The drug addiction epidemic is one of the biggest health problems our country is facing.  As criminal defense lawyers, we have a front row view of how this epidemic is affecting the community here in Sangamon County, Morgan County, Montgomery County, Macon County, Menard County and all of the surrounding area.  People–our neighbors, friends, colleagues, siblings, cousins, parents, children–are dying or surrendering large portions of their lives to drug addiction every day.  And while politicians wrangle and posture about whether a drug addiction is an actual illness that should be covered by health insurance (it is and should be), and how much marijuana someone has to have on their person before it becomes a felony (why should it ever be?), old, punitive laws remain on the books, and insufficient funds are directed to treatment facilities and programs for those affected by this epidemic.  For our clients, this typically means that they have committed some illegal act in furtherance of their addiction or because they are actually under the influence at the time of the crime, and are looking at the very real possibility of an extended stay in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Shipping people with a drug or alcohol addiction to the Department of Corrections, in addition to being costly, does not solve the problem.  Labeling someone with a drug or alcohol addiction as a “felon” and making it that much harder to find employment and move forward with their lives upon their release does not help cure their illness, and in fact can make it worse.

Frequently, part of a criminal defense attorney’s job is to get everyone on board with what the best treatment alternatives are for the client.  And by everyone, we mean everyone: the State’s Attorney, the judge, the parents, the spouse, the children, and (most importantly) the client himself.  If the client is in Sangamon County, this can mean a sentence to Drug Court.  It can mean a sentence to TASC Probation, First Offender Probation, or Second Chance Probation.  It can mean an agreement that the client will engage in intensive drug counseling as part of another disposition.

Traffic tickets.  Almost all of us have been pulled over at one time or another for some alleged traffic violation and ended up with a traffic ticket.  For some people, what starts as a routine stop for a minor traffic violation ends up becoming an arrest for a more serious violation, such as DUI, drug charges, or gun/weapon possession offenses.

It is important to know your rights if you are pulled over for any alleged traffic violation.  To that end, we have compiled a list of 10 things you should know if you are stopped by the police in central Illinois.  In addition to this list, you can also review the instructional video produced by the FBI Field Office for the Springfield, Illinois Division regarding how to conduct yourself during a traffic stop.

10 Things You Should Know:

Welcome to our blog.  We are criminal defense lawyers in located in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois.  Here we hope that you will find a place to learn about issues facing criminal defendants and criminally accused individuals in Sangamon and the surrounding counties including, Logan, Morgan, Cass, Macon, Montgomery, Menard, and Christian to name a few.

It is our intention to use this blog as a teaching tool for you –  our clients – and the family members and friends of our clients, in order to help the average citizen understand the criminal justice system and process.  We also hope that this blog will help those accused of crimes in central Illinois to understand and know their rights during the investigation process.

It is fitting that the inspiration for our first blog post is the seminal case of  Miranda v. Arizona.  Most Americans (at least the ones that have spent any amount of time watching television) have heard the Miranda warnings before: You have the right to remain silent, if you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.  You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you at no expense.  If you decide to answer questions now, you can stop at anytime and ask for a lawyer before you answer further questioning.  And the investigating officer always (or almost always) concludes the recitation of these rights by saying: “knowing and understanding these rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?”