traffic violations, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyIn Illinois, driving is a privilege, not a right. This means that the state can take away your ability to drive for a number of reasons, including being convicted of traffic violations. With some offenses, you may lose your driving privileges on the first infraction, and with others, you can receive several tickets before you lose your license. Losing your ability to drive often means that your ability to work and attend to personal responsibilities may be compromised. If you determine that you may be at risk for driver’s license suspension, you should contact a skilled attorney so that your rights can be protected.

Appointed Lawyers and the True Cost of Traffic Violations

When the crime you are accused of is punishable by imprisonment, the state will provide you with a public defender. However, many traffic violations are not punishable by imprisonment, so if you want legal counsel, you must retain a lawyer yourself. Also, many people prefer hiring a private defense attorney, as public defenders are often overworked, underpaid, and unable to dedicate the necessary attention to each case they are assigned.

Keep in mind that there are hidden costs beyond the traffic ticket fine. According to some sources, a traffic ticket could increase your insurance premiums for five years. Taking that into consideration, the total cost of an Illinois speeding ticket is about 6.2 times the ticket fine. On average, drivers will pay $744 for a speeding ticket with a fine of $120.

When You Can Lose Your Driver’s License

When you are issued a traffic ticket, you have three options. You could:

  • Pay the fine, plead guilty, and incur a conviction;
  • Pay the fine and request court supervision, which typically means attending traffic school and avoiding additional traffic violations for a certain period of time; or
  • Contest the ticket and attend a hearing, which is essentially a bench trial in front of a local judge.

While it may be tempting to simply plead guilty, pay the ticket, and put the matter behind you, supervision often means that the conviction will not appear on your record so long as the terms of supervision are met.

If you have three convictions on your driving record within a 12-month period, the Illinois Secretary of State can suspend your driver’s license for up to six months. If you are under 21 years old, your license can be suspended if you have two convictions within a 24-month period.

Contact a Wheaton Traffic Violations Attorney

Many people do not understand the consequences associated with traffic violations until they are in court and it is too late to mount a proper defense. Our goal is to keep you on the road with a clean driving history. If you are facing traffic violations, contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation with Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates today.

 

Source:

https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/publications/pamphlets/Traffic%20Courts.pdf

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/true-cost-speeding-ticket-illinois-il-insurance/

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/teen_driver_safety/gdl.html

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identity theft, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyThe world of identity theft is diverse and vast, encompassing a range of activities that all have the power to lead offenders to a number of unpleasant consequences. A conviction on charges of identity theft crimes can result in community service, prison time, hefty fines, and overall damage to one’s reputation. A majority of these crimes start with the invasion of privacy via the internet and through tampering with personal mobile devices, posing great risks for anyone who is involved with such activity merely by association.

Sources of Temptation for Identity Theft

Sometimes, all it takes to place yourself at risk for potential identity theft charges is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or in the case of online security, tampering with the wrong device or with someone’s personal information via the internet. Accessing sensitive personal information by meddling with of any of the following modes of online data is considered a federal crime and can mean serious repercussions:

  • Discarded devices: When some individuals dispose of personal devices, such as old laptops or mobile phones, they do not always properly wipe the hard drive, leaving any personal information still stored on the drive easily accessible for tampering. Whether you accidentally stumble upon access to someone’s information through acquiring a previously owned device or you simply meddle out of curiosity, it is important to be aware that handling anyone else’s personal information online without their knowledge may be treated as a criminal offense;
  • P2P networks: Peer-to-peer, or P2P, file-sharing networks are extremely popular for sharing games, music, and movies, but they are also commonly targeted by identity thieves for obtaining personal financial information. Users sometimes believe that by closing the file-sharing program window, they have closed their connection to the network which is not the case. Do not make the mistake of exploring someone’s files or distributing pirated or copyrighted material via a P2P network, or you could be looking at criminal charges;
  • Email accounts: If you use email as a method to deceptively acquire someone’s personal information under any circumstances, you are engaging in federal criminal activity. Among the many ways email scams are used to commit identity theft, “phishing” messages are especially prevalent. Phishing involves impersonating a legitimate medium for requesting sensitive personal information. Other examples of email-related identity theft activity include hacking accounts, as well as dating and tech support scams.

As our technology capabilities continue to evolve and improve over time, new identity theft tactics will emerge, increasing the number of hazards for internet users worldwide. If you or someone you know has been accused of being involved in an identity theft act of any kind, it is imperative to speak with a skilled Wheaton criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and reputation. Call 630-933-8400 today for a free, confidential consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/online-security

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/identity-theft

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DUI, Wheaton DUI defense attorneyMany people are confused about what they should do in the event they are pulled over by police on suspicion of DUI. This is understandable as the laws in this area are not explained during a DUI stop, and being pulled over by police is a stressful experience no matter the circumstances.

The Typical DUI Stop

An officer’s goal is to try to find enough evidence to arrest you for DUI. To arrest you, an officer will need probable cause. Probable cause must be based on specific facts.

First, a police officer needs some reason to pull you over. It could be that your tags are out of date. It could be that you ran a stop sign or were driving erratically. If your driving is what caught the attention of an officer, he or she can use your driving as a specific fact in finding probable cause for your DUI arrest.

An officer cannot arrest you for DUI simply because you broke a traffic law late at night; he or she will need additional facts. As an officer makes his initial contact with you in the car, he will be looking for evidence of drug or alcohol consumption in the car such as beer cans, medicine bottles, or the smell of drugs or alcohol.

Next, the officer will try to determine if you have been drinking based on your appearance and mannerisms. An officer will look for things like slurring, red eyes, and the smell of alcohol on your breath.

After all these checks, an officer will likely attempt to test your level of sobriety through various tests. This is all in an attempt to gather enough facts to support your arrest.

Types of DUI Sobriety Tests

The first group of tests an officer may ask you to complete are field sobriety tests. These include walking a straight line, standing on one leg, and following a moving pen or finger with your eyes. You can refuse to participate in these tests without consequence.

The second test you may be asked to participate in is a PBT or Portable Breath Test. The officer will ask you to breathe into a device that measures your blood alcohol content. You can refuse to participate in this test without consequence at this point as well.

The Test For Which You Can Be Penalized

There is one test that you can be penalized for if you do not agree to participate. This is a second round of blood alcohol testing, either by a breathalyzer or blood test, and it is only given after you are arrested for DUI and are at the police station. There are different penalties if you take the test and fail or refuse altogether. The penalties also depend on whether you have refused to submit to a test before:

  • If it is your first refusal, you driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months;
  • If this is your second refusal, your license will be suspended for three years; or
  • If you took the test and your BAC was .08 or more, your license could be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second.

While there is no hard and fast rule for you to follow regarding a BAC test after your arrest, test results are likely to be used as evidence against you during prosecution. Therefore, many defense attorneys believe that accused persons should never give any evidence to the police as it will only make your trial more difficult.

Contact a Wheaton, IL DUI Attorney

Being charged with a DUI is a serious situation. There is a lot on the line, and a skilled criminal law attorney will be able to protect your interests and guide your case. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be ways to keep your license from being suspended. Contact an experienced DuPage County DUI defense attorney to discuss your case today. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

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plates, Wheaton criminal defense attorneyMany people face criminal charges after they are pulled over by a police officer who initiates the stop after running a car’s license plate number through government databases. If the officer determines there is reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place, they can pull your car over.

For example, an officer might run your plates and see that the driver to whom the car is registered has a suspended driver’s license. With that information, police have reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place. The crime suspected here would be driving on a suspended license. Once pulled over, police may see evidence of another crime such as weapons or drug possession.

Because this type of stop is common, criminal defense attorneys are repeatedly asked if the police are permitted to run your plates without a reason prior to initiating a traffic stop. The short answer to this question is yes. It is legal for an officer to run your plates before he or she has reason to suspect a crime is taking place.

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Courts have decided that police can randomly check license plates because drivers do not have an expectation of privacy concerning their license plates. This is because a car’s license plate can be viewed by anyone in public. Thus, police officers can make use of this information simply based on a hunch or some sort of routine investigation.

When Can an Officer Search Your Vehicle?

If after the officer pulls you over he or she does not discover any traffic violations or other crimes, that officer is not allowed to search your vehicle. In order to search your vehicle, an officer needs probable cause that a crime has been committed or there is evidence of a crime in your car. Probable cause must be based on specific facts and cannot be based solely on an officer’s “gut feeling” that something illegal has happened.

What If the Stop Is Based on Incorrect Information?

Another issue comes up is if the police officer accidentally puts in the wrong license plate information. In this situation, an officer will still be found to have acted within the law. According to Supreme Court case United States v. Leon, a good faith mistake on the part of a police officer will not result in excluding evidence of a crime based on an investigation that began with bad information.

If you have been charged with a crime, there is too much on the line not to try to handle it yourself. Contact an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney who can give you the time and attention your case deserves. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation at our law firm today.

 

Source:

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1983/82-1771

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mail fraud, Wheaton criminal defense attorneyThe federal government first addressed mail fraud in the 19th century after evidence of such schemes surfaced. Because mail (and later, wire) communications often cross over state lines using the U.S. Postal Service or other interstate transmitters, it makes sense for a fraudulent scheme initiated via mail or wire to be a federal issue. Thus, since 1872, it has been a federal crime to use the mail—and more recently, the internet—to intentionally deprive someone of property or services.

That is the basic definition of mail and wire fraud: intentionally depriving someone of property or services via mail or wire communications. It is important to note, though, that a misleading or deceptive mailing is generally not fraudulent if it is advertising a legitimate service or product. Intent is key. The accused must have intended to defraud another person. In other words, the accused must have intended to get something for nothing.

State and Federal Charges

In some states, including Illinois, mail and wire fraud are also state crimes. However, if a person is charged with violating both the federal and state statutes, he or she will likely be prosecuted in federal court, and the elements of these statutes are similar. Under Illinois law, a person commits mail fraud if he or she devises or intends to devise a scheme to defraud someone of money or property by using mail communications. The intent to defraud is present if the person takes any of the following actions:

  • Places a fraudulent mailing in an Illinois post office or authorized mail depository that is then mailed by the U.S. Postal Service;
  • Deposits or causes to be deposited in Illinois a fraudulent mailing that is to be sent by mail or by a private or commercial carrier;
  • Takes or receives a fraudulent mailing from the mail or from a private or commercial carrier “at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed”; or
  • Knowingly causes a fraudulent mailing to be delivered by mail or by private or commercial carrier.

The Elements of Wire Fraud

With the advent of the Internet and other wire communications, fraudsters gained additional means to carry out their schemes. Under Illinois law, a person commits wire fraud if he or she devises or intends to devise a scheme to defraud someone of money or property by using wire, radio or television communications. The accused must have transmitted the communication, or caused it to be transmitted:

  • From within Illinois;
  • So that the transmission was received by a person within Illinois; or
  • So that the transmission could be accessed by a person within Illinois.

While not every piece of so-called “spam” is evidence of intent to defraud, mail and wire fraud are often easy to prove and also fairly common. Both crimes are Class 3 felonies, punishable by two to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

If you have been charged with mail fraud or wire fraud, the consequences can be severe. Contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney for help with your case. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation with Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K17-24

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dui, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyDriving under the influence has serious consequences that can be long-lasting and affect both your criminal record and your driving record for years. This is true whether it is your first DUI offense or a subsequent one, whether you are of legal drinking age or not.

Underage DUI and Zero Tolerance

Illinois is a zero-tolerance state, meaning that if you are not legally allowed to drink and are found guilty of a DUI, you will automatically have your driving privileges revoked for a minimum of three months. For an underage driver to be charged with a DUI, he or she does not have to have the minimum blood alcohol content of .08 percent that usually applies in DUI cases involving adults who are legally allowed to drink. Any percentage of alcohol found in an underage driver’s bloodstream makes him or her eligible for a DUI charge.

Repeat Offenders

The penalties for DUI increase, of course, depending on how many previous convictions a person has. In some states, advocates are lobbying for a repeat DUI charge to be considered a felony, though statistics, at least in the state of Illinois, do not reflect that the majority of DUIs are repeat offenders. In fact, less than 15 percent of all DUIs recorded annually in Illinois were perpetrated by drivers who had a previous record of a DUI. If a person has been found guilty of multiple DUIs, he or she will, however, be eligible for punishments that may include longer prison sentences and the permanent revocation of his or her driver’s license.

Recent Updates

In 2016, a new law went into effect in Illinois that made a fourth DUI conviction eligible for the permanent revocation of a person’s driver’s license. This person may subsequently apply for a Restricted Driving Permit, but only after five years of the suspension, and only if it can be proved that he or she abstained from alcohol and drugs for at least three years. Similarly, a person found guilty of a second or third DUI charge is now required to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device on any vehicle that he or she owns. He or she is not then legally allowed to drive any vehicle (including rental cars or vehicles for work) that do not have the device installed. This is required for a full five years.

Seek Legal Help

If you have been charged with a DUI, no matter if it is your first or your fourth, you need legal guidance. Contact an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation at the offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associats today.

 

Sources:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/traffic_safety/DUI/uselose.html

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arrested, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyBeing arrested is a terrifying event for almost everyone and especially so if you did not commit the alleged offense. Unfortunately, many individuals are arrested under suspicious circumstances but are nevertheless innocent. Either way, it is important to understand how an arrest may play out, what your rights are if you are arrested, and to keep in mind what type of behavior will help get you through that situation without complicating it any further.

Be Patient and Understand Your Rights

It is first important to know that if placed under arrest, you must be patient with the process, as scary as it may be. When you are arrested, prosecutors do not necessarily have to bring charges immediately. If you are detained for an unreasonable period of time or indefinitely, it is generally considered a violation of your constitutional rights. However, the concept of definite and indefinite detention is fluid, and depends on the circumstances of the arrest.

Most such cases are handled under the Fourth Amendment, and case law provides for a “totality of circumstances” test that judges will use to determine if there is probable cause for an arrest and if the arrest is lawful. Judges will consider the length of time elapsed while in detention, the conditions of detention, and if and how many times the police read the arrested suspect his or her Miranda rights. For example, a detention of several days in a jail without formal charges after having been read your Miranda rights once during the initial arrest will more than likely be unlawful.

As many have seen in television and the movies, Miranda rights are a notice to the suspect that he or she has the right to remain silent because any statements made are admissible in a prosecution. Keep in mind that when placed under arrest, you are not excused from providing your name, address and age when asked by police officers. Other than this, you are not required to speak, and you should not. It is also important to understand that law enforcement does not necessarily need to have a warrant to conduct an arrest. This is particularly so in public places, where there is not the expectation of privacy that exists in one’s home.

Do Not Make It Worse

It is crucial to understand these aspects of arrest and detention so that you do not make a bad situation worse. Enduring the stress and uncertainty of an extended detention, without charges filed or even sometimes with repeated Miranda warnings or no Miranda warnings at all, can cause confusion. Disobeying law enforcement, resisting arrest, or simply becoming irritable and antagonistic can complicate you case and may even result in new charges.

Remain calm and do not speak except to demand the ability to exercise your right to speak to a lawyer. Improper conduct by law enforcement may even aid your defense, so it is important to make mental notes of the events that occur, and be sure to inform your lawyer as soon as possible.

If you are ever arrested, it is important to seek help from an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney right away. We will work hard to ensure your rights are fully protected at every stage of the process. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation at our office today.

 

Sources:

https://ncrj.org/if-you-are-falsely-accused/

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

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white collar, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyWhite collar crimes are often complex and generally involve months and years of preparations before prosecutors bring a case. There is no official set of crimes under the law called “white collar crimes”. However, federal and state offenses involving fraud and finances are generally considered to be white collar crimes. These include crimes such as embezzlement, securities fraud, computer offenses, and identity theft.

Dangers of a Lengthy Investigation

Because white collar crimes often involve many different sets of financial records and a complicated set of facts, the investigations may take quite a long time. Law enforcement may want to speak with you on multiple occasions over the course of months or even years. The more often you speak to law enforcement, the more likely it will be that you contradict yourself or give incriminating information. Another concern is that the longer law enforcement spends looking into your past activities, the more likely they are to find something to charge you with, even if it is for a completely different crime than the one they are investigating.

What If There Is a Civil Lawsuit?

Another consequence of the sometimes-lengthy criminal investigation process is that those who have lost money may file a civil lawsuit. As part of a civil lawsuit you may be required to testify under oath and provide thousands and thousands of pages of documents to the other side. Your testimony and anything turned over in the civil case becomes a matter of public record and may be used against you in a criminal case as well.

While you may have the option of claiming your Fifth Amendment Right not to incriminate yourself, you must be wise about when you exercise that right. If you do not do so properly, you may still end up incriminating yourself, emboldening investigators, and damaging your chances of winning the civil suit.

Seek Legal Guidance

Once there are allegations that you may have possibly committed a crime, you need to find experienced defense lawyers who understand the law, how to represent someone during a criminal investigation, and the dangers of a civil lawsuit. If you do not have a comprehensive approach that includes all of these areas, you put your freedom at greater risk.

If you believe you may be the target of an investigation, contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney. Do not speak to anyone about your case until you have consulted with a lawyer. Call the law firm of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates at 630-933-8400 to schedule your free consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2356&ChapterID=67

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=36500000&SeqEnd=39200000

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cybercrimes, Wheaton criminal defense attorneysAs technology continues to advance, more and more people commit computer- and internet-based computer- and internet-based crimes. The advent of conveniences such as smartphones has given rise to extreme levels of interconnected relationships and industry but also offers more opportunities for the unscrupulous to cause harm. Also, in some cases, an innocent joke or an attempt to make friends may be perceived wrongly as dangerous or offensive, and if this does occur, it may be necessary for you to defend yourself.

The Law Is Unsettled

Given the relatively sudden rise of digital technology, Illinois law regarding cybercrimes is in near-constant flux. However, it is not uncommon for cybercrimes to have much in common with other offenses already on the books—only that there are committed via another mechanism. For example, a common electronic crime in Illinois is identity theft or fraud. Identity theft has been perpetrated for many years prior to the invention of the internet. Thus, in many respects, it is not always necessary for lawmakers to create a new crime, since existing law can be applied to new methods of committing offenses that have existed for many years.

While the crime in question may have a new look, there is also the question of free speech in cyberspace. This can give rise to many criminal charges due to mistaken intentions or beliefs. Supreme Court jurisprudence—most notably Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union from 1997—holds that, as a general rule, restriction of the internet is not desirable, but, at the same time, one does not have complete, unfettered freedom to say whatever one wishes. The current trend is to accord electronic communications the same level of protection that would be granted to communications in any other medium.

Sex-Based Cybercrimes

Other electronic crimes have sexual components, which can lead to severe consequences. Perhaps the most common recognized by Illinois law is the offense of indecent solicitation of a child, which, importantly, does not require affirmative steps toward committing sexual acts with a minor, nor does it require the “victim” to actually be a minor. It only requires that the individual believes that the other person in the transaction is a minor. The law states clearly that lack of intent is not a defense, but many people who find themselves entangled with someone posing as a minor online may not be aware of this aspect of the law.

Another set of common offenses in this vein is the assorted infractions associated with distributing explicit photographs of minors. While adults who knowingly distribute such materials may face charges of child pornography or exploitation, what many remain unaware of is that teenagers who engage in “sexting” or other forms of social media sharing of explicit photos may be guilty a crime. Illinois law makes it a crime for a minor to distribute “indecent visual depictions” of another minor, with or without their consent. If found guilty, a minor convicted of such an offense may be subject to a petition for adjudication and placed under adult supervision.

Contact Us for Assistance

While being accused of cybercrimes can be terrifying and confusing, it is premature to assume all is lost before a case can even be built. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Wheaton to discuss your case today. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation with a member of our team.

 

Sources:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K11-6.htm

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/96-511.ZS.html

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trial, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyWhen you have been charged with a crime, it is understandable that you would have feelings of fear and confusion, especially if you have never experienced the process before. Most cases are resolved without going to a formal trial, as a defendant may plead guilty or a reach a plea agreement with prosecutors. If a case does go to trial, however, a defendant is expected to attend and participate in the proceedings. This, in fact, is the purpose of the bail system, with bail providing a financial incentive for a defendant to appear when necessary. Sometimes, however, things do not go as expected, as a recent example from a Virginia courtroom clearly shows.

Man on Trial for Theft of Cheese

During the first week of March, a 49-year-old man was in court on charges that he tried to steal $33 worth of cheddar cheese from a Norfolk grocery store. The man was facing two felony counts in a trial that lasted just one day before the jury retired to deliberate. When the jury returned to deliver a not guilty verdict, the defendant was nowhere to be found. He had absconded and failed to return to the courtroom.

The man had already failed to show up for an earlier hearing in the case, so the judge sent the jury back out to decide upon an appropriate sentence. The jury had the option of giving the man no jail time, but they decided to give him the maximum sentence of five years in prison. The judge issued a warrant for the man’s arrest for criminal contempt of court and absconding from the trial.

Courtroom Behavior

An example such as this one may offer a bit of levity to an outside observer, but refusing to participate in the justice process is a very serious matter. That is most likely why the jury saw fit to impose the maximum possible punishment.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, your behavior could be a significant factor in the outcome of your case. When you are calm, collected, and definitive in your demeanor and interviews, you will generally appear reasonable and credible. By comparison, if you are angry, unpredictable, and blatantly uncooperative, your credibility may be called into question.

To learn more about how to handle a criminal proceeding in Illinois, contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation with Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates today.

 

Source:

http://pilotonline.com/news/local/crime/man-found-not-guilty-of-stealing-cheese-but-he-left/article_f69d5541-4b8f-5d53-86ac-da133af7316e.html

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