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cocaine, drug crimes, Arlington Heights Criminal Defense AttorneyAs the Chicago Blackhawks get set to open the 2015-2016 season this week, concern over illicit drug use around the National Hockey League is growing. The NHL, like most professional leagues, has strict testing and disciplinary guidelines in place regarding the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), but the rules are less defined in relationship to street and party drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.

Results of Random Testing

As part of the program to eliminate the use of PEDs, NHL players are subject to team-wide testing during training camp and once more during the season. Individuals may also be tested at random under the terms of the league's existing labor agreement. Some 2,400 test are collected each year, of which, about 800 are analyzed more closely for other illegal drugs. Over the last several years, these tests show that cocaine use among NHL players is again on the rise. While the NHL is certainly no stranger to drug issues, including cocaine, the league has made assurances that the situation is a point of focus going forward.

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permission to search, fourth amendment rights, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerEvery year, a surprising number of people are arrested after having their cars searched. Often, the police find drugs, weapons, or other contraband in the car and then arrest all of the occupants. But, police are not allowed to randomly search vehicles. Everyone in the United States has a Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

If you have had you car searched by police, it is important to know if the search was legal or not.

Search and Seizure Law Basics

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sexting, teen sexting, Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney“Victimless crime” is a common phrase used to rationalize certain illegal behaviors, such as public intoxication and recreational drug use. It implies that no other party was injured or damaged by the activity and, in the minds of certain groups, should be therefore punished less harshly or not at all. While there may be some merit to such an argument, could it possible to commit a crime against yourself? Based on recent case in North Carolina in which a teen girl was charged with sex crimes against herself, the answer seems to be “maybe.”

Teen Sexting

According to a number of recent studies, as many as one in four teens engage in sexting, or sending sexually explicit images electronically to another person. As such, it hardly seemed all that unusual for a 16-year-old Fayetteville, NC, girl to send a nude photo of herself to her boyfriend, also age 16. She was arrested on two counts of sexual exploitation, one for possessing the photo and one for sending it. The warrant for her arrest, reports indicate, listed her as both the suspected adult perpetrator and the minor victim. The boyfriend faced similar charges for possessing the picture she sent, along with several explicit photos of himself. While certain concessions are often made for consent and similarity in age, the local sheriff’s department said, such charges are not often dismissed completely. The case, and others like it around the country raise some very interesting questions about the correlation of technology, social morality, and law enforcement.

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cell phone search, US Supreme Court, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerBeing arrested for a crime can be a very frightening experience, especially if it has never happened to you before. It is easy to get caught up in trying to protect yourself by simply agreeing to any requests by the arresting officer, including searches of your property that might otherwise require a warrant. While becoming confrontational with law enforcement is not likely to be in your best interest, knowing your rights certainly is. Any violation of your rights could result in the charges against you being dismissed completely, which, as of last year, includes a warrantless search of your cell phone.

Search of Your Person

When you are arrested or detained, an arresting officer is permitted to conduct a search of your person for items that would present a danger both to him or her and to yourself. The search is also designed to prevent the destruction of evidence currently on your person, including controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, or other proof of criminal activity. Last summer, however, the United States Supreme Court declined to extend permission to the search of electronic devices, ruling instead that a warrant based on probable cause is required first.

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running from police, Supreme Court, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyWhile the death of a young Baltimore man in police custody a few weeks ago caused extreme levels of civil unrest around the city, one of the frequently overlooked aspects of the case was that the man’s initial arrest was preceded by his running from an interaction with the police. Obviously, the police department’s handling of the man’s arrest and his subsequent death are more significant concerns, and the officers involved have been indicted. However, the circumstances leading up to his arrest pose the question: Is running from the police prior to being stopped against the law?

An individual cannot be arrested on the grounds of running from the police. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure of property, and allows a person to go about his business or remain silent during an investigatory police stop. While running from police is not against the law, however, there are situations in which running may lead to additional problems for a person who makes that choice.

Police officers are legally permitted to conduct an investigative stop, sometimes called a Terry stop, in reference to a U.S. Supreme Court case entitled Terry v. Ohio, if there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Reasonable suspicion for the stop does not rise to the level, necessarily, of probable cause that is needed for arrest, but the stop may allow law enforcement to move from reasonable suspicion to probable cause as a result of what the officer finds.

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