previously convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs on two occasions, was arrested for a third such offense after he allegedly drove the wrong way down a one way street directly in front of a marked police cruiser. Apparently, he had been coming from a family Thanksgiving dinner, where he perhaps may have had a little too much to drink, when he committed the remarkable traffic move right in the presence of police officers.
Recently, three young men were arrested after they allegedly tried to rob a homeless man of his book bag in Chicago’s South Loop area. A police officer on patrol saw a fight between these four men. When he broke it up, he saw the homeless man had been stabbed multiple times, and that the other three were robbing him. Now, the three young men are charged with Aggravated Battery, Armed Robbery, and one of them is also charged with resisting arrest.