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Illinois Putting Extra Emphasis On Criminal Rehabilitation

 Posted on March 21, 2017 in Law

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.

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Avoiding A St. Patrick’s Day DUI In Illinois

 Posted on March 16, 2017 in Traffic violation

Although a lot of places in Chicago rang in the St. Patrick’s Day holiday last weekend, there will still be plenty of revelers out and about this weekend. The holiday falls on Friday, which almost always leads to an uptick in arrests for crimes like drunk driving, aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. Knowing this, Naperville police and other departments across the state will be adding extra patrols to crack down on drunk drivers and other lawbreakers.

“Naperville Police will be on patrol this St. Patrick’s Day, so make sure you obey the law,” said Naperville Police Sgt. Derek Zook. “Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let your friends do it, either. Help us make zero fatalities a reality in Illinois.”

St. Patrick’s Day In Illinois

The focus of the extra enforcement will be to look for alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers, but that’s not all police will be keeping a close eye on. Sgt. Zook said they would also be conducting extra seat belt enforcement, especially during the night hours when seat belt rates are the lowest.

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Illinois Changing Child Support Guidelines

 Posted on March 14, 2017 in Law

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.

Some people believe it will complicate the child support system, but Illinois believes it will help ensure the financial needs of the caregivers and the child are being met. The main issue won’t be over earnings statements, as those will be rather easy to dissect. Instead, family law attorneys believe getting both sides to agree on an accurate description of shared parenting time may be difficult. For example, although a child may spend more hours of the day with one parent, the other parent may be the one paying for schooling, sports and other activities. If they are meeting financial obligations but spending less time with the children, there’s a chance they could be ordered to pay more simply because they aren’t “parenting” the child by the state’s standard definition.

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Illinois Considering Allowing Kids To Consume Alcohol With Parents

 Posted on March 07, 2017 in Juvenile Crime

A proposed Illinois bill would make it legal for individuals under the age of 21 to legally consume alcohol in bars and restaurants if they are in the company of their approving parents or legal guardian.

It may sound like an odd law, but it’s been on the books in Wisconsin for a number of years. Now, Illinois is considering adopting a similar law. Not surprisingly, the proposal is being met with support and opposition.

“I honestly think it’s a bad idea,” says bar and restaurant owner Andy Rio. “We have customers that are 21 and can’t even handle their alcohol. We’re totally 100 percent against something like that.”

Rio added that it may be hard to police who is someone’s parent or guardian, so he wary of the proposal.

“How do you know that’s their parent? It could be an older friend, someone from the neighborhood. I think it’s going to be very hard to police and regulate,” said Rio.

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The Basics Of Breach Of Contract Laws in Illinois

 Posted on March 03, 2017 in Law

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:

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The Problem With Cheap Divorces In Illinois

 Posted on February 28, 2017 in Family Law

When it comes to hiring an attorney for your family law or criminal law case, you can easily go with the most expensive or the cheapest option and hope for the best. Both have benefits and drawbacks, but the key isn’t whether you hire an expensive or cheap lawyer, it’s about the value that attorney provides you. If an expensive lawyer can get you out of a DUI, it may be worth the cost, and similarly, a cheap attorney can very well go in and win a case for a fraction of the price of a big law firm.

We preface this post with that statement because we’ve been seeing a lot of advertisements for “$99 Divorce” or “Cheap Flat Fee Divorce” in Illinois. Yes, at the outset they appear cheaper and may be your best option, especially if you’re having an amicable split with your spouse and you agree on a number of things, but it still may not be a good move to go with these law groups. We explain why you need to find the right value during your divorce in today’s blog.

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What Are The Degrees Of DUI In Illinois?

 Posted on February 23, 2017 in Traffic violation

DUIs in Illinois come in many different forms, meaning there are a wide range of potential consequences depending on the exact circumstances of your arrest. Some factors that influence your degree of DUI include if there were any aggravating factors, like driving without a license or having children in the car, or if you’ve had previous DUIs on your record. Today, we take a closer look at the degrees of DUI in Illinois, and what you can expect if you are charged with a certain type of DUI.

DUIs In Illinois

Here’s a closer look at the degrees of DUI in Illinois

Class A Misdemeanor – This is the most common type of DUI, and it doesn’t involve any aggravating factors, which means the driver didn’t injure anyone, they had a valid license and they didn’t have an extremely high blood-alcohol content. Potential penalties for a Class A Misdemeanor DUI include: Jail time of up to one year, fines up to $2,500, up to two years probation and potential license revocation.

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Illinois Considering Increasing Speed Limits

 Posted on February 21, 2017 in Traffic violation

Just three years after the state raised the speed limit to 70 mph on some highways, Illinois is again considering upping the speed limit.

Senate Bill 2036 seeks to increase the speed on a number of highways throughout Illinois. Here’s a look at the proposed bill.

House Bill 2036 provides that unless some other speed restriction is established under a Chapter in the Code governing rules of the road, the maximum speed limit outside an urban district for any vehicle is 60 miles per hour (rather than 55 miles per hour) on all highways, roads, and streets that do not have 4 or more lanes of traffic and are not interstate highways and 75 miles per hour (rather than 70 miles per hour) on Interstate Route 355, Interstate Route 80, and every interstate west of Interstate Route 355 and south of Interstate Route 80.

Should We Raise The Speed Limit?

The proposal has been met with support and opposition. Some people feel that drivers already exceed the posted speed limit, and they fear they’ll exceed the new limits in a similar manner, meaning 80 or 85 mph on the highway may become the norm. Others, like Kelsey Stevens, say it’s about time the state upped the speed limit.

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Appeals Court Throws Out Old Sex Offender Banishment In Some Public Places

 Posted on February 15, 2017 in Sexual Assault

Many criminals pay for the consequences of their actions long after they have served their time in the eyes of the court. This sentiment is especially true for sex offenders, and rightly so, as they’ve committed serious sexual offenses against vulnerable individuals. They must adhere to strict guidelines for decades after a conviction, but when do measures taken to protect the public go too far in punishing a person for years after a conviction?

That’s the question that was asked by an Illinois appeals court this week while hearing a case of Marc Pepitone, a sex offender who was originally arrested back in 1999 and convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault. Pepitone was arrested again in 2013, but not for sexual abuse. Instead, he was arrested while walking his dog in the park, as Illinois has a law that bans convicted sexual offenders from a wide variety of public places.

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Study Shows Alcohol Use May Predict Future Crime Likelihood

 Posted on February 09, 2017 in Weapons

New research by the Violence Prevention Research Program found that alcohol may be a better predictor of future criminal behavior than simply looking to see if the a person has a criminal history.

Alcohol Use And Crime

For the study, researchers in in California examined data on more than 4,000 handgun buyers in the state between 1977 and 1991. Researchers looked at criminal histories of gun buyers beginning 15 days after they purchased their firearm. They then compared the data to gun owners who had previous convictions for alcohol-related crimes, like driving under the influence, drunken disorderly conduct, public intoxication, etc.

What they found is that individuals with prior alcohol-related convictions were  between four and five times as likely as people with no criminal histories to be arrested for a future violent or firearm-related crime. Conversely, being arrested for previous violent or non-violent crimes was a weak predictor of future crime likelihood. Researchers concluded that this means alcohol use may be a better predictor of future criminal activity than having previous convictions.

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