Edwardsville Criminal Defense Law Blog

Mail fraud: a federal crime

Residents of Illinois can be charged in federal court if they commit mail fraud. The Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution grants the federal government authority to prosecute interstate mail fraud. This type of crime includes any scheme to obtain money or property under false pretenses or distributing, exchanging, supplying or using counterfeits.

The federal statute is interpreted broadly to include many illegal acts related to fraud. This includes mailing contracts related to a fraudulent scheme. An offender charged with mail fraud and another serious crime may be prosecuted for both felonies simultaneously. "Mail" is also interpreted broadly and can include commercial mail carriers other than the United States Postal Service.

Marijuana arrests are on the rise

Medical marijuana has become legal in many states across the U.S., including Illinois. Despite the legalization of the drug for recreational use as well in some states, marijuana-related arrests continue to rise.

There were 659,700 marijuana arrests in 2017 compared to 653,249 in 2016. Most of these arrests were for simple possession charges rather than selling or growing marijuana. In states where recreational marijuana legislation has been passed, the bans on marijuana possession for adults have been lifted.

Illinois woman posts bail after arrest for crack cocaine

A 39-year-old woman has obtained release from the Will County Adult Detention Facility by providing 10 percent of her $15,000 bond. The report from the Joliet Police Department stated that she was arrested for possession of crack cocaine and a glass pipe.

Officers said that they initiated a traffic stop of her tan Buick in the early morning hours after noticing that the driver and passenger were not wearing seat belts. She stopped for police near the intersection of Washington and Richards streets on Joliet's east side. She provided identification, but her male passenger said that he did not have any identification documents.

Woman sentenced to 13 years for drug charges

On August 27, a U.S. district court judge sentenced a 33-year-old Illinois woman to 13 years in federal prison for possession and distribution of methamphetamine. The defendant, a Harrisburg resident, was additionally assessed a $400 fine and sentenced to eight years of supervised release.

According to federal prosecutors, the defendant and her co-defendant manufactured and delivered methamphetamine in Jackson, Saline and Williamson Counties from January 2015 until April 2017. The court found that she was responsible for distributing more than a kilogram of crystal meth and possessing over 200 grams of pseudoephedrine, which is a decongestant commonly used to manufacture meth. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine.

Peoria County police take woman into custody for DUI

At about 4:31 a.m. on Aug. 11, a Peoria County sheriff's deputy spotted a car traveling at an excessive speed westbound on Plank Road. The vehicle reached speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour as it made its way to Illinois Route 116 and into Hanna City. When the vehicle eventually came to a stop, officers made contact with the 34-year-old woman driver who offered to recite the alphabet in Greek.

However, officers noted that she was only partially able to recite the alphabet in English despite making multiple attempts to do so. It was also noted that she had trouble walking and maintaining her balance during field sobriety tests and that she had watery and glassy eyes. Furthermore, authorities said that the vehicle had an odor of alcohol coming from it.

Thinking ahead can help you avoid an Illinois DUI

You may be a very social type of person who loves to get together with friends to hang out, have a few drinks and enjoy your free time. On the other hand, perhaps you wouldn't classify yourself as the life of the party, but you're not opposed to having a glass of wine with your meal or a cold beer on occasion. Either way, if you imbibe alcohol and then get behind the wheel of your car to drive, you risk a DUI arrest.

You may think it all depends on whether your blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit. Surprisingly, many sober people have faced DUI charges because situations like suspected DUI traffic stops often amount to a police officer's word against the driver's. Whether you're alcohol-free or you did have a drink or two before driving, you'll have your work cut out to try to avoid conviction if you face charges.

Changing drug laws can help to lessen inequality

Researchers and policymakers are paying increased attention to the effects that drug possession penalties may have on exacerbating racial and ethnic inequality in Illinois and across the country. According to a study, reforming the criminal penalties for drug possession convictions could help reduce inequality in the criminal justice system. However, the positive effects may be felt outside the justice system as drug law reform could also help to reduce inequality in the health sector.

The effects of felony drug convictions don't end with a criminal trial and sentencing. Long after the conviction, people may lose access to immigration status, jobs, housing, student loans or health benefits. The racial inequality in the criminal justice system, especially in drug possession cases, can be magnified further throughout society due to these ongoing impacts. Felony convictions are closely correlated to economic marginalization and social exclusion, and reducing the number of felony convictions could thus help improve health outcomes for a population.

6 men arrested in cocaine, heroin bust

On July 13, federal prosecutors in Illinois announced that six men are facing federal drug charges for allegedly operating a cocaine and heroin trafficking ring in Rockford. Two of the defendants were previously acquitted in the shooting death of a child.

According to authorities, five of the defendants, who range in age from 33 to 55, have been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin. The sixth defendant, age 37, reportedly supplied drugs to the others when their inventory was running low. He also allegedly acted as a drug-trafficking mentor to one of the other defendants.

Overdose deaths can lead to prosecution of fellow drug users

With the opioid addiction crisis claiming more lives in Illinois than ever before, law enforcement and prosecutors have started targeting bystanders of overdose deaths with criminal charges. Addicts often share drugs or supply each other with small amounts. When deadly overdoses occur, prosecutors are increasingly charging associates of the victim with delivering drugs that cause death. In another state, prosecutions of this nature went from 15 cases in 2013 to 205 cases in 2017.

In one case, a 39-year-old woman, addicted to heroin, supplied her addicted neighbor with a small amount of heroin that turned out to be laced with fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic that frequently kills people. Although she was not present when the neighbor died, local authorities have charged her with third-degree murder.

Man faces drug-related charges

A 45-year-old Illinois man is facing charges of possession of a controlled substance, aggravated fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer, driving under revocation and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The charges are related to an incident that occurred on June 19.

The man was driving with a headlight out in the early morning hours. An officer spotted his vehicle and attempted to pull him over. Instead of complying, the man sped away, running a stop sign. He ran into a utility pole and two parking meters before exiting his car and fleeing on foot. He was detained not far from where the crash happened. According to reports, he was in possession of nearly an ounce of cocaine and more than $1,000.

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