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The Penalties For Underage DUI In Illinois

 Posted on August 28, 2020 in DUI

underage-dui.jpgThe legal blood alcohol limit to operate a vehicle in Illinois is 0.08 percent, but it’s important to remember that standard only applies to individuals over the age of 21. If you’re under 21, the presence of any alcohol in your system renders you ineligible to legally drive a car. That means drinking half a beer then getting behind the wheel can lead to underage DUI charges, which can have major implications for your future. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the potential penalties for underage DUIs in Illinois.

Zero Tolerance Law

As we mentioned in the intro, Illinois has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to BAC in drivers under the age of 21. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel impaired or if you’re sure you could pass a field sobriety test; if you have alcohol in your system, you are considered in violation of the law and subject to criminal charges.

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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Going To Small Claims Court

 Posted on August 21, 2020 in Civil law

If you’re owed money for a job you performed or for unpaid rent, and that amount is under $10,000, you can take action by filing a small claims suit. These types of disputes are handled a little differently than a typical lawsuit, and they are heard in what’s called Small Claims Court. Since you’re not required to have a lawyer for small claims court and the process often involves a he-said, she-said type of disagreement, it’s not uncommon for someone with a strong case to make a mistake and tank their case. In today’s blog, we’re going to share five mistakes that are commonly made in small claims court so you have a better chance of winning your case.

Avoid These Small Claims Court Mistakes

Here’s a look at some of the mistakes and the reasons why these mistakes are made in small claims court in Illinois.

  • Failing To Consider Your Options Before Court – We’re all for helping people get what they rightfully deserve in court, but there’s a chance you don’t need to get the court involved at all. Don’t rush into a small claims suit because you’re angry without exploring other options. You may be able to settle it behind closed doors or with the help of a mediator without involving the court system.

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Illinois Increases Penalties For Assaulting Retail Workers Over Mask Policies

 Posted on August 14, 2020 in Criminal Law

By now you’ve probably seen at least one video where an employee is verbally or physically assaulted – or worse – by a patron after the employee tells them of the store’s mask policy. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many large and smaller retailers are trying to do their part to slow the spread of their virus, and some individuals feel that a private business enforcing a mask mandate is a violation of their civil rights. Those patrons are free to choose to shop elsewhere if they don’t want to wear a mask, but what they aren’t free to do is assault an employee who is trying to get them to acquiesce to the store’s mask policy.

With a recent law change, Illinois has spoken up for worker protections and ensured that individuals who want to get angry over a mask policy will think twice about taking their frustrations out on an employee. Under the new law, anyone who commits assault or battery against a retail worker who is communicating a public health guidance will be charged with aggravated battery, oftentimes pursued as a felony here in Illinois.

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The Legality Of DUI Checkpoints In Illinois

 Posted on August 07, 2020 in DUI

DUI checkpoints catch hundreds if not thousands of drunk drivers in Illinois every year. But did you know that these checkpoints aren’t legal in every state? In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the legality of DUI checkpoints in the US and in Illinois, and we explain what you should do if you end up getting in trouble at a sobriety checkpoint.

Why Illinois Allows DUI Checkpoints

In order to understand that legality of DUI checkpoints, we need to take a closer look at a case that reached the United States Supreme Court back in 1990. In the case of Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444, the legality of sobriety checkpoints came under question. The defendant in the case argued that these checkpoints were inherently a violation of a person’s 4th amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. After all, police are essentially conducting a search of a driver without any reasonable suspicion that they may be in violation of the law.

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4 Steps To Take After A Loved One Is Arrested In Illinois

 Posted on July 31, 2020 in Criminal Law

If a friend or family member has been placed in handcuffs and loaded into the back of a police cruiser, your mind is probably racing thinking about what you can do to help them. This can become a hectic time, and if you take the wrong steps, it can really hurt their case, so it’s important to know what to do next. In today’s blog, we explain what you can do to help if a loved one has been arrested in Illinois.

When A Friend Or Family Member Is Arrested

If you witness a loved one getting arrested or you get a call from the police department saying they have been taken into custody, you need to take a moment and collect your thoughts. Once settled, here are some things you can do to help your loved one.

  1. Call An Attorney – Arguably the best thing you can do for your loved one is to call an attorney and let them know about the situation. You probably won’t have all the details, but if you can, let them know what they are being charged with and where they are being held. The lawyer may be able to help secure their release and move forward with a case. Even if you don’t want to pay for a lawyer yourself, the lawyer may be able to secure someone’s release and then work out the financial side with the client. You’re not going to be on the hook for a massive bill because you called a lawyer for someone else, so while you may want to broach the subject of payment when you’re talking with the lawyer if you don’t intend to pay, know that you’re not putting yourself in a financial hole just because you reached out to a lawyer on someone else’s behalf.

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6 Tips For Effectively Communicating With Your Defense Lawyer

 Posted on July 24, 2020 in Criminal Law

If you are charged with a criminal offense, you might feel like the court situation is out of your control once you hire an attorney. It’s true that your lawyer will handle the bulk of the case, but in order to avoid surprises and improve your chances of a favorable outcome, you’ll need to know how to effectively communicate with your lawyer.

Effective communication with your legal counsel is more than just picking up the phone when they call (but that is a good start!). It all revolves around coming to an agreement and holding up your end of the bargain. We explain more about this process in today’s blog.

How To Communicate With Your Lawyer

Effective communication between lawyer and client begins the moment you walk in the door for your initial consultation. That’s where the framework for your communication plan will begin. During this meeting, some points of communication you’ll want to touch on include:

  • How To Contact – If we need to get a hold of you, where should we try first? Should we give you a call at this number, or is it easier for you to respond to text messages?

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5 Ways Police Can Legally Search Your House Or Car In Illinois

 Posted on July 17, 2020 in Criminal Law

If police conduct a search of your house or vehicle and find drugs or illegal weapons, it can be really difficult for a lawyer to argue your innocence. Instead of attacking the legitimacy of the evidence, your attorney may opt to challenge the legitimacy of the evidence collection. This raises the question, “what constitutes a legal search of your home or car in Illinois?” We share five ways police can conduct a legal search of your belongings in today’s blog.

5 Ways Police Can Search Your Stuff

Here are five ways police will try to legally search your belongings to collect evidence to be used against you during your criminal case.

  1. Consent – If you give them permission to search your house or car, anything they find can legally be entered into evidence. They may try to say things like “If you have nothing to hide, let us search your car,” or “If you’re not doing anything illegal then let us just have a quick look.” You are allowed to say no, as you are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures by the constitution. You can politely say that although you aren’t doing anything illegal, if they want to search the vehicle, they’ll need to get a search warrant. Which brings us to the next point

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Why You Need A Lawyer If You’re Charged With Boating While Intoxicated In Illinois

 Posted on July 10, 2020 in DUI

Whether you’re cruising on Lake Michigan or visiting one of the smaller lakes across Illinois, boating can be a very popular activity during the warm summer months here in Illinois. When you’re on the open water with friends and family, it can be easy to let down your guard and feel like you’re not held to the same standard of safety as you are when you’re driving a traditional vehicle on the road. That’s why so many boaters end up facing boating while intoxicated (BWI) charges every year in Illinois.

What you may find surprising is that boating while intoxicated charges are handled just like a traditional DUI, meaning the potential penalties in Illinois are steep. That’s why it’s so important to have a lawyer by your side should you find yourself facing BWI charges in Illinois.

Boating While Intoxicated In Illinois

One of the main reasons why so many people end up with boating while intoxicated charges is because alcohol consumption is handled a little differently when you’re on the water. Passengers and even the boat’s captain are allowed to have open containers of alcohol in their possession while the boat is in use, and obviously the same cannot be said for driving in a vehicle. However, it is illegal for the boat’s captain to be over the legal limit of 0.08 when they are operating or in physical control of the boat. This means that even if you’re just floating in the middle of the lake, if the driver is over the limit, they can be hit with a BWI even if they aren’t driving across the lake at the time they are stopped. The same can be said for smaller motorboats and personal watercrafts like Jet-skis.

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New Illinois Laws Bolster Certain Driving Penalties

 Posted on July 03, 2020 in Criminal Law

A number of new laws went into effect on July 1, and a few of them impact criminal law proceedings in Illinois. A few of them increase the penalties that you could face for certain driving offenses, while others bring welcome change to a system that could disproportionately affect those who are financially burdened by a citation. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the new laws that went into effect and how they could impact you in the future.

New Laws To Know In Illinois

Here’s a look at some of the new laws and changes that went into effect on July 1 in Illinois.

  • Texting and Driving Penalties Increase – Public Act 101-90 increases the penalties for anyone who causes an accident with injury because they were texting and driving. Any driver who causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another person due to being distracted by a cell phone will face a 12-month driver’s license suspension and a minimum fine of $1,000. Under the old law, the distracted party was only subject to a $75 fine.

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Debunking Common DUI Myths In Illinois

 Posted on June 26, 2020 in DUI

When it comes to drinking and driving, you’ve probably heard some stories that sound more like fiction than truth. Maybe you’ve heard that you can fool a breathalyzer by keeping a penny in your mouth during the test, or that you can’t get a DUI if you’re caught sleeping in your parked car. Are these facts, or are you misinformed if you take them as the truth? We explore some of the more common myths about DUIs in Illinois in today’s blog.

6 Common Misconceptions About DUIs In Illinois

Here’s a quick look at some of the myths we’ve heard about, and a quick explanation as to why they aren’t true.

  1. The Penny In The Mouth Trick – An old wives tale suggests that sticking a penny in your mouth will throw off the breathalyzer and either report your BAC as unreadable or as a zero. Unfortunately, this just simply isn’t true. Breathalyzers rely on a fuel cell that reacts with the alcohol in your breath on a sensor to indicate how much alcohol is present. The penny’s presence will not have any effect on this reaction.

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