An Illinois and Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney answers: What are the consequences and options if my son or daughter lives in Illinois but got a ticket or citation for underage alcohol possession or consumption in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin from the Kenosha County Sheriff at the Country Thunder Concert or in the Country Thunder Campground camping area?

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OVERVIEW OF COUNTRY THUNDER FESTIVAL AND COMMON CITATIONS AND OFFENSES

Once a year the Country Thunder music festival takes place in Kenosha County Wisconsin, specifically in the Village of Twin Lakes. This years festival is scheduled to take place July 21-24, 2016. If past history is any indication of the future this festival will likely result in a massive number of citations and arrests in Wisconsin for Illinois residents and Wisconsin residents alike. The most common citations are for underage consumption or possession of alcohol and usually occur within the festival camping and campground areas. The Kenosha County Sheriffs are dispatched to these campgrounds often on ATV or other smaller vehicles or may also be on foot patrol. In the past I have represented young people charged with citations and violations for obstructing justice, underage consumption of alcohol, underage possession of alcohol, possession of cannabis, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and other violations related to Country Thunder and the surrounding festival camping areas.

 

POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR UNDERAGE CONSUMPTION OR POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL CITATIONS FOR ILLINOIS RESIDENTS

The immediate potential consequence to an Illinois resident for an underage possession or consumption of alcohol violation is suspension of Illinois driving privileges. The Illinois Secretary of State provides in relevant part:

  • Driver’s License Suspension for Alcohol Consumption — A person under the age of 21 who is found guilty or granted court supervision for a violation of state law or local ordinance relating to illegal consumption, possession, purchase or receipt of alcohol, regardless of whether a vehicle was involved will face a loss of driving privileges, in addition to any fine imposed. Court supervision for any of these offenses will result in a 3 month suspension of driving privileges; a first conviction results in a 6 month suspension of driving privileges; a second conviction results in a 12 month suspension of driving privileges and a third or subsequent conviction will result in a revocation of driving privileges.

It should be noted that the State of Wisconsin does not recognize the Illinois concept of Court Supervision so if an Illinois resident pays or ignores a citation for underage possession or consumption of alcohol they will suffer a conviction that could result in a suspension of driving privileges as outlined above. An additional repercussion of a conviction for underage possession or consumption of alcohol is the record of that offense as a forfeiture, criminal charge or ordinance violation. Often these tickets are not criminal in nature, but may still affect college applications or future job prospects for a young person.

 

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR AN ILLINOIS RESIDENT TO AVOID THE POTENTIAL NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION FOR UNDERAGE POSSESSION OR CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL?

The best option is to avoid any conviction for the offense at all. Theses offenses are often handled very differently between State and Municipal Prosecutors. Attorney Richard Albanese has assisted many young clients is securing deferred prosecution agreements that result in amended lesser charges or even dismissal depending on the jurisdiction that issued the citation. Often the Illinois resident charged with Underage Consumption or Possession of Alcohol does not even need to appear in court and can often meet certain conditions to resolve the matter during college breaks if attending school out of State with my representation in the matter. If you live in Illinois or Wisconsin and got a Wisconsin ticket for underage drinking or possession or any other violation please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office immediately as some of these violations have court dates for as early as a week or a few weeks after the event. Do not pay fines that will result in a permanent conviction on your record as there are other options available to you. Even if you or your son or daughter who received and underage possession or consumption of alcohol citation mistakenly paid the ticket prior to the initial court date it still may not be too late to reopen the case. Contact the Richard Albanese Law Office immediately for a free consultation at 312-882-1973 or by email atRichardAlbaneseLawOffice@gmail.com or on the web at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com.

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I’m an Illinois driver with a Speeding Ticket in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. How can a Criminal and Traffic Defense Attorney licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin help me?

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Milwaukee is a great midwest city. It is the home to professional sports teams such as the Bucks and Brewers as well as Marquette University and many excellent theaters and restaurants. The famous Summerfest music festival is well known across the country and Illinois residents and others flock to Milwaukee or find themselves passing through the town en route to other final destinations. It is unfortunate that many drivers in Illinois are cited for speeding through Milwaukee including CDL drivers. Often Illinois and other out of state drivers choose the path of least resistance and impulsively pay the speeding ticket they received in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I have received many calls from Illinois drivers that were even told by Wisconsin police to just pay a ticket as if it would have no effect on an out of state license. Although this may be the best advice for Wisconsin drivers it certainly is not the best choice for Illinois Licensed Drivers. The costs of an out of state conviction can multiply fast down the road. The consequences include potential suspension of driving privileges in Illinois, increased insurance premiums and further expenses involving the reinstatement of an Illinois driver’s license. Often times people have received bad advice from friends, family colleagues at work or simply don’t know the law in Illinois regarding out of state convictions. Let’s explore the issues and consequences further.

 ILLINOIS LICENSE SUSPENSION FOR THREE CONVICTIONS 

In Illinois, if a driver receives three convictions for any moving violations in a twelve month period, their license will be suspended in Illinois. Illinois law provides that a driver is eligible for court supervision twice within a twelve month period as well. Court supervision does not count as a conviction and will not cause a suspension of driving privileges. In essence you can get two supervisions and still have convictions to spare if the tickets are far enough apart and the prosecutors and judges are willing to grant the two supervisions without imposing a conviction. The imposition of court supervision also serves to reduce the risk of increased insurance premiums as these citations are not generally reported to insurance companies. Illinois traffic laws allow for momentary lapses in judgment with regard to speeding but for Illinois drivers who get ticketed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin or other nearby towns, the law may not be so forgiving.

COURT SUPERVISION NOT RECOGNIZED IN WISCONSIN LAW

Unlike the Illinois system, Wisconsin law does not recognize the concept of court supervision and thus EVERY disposition of a speeding ticket is a conviction when a guilty or no contest plea is entered. The imposition of a conviction against someones driving record most commonly occurs when an Illinois driver gets a speeding ticket in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and then just sends in payment. Once the ticket is paid the conviction is entered and then reported to Illinois where it becomes part of the driver’s record with the Secretary of State, unlike a Supervision disposition. Insurance companies will also be made aware of the conviction and increased premiums could result that stay in place for years, penalizing an Illinois Driver with added expense for years to come that all could have been avoided.

HOW THE RICHARD ALBANESE LAW OFFICE PROTECTS ILLINOIS DRIVERS

Although Court Supervision is not an option in Milwaukee, Wisconsin there is still hope for complete relief for Illinois Drivers. Generally speaking, with proper representation most Wisconsin State and Municipal prosecutors are willing to amend a speeding charge to a non moving violation when appropriate for respectful drivers with a otherwise clean record. The end result is that an Illinois Driver can pay a modified or amended ticket in Wisconsin that will have no impact on their Illinois License. Once you have retained Richard Albanese you will likely not have to appear in court to contest your ticket, which saves not only a long trip back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Illinois, but also saves time and the expense of having to take a day off work to appear on a citation. Please feel free to contact the Richard Albanese Law Office today at 312-882-1973 or at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com or atRichardAlbaneseLawOffice@gmail.com for a free consultation on your speeding ticket in Kenosha, Racine, Dane County, Lake Geneva, and any other city in Wisconsin.

An Illinois and Wisconsin Licensed Criminal Defense Attorney explains the consequences of a Wisconsin Speeding ticket conviction for an Illinois Driver.

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It is unfortunate that many uninformed drivers in Illinois choose the quick and easy way out when it comes to speeding tickets they received in Wisconsin. I have recently received many calls from Illinois drivers that were told by a friend, colleague at work, family member and even the Wisconsin police to just pay a Wisconsin ticket. The problem with this well intentioned advice is that the people giving the advice are not trained attorneys licensed in both Illinois and Wisconsin. Even attorneys licensed in either Illinois or Wisconsin often are not aware of the consequences to drivers outside their respective states. I am an attorney that takes great pride in staying informed of the consequences in both States. The costs of an out of state conviction can multiply fast down the road. These consequences include potential suspension of driving privileges in Illinois, increased insurance premiums and further expenses involving the reinstatement of an Illinois driver’s license. Often times people have received bad advice or simply don’t know the law in Illinois regarding out of state convictions. Let’s explore the issues and consequences further.

ILLINOIS LICENSE SUSPENSION FOR THREE CONVICTIONS

In Illinois, if a driver receives three convictions for any moving violations in a twelve month period, their license will be suspended in Illinois. Illinois law provides that a driver is eligible for court supervision twice within a twelve month period as well. Court supervision does not count as a conviction and will not cause a suspension of driving privileges. In essence you can get two supervisions and still have convictions to spare if the tickets are far enough apart and the prosecutors and judges are willing to grant the two supervisions without imposing a conviction. The imposition of court supervision also serves to reduce the risk of increased insurance premiums as these citations are not generally reported to insurance companies. Illinois traffic laws allow for momentary lapses in judgment with regard to speeding but for Illinois drivers who get ticketed in Wisconsin, the law may not be so forgiving.

COURT SUPERVISION NOT RECOGNIZED IN WISCONSIN LAW

Unlike the Illinois system, Wisconsin law does not recognize the concept of court supervision and thus EVERY disposition of a speeding ticket is a conviction when a guilty or no contest plea is entered. The imposition of a conviction against someones driving record most commonly occurs when an Illinois driver gets a Wisconsin speeding ticket and then just sends in payment. Once the ticket is paid the conviction is entered and then reported to Illinois where it becomes part of the driver’s record with the Secretary of State, unlike a Supervision disposition. Insurance companies will also be made aware of the conviction and increased premiums could result that stay in place for years, penalizing an Illinois Driver with added expense for years to come that all could have been avoided if they are eleigible for an amended charge.

HOW THE RICHARD ALBANESE LAW OFFICE STRIVES TO PROTECT ILLINOIS DRIVERS

Although Court Supervision is not an option in Wisconsin there is still hope for relief for Illinois Drivers. Generally speaking, with proper representation most Wisconsin State and Municipal prosecutors are willing to amend a speeding charge to a non-moving violation when appropriate for respectful drivers with a otherwise clean record. The end result is that an Illinois Driver can pay a modified ticket in Wisconsin that will have no impact on their Illinois License. Once you have retained Richard Albanese you will likely not have to appear in court to contest your ticket, which saves not only a long trip back to Wisconsin from Illinois, but also saves time and the expense of having to take a day off work to appear on a citation. Please feel free to contact the Richard Albanese Law Office today at 312-882-1973 or at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com or at RichardAlbaneseLawOffice@gmail.com for a free consultation on your speeding ticket in Kenosha, Racine, Dane County, Lake Geneva, and any other city in Wisconsin.

I Live in Illinois but got Arrested or Charged in Wisconsin for a Felony or Misdemeanor or Ordinance Violation, do I need a Criminal Defense Attorney licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin?

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The Richard Albanese Law Office routinely represents citizens of Wisconsin and Illinois that are charged with Misdemeanor and Ordinance Violations in Wisconsin. For the Wisconsin client the law is pretty straight forward, as the laws of the state apply to the Wisconsin citizen without worrying about how another state may view a particular offense. The more difficult situation arises when an Illinois resident is arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or ordinance violation in Wisconsin. The reason being is that the client must be concerned not only with Wisconsin, but the effect a Wisconsin Sentence may have in Illinois. This blog post will explain some of the basic differences between the States and some issues for a potential interstate client to consider.

Illinois Court Supervision vs. Wisconsin Convictions

The first major difference in Wisconsin compared to Illinois is that the disposition of “court supervision” exists in Illinois as an option to sentence first offenders for garden variety misdemeanors such as battery, Retail theft, Criminal Damage to Property, Disorderly Conduct and others.  Illinois law recognizes people make mistakes and the law allows for a mistake so long as it is not too serious of a crime or circumstance. Wisconsin Law has other options for dealing with first offenders, but court supervision is not one of them. Every guilty disposition in Wisconsin on a misdemeanor offense will result in a conviction. An Illinois citizen who faces a misdemeanor charge in Wisconsin should be aware of this fact as it can have devastating effects down the road.

Why does it Matter if I Live in Illinois and get a Misdemeanor Conviction in Wisconsin?

A common question I answer all the time for clients is, “How will this misdemeanor case affect my future?”.  The misdemeanor conviction in Wisconsin can have devastating effects on a client’s career and education aspirations.  If a job or school application asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?”, and you have a Wisconsin Misdemeanor conviction the answer the client must put down is “Yes”.  If the same exact crime is committed in Illinois and a client gets court supervision and successfully completes the supervision the answer to the same question is “No”. That is a huge consideration to think about when hiring an attorney if you live In Illinois and got a misdemeanor charge or arrest in Wisconsin. Richard Albanese is licensed in both States and routinely handling cases in both Illinois and Wisconsin gives the Richard Albanese Law Office the ability to advise an Illinois client of important points a Wisconsin client may not have to consider. The good news for the Illinois client who is charged with a misdemeanor in Wisconsin is that despite the lack of supervision as a sentencing option there are other options for disposition than just a conviction.

Hold Opens, Deferred Prosecutions and Ordinance Violations  

A skilled Criminal Defense attorney handling cases for Illinois clients in Wisconsin as well as Wisconsin residents will always fight for an alternative disposition to a criminal misdemeanor conviction. A “Hold Open” is the most favorable potential disposition for a Wisconsin criminal case. A Prosecutor may agree to hold open a case for a set period of time and if the defendant does not violate any other laws and completes certain other conditions the case will be dismissed. This is similar to a deferred prosecution but less forma in terms. As discussed at length in my other posts, deferred prosecution is also a disposition that is available for criminal offenses in Wisconsin and Illinois to defendants of both states. A deferred prosecution is a formal agreement that often requires a guilty plea to be entered and the defendant to waive certain rights. Once the terms of the agreement are met by the defendant, the case is dismissed and no conviction is entered. Wisconsin offers deferred prosecution agreements on many charges, including some felonies. If a deferred prosecution or a hold open is not available an ordinance violation alternative might be. Unique to the Wisconsin legal system is the ordinance disposition. In Illinois law a ticket or ordinance may be charged by a local Prosecutor but it is rare to see a felony or misdemeanor reduced to an ordinance. The benefit of the ordinance violation is that it allows a defendant to maintain a criminal conviction free record as an ordinance is classified as a non-criminal, fine only offense. These dispositions help young people who may be looking for jobs or college admissions. It is important to also keep in mind the decision to grant these dispositions rests with the prosecutors and judges. As a former Prosecutor Richard Albanese has a good sense of what may be required of a defendant to have the best chance to obtain these dispositions.

If I live in Illinois, do I need two Criminal Defense Attorneys for my Wisconsin Criminal Case?

Thankfully, the answer is no. You need one criminal defense attorney who is licensed in both States and knows the laws of both States and what consequences a criminal case disposition will have for you in each State. The Richard Albanese Law Office bridges this information gap everyday for Illinois and Wisconsin clients who are not familiar with the Laws of their neighboring States. Richard Albanese is licensed to practice law in both Illinois and Wisconsin and offers exceptional representation across the States of Illinois and Wisconsin. Our office can answer interstate criminal case questions with confidence because Richard Albanese handles cases daily in both States and keeps up with the changes in laws of both States. Call today for a free consultation regrading any Criminal or Traffic case in Illinois or Wisconsin. The Richard Albanese law office can be reached at (312) 882-1973 or 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. 

 

The Legal and Financial Consequences of a DUI in Illinois or an OWI in Wisconsin Explained by an Illinois and Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney

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DUI and OWI laws are complicated and ever changing and as a result there a person being charged with these offense may feel confused and overwhelmed. The purpose of this blog is to arm potential clients with reliable information from the Illinois Secretary of State and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Any attorney you consider hiring should already be familiar with these laws and procedures, and hiring an attorney should not be done hastily. Research attorneys at http://www.avvo.com, an independent website that evaluates all attorneys in a manner similar to how YELP may review restaurants or other businesses.

As a former prosecutor I have expertly prosecuted thousands of DUI cases and am able to evaluate any case I am presented and quickly determine the best course of action for a client in Illinois or Wisconsin. Sometimes that advice is to go to trial and fight a case and other times a negotiated plea may be the best option, but rest assured my clients make educated and informed decisions about their cases as I treat each case with the time and attention it deserves.  I leave no questions unanswered. Additionally, for an Illinois driver the consequences of a Wisconsin OWI conviction can be severe. I am experienced in handling cases in both states and have been published in the Lake County Bar Journal on this topic. I can explain these consequences and outline a plan of action that most defense attorneys are not aware of in either state.

Please call today for a free consultation on your DUI or OWI case. The Richard Albanese Law Office can be reached at (312) 882-1973 or by email at RichardAlbaneseLawOffice@gmail.com or on the web at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com

For detailed information on Illinois DUI consequences click here:

http://tinyurl.com/IL2012DUIFactBook

For detailed information on Wisconsin OWI consequences click here:

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/motorist/drunkdriving/