Civil law and criminal law are two distinct areas of law that deal with different types of legal issues. Civil law is concerned with disputes between individuals or organizations, such as contract disputes or personal injury claims. Criminal law, on the other hand, deals with actions that are considered harmful to society as a whole and are prohibited by criminal statutes. Criminal law is concerned with punishing those who break the law and protecting society from criminal behavior. In a civil case, the goal is typically to compensate the victim and make them whole, while in a criminal case, the goal is to punish the offender and deter future criminal behavior.
Category Archives: Traffic Tickets
Lake County Illinois criminal defense attorney
In Illinois, possession of a controlled substance is a criminal offense. The severity of the charge and the corresponding penalty depend on the type and amount of the controlled substance involved.
Possession of a controlled substance is a Class 4 felony if the substance is a Schedule I or II narcotic drug, such as heroin, cocaine, or fentanyl, and the amount is less than 15 grams. This carries a prison sentence of 1-3 years and fines up to $25,000.
Possession of a controlled substance is a Class 3 felony if the substance is a Schedule I or II narcotic drug, and the amount is 15 grams or more. This carries a prison sentence of 2-5 years and fines up to $25,000.
Possession of a controlled substance is a Class A misdemeanor if the substance is not a narcotic drug and is listed in Schedules III, IV, or V. This carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
It’s important to note that these are the general guidelines and there are many factors that could affect the sentencing such as the offender’s prior criminal history, if the possession was for personal use or sale and if the possession was in a school zone or park district.
It’s important to consult with an attorney if you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Illinois, as they can guide you through the legal process and work to mitigate the consequences of your charges.
Louis M. Pissios
Attorneys and Counselors at Law
a professional corporation
9 South County Street
across the street from the courthouse
Waukegan, Illinois 60085
direct email: [email protected]
Direct Telephone 847.263.0001
Lake County Illinois
Illinois Criminal Defense
New Illinois laws 2017
Continually Recognized for Our Successful Results
Continually Recognized for Our Successful Results
Continually Recognized for Our
The Law office of Louis M. Pissios has successfully handled many complex and high-profile cases in Illinois including everything from Driving Under the Influence Cases to Drug Cases to Murder Cases, and everything in between. We are in Lake County, Illinois and handle every case with the diligence necessary to get you the best results possible.
Our attorneys provide unparalleled legal representation to those who are facing serious criminal charges. We have extensive experience in all areas of Criminal Law. Our Firm has a reputation for providing top-notch, high quality representation.
We recognize that every person, and every criminal prosecution, is unique. We tailor our practice to the individual needs of each and every client. Our ethics, skill and knowledge will help you obtain the best possible results.
The lawyer you choose to represent you can affect the results of your case. Our legal defense team includes experienced private investigators, paralegals and translators. . We provide high quality, creative and thorough legal representation to each and every one of our clients. We are only as good as the results we obtain for our clients. Our greatest compliment comes from the fact that many of our former clients and other attorneys refer clients to us for representation.
You should not compromise your choice of an attorney. This may be one of the most important decisions that you ever make.
What can an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer do for me?
What can an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer do for me?
Police Car Search Legal in Illinois if They Smell Marijuana, So Why is There an Illegal Traffic Stop Here?
The Traffic Stop
State trooper stops Defendant on the highway for crossing the yellow line and following too closely. About 20 or 30 minutes into it, the tickets are written out and the trooper still has Defendant’s DL.
But before giving Defendant the paper work and returning his DL, the trooper asks him to get out his truck. Also, he had called for the drug dog before getting him out of the car.
Trooper tells defendant that he smelled cannabis in the vehicle. He asked defendant to explain why he smelled cannabis. Defendant says that there was probably an odor of cannabis on his clothes. He also admitted that he had a “bowl” in the center console.
Why Did the Stop Take So Long?
Oh yea, defendant was on the terrorist watch list. Cop had to make several calls to the feds and was working on confirming Defendant’s identity. The trooper knew, before he gets him out of the car, that the feds cleared Defendant.
What They Find?
Prior to the dog arriving, the trooper searched the truck and found a smoking device and a tobacco package with raw cannabis inside. The dog alerted to the presence of drugs at the back of the vehicle. The troopers pried open the tailgate and found four duffel bags containing 5,505 grams of marijuana.
Did the Trooper Really Smell Anything?
The trooper who stops defendant testified that he could smell a faint odor of cannabis when he first approached the truck. On the squad video he says, “When I was up there talking to him I thought I could smell an odor of burnt cannabis, not raw cannabis. I’m not certain the way the wind was blowing and stuff. I’m not going to call him out on that, and I am going to question him about it at some point. I am not going to use that as probable cause to search the vehicle. I’m not 100% sure about that.”
A second trooper testified that he only smelled a masking agent. Said it smelled like freshly sprayed deodorant. This trooper also had two separate conversations with Defendant. Each time Defendant denied having cannabis in the truck (this was before the get him out the car and he finally admits to the pipe).
A seizure that is lawful at its inception may become unlawful under the fourth amendment if –
(1) the duration of the stop is unreasonably prolonged, or
(2) the officer’s actions during the stop independently trigger the fourth amendment.
See Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 407-08 (2005).
An investigative stop that is lawful at its inception must cease once reasonable suspicion dissipates, unless there is a separate Fourth Amendment justification to prolong the stop. See People v. Baldwin, 388 Ill. App. 3d 1028, 1033 (2009). “Mere hunches and unparticularized suspicions are not enough to justify a broadening of the stop into an investigatory detention.” People v. Ruffin, 315 Ill. App. 3d 744, 748 (2000).
A routine traffic stop may not be used as a subterfuge to obtain other evidence based on an officer’s suspicion.People v. Koutsakis, 272 Ill. App. 3d 159, 164 (1995).
Where a flyer or bulletin has been issued on the basis of articulable facts supporting a reasonable suspicion that the wanted person had committed an offense, reliance on that information justifies a stop to check identification, to pose questions to the person or to detain the person briefly while attempting to obtain further information. See United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221, 232 (1985); see also People v. Ewing, 377 Ill. App. 3d 585, 593-94 (2007) (Hensley principles apply to communications sent through dispatch). Evidence recovered during the course of a bulletin stop is admissible if the stop is not significantly more intrusive than would have been permitted by the issuing department. Hensley, 469 U.S. at 233.
Prolonging the Stop Means Illegal Traffic Stop
The record establishes that the trooper waited for approximately 23 minutes before dispatch reported back to him the Defendant was not wanted by the feds. Rather than returning his DL and giving him the tickets, at that point, the trooper gets defendant out of the truck. All of this was done 30 minutes into the stop.
The stop lasted an additional 22 minutes after tickets are written. It seems clear that the troopers prolonged the stop in an effort to obtain incriminating information from defendant.
What About Smell of Weed?
While the smell of burnt cannabis may be sufficient in some cases, in this case the arresting officer failed to supply the articulable facts necessary to support a fourth amendment intrusion.
Trooper testified that he thought he smelled burnt cannabis, but he was not sure. His statements on the videotape of the stop were consistent with his vague statements at trial. On the videotape, the trooper told the dispatcher that he thought he smelled an odor of burnt cannabis but was uncertain because of the way the wind was blowing.
The second trooper did not testify that he thought the “masking agent” was a sign of contraband. Second trooper then asks Defendant directly if he has marijuana. Defendant says no. At that point, any reasonable suspicion that may have been generated by first trooper’s uncertain smell dissipated.
These facts support only a hunch or suspicion of illegal activity. They do not give rise to a reasonable and articulable suspicion that defendant was trafficking cannabis. Thus, beyond the delay pursuant to the terrorist watch list issue, the troopers did not have an independent articulable suspicion to prolong the stop. The continued detention of defendant was a violation of his constitutional rights.
Lake County police departments looking to add body cameras
It’s not unusual for police officers to be filmed by people with cellphones during a traffic stop nowadays, but police throughout Lake County may be wearing body cameras to monitor interactions as soon as this fall in Round Lake Park, and other departments are not far behind.
From Round Lake Park to Round Lake and Mundelien to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, municipalities and their police departments are moving ahead with body cameras.
“This is definitely the wave of the future and something that’s needed,” Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said. “Body cameras are a type of evidence and the more evidence we have in any case the better.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner last week signed legislation that lays out the rules for police body cameras in Illinois, making it only the third state in the country to establish such rules, according to an Associated Press analysis. While it does not mandate body cameras, although there was legislation floated that would have done just that, it does specify how they will be worn, when they have to be turned on and how long the recordings must be kept as evidence.
It also established a grant program funded by a $5 addition to traffic tickets to help police departments buy the body cameras.
“They are going to be involved in every case, even misdemeanors,” Nerheim said. “You’re going to see footage on every single case.”
Nerheim said his office is working with the more than 40 police departments in Lake County on uniformity. If each department operated on a different system, that could pose a problem for his office, which would handle the recordings in court.
“It’s important we are part of the process,” he said.
Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko said if everything goes as planned his department will be ready to roll out the body cameras by mid September.
“It’s logical we’re doing this,” he said, “We decided this was the way to go.”
The village has purchased 6 4RE in-car systems with panoramic HD cameras and 13 VISTA HD body-worn cameras that have adjustable lenses so officers can adjust them according to their height. The total cost was approximately $57,000, which also includes a server and needed software.
For Patrol Officer Donna O’Brien, the body camera, which uses industrial strength magnets to hold it in place, is a good thing.
“I prefer them,” she said, “It’s good to have one more form of evidence to back up the truth.”
“I also think it’s good tool for training. I can review how I walked up to a vehicle during a traffic stop or person and see how I might of done it differently,” or see something that may have put her in danger, but she didn’t realize it at the time, she said.
“It will keep me on my toes, but I always act professionally,” she said.
Filenko said the response of his officers has not been “why do we need them,” but “when are we getting them.”
“In my opinion this is going to become standard, it may even be mandatory eventually,” he said. He knew two years ago they were going to need new squad car videos and he thought of incorporating the body cameras with that new system.
“It’s still not going to replace the human eye,” he said, but in the worse-case scenario, an officer involved shooting, “the more video the better,” said Filenko, who is in charge of the Major Crime Task Force that is called in to investigate those shootings.
Round Lake Police Chief Michael Gillette said his mayor and trustees wanted to get ahead of the curve and be pro-active. “I’m proud of the board and the mayor for letting us do that,” he said of their purchase of 15 FirstVu HD cameras from Kansas-based Digital Ally, at a cost of $13,800.
“We feel it’s a good tool for the officers to put together a solid case,” he said, “and of course it would be used in allegations of misconduct. I think they are really good tools.”
Bigger departments have bigger problems with figuring out the financing, but the Waukegan Police Department is “aggressively” researching different models, according to Cmdr. Joe Florip.
“We need to see what will work best (for the 80 patrol officers and 20 patrol cars). We’re excited as an organization to get body cameras. We think it’s best for our community and the police department,” he said.
“It’s priceless when it comes to a citizen complaint. There’s nothing like pulling up a video,” he said, noting that sometimes they can do that now from dash cameras and sometimes residents see their actions in a different light.
The Lake County Chiefs Association, headed by Highland Park Chief Paul Schafer, said they are getting more inquiries from other chiefs about body cameras. There still needs to be a lot of policy work, such as how to handle Freedom of Information requests, obscuring juvenile or witness faces from the video and other issues and having the personnel able to do that.
“There’s a lot of implementation with this new technology that the chiefs are taking a look at,” he said. They plan to have it on their agenda for the September meeting.
Other departments like Round Lake Beach are just starting to look into it, partly because of the funding mechanism included in the bill the governor recently signed. For some departments it would be hard to afford and they want to make sure they get the right equipment.
“We want it done right the first time,” said Police Chief Dave Hare. But he believes they will benefit police and the community.
“Transparency is a good thing for the community and body camera play into that,” he said