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January 2013 Archives

The 6 Steps of a Criminal Trial

If you are arrested for a crime in Illinois, you will probably want to familiarize yourself with the steps involved in a criminal trial.

In general, the purpose of a trial is for the jury to examine the evidence and determine whether, "beyond a reasonable doubt," you committed the crime. As you may know, you are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden is on the government to prove that you committed the crime.

A complete criminal trial usually consists of six main phases. Here is a look at each one:

How to Get Your Impounded Vehicle Back in Chicago

Your car was impounded following a DUI arrest or some other reason. Now you're out of custody and looking to get your impounded vehicle back in Chicago. Here are some things you'll want to know:

Obtaining the Release of Your Impounded Vehicle

You can secure the release of your impounded vehicle in Chicago by appearing in person at the City Department of Finance building. The building is located at 400 West Superior and you'll want to look for the Revenue Payment Center. The office is typically open between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The office is closed on Sundays and holidays.

If you provide proof of ownership (e.g., title, vehicle registration), valid identification (e.g., driver's license), and pay the various fees and penalties, you can get your car back. Keep in mind that impoundment due to a narcotics arrest may require an additional release by the Chicago police.

What Are Illinois' Gun Ownership Laws?

Any prospective owner of a firearm in Illinois needs to become familiar with Illinois' gun laws. Here are some of the most important laws you need to know:


In general, an individual who wants to purchase or possess a firearm in Illinois will need a Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card. This gun license is administered by the state Firearms Services Bureau; you can get an application by visiting the Illinois State Police website.

During the FOID application process, the applicant's identification and background information are checked. Individuals with prohibiting factors such as prior felony convictions, certain misdemeanors, drug addictions, and those who have recently been patients in mental hospitals may not be eligible for a license.

Chicago Crime: The 10 Most-Read Stories of 2012 (Part II of II)

We promised you more of the highlights and lowlifes of 2012 when we covered the Top 5 most popular criminal law posts of 2012. The remainder of the Top 10 include sex, drugs, and of course, the tasering of a pregnant woman.

Chicago Crime: The 10 Most-Read Stories of 2012 (Part I of II)

The year 2012 was a bad one for Chicago, punctuated by the highest murder rate in the city's history, a plague of gang violence, and on the brightest days, oddball criminals that we couldn't help but laugh at.

Though we covered the highlights and the lowlifes of Chicago's criminal justice system, you, our readers, flocked mostly towards the funnier posts. We can't blame you. Like we said, last year was a rough one.

Here are the Top 10 Chicago crime stories of 2012:

Lottery Winner's Death Changed to Homicide After Relative's Tip

Less than a month after striking it rich in the lottery, and days before his check would arrive in the mail, Urooj Khan was dead. There was no trauma to his body, nor did a cursory check find any unusual substances such as carbon monoxide. Based on his age and the coroner's guidelines, an autopsy was not performed and his death was declared the result of "natural causes," reports the Chicago Tribune.

Though it seemed to be a simple case of bad luck after good, within a week, a family member called and requested that the medical examiner take a closer look. They did, and by December, test results indicated cyanide poisoning. Police are planning to exhume Khan's body and investigate the matter further. The suspected motive is obvious: his lottery winnings.

Pedo Arrested in McDonald's Play Area; New '13 Sex Offender Laws

Kudos to the attentive McDonald’s manager. Thirty-six-year-old Joseph O’Brien was arrested for the twenty-fourth time shortly before Christmas after the manager called to report a loitering adult in the children’s PlayPlace. According to CBS Chicago, other patrons reported that O’Brien had been staring at an 11-year-old girl before being asked to leave. He had also been asked to leave on multiple occasions by management.

After a brief investigation, officers learned of O’Brien’s extensive criminal record and sex offender registration as a “predator.” They also learned that he was staying at a motel near the McDonald’s - not at the address he had on file. For the “clerical” slip-up, he’ll face a Class 3 felony charge for failing to update his registration. He has also been charged with criminal trespassing.