Five Things You Need to Know About Your Heroin Possession Charge

Five Things You Need to Know About Your Heroin Possession ChargeThe state of Illinois is notorious for its toughness on drug crimes, and heroin possession carries particularly serious penalties. If you are convicted on charges of heroin possession, you will be seriously at risk of losing your rights or freedoms, possibly for years or even decades. The possession charges on your criminal record may seriously impair your ability to secure employment, and there may be many other grave consequences that will create a great deal of uncertainty for your future.

Given what is at stake, it is essential that you have as much clarity as possible about the implications of your heroin possession charges. Here are five things you need to know:

1. Heroin is Classed as a Schedule I Controlled Substance

Offenses for Schedule I substances carry the most severe drug charges. Schedule I drugs are substances that do not have any accepted medical uses, that are considered unsafe, and that carry a high potential for abuse. According to the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to possess any material that contains compounds found in heroin.

2. Penalties for Heroin Possession Vary Based on the Amount Seized

The punishment you are likely to face for having heroin seized from you will depend largely on the amount the authorities found in your possession. You can find a complete list of potential penalties in 720 ILCS 570/402. In brief, here is a list of penalties according to quantity:

  • 0–15 grams – Class 4 felony, carrying a 1–3 year-sentence and fines of $25,000
  • 15–99 grams – Class 1 felony, carrying a minimum 4–15 year-sentence and fines of up to $200,000
  • 100–399 grams – Class X felony, carrying a minimum 6–30 year-sentence and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the seized substance
  • 400–899 grams – Super Class X felony, carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 8–40 years and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the seized substance
  • Over 900 grams – Class X felony, carrying a mandatory minimum of 10–50 years and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the seized substance

In addition to whatever jail time or fines you incur, there will be further repercussions for your career and your education. A conviction for possession of heroin will create a permanent felony record. Often, these records cannot be expunged or sealed. The information will be available to all employers across the United States, not just in Illinois. Furthermore, students become ineligible for government student aid, grants, or loans for one year after their first conviction for drug possession.

3. There’s a Risk of the Addition of Distribution Charges

In many criminal cases in Illinois, those who are found to be in possession of large amounts of heroin may also be subject to drug distribution charges. Delivering even 0.5 grams of heroin has the potential to result in a minimum three-year sentence in prison. Distribution of just 16 grams is considered a Class X felony, the most serious charge in the Illinois criminal code, and can result in a 6–30-year prison sentence. If you are convicted of a Class X felony, there is no option of pleading for your penalties to be reduced to just probation.

The penalties you face will be substantially greater if you are found guilty of possession or distributing within 1500 feet of a school, public park, movie theater, or place of worship.

4. Federal Drug Crimes Carry Harsher Penalties

T4. he most common federal heroin crime is drug trafficking across state borders. These crimes generally include charges of distribution, manufacturing, or cultivating drugs in contravention of federal law. Federal crimes are almost always charged as felonies, and they nearly always carry higher fines and longer prison sentences than state crimes.

5. There Are Effective Defenses for Heroin Charges

There Are Effective Defenses for Heroin ChargesWhile heroin charges are among the most serious drug charges in Illinois, there is no need to feel that all hope is lost. An effective criminal defense attorney may be able to argue for your defense on one or more bases, including:

  • Fourth Amendment: illegal search and seizure
  • You did not have constructive possession (the drug was simply in your presence without your knowledge)
  • Invalid search warrants

Contact an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you or someone you care about has been charged with heroin possession in Champaign, it is essential that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You are probably aware of how serious these charges and their consequences are, but with the Champaign heroin possession attorneys of Bruno Law Offices on your side, you can rest assured that you will have the guidance of skilled and knowledgeable legal professionals. We will inform you about all your legal options and will do everything we can to protect your interests and your liberty. Do not hesitate. Call us today at (217) 328-6000.

What’s the Difference Between a Federal and a State Charge?

What’s the Difference Between a Federal and a State Charge?If you have been arrested, it’s important to know whether you will be charged in state court or federal court. Usually, the local police departments and Sheriff’s offices handle state charges and other crimes are investigated by federal agencies such as the FBI and DEA.

However, there are cases where you may be arrested by local law enforcement but charged in federal court. It’s important to understand the differences and to be represented by a criminal defense attorney who is experienced and skilled so they can protect your rights and defend your freedom.

Who Has Jurisdiction?

Whether you are charged and tried in federal court or state court will depend on the law that was broken. Typically, federal laws are linked to a federal issue or national interest. If you are charged by the state, your case will be held in circuit court, investigated by the local or state police, and prosecuted by the state prosecuting attorney’s office.

There are three levels in the state court system in Illinois. Most criminal offenses are tried within the Circuit Court, which is divided into 23 judicial circuits in Illinois. These are also known as trial courts where civil and criminal cases are heard. Circuit judges are elected for a six-year term and must run for reelection every six years.

If you are tried in federal court, your case will be investigated by one of the federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, or ATF. The case will be prosecuted by U.S. attorneys and heard by a judge that was appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Typically, a criminal case will be heard in either the state or federal court. However, there is the potential that a criminal charge falls under both state and federal law. In this case, there is concurrent jurisdiction, which means you can be tried in both state and federal courts for the same offense.

It’s important to note that the Constitution prohibits a person from being tried twice for the same crime, also called double jeopardy. However, there is a separate sovereign exception that allows for concurrent jurisdiction.

Additionally, the law allows for dual sovereignty to be applied for successive prosecution in two states for the same offense. However, while concurrent jurisdiction is allowed under the law, it is relatively rare.

Other factors that help determine whether the trial will be in state court or federal court include the location of the crime. If the crime occurred in an area that is clearly within Illinois jurisdiction, it could be charged and heard in a state court simply for that reason. Crimes committed outside of state jurisdiction, or in an area designated as federal jurisdiction, may be charged in federal court by default.

Common State and Federal Charges

Common State and Federal ChargesState criminal charges occur within Illinois boundaries and violate state laws that regulate behavior. While there are numerous criminal charges that can be brought, the charges can include domestic violence, drug crimes, driving under the influence, burglary, and murder.

Some federal criminal charges are similar to state charges. For example, drug crimes that occur on federal property can be prosecuted in federal court. If the crime took place in more than one state, the charge can be prosecuted in federal court. For example, if drug sales occurred in Indiana and Illinois, you may be facing federal charges that come with stiffer penalties.

Title 18 of the U.S. Code lists hundreds of federal criminal charges. Typically, federal laws address Federal interests, such as crimes on federal property, tax fraud, or those that involve crossing state lines. For this reason, there are fewer criminal cases prosecuted in federal court than in state court. Some of the more common federal crimes include

The penalties for state-level and federal-level crimes vary widely and depend on several factors. These include the details of the case, the charge, whether there were aggravating circumstances, and if the offender had any previous criminal convictions. Sentencing guidelines are established for both state and federal charges.

Usually, charges and sentencing at the state level have a lower potential for severe punishment than those at the federal level.

Contact Bruno Law Offices Today for a Free Consultation

If you were charged with a crime, you want the best defense possible to protect your rights and defend your freedom. The Champaign-Urbana criminal defense attorneys of Bruno Law Offices have skills and experience representing clients in state and federal court.

You need an aggressive defense to maximize your chance of securing a desirable outcome. Our legal team was founded in 1980 and concentrates exclusively on serious criminal and DUI cases. We understand that we meet our clients during difficult times. So, our focus is on defending against serious charges and managing the crisis.

Your first consultation is always free. Contact our office today at (217) 328-6000 or online to schedule your free consultation. We are passionate about defending your rights and protecting your freedom.

What Qualifies as Drug Paraphernalia?

When people think of drug crimes, one that’s often overlooked is possession of drug paraphernalia. But you don’t even have to have drugs on your person or in your home to be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. You can be arrested just for having certain items that are associated with consuming, manufacturing, or distributing controlled substances.

This begs the question, what qualifies as drug paraphernalia? That’s what we wanted to write about today, so keep reading to learn more.

Definition of Drug Paraphernalia

According to the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act, the term “drug paraphernalia” refers to any equipment, materials, or products used or intended to be used to plant, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, package, prepare, test, store, contain, or conceal a controlled substance. It also includes devices that could be used by someone to ingest, inhale, inject, or otherwise use a controlled substance. There are also two separate definitions of drug paraphernalia that are specific to methamphetamine and cannabis, which can be found in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act and Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, respectively.

Practically speaking, drug paraphernalia includes but is not limited to things like:

  • Kits used to manufacture, compound, process, or prepare controlled substances like cocaine or heroin
  • Certain chemicals used in the preparation of or to dilute controlled substances
  • Carburetion pipes, tubes, and similar devices
  • Smoking masks
  • Miniature spoons
  • Small vials that could be used to store cocaine or heroin
  • Water pipes, carburetor pipes, air-driven pipes, and ice pipes
  • Bongs

Finally, the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act includes a catch-call clause stating that anything that is described or announced by its seller for a use that violates the Act can be considered drug paraphernalia.

Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Under Illinois law, possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor. Potential penalties include a minimum $750 fine, though the fine could go as high as $2,500. You could also face up to 364 days in jail.

While these penalties may seem fairly minor, especially in comparison to the penalties for other drug crimes, it’s important to remember that people are rarely charged solely with possession of drug paraphernalia. When possession of drug paraphernalia is included as part of a broader criminal case, the additional charges could trigger additional penalties that are much steeper than those for simple possession of paraphernalia. This is partly why it’s so important to speak to a lawyer as soon as you can if you’re accused of possessing drug paraphernalia.

How We Can Help If You’re Accused of Possessing Drug Paraphernalia

We hope we’ve made it clear that you should treat being charged with possessing drug paraphernalia as seriously as you would any other drug charge. Here’s what our criminal defense lawyers can do for you if you’re accused of possessing drug paraphernalia:

  • Explain the charges against you and the potential penalties. We can tell you what exactly you’re being accused of possessing and what penalties you may face, depending on the items in question. If you are facing additional charges, we can explain those as well, along with the potential penalties and the next steps in your case.
  • Uphold your rights. You have certain rights under state and federal law if you’ve been arrested. These include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to know the charges against you, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. These rights are critical to making sure you’re treated fairly by police and prosecutors during your case. We can help protect you from any unconstitutional actions by law enforcement officials.
  • Build your defense. By looking at the evidence against you, we may discover that it’s possible to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced, sparing you from the worst possible penalties. For example, if the paraphernalia seized by police was obtained through an illegal search, we can seek to have that evidence dismissed, which could lead to prosecutors abandoning their case.
  • Negotiate a plea agreement. If it’s in your best interest to do so, we can work with police and prosecutors to secure a plea agreement that reduces the charges and potential penalties you may face.
  • Represent you in court. You’ll likely have to attend several court hearings as part of your case, even if your case never reaches the trial stage. These hearings are critical, and it’s important to have someone with you who knows what’s happening and what to do. Our lawyers have extensive courtroom experience and can guide you through these tense hearings.

Don’t Go Through It Alone. Call Bruno Law Offices Today

A possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious issue, though it may not seem like it. Contact the Champaign drug crime lawyers of Bruno Law Offices right away if you need a criminal defense lawyer. You can reach us at (217) 328-6000 or by visiting our contact page.

Can I Get a Felony Expunged?

If you’ve been convicted of a felony crime, you may have served your time in prison and may have paid or are struggling to pay significant fines. Unfortunately, in many cases, life doesn’t just return to how it was before your conviction. You may continue to feel the ramifications of your felony conviction for months and years to come: for as long as your felony conviction is on your record.

Consequences of a Felony Conviction

A felony conviction can have widespread repercussions beyond financial penalties and the loss of liberty. Being convicted of a felony can prevent you from being able to get gainful employment, and it can affect your qualification for certain housing accommodations. In addition, you may be prohibited from receiving some government benefits, including educational grants and aid. For as long as your conviction is on your record, government benefits agencies, housing companies, and employers will see it if they perform a background check.

Qualifying for Felony Expungement in Illinois

Expungement results in your criminal record being destroyed. There will no longer be a record of your name and your conviction in any public criminal record. But getting a felony expunged is reserved for only specific individuals and cases. If you have been arrested but not charged, or arrested and charged but not convicted, you may be able to petition for an expungement of your record. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you are ineligible to petition for an expungement. You may be able, however, to petition the court to have your record sealed.

An exception to the non-conviction requirement for expungements in Illinois is if you were arrested or convicted of marijuana possession or distribution. If you were arrested, acquitted, or had charges dismissed or vacated for the possession or distribution of 30 mg or less of marijuana before June 25, 2019, and:

  • You didn’t provide marijuana to a minor who was three or more years younger than you, and
  • You weren’t arrested for a violent crime occurring at the same time as the possession or distribution of marijuana,

you are eligible to have your arrest automatically expunged. You will still have to petition the court to have the marijuana arrest expunged from your record by filing a Request to Expunge & Impound and/or Seal Criminal Records. If you were convicted of the aforementioned marijuana charges, then your conviction may be automatically expunged after a recommendation by the Prisoner Review Board.

On the other hand, when your record is sealed, your record is not destroyed. However, the public cannot view it. The only entities that will be able to view your conviction are law enforcement, the courts, and certain employers who require fingerprint background checks.

Some misdemeanor and felony convictions can’t be sealed. Convictions for most sexual crimes, minor traffic violations, DUI, reckless driving, domestic battery, violation of orders of protection and civil or stalking no-contact orders, and crimes against animals cannot be expunged. If you’ve already been granted the sealing of a prior felony conviction, you are also ineligible to have a new felony conviction sealed.

Process of Getting a Felony Sealed

To start the process of getting your arrest and/or record expunged or sealed, you must complete several forms and file them with the court in the county in which you were arrested and/or charged for the crime. The court may require you to attend a hearing to further review your expungement or sealing request and make a final determination.

At this hearing, you’ll present your case to the judge as to why your request should be approved. You should provide any supporting documents for your request, such as proof of the completion of an education or treatment program. You may also have to answer questions posed by the judge. The hearing will end with the court either approving or denying your request for expungement or for sealing your arrest or record. If approved, once the relevant agencies receive the court’s order, your arrest or record will be expunged or sealed within 60 days.

How We Can Help

The Illinois felony defense attorneys of Bruno Law Offices may be able to help you reduce the negative impact your felony conviction may have on your life. We have decades of experience not only helping clients fight their criminal charges, but we’ve also helped clients move on with their lives after their convictions by either getting their records expunged or sealed. We may be able to do the same for you.

We can help ensure that the process for requesting an expungement or sealing is followed correctly and assist you in court should that be necessary. Call us today at (217) 328-6000 or contact us online to discuss getting your conviction expunged. The consultation is free.

How to Avoid a Marijuana Possession Charge

Now that recreational marijuana use by adults is legal in Illinois, I can’t get arrested for possession of marijuana, right? Wrong.

Although Illinois has relaxed certain restrictions relating to an adult’s possession and use of recreational marijuana, you can still be arrested and face stiff penalties for violating numerous regulations that are still in place. Illinois House Bill 1438, which Governor Pritzker signed into law effective January 1, 2020, significantly limits how much marijuana you can have, where you can buy it, with whom you can share it, and where you are not legally permitted to smoke it.

For example, although Illinois considers you an adult at age 18 for some purposes, such as signing legally binding agreements, etc., you cannot purchase marijuana in Illinois unless you are at least 21 years old. When you do buy marijuana for recreational use, you can only legally purchase it from a dispensary or a cultivator that has obtained a license from the State of Illinois. Let’s say you wind up attracting law enforcement’s attention and are found to have recreational marijuana in your possession. If you can’t prove you purchased it through a licensed facility, you can be arrested, charged, and likely convicted.

Assuming you can prove that you are over 21 and that you purchased your marijuana from a state-licensed facility, you’re in the clear, right?  Wrong.

First, the maximum amount an Illinois resident can purchase is 30 grams (one ounce) of cannabis plant material, and non-residents can purchase no more than 15 grams (.5 ounces). An adult who legally possesses recreational marijuana is still prohibited from, among other things:

  • Selling it to or sharing it with any person under 21
  • Carrying it onto any school property
  • Smoking or consuming marijuana in open public areas
  • Driving while under the influence of marijuana
  • Transporting and delivering cannabis without a special transportation license

The penalties for violating these provisions can range from a Class A misdemeanor (maximum of one year in prison and a $2,500.00 fine) to a Class 1 felony (between 4- and 15-year prison term and up to $25,000.00 fine). The following are the charges and penalties for marijuana possession based on the amount:

30 to 100 grams

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Maximum of one year in prison
  • Up to a $2,500 fine

100 to 500 grams

  • Class 4 felony
  • One to three years in prison
  • Up to a $25,000 fine

500 to 2,000 grams

  • Class 3 felony
  • Two to five years in prison
  • Up to a $25,000 fine

2,000 to 5,000 grams

  • Class 2 felony
  • Three to seven years in prison
  • Up to a $25,000 fine

More than 5,000 grams

  • Class 1 felony
  • Four to 15 years in prison
  • Up to a $25,000 fine

Penalties become even stiffer if the prosecutor can prove that you intended to sell some or all of the marijuana in your possession. Moreover, you can also be charged and convicted for selling marijuana paraphernalia without a license, even if you do not sell or distribute marijuana with the device. Most importantly, even if you are convicted of what you consider to be one of the “lesser offenses” identified above, you will still have a criminal record, which, in turn, could adversely affect your ability to obtain employment, to qualify for certain insurance benefits, or to buy or lease a residence.

Finally, although Illinois law recognizes marijuana may be effective in treating or lessening the effect of certain injuries or ailments, obtaining a “medical marijuana” card does not automatically make you exempt from all Illinois laws pertaining to marijuana possession and use. Under Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, the patient must register with the State and must submit competent evidence of a “debilitating condition,” the definition of which includes, among other diseases and ailments, the following:

  • Autism
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Residual limb pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
  • Severe fibromyalgia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

If you cannot prove that you suffer from one of the conditions set forth above or listed in the cited statute or if the State revokes your authorization under the Program, your right to possess marijuana reverts to your original status before you received your card.

Contact Us

Our Champaign marijuana possession attorneys dedicate our personalized and undivided attention to every single detail of the cases we take on. At Bruno Law Offices, we know the details can spell the difference between an acquittal and a conviction for our clients. We’re ready to take your call and meet you for a free initial consultation. Call us today at (217) 328-6000 or contact us online to learn more.


How to Beat a DUI

You thought you were driving just fine. The traffic cop currently on your tail begs to differ. You completely flubbed the field sobriety test, and you just blew a .09 BAC on the Breathalyzer. Now what? You’re in big trouble, and it will go from bad to worse very quickly unless you get the highly skilled and experienced attorneys from Bruno Law Offices on your side. If you haven’t called them already, stop what you’re doing and call them right now at (217) 328-6000.

Can I Really Contest a DUI Charge?

Your driving privileges, your job, and your liberty are now in serious jeopardy. This is no time for amateurs. The prosecutor brings – and wins — hundreds of DUI cases every month. A substantial percentage of those wins are obtained against first-time DUI offenders. That doesn’t have to happen to you. There are ways to beat a DUI charge or to negotiate lesser charges and penalties but trying to do it yourself is like taking a knife to a gunfight. Your Bruno Law Offices attorney can bring the heavy artillery and level the playing field, so you have a chance to contain the fallout from this unfortunate incident before it costs you everything.

The first thing you need to know is that, under Illinois law, you are presumed innocent, and the prosecutor has to prove every element of the DUI charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If your attorney from [firm name] helps you prevent the prosecutor from making his case, you can be acquitted of the charges—that is, found not guilty. So how, exactly, do the attorneys at Bruno Law Offices convince the judge or jury that there is reasonable doubt about whether the prosecutor made his case? While every matter is unique and is decided on its own specific facts, the attorneys at Bruno Law Offices have helped many clients in similar circumstances. We have found the following strategies helpful if the situation warrants these strategies.

  • Challenge the basis for the traffic stop. A police officer must have a reasonable basis to pull you over and detain you. That means the officer has to identify specific behavior that shows you violated a traffic law or some other law. While weaving from side to side in your own lane without actually leaving the lane may look bad, it is not illegal. If you can demonstrate that you did not commit any traffic violation before the officer pulled you over, the court may find the arrest unlawful and refuse to admit any evidence obtained during the arrest.
  • Attack the reliability of the field sobriety test. In many cases, the officer cites your “failing” the field sobriety test as the basis for demanding that you submit to a breathalyzer test. The truth is, there are some people who couldn’t pass the field sobriety test even when stone-cold sober. Numerous factors influence how an individual driver performs when asked to stand on one leg or touch his nose with his finger. A driver suffering from an injury, obesity, diabetes, old age, or on heavy medication might appear to be intoxicated when doing these “tricks” on the side of the road with other cars zipping by at high speeds. If you can prove the officer misjudged your condition and therefore should not have made you submit to the breathalyzer test, any results obtained from that test may be excluded from evidence.
  • Contest the validity of the breathalyzer results. Breathalyzer units are sophisticated but sensitive devices. Each manufacturer establishes its own protocols for operating the unit so that the results may be considered valid. If the unit operator does not faithfully adhere to those requirements, the unit will produce inaccurate readings. The Illinois Supreme Court recognized more than 30 years ago that breathalyzer tests are not “flawless.” Where a variance of .01 percent BAC one way or the other could determine whether you’re found guilty or innocent, it’s worth it to rigorously challenge how both the unit and the operator performed. If the court excludes an adverse breathalyzer result from the case, the prosecutor may have to dismiss the charges against you.
  • Undermine the results of any blood tests. Like the breathalyzer unit discussed above, the equipment used to measure the alcohol concentration in the driver’s bloodstream must be properly calibrated and operated in full compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions to reliably produce valid results. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the blood test results are scientifically valid, the court may not admit the evidence, and the case is over.

Contact Us

If you find yourself arrested for or charged with a DUI, don’t panic. You don’t have to go through this alone. Call Bruno Law Offices at (217) 328-6000 today to set up your initial consultation with one of our DUI defense lawyers. You can’t afford not to.

Four Chicago residents accused of hate crime

Four people were charged with hate crimes, kidnapping, aggravated battery, and aggravated lawful restraint on Thursday, January 5 in relation to a video posted on Facebook that showed them assaulting a man.

Authorities said they found the disoriented victim wandering the streets and were able to surmise that the assault had gone on for hours. The suspects can be seen in the video cursing white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

According to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the 18-year-old man from Chicago was singled out not because he was a white man but because he was mentally disabled. The parents of the victim told police that he was missing on Monday, January 2 and they later received text messages from people who claimed they had kidnapped him. The victim was with classmates who turned out to be attackers, and the victim initially went with them by his own volition, police said. The video showed the victim had a gaping wound on his head and a person pushing the victim with his or her foot was also shown in the video.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices provide legal services to our clients in Champaign and other areas in Illinois. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.

Gang rap videos used in murder trial still questionable

Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis issued a ruling that two violent gang rap videos cannot be used as “substantive evidence” in the defense of 18-year-old Champaign, Illinois resident Shamario Brown. Brown was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm, leading the judge to say the videos can be used to discredit the credibility of state witnesses.

Brown is set to be tried on Monday, January 30 for the June 12, 2016 murder of 30-year-old Champaign resident Ericka Cox-Bailey, who died when a bullet from a passing car struck her as she was walking along Francis Drive near McKinley Avenue. Police officials say the shots that killed her were intended for members of a rival gang. Champaign resident Oshay Cotton and East Macon, Georgia resident Takario Greene, both 19, who were inside the passing car with Brown, were also charged for Cox-Bailey’s murder.

We at the Bruno Law Offices are problem solvers and are great with overcoming challenges. As such, individuals who are charged with criminal offenses should know we will come up with comprehensive and strategic legal defenses. Call our Champaign offices today at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your case.

Former congressman Aaron Schock pleads not guilty to felony charges

Thirty-five-year-old former Representative Aaron Schock (Republican of Illinois) has maintained his innocence ever since federal prosecutors charged him with 24-count indictment in November, pleading not guilty last Monday, December 12 to two dozen counts of felony corruption, including wire and mail fraud, stealing government funds, filing false tax returns, and falsifying federal campaign forms.

Federal prosecutors accused Schock of using his campaign funds and congressional office to purchase things for himself.

Timothy Bass, one of such prosecutors, is apprehensive about allowing Schlock to continue using his campaign funds to pay for his attorney’s fees and other “unsupervised expenditures”, saying, “These campaign funds are potential victims of the crimes charged.

If you are facing prosecution for a criminal charge in the Champaign-Urbana area of Illinois, or other areas in the state, do not hesitate to seek legal representation from our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by calling us today at (217) 328-6000 as soon as you can. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team today.

Fourth suspect in U.S. Cellular in Dixon robbery arrested

A fourth suspect, in connection to an armed robbery at a store of telecommunications company U.S. Cellular in Dixon, Illinois, was taken into police custody.

The robbery happened at the Keul Road store on Thursday, November 10 around 7:30 p.m. Reports showed that three individuals who were wearing masks and who were carrying handguns infiltrated the store and ordered the store’s employees to file into a back room, where they would be tied up. After securing the employees, the robbers made off with several items and cash.

On Tuesday, November 29, 23-year-old Anthony Jamerson surrendered to the Dixon Police Department. He was charged with multiple counts of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated armed robbery, and unlawful restraint.

In order to convict you of criminal offenses, prosecutors in Champaign-Urbana will need to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you had both a specific intent and knowledge of the offense that you have been charged with. Get in touch with our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.

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Urbana, IL 61801
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