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The Differences Between Parole & Probation In Illinois

 Posted on January 31, 2020 in Criminal Law

Probation and parole are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two very different situations here in Illinois. We believe it’s important that our clients and anyone who may find themselves facing criminal charges know the distinction between parole and probation, so we’re going to explain how Illinois views each in today’s blog.

Probation In Illinois

First, let’s look at probation. Probation is its own form of sentencing, which can’t be said for parole, but more on that later. Probation is the most common sentencing tool in America, and it essentially functions br providing rules that an offender must follow in order to avoid a harsher sentence. For example, if you consumed alcohol and then started a fight in a bar, a judge may sentence you to probation instead of a jail sentence.

The terms of probation vary based on the individual and the charges. In the above example, the offender may be required to remain sober for six months, avoid bars or establishments that serve alcohol during that time frame, and attend alcohol and anger management counseling. If that person abides by the rules set in their probation, they can avoid jail and may even have the charge reduced or dropped altogether.

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Statute Of Limitations in Illinois Small Claims Court

 Posted on January 23, 2020 in Civil law

If you have a legal dispute with someone in which the total amount of damages sought is less than $10,000, you can have the matter settled in what’s known as small claims court. If you were struck by someone backing out of the grocery store and want them to cover your medical bills, or if someone failed to uphold their end of a contract, you can seek compensation in small claims court. However, like most court proceedings, there are deadlines that must be met in order to file your claim. Below, we look at the time limits and statute of limitations in small claims cases in Illinois.

Small Claims Time Limits In Illinois

Small claims court is a form of civil court where you can sue another party for $10,000 or less in damages. These cases are often resolved much sooner than criminal law or family law cases, and a person is less likely to have a lawyer in a small claims cases compared to those other types of law. With that said, having a lawyer by your side substantially increases your odds of winning your small claims cases.

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Recreational Marijuana Sales In Illinois Nearing $20 Million In First Two Weeks

 Posted on January 17, 2020 in Drug Charges

We expected that recreational marijuana sales would boom in the first few weeks of 2020, but even we didn’t expect that number to approach $20 million in sales.

Recreational marijuana became legal to purchase in Illinois on January 1 of this year, and in the first 12 days of legalization the state has done nearly $20 million in sales, including $13 million in the first week. Compared to the other eight states in the US that allow recreational marijuana, only California had more sales in its first week with nearly $15 million in sales. There’s a good chance that Illinois would have outpaced California if not for the fact that some dispensaries were forced to shut down sales because of a shortage of product in the first week.

Not surprisingly, sales peaked the first day that recreational marijuana use became legal, as people lined up for blocks in some areas to purchase the plant. Illinois did nearly $3.2 million in sales on the first day. Here’s a closer look at some statistics from the first 12 days of legal sales:

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Statute Of Limitation For Sex Crimes Expands

 Posted on January 10, 2020 in Criminal Law

Sex crimes are some of the most heinous crimes on the books, and because of the nature of the crime, some victims are reluctant to speak up and come forward about the incident. In an effort to help victims take the time they need to process the event and still hold the perpetrator accountable for their actions, Illinois has expanded the statute of limitations to give victims more time to report the crime.

The new law, which became official on January 1, removes the time limits that prosecutors have to bring charges against a person accused of certain sex crimes. Under the old system, victims had three years to file a police report and 10 years to press charges. Now there are no time constraints for individuals to file a report in cases of criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Illinois had previously dropped statute of limitations requirements for what they classified as major sex crimes on persons under the age of 18 back in 2017, but the new change provides expanded protections to people of all ages.

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Driving Under The Influence Of Marijuana In Illinois

 Posted on January 03, 2020 in Drug Charges

As of January 1, recreational marijuana is now legal to purchase, possess and smoke in the state of Illinois. There are plenty of regulations that come with its legalization, as you can’t just smoke anywhere or buy from anyone, but the most notable is how the state handles driving under the influence of marijuana. Below, we take a closer look at how Illinois views driving under the influence of marijuana, and we explore the regulations so you don’t end up in handcuffs.

Can I Drive After Smoking Marijuana?

Marijuana has been linked to drowsiness and delayed reaction times among other things, so for those reasons and more, the state has made it illegal for anyone to get behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana. It is legal to ride in a vehicle under the influence of marijuana as a passenger, but the state has made it illegal to smoke marijuana while riding in a vehicle, even if it’s your car or a friend’s vehicle.

The law specifically states that “a driver may not operate a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of cannabis, whether used medically or recreationally,” and recreational marijuana may only be transported in odor-proof and child resistant containers. We’ll touch on citations for possession violations in a future blog, but for today, we’re going to focus on driving under the influence.

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Illinois Conducting DUI Crackdown Through New Year

 Posted on December 27, 2019 in DUI

Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Transportation and more than 200 local police and sheriff’s departments will be conducting extra DUI enforcement to help keep people safe through the holidays. The extra enforcement is part of the annual holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to help keep our roads safer.

“The holidays should be a time for celebrating and making memories, not tragedy and loss,” said Cynthia Watters, IDOT’s bureau chief of Safety Programs and Engineering. “With all the festivities, it is essential to plan for a sober ride home before the celebration begins. To help save lives, law enforcement will be cracking down on those who choose to drive impaired.”

The extra campaign is currently underway and will run until the early-morning hours of January 2.

Extra DUI Enforcement

Although crash fatalities are down in 2019 compared to 2018, crashes tend to spike between Christmas and New Year’s Day as people have more time off and may choose to ring in the end of the year with alcohol. Police will have added enforcement on the road to look for inebriated drivers, but they will also be looking for other driving infractions that contribute to traffic fatalities. The four driving maneuvers they’ll be looking for the most are:

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5 New Criminal Laws Coming To Illinois In 2020

 Posted on December 20, 2019 in Criminal Law

The new year is almost here, and a whole host of laws will go into effect when the calendar turns to 2020. Many of these laws are small changes that will happen behind the scenes, but there are also some bigger changes that could impact your life. Below, we take a look at five changes that will affect criminal law, and we explain what they mean for you in the new year.

New Laws Coming January 1

Here’s a look at five legal changes that will impact criminal law in Illinois in 2020.

  1. Recreational Marijuana – When you ring in the new year, it will become legal to buy and smoke marijuana in Illinois. HB 1438 will officially go into effect on January 1, making Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana use. Adults over the age of 21 will have legal access to marijuana sold in dispensaries across the state. It’s still illegal to sell marijuana without proper licensing or to grow it without being a registered medical marijuana patient, but possessing and smoking it will become legal. It will still be illegal to smoke in public places, so you can’t just light up in a bar or park, but it will become legal in private residences.

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How Package Theft Can Lead To Felony Charges in Illinois

 Posted on December 13, 2019 in Law

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.

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How Is Debt Divided During A Divorce In Illinois

 Posted on December 06, 2019 in Family Law

During a divorce, the separating parties, a mediator or a judge will decide how assets and properties are divided during a divorce. However, there is another financial aspect of a divorce that should not be overlooked when splitting – debt. Illinois considers debt marital property, but that doesn’t mean any debt is going to be divided 50-50. Below, we explain how debt is divided during a divorce, and we explain why having a family law attorney by your side during this process is essential.

Dividing Debt During A Divorce

Illinois is considered an equitable distribution state, which means that debt will be distributed fairly, not 50-50, between the couple. As you might have guessed, there are a number of factors that helps to determine what is fair when dividing debt. When the debt was incurred, whether the debt was for marital property and how much debt remaining all factor into this equation.

For example, if you and your spouse each bought a vehicle during your marriage and are now filing for divorce, you may assume that you’ll just keep your car and they’ll keep their vehicle. But if your spouse’s vehicle is paid off, and you still owe $15,000 on your truck’s loan, each taking a vehicle isn’t exactly a fair split. And while the judge won’t order your spouse to help out with payments on your truck, you may get more assets during property division since you’re also taking on more debt by keeping the truck.

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Illinois Police Adding Extra DUI Patrols Through Thanksgiving Weekend

 Posted on November 27, 2019 in DUI

The Thanksgiving holiday stands out for many reasons, but it also holds a dubious distinction here in Illinois. It’s also one of the deadliest stretches on the roads.

Like George Clooney on the Andrea Gail, the Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect storm of factors that contribute to a spike in traffic accidents and fatalities. You’ve got:

  • More drivers traveling on the roads.
  • Worsening road conditions when winter weather sets in.
  • Extended time off can lead more individuals to consume alcohol and make poor decisions behind the wheel.

Not only are more people on the road because of the holiday, the extra time with friends and family provides ample opportunity to consume alcohol. If you get behind the wheel in the wee hours of the morning to go Black Friday shopping after drinking with the family after Thanksgiving dinner, there’s a decent chance you’ll be over the limit.

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