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The holiday season is in full swing, and as more consumers than ever are doing their holiday shopping online, millions of packages are being left unattended on doorsteps and in apartment lobbies. These unattended packages make for easy targets for thieves, and while it may not seem like a huge crime to take someone else’s delivery, it can easily add up to felony charges in Illinois, even if you take just one small box.

The reason you can be hit with a felony charge is because the severity of the charges you’ll face depend on the value of the product you are taking. Many porch pirates are hoping to score an expensive item when they take a package from someone’s doorstep, but that same high-value package can lead to felony charges. Here’s a closer look at how Illinois handles felony theft charges.

Felony Theft Charges For Porch Pirates

Under Illinois law, a person will be charged with misdemeanor theft if the value of the item or items stolen is less than $500. So in theory, a person could get caught with 20 packages in their vehicle after stealing from a residential neighborhood, but if all they got away with was a dog leash, some outlet covers, a new turkey baster and some other cheap goods, they may only face misdemeanor theft charges.


Lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday that would legalize recreational marijuana use in Illinois, but a vote on the issue likely won’t surface until next year.

Under the proposal, it would become legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess, grow and buy marijuana in Illinois. If passed, Illinois residents would be able to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and grow up to five marijuana plants. The measure would also establish safety regulations such as chemical testing and labeling requirements.

Legalized Marijuana in Illinois

Illinois is considering legalizing marijuana after witnessing the financial success Colorado has had after legalizing the drugs. Estimates suggest that legal marijuana could generate between $350 million and $700 million in sales per year.


Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill last week that will expand the types of crimes that will be eligible for probation and rehabilitation in lieu of a prison sentence. Additionally, the bill will look into building trauma centers in state prisons to ensure prisoners have better access to physical and mental health needs while behind bars.

“This will help keep our community safer, help victims of crime recover, and help those who committed a crime get the rehabilitation they need,” said Rauner. “Prison should not just be about punishment [and] locking people away. It needs to be about preventing the individual offender from committing crimes again.”

Rehab Vs. Prison

Some people may read the first two sentences of this blog and think that Illinois is going “soft” on crime, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, offenders need to be punished for their actions, but in order to prevent future crime or cases of recidivism, we need to focus on the mental rehabilitation aspects that are involved.


Illinois Changing Child Support Guidelines

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In the near future, Illinois will shift from a system that sets child support based on hard percentages to a more open ended system that involves analyzing parenting time and the income statements of both parents.

The new system, which is set to go into effect on July 1, offers some sweeping changes to the old system. The old child support system had pretty set standards for the percentage of a paycheck one spouse owes to the other, but the new system is a move away from a one-size-fits-all system and towards an individualized, case-by-case system.

New Child Support System

Anybody who pays or who owes child support will be subject to the new system on July 1. The new system will evaluate the time each parent spends caring for the children, as well as the net income of both parents.


We enter into a number of contracts each and every day. Contracts are made on a regular basis, and it doesn’t need to be written or signed by both parties in order for it to be considered a legal contract.

For example, if you pay for breakfast at McDonalds, the restaurant is required to cook and give you your food, otherwise they are in breach of the contract that is established when you place an order at their restaurant. Similarly, when you pay your mortgage or your credit card bill, you’re holding up your end of the contract. You’re probably involved in a bunch of contracts at the moment, but what happens when you or the other party fails to hold up their end of the bargain? That’s the focus of today’s blog on the basics of breach of contract laws in Illinois.

Types Of Legal Contracts

We rattled off a couple of examples of contracts you may already be involved in, but there are even more types of contract that are subject to breach of contract laws here in Illinois. Some common contracts that end up going before a judge include:


Going through a divorce is a stressful process, and many people cope with the feelings in different ways. In rare cases, divorce can bring out the worst sides in people, and their selfish or hurtful actions can have serious ripple effects. One question we hear from time to time in our family law practice is “What happens if my spouse hides money or spends outrageously right before or during the divorce process?”

Unfortunately we’ve seen cases where one spouse decides to spend a good chunk of marital assets either right before the divorce is filed, or during the initial stages of the divorce. Whether they feel slighted or entitled, they spend the money to try to gain something or unfairly hurt their soon to be ex. So how is this viewed by the court of law in Illinois?

Excess Spending Before a Divorce

There are a number of common things a vengeful spouse may look to buy using marital assets either before or during the divorce mediation. Keep an eye out for purchases like:


The Illinois Supreme Court recently granted certification to three new problem-solving courts in Kendall, Peoria and Tazewell counties. Illinois now has more than 100 specialized courts throughout the state that can help provide better treatment and alternative options for certain offenders facing jail time.

Each recently certified court specializes is a different area of law. The Kendall County court was certified as a Drug Court, the Peoria County court was certified as a DUI Court, and the Tazewell County court earned its certification as a Mental Health Court.

Benefits Of Specialized Courts

These specialized courts have benefits for both the offender and the community. These courts, which are focused on solving a specific issue, provide more hands-on treatment and offer a way for offenders to get clean and deal with issues that led to their incarceration in the first place. It can also keep offenders out of jail, which doesn’t always have the intended effect on rehabilitating the person. Additionally, the specialized courts are cost-effective for the state


Crime can be a cyclical practice, where individuals can’t escape the reality of repeatedly being preyed upon. In an effort to break this cycle and help victims get the rehabilitation services they need, Illinois lawmakers hope to get a new law passed by the Senate today.

The criminal justice reform package, which was approved by the House yesterday by a vote of 83-26, will go before the Senate today. The package asks for a variety of changes and reform services, including:

  • Recovery services to aid violent crime victims.
  • Good-time credit off of sentences for prisoners who complete rehabilitation courses while incarcerated. These programs would be specifically designed to address their individual shortcomings.
  • Giving judges the ability to impose probation-only sentences for some first-time offenses.

“By and large, what we’re doing now is warehousing people, not getting them rehabilitated,” said State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria. “(When they’re released) they’re just getting a bus ticket and returning to the same communities they left, worse off.”


January A Popular Month For Divorce In Illinois

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2017 is here, and now that the calendar has turned, many family law practices are expecting an influx of calls about starting the divorce process. In fact, in many circles January is considered “Divorce Month,” although many who practice family law suggest that it’s more like “I’m starting to think about my options” month. So why is January such a popular month for starting the divorce process? We explain in today’s blog.

Starting The Divorce Process In Illinois

There are a number of factors that contribute to a person deciding to look into their separation options in January. Here’s a look at some of the factors:

  • Stress from the holidays
  • Postponing divorce through the holidays for the kids/family
  • The new year gives people a renewed look at what they want in a relationship
  • Fewer tax implications by waiting until the new year

However, if you’re moving forward with a divorce or talking about your options with an attorney in January, you’ve likely been having second thoughts about your marriage for a while now. The rush of the holidays can put push your thoughts and feelings to the back burner while you work to appease others during the holiday stretch between late October and the new year, but once the holidays are in the rear view mirror many people take a second look at what they really want out of their relationship.

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