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One Act, One Crime Doctrine

illinois one act one crime

When a person is arrested, it is not uncommon for him or her to face multiple charges related to the circumstances. In Illinois, however, a criminal defendant can only be convicted of one crime that corresponds to a particular action, even if that action could constitute more than one offense. This doctrine was upheld again by an Illinois appellate court as it vacated a conviction earlier this month.

The Case

The case in question was an appeal filed by a man convicted of robbery and aggravated battery of a senior citizen following an incident which occurred in 2009. According to court records, the man punched the 60-year-old victim in the ribs and stole money from the victim who later died. At trial, prosecutors could not prove the defendant was responsible for the victim’s death, but the defendant was found guilty of aggravated battery, aggravated battery of a senior citizen, and robbery. The court combined the two battery charges into a single conviction for aggravated battery of senior citizen, but the robbery charge remained separate. The defendant was sentenced to consecutive prison terms totaling 18 years.

The Appeal

On appeal, the defendant claimed the conviction on both counts should not stand because they stemmed from the same act. He contended that one punch cannot be the basis for both aggravated battery and the force element required for a robbery conviction. The state argued that the punch and the taking of the of the money constituted two separate acts.
The appellate court found that there was no evidence that the defendant used another act of force to take the money from the victim. There was no evidence of a struggle or that the defendant forcefully took anything from the victim. Thus, the court determined that the defendant should only have been convicted of the more serious offense—aggravated battery of a serious citizen—and vacated the robbery conviction.

Seek Help With Your Case

If you have been arrested on multiple criminal charges stemming from the same act, an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney can help you fully understand your available options. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.’

Illinois Traffic Laws for School Buses and Road Maintenance Vehicles

passing stopped school bus ticket

When first learning to drive, some are taught a little rhyme to help them in certain situations. The saying goes, “For sirens and lights, pull to the right.” However, yielding the right of way, slowing down, and even stopping your vehicle is not just for fire trucks, police vehicles, and ambulances, as Illinois traffic laws are in place to protect those who make their living on the roads, as well as their passengers.

Watch Out for School Buses

They typically are big and yellow, so it is hard to imagine a driver failing to notice a stopped school bus. Additionally, the blinking lights and extended stop sign are designed to help motorists follow the laws as they relate to dealing with school buses . Drivers should be sure to follow these rules around school buses:

• Motorists driving in either direction on a two-lane roadway must come to a complete stop when they encounter a school bus stopped to pick up or drop off school children.
• Motorists must allow at least 20 feet of space when stopping near a school bus, giving children room to cross the road.
• When driving on a four-lane highway, only those vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus must stop when the bus stops.
• When on a one-way roadway, all lanes of traffic must stop when a school bus stops for children, regardless of the number of lanes on the one-way road.

Encountering Emergency Road Maintenance Vehicles

Following driving laws as they pertain to traveling in construction zones is made easy for those who abide by posted work zone speed limits and lane restrictions. However, other laws exist when drivers encounter a maintenance vehicle outside a work zone:

• When approaching an emergency maintenance vehicle using its lights, a driver is required to yield the right of way to that vehicle.
• Drivers must move at least one lane away from the vehicle and any workers, when possible, and drive cautiously around the vehicle.
• If a lane change is not possible, drivers are expected to reduce their speed and proceed with caution.

Trust your Driving Privileges to an Experienced Will County Traffic Citation Defense Lawyer
In addition to the added expense that often accompanies traffic law violation convictions, the loss of driving privileges can hinder your ability to work and perform important daily errands. Traffic court is not something one should attend on their own. Trust a Joliet traffic defense attorney to craft and present a defense that will protect your driving privileges and minimize the impact on your automobile insurance. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will provide an aggressive defense in an effort to help keep you on the road.

Local Officer Skips Arrest - Offers Kindness Instead

Illinois Violent Cities

When police officer Mario Valenti responded to an alleged trespassing call from a gym and fitness club in Skokie, he could have taken a hard line. Instead, upon encountering the alleged trespasser—a 15-year-old aspiring basketball player—Valenti opened his wallet and offered the boy an opportunity.

According to the Chicago Tribune and a number of other news outlets, the situation began a few months ago when X-Sport Fitness realized they had a problem with a teen showing up to play basketball without a membership. The gym’s operation manager said that the boy would find clever ways into the facility. “All of our entrances and exits are blocked,” the manager said. “And, sure enough, he would just show up on the basketball court.”

The boy was caught by staff members a few times and was told to leave. An unaccompanied minor without a membership is an insurance liability, and repeated incidents could potential constitute criminal trespassing. In August, the gym made good on its threats to call the police, and Officer Valenti responded.

Looking to Help

Upon arriving, Valenti asked the teen what was going on and discovered that the boy had a membership previously but his mother could no longer afford the costs. What Valenti did next took everyone by surprise. He reached into his pocket and offered the gym $150, asking how many months that amount would cover for the teen. The gym was inspired by the officer’s offer and covered the remaining cost for a two-year membership—more than a $700 value.

The teen recognized the kind gesture and thanked the officer. From Valenti’s perspective, the decision was an easy one. “I’d rather have him playing ball than being on the street and possibly getting into trouble,” he told news outlets. Plus, he said that most police officers got into their line of work to help people, despite what is constantly being shown on the news. With a simple act, he was able to change at least one young person’s view of the police, which made the whole thing worth it.

Protecting Your Rights

Unfortunately, not all interactions with the police have such happy endings. While the police may help when they can, they are sometimes forced to make difficult decisions that result in someone being arrested. If this has happened to you or a loved one, it is important to seek legal help right away. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Will County to get the guidance you need. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

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