Edwardsville Criminal Defense Law Blog

Attempted motorcycle traffic stop leads to flight and two arrests

When law enforcement in Illinois initiates a traffic stop, drivers are expected to comply. If a driver flees, there can be a litany of charges related to that act. In some cases, one incident will result in the arrest of another for separate charges. As a recent example of this, two men are facing allegations with one accused of fleeing police on a motorcycle and another possessing drugs.

A police chase of a motorcycle ended with two men being arrested. It started at shortly before 9 a.m. when a police chief tried to pull over the Honda motorcycle, and the driver fled. Law enforcement chased the motorcycle, and its speed surpassed 80 mph. Since the motorcycle was moving so fast, the chase ended. The police chief was informed that the motorcyclist had pulled in behind a restaurant where the 59-year-old driver of the motorcycle was found.

Man sentenced to nine years in prison for selling cocaine

On Aug. 19, Illinois authorities announced that a Woodstock man recently pleaded guilty to drug possession charges. A judge sentenced him to nine years in the Illinois Department of Corrections as part of a plea agreement.

According to a press release, in early 2018, deputies from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department pulled over the 36-year-old defendant for a traffic violation. During the stop, they searched his vehicle and reportedly found 91.4 grams of cocaine, drug scales, cellphones and $4,500 in cash. As a result of the discovery, police came that the man admitted that he was involved in the illegal purchase and sale of cocaine.

Drug-testing kit may have identified bird droppings as cocaine

Many police departments in Illinois and around the country equip their officers with portable drug-testing kits that are used to determine whether or not substances discovered in the field are illegal drugs. The kits are compact, inexpensive and easy to use, but they have been known to identify benign substances like baking soda and sugar as powerful Schedule I and Schedule II narcotics. Recent media reports suggest that this is what happened recently in South Carolina in a case involving Georgia Southern University starting quarterback Shai Werts.

Werts was pulled over by Saluda County Sheriff's Office deputies on the night of July 31 for speeding, but he was charged with possession of a Schedule II drug after a white substance on the paintwork of his car was identified as cocaine by two portable drug-testing kits. Werts is heard telling the disbelieving deputies on footage recorded by police dashboard cameras that the substance in question was bird droppings, and subsequent testing conducted using more sophisticated methods appears to back him up.

Lying on credit card applications is fraud

You may remember your first credit card. Perhaps you applied for one on a whim when you were in college, and you were thrilled to receive a shiny new card in the mail with a credit limit that begged you to spend. You may have wondered why a credit card company so readily approved you on the meager money you were earning at your campus job.

If you are facing charges of credit card fraud, you may be thinking back to those days of free spending. The information you provided to the credit card company may not have seemed important at the time, but now it may affect your future and the well-being of your family.

6 people arrested for drug possession in Wood River

In late July, Illinois authorities arrested six people during a series of drug busts over a two-day period. The incidents took place in and around Wood River.

According to a press release issued by the Wood River Police Department, officers executed a search warrant at a home on the 300 block of Illinois Street at around 6:50 a.m. on July 24. During the operation, a 43-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man were taken into custody. The woman was charged with unlawful delivery of methamphetamine and held on $50,000 bail. The man was charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and held on $25,000 bail.

911 call about reckless driver leads to drug seizure in Illinois

A call from a concerned motorist about an erratic driver on the afternoon of July 8 led to a major drug seizure and serious narcotics charges for a 38-year-old man according to media reports. The motorist called 911 at about 1:45 p.m. to report a reckless driver on Illinois Route 106 between Detroit and Pittsfield. During the ensuing traffic stop, police allegedly found fentanyl, cocaine and heroin in the car.

A Pittsfield Police Department officer says that he pulled the car over because it matched the description given by the concerned motorist and he observed it making an unsafe lane change. A K9 unit was then called to the scene to conduct a drug sniff around the vehicle. When the dog alerted to the scent of illegal drugs, police reportedly conducted a search without first obtaining a search warrant.

Illinois Governor signs bill legalizing recreational marijuana

On June 27, it was reported that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, which made possession of cannabis legal for those over the age of 21. The reform was designed to help those who were previously impacted by the state's marijuana laws. In addition to making marijuana legal, approximately 770,000 Illinois residents who have marijuana-related offenses on their permanent records may receive some relief. The passing of the bill makes Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

According to reports, the passing of the bill fulfills the promise Governor Pritzker made while on the campaign trial to legal marijuana. The bill, called the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, will allow people to receive clemency for drug convictions involving up to 30 grams of cannabis. For those who were convicted on drug charges involving up to 500 grams of cannabis, the bill allows for them to petition the court to have the charges lifted.

How drivers can defend against DUI charges

Drivers who are charged with DUI in Illinois or any other state are not necessarily guilty of the charge. There are multiple defenses that defendants may use in an effort to obtain a favorable outcome in their case. For instance, an individual may claim that he or she was forced to drive or that he or she was not actually intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. It may also be possible for drivers to claim that they became intoxicated against their will.

Drivers may assert that an officer had no right to make the traffic stop that led to the charge. Furthermore, it may be possible to claim that there was an error in administering a field sobriety or other test at the scene of a traffic stop. Although this is not a common defense, a defendant may assert that a police officer acted improperly prior to charging that person with DUI. For instance, information in a police report may have been embellished or completely fabricated to justify the charge.

Former Sinaloa drug cartel member sentenced to prison

On May 30, a federal judge in Illinois sentenced a former top-level member of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel to 15 years in prison. The defendant previously testified against infamous drug lord "El Chapo."

The sentence was handed down in the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago, and the U.S. district judge said that the case involved one of the highest-ranking drug cartel members he has ever sentenced. According to court records, the defendant, age 44, was a member of the Sinaloa drug cartel and trafficked narcotics into the U.S. from 1996 until 2008 using private planes, submarines, fishing vessels and container ships. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and agreed to testify against his boss, Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as "El Chapo."

Deputy accused of involvement in criminal activity

On May 21, an Illinois deputy was taken into custody on a warrant for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. The deputy, who is employed with Peoria County Patrol, had reportedly been on administrative leave beginning on February 22.

The deputy was hired in January 2017. Peoria Police authorities filed a report in February 2019 after it had been suspected that the deputy was involved in criminal activity while he was off duty. He was put on administrative leave while an internal investigation was conducted. However, on May 21, he was taken into custody following an investigation in association with the Illinois State Police. His bond was set at $5,000. He was released later the same day after posting 10% of the bond.

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