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Fleeing Or Eluding Police Penalties In Illinois

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fleeing-police.jpgNobody likes to see the red and blue lights in their rearview mirror, but you can make a bad situation even worse if you decide not to pull over for an officer who has directed you to do so. Failing to pull over when directed is considered an attempt to flee or elude police, and depending on the circumstances, it can be a misdemeanor or felony offense. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the crime of fleeing or eluding police in Illinois, and how you can defend yourself against the charges.

Fleeing and Eluding Police In Illinois

The crime of fleeing or eluding police is laid out in 625 ILCS 5/11-204, which states:

“Any driver or operator of a motor vehicle who, having been given a visual or audible signal by a peace officer directing such driver or operator to bring his vehicle to a stop, wilfully fails or refuses to obey such direction, increases his speed, extinguishes his lights, or otherwise flees or attempts to elude the officer, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.”


Arrested For DUI Over Labor Day Weekend In Illinois

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dui-labor-day-weekend.jpgLabor Day weekend is almost upon us, and if you’re just counting down the last few hours in your cubicle until the long weekend is here, you’re probably thinking about the fun things you’re hoping to do this weekend. Maybe you plan on catching up with friends and family, or maybe you’re just planning on kicking back and relaxing. However, you plan to spend the long weekend, if alcohol is involved, make sure you don’t get behind the wheel and drive.

Labor Day weekend is one of the most dangerous weekends on the roads in Illinois and across the US. Weather conditions are still ideal, meaning people can travel at faster speeds, and the long weekend gives people more opportunities to consume alcohol. Coupled with the fact that there will be more drivers on the road, and you can see it could be a recipe for DUI disaster.

Illinois police have already announced that they will be conducting extra DUI enforcement throughout the long weekend as part of the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Alongside extra patrols on major roads, police across the state have also announced a number of DUI checkpoint locations, so they will be doing everything they can to keep inebriated drivers off the road.


The Penalties For Underage DUI In Illinois

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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.

So let’s take a closer look at the process and potential penalties. If you are pulled over and suspected of drinking and driving as an underaged person, you have one of two options. You can choose to take the breathalyzer or you can refuse. If you take the breath test and blow above a .00 but below a .08, your license will automatically be suspended for three months as part of a zero tolerance violation. If you refuse to take the test, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months. Subsequent offenses result in a one-year license suspension for a positive test and a two-year license suspension for refusal.


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.
  • Failing To Organize Your Case – You might think that it’s pretty clear that the contractor failed to uphold their end of the deal, but simply showing up to court and saying you didn’t like the work they performed may not cut it. Take time to collect evidence, take pictures, get copies of contracts or receipts, document dates and conversations and really organize your case. The judge can’t read your mind, so make your case as clear as possible.
  • Not Hiring A Lawyer – You don’t need a lawyer to win in small claims court, but it certainly helps. We offer free case consultations where you can sit down with a lawyer and talk about your legal options, and we’ll be honest about whether or not you should move forward on your own or if you’ll want a professional by your side. As you can see, sometimes having us by your side can help you win your civil case without even needing to present your case!
  • Underestimating Your Opponent – Your landlord or that contractor you hired may be a real piece of work, but that doesn’t mean you should assume they’ll also be terrible in court. If they are more prepared or if they have a lawyer on their side, they stand a good chance of winning, even if you disagree with their arguments. Make sure you or your lawyer out-prepare the other side.
  • Not Documenting All Expenses – You’re going to civil court to collect a sum of money, and while you may have a clear case that you’re owed money, you also have to prove exactly how much you’re owed. The judge will have final say in the judgement, so make sure that all your receipts are clear and that you provide tangible evidence for any financial losses you’re claiming occurred as a result of the other party’s actions. Again, a lawyer can help with this part.

At the end of the day, you can pursue a small claims case on your own, but they can get complex and confusing in a hurry, and many people wish they would have hired a lawyer. Like we said above, take a little time out of your day to meet with us, go over the basics of your case and come to an understanding of your next best move. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, so contact Brett and the experienced civil lawyers at Appelman Law today.

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.

Felony Battery In Illinois

Aggravated battery is the enhanced form of battery, and typically it involves great bodily harm, a weapon or is against a protected class of individuals, however, it’s worth noting that physical harm is not required for aggravated battery to exist. Actions taken in an “insulting or provoking nature,” can reach the level of battery, and if they occur against a retail worker, all of a sudden a felony charge may appear. In this instance, a retail worker communicating a public health guidance (like informing a patron about a mask requirement) is now considered a protected class of individuals. Therefore, any assault or battery of this individual can be charged under the aggravated form of the law.


The Legality Of DUI Checkpoints In Illinois

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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.

In their ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in a 6-3 decision that given the responsibilities accepted by a driver when they get behind the wheel, sobriety checkpoints did not violate a person’s right to be protected against unreasonable searches. However, the highest court in the country also stated that the legality of these checkpoints could be decided on the state level based on a state’s constitution.


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.
  2. Write Down What You Know – Depending on what you know about the situation, this may prove helpful before calling the lawyer, but either way, you’re going to want to write down what you know about the incident. If you were a party to the arrest, write down every detail about the situation. Where you were, who was there, what time it was and how the incident played out. Your testimony may turn out to be very important, and you’d be amazed at how quickly little details can fade from your memory. Writing everything down ensures you have a hard copy to reference if need be. If you weren’t a witness, writing down any information you received from your loved one can be helpful. When they were arrested, what they are being charged with, and where they are being held, for example.
  3. Bail Options – Your loved one may be arrested, charged and released, while others may be held and given a bail order. If you are interested in posting bail for someone, make sure you understand your options. A bail bond company can help secure their release for 10 percent of the bail amount (you’ll pay 10 percent and this won’t be returned to you), or you can post bail yourself, and this will be returned assuming your loved one shows up to all their court appearances, even if they are found guilty. However, know that when you post bail for someone else, it technically becomes their property, so if you think that individual won’t pay you back the money you provided them, consider a different bail option.
  4. Cool Off – Finally, depending on the situation, you may be very angry or frustrated with your loved one. If your son or daughter was arrested or your husband was picked up for drunk driving, odds are you’re going to be mad. There will be a time for punishment, but don’t react out of anger. Still act in their best interests. Contact a lawyer and talk about getting them out of jail, don’t just let them sit behind bars to “teach them a lesson.” Let’s focus on making the best out of the criminal situation before we move on to personal punishments or privilege losses. Don’t make their criminal situation worse because you were angry and worked against their best interests. We know you’re angry, but find a way to cool off before reacting, otherwise you can make things worse.

If you need help after a loved one has been arrested, give Brett and the team at Appelman Law a call today.

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:


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
  2. A Warrant – If police have a warrant to search an area, you have to let them conduct their search. However, they are only allowed to search the specific area outlined in the warrant. If the warrant states they can enter the home, but they find drugs in your detached garage, a lawyer can argue that they violated the scope of the warrant.
  3. Incident To An Arrest – If police have probable cause to arrest you for a crime, they can then conduct a search of your persons and the immediate vicinity. This is most commonly used to conduct vehicle searches. For example, if police suspect you are under the influence of drugs, they may place you under arrest for DUI and legally search your vehicle.
  4. Plain View – Police are also allowed to execute a legal search if items are in plain view. You have an expectation of privacy, but if an officer looks through your window and sees cocaine on the living room table, they can enter the area and collect evidence legally. Even in your own home, it’s not a good idea to have any evidence that could be used against you out in plain sight.
  5. Hot Pursuit – Finally, if police are engaged in pursuit of a suspect, they are able to search for evidence if they enter a dwelling. For example, if police chase a suspect in a vehicle and they drive home, run inside and lock the door, police are allowed to enter the premises. If they find evidence pertaining to the initial traffic stop, or evidence of a new crime in and of itself, this can legally be entered into trial even though they did not have permission or a warrant to enter the residence.

It’s also worth noting that there are some exigent circumstances that allow police to collect evidence in specific scenarios. For example, if there is a high probability that evidence will be destroyed before officers can legally collect the evidence, they may be able to enter an area to preserve this evidence without a warrant. Your lawyer will certainly argue against this, but it is something we’ve run into during court in the past.


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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