Schedule a free consultation


Naperville Criminal LawyerWhen people struggling with drug addiction are arrested for a crime, many assume that automatic jail time is inevitable. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the case. The legal system recognizes the complexities of addiction and behavioral health, offering alternative options instead of incarceration. If you are facing drug charges and are suffering from a form of drug addiction, contact a lawyer to ensure you understand your rights. You may have access to alternative programs and treatment instead of serving time in jail.

Understanding the Link Between Drug Addiction and Criminal Behavior

Drug addiction often fuels criminal behavior, as individuals may resort to illegal activities to support their substance abuse. However, it is important to recognize that addiction is a disease that requires treatment rather than punishment. The legal system is increasingly acknowledging this connection and seeking alternative solutions that address the root causes of addiction rather than solely focusing on punishment. 

Drug Courts and Diversion Programs

Things such as drug courts and diversion programs have emerged as effective alternatives to incarceration for drug addicts facing charges. These programs aim to provide rehabilitation and support rather than punishment. Drug courts offer intensive supervision, mandatory drug testing, and individualized treatment plans to help people overcome addiction and address any underlying issues. Diversion programs, on the other hand, provide opportunities for people to participate in counseling, treatment, or community service in exchange for reduced or dismissed charges. 


hangover-dui.jpgDriving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense as it can have serious consequences for both individuals and the community at large. In Illinois, DUI laws are stringent, and offenders can face harsh penalties. However, what many people may not realize is that even the morning after a night of heavy drinking, they may still be considered DUI offenders under certain circumstances. This is a phenomenon known as a “hangover DUI.” If you are facing charges related to a hangover DUI, a lawyer may be able to help.

Defining a Hangover DUI

Also known as a “morning-after DUI” or “next-day DUI,” it occurs when a person operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit, typically 0.08 percent, even after the immediate effects of alcohol have worn off. In other words, if a person still has alcohol in their system from the previous night’s drinking, they can be charged with a hangover DUI.

Legal Basis and Penalties

In Illinois, the law prohibits driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The state’s DUI laws do not differentiate between alcohol consumption immediately prior to driving and alcohol consumed the night before. If a person’s BAC is over the legal limit, they can be charged with DUI, regardless of when the alcohol was consumed. 


defense-lawyer.jpgNot all guilty verdicts are the same. Despite the fact that you may be convicted of a crime, how you reach that point can have a big impact on the eventual sentence you’ll receive for that crime. And considering some of the potential sentences that misdemeanor and felony level offenses carry in Illinois, it’s important that you have a lawyer by your side who can help with all aspects of your case, including sentencing.

Factors That Go Into Sentencing

While the facts of the case will determine whether you’re found innocent or guilty, the culmination of how your case is presented will go a long way in determining your sentencing. Even at sentencing, a smart argument from a lawyer can greatly reduce the sentence you’ll receive. We always work hard to help our clients win a dismissal, but if they are found guilty, our job doesn’t stop there. Just look at some of these sentences we’re been able to help negotiate for our clients.

  • Driving With A Suspended License – Facing a year in jail for a 12th violation of driving with a suspended license, Brett was able to negotiate a sentence that involved no jail time for his client.
  • DUI – Brett’s client faced her fifth DUI charge and a mandatory six year prison sentence, but by working with the prosecution ahead of trial, Brett was able to get his client a sentence of only 60 days of work-release along with drug and alcohol treatment.
  • Felony Firearm Possession – Facing three years in prison for felony weapon possession, Brett was able to secure a sentence of two years probation instead of prison time for his client.
  • Murder – A member of our team was able to point to a client’s abusive childhood in order to avoid a death penalty sentence in a 1993 homicide case.

So while you hopefully won’t need us to argue away a death penalty sentence, it’s important that you understand just how important good representation is at all stages of the trial. From negotiating with the prosecution before trial in an attempt to get the charges reduced or dropped to developing a case that focuses on your willingness to put a mistake in the past and become a better person, we can help you secure a favorable sentencing outcome or even get the charges dropped, like we’ve done for many clients in the past.


Concealed Carry Violation Penalties In Illinois

Posted on in

conceal-carry-penalty.jpgThe second amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants citizens the right to keep and bear arms, but that doesn’t mean you can carry a firearm anywhere you please in Illinois. There are permits and regulations that must be followed if you plan on carrying a concealed weapon, and the penalties for violating these laws can be severe. Below, we take a closer look at the laws and the penalties regarding concealed carry violations.

Conceal Carry In Illinois

Before a person can apply for their concealed carry license, they must first obtain what’s known as a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID). The FOID is what allows you to purchase and possess a firearm in Illinois, and you do not need a concealed carry license in order to transport firearms as long as they are unloaded and in an enclosed case, like what many hunters do each fall. We have a more thorough explanation of FOIDs and how to obtain them in this blog.

Concealed carry licenses are a little different. These allow you to legally carry a concealed handgun in public. In order to acquire a CCL in Illinois, you must be at least 21 years of age, pass a 16-hour training course and not have previous criminal convictions on your record that would render you ineligible for a license. Law enforcement also has the right to deny an application for a concealed carry license if they feel that the applicant is a threat to themselves or others.


Passing a School Bus Violation In Illinois

Posted on in

passing-school-bus-violation.jpgSchool is back in session, and odds are you’ve seen those big yellow buses on your morning or afternoon commute. Buses are carrying some precious cargo, which is why Illinois penalizes drivers harshly for driving illegally around these vehicles. In fact, the state just recently increased the penalties for stop arm violations. Below, we take a closer look at how school bus stop arm violations are penalized in Illinois.

What Is A Stop Arm Violation?

As the name implies, a stop arm violation is a citation for illegally passing a school bus that has its flashing warning lights and stop arm engaged. More specifically, it is illegal for a driver to pass a school bus with its lights and stop arm engaged while it is stopped to pick up or discharge passengers. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a roadway or parking lot, if you’re caught passing a stopped school bus with its lights on and arm engaged, expect to be ticketed.

This applies to drivers heading in both directions. Even if the bus is headed in the opposite direction, you must stop so that occupants can discharge and cross the street, or for others to safely cross the street and board the bus if necessary. The only limitation here is if it is a 4-lane road (at least two lanes traveling in the opposite direction). In this instance, the vehicles traveling in either lane heading in the same direction as the bus must stop for a bus with it’s stop arm engaged, but drivers headed in the opposite direction on a 4-lane road can continue to proceed past the bus with caution.


Fleeing Or Eluding Police Penalties In Illinois

Posted on in

fleeing-police.jpgNobody likes to see the red and blue lights in their rearview mirror, but you can make a bad situation even worse if you decide not to pull over for an officer who has directed you to do so. Failing to pull over when directed is considered an attempt to flee or elude police, and depending on the circumstances, it can be a misdemeanor or felony offense. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the crime of fleeing or eluding police in Illinois, and how you can defend yourself against the charges.

Fleeing and Eluding Police In Illinois

The crime of fleeing or eluding police is laid out in 625 ILCS 5/11-204, which states:

“Any driver or operator of a motor vehicle who, having been given a visual or audible signal by a peace officer directing such driver or operator to bring his vehicle to a stop, wilfully fails or refuses to obey such direction, increases his speed, extinguishes his lights, or otherwise flees or attempts to elude the officer, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.”


By now you’ve probably seen at least one video where an employee is verbally or physically assaulted – or worse – by a patron after the employee tells them of the store’s mask policy. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many large and smaller retailers are trying to do their part to slow the spread of their virus, and some individuals feel that a private business enforcing a mask mandate is a violation of their civil rights. Those patrons are free to choose to shop elsewhere if they don’t want to wear a mask, but what they aren’t free to do is assault an employee who is trying to get them to acquiesce to the store’s mask policy.

With a recent law change, Illinois has spoken up for worker protections and ensured that individuals who want to get angry over a mask policy will think twice about taking their frustrations out on an employee. Under the new law, anyone who commits assault or battery against a retail worker who is communicating a public health guidance will be charged with aggravated battery, oftentimes pursued as a felony here in Illinois.

Felony Battery In Illinois

Aggravated battery is the enhanced form of battery, and typically it involves great bodily harm, a weapon or is against a protected class of individuals, however, it’s worth noting that physical harm is not required for aggravated battery to exist. Actions taken in an “insulting or provoking nature,” can reach the level of battery, and if they occur against a retail worker, all of a sudden a felony charge may appear. In this instance, a retail worker communicating a public health guidance (like informing a patron about a mask requirement) is now considered a protected class of individuals. Therefore, any assault or battery of this individual can be charged under the aggravated form of the law.


If a friend or family member has been placed in handcuffs and loaded into the back of a police cruiser, your mind is probably racing thinking about what you can do to help them. This can become a hectic time, and if you take the wrong steps, it can really hurt their case, so it’s important to know what to do next. In today’s blog, we explain what you can do to help if a loved one has been arrested in Illinois.

When A Friend Or Family Member Is Arrested

If you witness a loved one getting arrested or you get a call from the police department saying they have been taken into custody, you need to take a moment and collect your thoughts. Once settled, here are some things you can do to help your loved one.

  1. Call An Attorney – Arguably the best thing you can do for your loved one is to call an attorney and let them know about the situation. You probably won’t have all the details, but if you can, let them know what they are being charged with and where they are being held. The lawyer may be able to help secure their release and move forward with a case. Even if you don’t want to pay for a lawyer yourself, the lawyer may be able to secure someone’s release and then work out the financial side with the client. You’re not going to be on the hook for a massive bill because you called a lawyer for someone else, so while you may want to broach the subject of payment when you’re talking with the lawyer if you don’t intend to pay, know that you’re not putting yourself in a financial hole just because you reached out to a lawyer on someone else’s behalf.
  2. Write Down What You Know – Depending on what you know about the situation, this may prove helpful before calling the lawyer, but either way, you’re going to want to write down what you know about the incident. If you were a party to the arrest, write down every detail about the situation. Where you were, who was there, what time it was and how the incident played out. Your testimony may turn out to be very important, and you’d be amazed at how quickly little details can fade from your memory. Writing everything down ensures you have a hard copy to reference if need be. If you weren’t a witness, writing down any information you received from your loved one can be helpful. When they were arrested, what they are being charged with, and where they are being held, for example.
  3. Bail Options – Your loved one may be arrested, charged and released, while others may be held and given a bail order. If you are interested in posting bail for someone, make sure you understand your options. A bail bond company can help secure their release for 10 percent of the bail amount (you’ll pay 10 percent and this won’t be returned to you), or you can post bail yourself, and this will be returned assuming your loved one shows up to all their court appearances, even if they are found guilty. However, know that when you post bail for someone else, it technically becomes their property, so if you think that individual won’t pay you back the money you provided them, consider a different bail option.
  4. Cool Off – Finally, depending on the situation, you may be very angry or frustrated with your loved one. If your son or daughter was arrested or your husband was picked up for drunk driving, odds are you’re going to be mad. There will be a time for punishment, but don’t react out of anger. Still act in their best interests. Contact a lawyer and talk about getting them out of jail, don’t just let them sit behind bars to “teach them a lesson.” Let’s focus on making the best out of the criminal situation before we move on to personal punishments or privilege losses. Don’t make their criminal situation worse because you were angry and worked against their best interests. We know you’re angry, but find a way to cool off before reacting, otherwise you can make things worse.

If you need help after a loved one has been arrested, give Brett and the team at Appelman Law a call today.

If you are charged with a criminal offense, you might feel like the court situation is out of your control once you hire an attorney. It’s true that your lawyer will handle the bulk of the case, but in order to avoid surprises and improve your chances of a favorable outcome, you’ll need to know how to effectively communicate with your lawyer.

Effective communication with your legal counsel is more than just picking up the phone when they call (but that is a good start!). It all revolves around coming to an agreement and holding up your end of the bargain. We explain more about this process in today’s blog.

How To Communicate With Your Lawyer

Effective communication between lawyer and client begins the moment you walk in the door for your initial consultation. That’s where the framework for your communication plan will begin. During this meeting, some points of communication you’ll want to touch on include:


If police conduct a search of your house or vehicle and find drugs or illegal weapons, it can be really difficult for a lawyer to argue your innocence. Instead of attacking the legitimacy of the evidence, your attorney may opt to challenge the legitimacy of the evidence collection. This raises the question, “what constitutes a legal search of your home or car in Illinois?” We share five ways police can conduct a legal search of your belongings in today’s blog.

5 Ways Police Can Search Your Stuff

Here are five ways police will try to legally search your belongings to collect evidence to be used against you during your criminal case.

  1. Consent – If you give them permission to search your house or car, anything they find can legally be entered into evidence. They may try to say things like “If you have nothing to hide, let us search your car,” or “If you’re not doing anything illegal then let us just have a quick look.” You are allowed to say no, as you are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures by the constitution. You can politely say that although you aren’t doing anything illegal, if they want to search the vehicle, they’ll need to get a search warrant. Which brings us to the next point
  2. A Warrant – If police have a warrant to search an area, you have to let them conduct their search. However, they are only allowed to search the specific area outlined in the warrant. If the warrant states they can enter the home, but they find drugs in your detached garage, a lawyer can argue that they violated the scope of the warrant.
  3. Incident To An Arrest – If police have probable cause to arrest you for a crime, they can then conduct a search of your persons and the immediate vicinity. This is most commonly used to conduct vehicle searches. For example, if police suspect you are under the influence of drugs, they may place you under arrest for DUI and legally search your vehicle.
  4. Plain View – Police are also allowed to execute a legal search if items are in plain view. You have an expectation of privacy, but if an officer looks through your window and sees cocaine on the living room table, they can enter the area and collect evidence legally. Even in your own home, it’s not a good idea to have any evidence that could be used against you out in plain sight.
  5. Hot Pursuit – Finally, if police are engaged in pursuit of a suspect, they are able to search for evidence if they enter a dwelling. For example, if police chase a suspect in a vehicle and they drive home, run inside and lock the door, police are allowed to enter the premises. If they find evidence pertaining to the initial traffic stop, or evidence of a new crime in and of itself, this can legally be entered into trial even though they did not have permission or a warrant to enter the residence.

It’s also worth noting that there are some exigent circumstances that allow police to collect evidence in specific scenarios. For example, if there is a high probability that evidence will be destroyed before officers can legally collect the evidence, they may be able to enter an area to preserve this evidence without a warrant. Your lawyer will certainly argue against this, but it is something we’ve run into during court in the past.

Back to Top