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Understanding Illinois Hate Crimes and Their ConsequencesIn the past couple of years, law enforcement officers and legislative officials have focused more attention on hate crimes. More time, energy and resources have been put into thorough investigations of hate crimes, and laws have been made even more strict than before. In Illinois, officials do not have a tolerance for hate crimes and often punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law. Though every situation is different, a hate crime committed in Illinois is charged as a felony offense, which means you face serious consequences if you are convicted. Dealing with accusations of a hate crime can be daunting, which is why retaining counsel from a skilled Illinois criminal defense attorney is crucial.

What is Hate Crime?

In simple terms, a hate crime occurs when a person commits a crime against another person or group of people because of that group or person’s perceived race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability. Often, the type of actions that are committed against people in a hate crime is violent in nature and can include crimes such as:

  • Assault or aggravated assault
  • Battery or aggravated battery
  • Intimidation
  • Stalking
  • Theft
  • Criminal trespassing
  • Criminal damage to property
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Harassment through electronic transmission

Illinois Sees Rise in Hate Crimes, Despite National Drop

Sadly, hate crimes are not uncommon in Illinois. In fact, Illinois saw an increase in the number of hate crimes that occurred between 2017 and 2018, while national statistics saw a slight decrease. Nationally, hate crimes dropped from 7,171 in 2017 to 7,120 in 2018. Illinois, however, saw an increase from 89 hate crimes committed in 2017 to 125 in 2018.

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What You Should Know About Illinois’ New Recreational Marijuana LawsThe United States has had a long and complicated history with marijuana. Though cannabis was widely used in different medicines throughout the 1800s, recreational use was not introduced to the U.S. until the early 1900s by Mexican immigrants, and the substance was soon strictly regulated and effectively illegal by 1937. Cannabis officially became a controlled substance in 1970 when an Act was signed into law that made marijuana a Schedule 1 drug.

After decades of criminalization, the uses for marijuana have finally begun to be re-examined and many states have legalized both the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. Illinois was the 11th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in June, with the laws going into effect by January 1, 2020. It is important to understand these laws because you could face unwanted consequences and even criminal charges for any violations.

Buying and Possessing Marijuana

Illinois residents who are at least 21-years-old may purchase marijuana and marijuana-infused products starting in January. At the beginning of 2020, the only places that can sell recreational marijuana legally will be medical marijuana dispensaries. Near the middle of 2020, more licenses will be issued to new stores and cultivators.

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