An Illinois and Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney Answers the Question: I got a Ticket or Misdemeanor or Ordinance Violation after Country Thunder in Wisconsin and live in Illinois What are the Consequences and do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?

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The Recent Country Thunder Concert in the Twin Lakes or Genoa City or Kenosha County area of Wisconsin has resulted in a massive number of citations and arrests in Wisconsin for Illinois residents and Wisconsin residents. There have been numerous citations and violations for obstructing justice, underage drinking, underage possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and other violations. If you live in Illinois and got a Wisconsin ticket for underage drinking or any violation please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office Immediately as some of these violations have court dates for as early as next week or a few weeks. Do not pay fines that will result in a permanent conviction on your record as there are other options available to you. Contact the Richard Albanese Law Office immediately for a free consultation at 312-882-1973 or by email at RichardAlbaneseLawOffice@gmail.com or on the web at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com.

Lake County Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Albanese explains why you need an attorney if you are charged with a Misdemeanor

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WHAT IS A MISDEMEANOR IN LAKE COUNTY?

I will often receive calls from potential clients saying they don’t have a serious case, but think they may need a lawyer. Usually, these cases are misdemeanors and although the person accused of the crime may not think it is serious I can guarantee you that the police, prosecutors and judges in the Lake County court system will take it very serious. Under Illinois Law a misdemeanor is simply a crime whose range of sentence is 1-364 days in jail. That does not mean everyone with a misdemeanor in Lake County goes to jail. Other sentencing options may include court supervision, conditional discharge, or probation. Often times community service or fines may be ordered in place of jail time as well. A misdemeanor offense can be fought in court with motions, and a bench trial or jury trial. The state must prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. One should keep in mind though that unlike most traffic tickets a misdemeanor carries a potential jail sentence. If a person misses court there will generally be a arrest warrant issued.

WHAT KIND OF LAWYER DO I NEED TO REPRESENT ME ON A MISDEMEANOR IN LAKE COUNTY?

All types of law are becoming increasingly specialized. You do not want your real estate lawyer handling your misdemeanor any more than you want your criminal defense attorney handling your bankruptcy case. You need an attorney with the proper focus and concentration in criminal defense to represent you on your Lake County misdemeanor case. Richard Albanese has seen both sides of thousands of misdemeanor cases as a misdemeanor and felony Prosecutor for well over a decade as well as a criminal defense attorney in Lake County. Richard will provide you with a no nonsense evaluation of your misdemeanor case and explain your options although the final decision on how to handle the case rests with you, the client. Put a former Prosecutor on your side and call the Richard Albanese Law Office today for a free consultation about your misdemeanor case at (312) 882-1973 or visit our office on the Web at http://www.CriminalandTrafficDefenseAttorney.com.

Lake County and Cook County Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Albanese Explains the Illinois Social Hosting Law

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My experience in the criminal justice system has taught me that hot button issues in the news often lead to new laws to address public concerns. We have seen this trend of new or modified laws being enacted to deal with both criminal and social issues. One of the newer concerns in Illinois has been underage drinking and adults hosting underage drinking parties. Public concern and other forces have led to the enactment of a social hosting law effective January 1, 2013. The Illinois Social Host Law is codified at 235 ILCS 5/6-16(C) and provides that: 

Effective January 1, 2013, Illinois law now states that individuals can be arrested and face criminal charges for simply allowing or permitting individuals under the age of 21 to drink alcohol at their residence or on their property – even if the individual did not directly supply or provide the underage person with alcohol Therefore, students who host social events are expected to monitor their parties and make sure that underage people are not drinking in their residence, room, or property.  

CONSEQUENCES FOR VIOLATIONS

Individuals who violate this law:

  • Can be arrested and charged with a Class A Misdemeanor (punishable by court supervision, probation, 1-364 days in jail)
  • Face fines of at least $500.
  • Individual hosts can be charged with a Class 4 Felony if the violation directly or indirectly results in great bodily harm or death to any person.  Under Illinois law, penalties for a Class 4 Felony may include:
    • Felony convictions and incarceration for 1-3 years
    • Fines of up to $25,000

SAFE HARBOR PROVISION

The new law contains a “safe harbor” (or amnesty) provision that protects individuals who host social events from criminal liability if:

  1. The party host requests assistance from the police to either:
    • Remove any person who refuses to abide by the party host’s demand to stop drinking, or 
    • Terminate the gathering, because the party host has been unable to prevent persons under the age of 21 years from consuming alcohol, despite having taken all reasonable steps to do so; AND
  2. The party host contacts the police for help before any other person makes a formal complaint to law enforcement.

Thus, parents and others are strongly encouraged to contact the police immediately if they are unable to control guests at their party or if guests refuse to comply with the host’s attempts to prevent underage drinking.

STATE VS. LOCAL CHARGES

Many municipalities have adopted ordinances with language similar to the new Illinois law with the important difference being that ordinances are considered fine only offenses that do not involve the possibility of jail time, but can still mar a person’s criminal record wit ha conviction. 

WHO IS THIS LAW TARGETING?

This new law mainly targets parents who have been hosting parties in their homes or yards providing their underaged children and friends with alcohol. Many parents believe this is a good philosophy because it keeps the drinking under their supervision, but the law views it differently. Often young people leave these parties and get a DUI or cause an alcohol related offense or an incident such as the national story concerning student hazing (See: http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/05/12/high.school.hazing/ ) There have been other widely publicized incidents on college campuses across the country where injuries and even deaths have occurred due to the overconsumption of alcohol by underaged. students. If you face one of these tickets as a parent or other person hosting a party contact the Richard Albanese Law office at (312) 882-1973 for a free consultation regarding the potential defenses to your case.