Edwardsville Criminal Defense Law Blog

Learn more about Illinois arson laws

In Illinois, a person may be charged with arson if they destroy property worth $150 or more with fire. An individual may be charged with arson even if he or she owned a portion of the property that was damaged and the other owner or owners didn't consent to the destruction by fire.

A fire may be investigated as an act of arson is someone is hurt in the blaze, especially if the injured person is a police officer of firefighter. Fires may also be investigated for arson if they occur on school property or in a place of worship. Arson may be investigated if the damage is significant from a financial perspective or the source of the fire is hard to determine.

Rose McGowan accused of drug possession

Actress Rose McGowan has entered a plea of not guilty to allegations of drug possession. The allegation stems from bags of powder that were found in her wallet left on a plane. In Illinois, the possession, sale or trafficking of cocaine is a felony.

McGowan is one of the women who came forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. After The New Yorker published multiple accounts of allegations of harassment and assault, McGowan came forward alleging that Weinstein had raped her.

Think clearly before you become incoherent from alcohol

Many Illinois residents enjoy getting together with loved ones or friends to kick back and relax after work or on a weekend. In fact, you might start looking forward to your down time as soon as Monday mornings roll around. Whether you take in a show, go out to eat or imbibe a few alcoholic beverages, you're entitled to a little R & R after a long week at work. The trick is learning to balance your fun with responsible choices to avoid vehicular collisions or legal problems (or both).

Alcohol has a surprising way of immediately affecting your cognitive and physical abilities. In fact, you may not even realize you are impaired when you are. That's why researching the topic ahead of time can save you a lot of stress and personal risk down the line.

Drag-racing rap star faces DWI, 14 additional charges

Rap enthusiasts in Illinois who are following Fetty Wap's rising stardom may be interested in knowing that the artist was taken into custody in New York on Nov. 3. News sources report that the rapper was allegedly drag racing with another motorist when his 2015 Mercedes-Benz was stopped by New York City police. The American rapper is now facing 15 criminal charges, including DWI, following too closely, driving without a valid driver's license and illegal signaling.

When he was pulled over, Fetty reportedly showed officers an expired driver's license. Preliminary reports also indicate that the rap star failed at least one roadside sobriety test administered at the scene. Authorities say that Fetty's blood alcohol level was .09 percent, which exceeds the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in New York.

Tiger Woods to enter DUI diversion program

Efforts to reduce impaired driving in Illinois and around the country often involve passing stricter laws with more severe penalties, but recidivism rates among drunk drivers remain worryingly high. Lawmakers in several states have tested the effectiveness of intoxicated driver diversion programs that allow offenders to avoid criminal penalties when they meet certain requirements, and the results have often been extremely promising.

Tiger Woods will be participating in such a program after pleading guilty to reckless driving in connection with a drunk driving incident. Police in Palm Beach County say that Woods was found unresponsive behind the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz in May, and reports indicate that both prescription medications and THC were discovered in his blood during subsequent toxicology testing. The guilty plea allows Woods to avoid a criminal conviction for DUI, but he will be charged as a repeat drunk driving offender if he is found behind the wheel while impaired again.

Criminal drug prosecutions ineffective

While there have been indications that the current administration and the Department of Justice will step up enforcement of the nation's drug laws, a report from the FBI demonstrates that drug arrests rose during 2016. There is evidence that criminalizing drugs simply doesn't work, but law enforcement agencies and governments in Illinois and across the country continue to focus on drug crimes.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Report showing data for 2016 has been released. During that year, 1.57 million arrests were made for drug crimes. This was an increase of 5.63 percent over the previous year. Of the arrests, 84.6 percent were made for drug possession crimes, and 41 percent of the drug arrests were made for marijuana.

2 drivers charged with DUI in crash

Authorities in Illinois say that both drivers involved in a crash on Oakbrook Terrace were under the influence of alcohol when it occurred. A 20-year-old man was driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic when his vehicle collided with a vehicle being driven by a 25-year-old woman. The male driver was charged with an aggravated felony count of DWI while the female driver was charged with a misdemeanor count of DWI.

A judge ordered the man to be held in lieu of $150,000, and a state attorney issued a statement saying that the accident was 100 percent avoidable. Both drivers and three passengers in the women's car were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. In 2015, there were 3,315 DUIs recorded in Chicago, which was down from 6,896 in 2005.

Illinois police say hit-and-run driver was intoxicated

A 31-year-old Illinois woman is facing a raft of charges after allegedly fleeing the scene of an accident in Riverside on Sept. 2 while under the influence of alcohol. The Brookfield resident has been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of a traffic accident and failing to render aid or information following an accident. The incident took place in the parking lot of the Riverside Police Department facility on Riverside Road at approximately 6:53 p.m.

Police responded when a motorist who had been involved in an accident called to report a hit-and-run driver. The woman behind the wheel of the fleeing car had allegedly refused to stop after striking the caller's vehicle while backing out of a parking spot at the police station. The caller told officers that the woman's car was heading toward Ogden Avenue, and it was soon spotted by police and pulled over near the intersection of Plainfield Road and First Avenue in Lyons.

Man charged with marijuana, cocaine possession

On Aug. 21, a 23-year-old Illinois man was taken into custody after authorities found marijuana and a loaded handgun in the man's vehicle. Authorities also identified the man as a member of a known gang.

The incident that led to the arrest occurred at a gas station located in the 2200 block of Route 12 in Woodstock. Spring Grove police allegedly recovered between 100 and 500 grams of marijuana and less than 15 grams of cocaine. The man also allegedly had a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun but did not have a FOID card.

Facing a marijuana charge? Know your rights and options.

When you got arrested for marijuana, you probably couldn't believe the situation. After all, a number of states, plus the nation's capital, have legalized marijuana.

It's true: facing a marijuana charge these days can be extremely frustrating, humiliating and frightening all at once. However, just because you have been arrested and taken into custody does not mean you are automatically guilty. The arrest is just part of a legal process, and you have a right to challenge the prosecution and fight the charge.

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The Law Office of Jessica Koester, LLC
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Edwardsville, IL 62025

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