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Regardless of whether you’re parting on peaceful terms or it is a less than amicable split, a divorce can be a stressful situation that leaves you with more questions than answers. One of the most common questions we hear in our family law division is whether or not you need a lawyer to help with your divorce.

We’re always careful with how we answer that question, because the short answer is no, you do not need a lawyer in order to process and finalize your divorce. However, you’ll almost assuredly want one. We explain why in today’s blog.

Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer?

When someone asks us if they need a lawyer for their divorce, even if they are splitting on good terms with their spouse, we liken the situation to whether or not you need a mechanic for a check engine problem in your car. Even if you understand cars better than the average person, it’s not a simple process to fix a major check engine problem. You have to run a diagnostics test to figure out what’s wrong, order the right parts, watch Youtube videos of how to fix the problem and then perform the maintenance yourself. It’s going to take significant time and effort, and if one little thing is wrong, it can cause major problems when you’re cruising on the highway.


How Much Should You Tell Your Lawyer?

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If you have been charged with a crime, you’re probably running scenarios through your head and trying to determine your best course of action. For many people, challenging their criminal charge with the help of an attorney is the optimal route, but since they’ve typically never been in this situation before, they often wonder just how up front they should be with their lawyer. In today’s blog, we explain how open you should be with your lawyer and why it’s so important to have an honest conversation with your legal team.

Should You Tell Everything To Your Lawyer?

Should you tell the full truth and nothing but the truth when talking to your lawyer, or should you avoid telling things that could cast doubt over your innocence? Before we answer this question, we want to share a piece of advice that we’ve learned along the way.

If a lawyer only defended innocent clients, they wouldn’t stay in business long.


If you’ve been charged with a crime, you may be wondering if you can get the details of that case sealed or expunged from your record. Sealing records mean case details are kept confidential and not accessible to the general public, whereas an expungement means all records of the incident are destroyed or returned to you. Beginning January 1 of this year, Illinois expanded which arrests and convictions are eligible for expungement. Convictions for marijuana-related offenses are now eligible for expungement, so we’re going to explain the qualifying factors and how you can go about getting your criminal record expunged.

Expungement In Illinois

For a number of different criminal offenses, it is often very difficult to get your record expunged in Illinois. In fact, expungement is typically only available to those who were never convicted of their crime. However, that changed a little at the start of 2020 when Illinois legalized recreational marijuana use.

Effective January 1, Illinois planned to automatically expunge arrest records for individuals arrested for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana if:


In what is believed to be the first such case in Illinois, a man in the southeastern portion of the state faces up to a year in jail after prosecutors argue he violated a self-isolation order and exposed countless others to the coronavirus.

According to the criminal complaint, a 36-year-old man stopped at a gas station so his 4-year-old son could use the restroom. During the visit, an employee recognized the man from high school and knew that man was supposed to be in quarantine because he shared his story on Facebook. After the man left the store, the employee alerted his supervisor, who contacted the authorities.

“The individual entered into a Jasper County business and was clearly not self-isolating,” said Chad Miller, the state’s attorney in the county. Miller said the man’s actions “showed a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.”


When Can Police Pull You Over In Illinois?

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Although driving is considered a privilege in the state of Illinois, that doesn’t mean police can pull over any driver they choose in order to conduct a traffic stop. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, and we’ve won many cases challenging the constitutionality of a search. Below, we take a closer look at when police are legally allowed to conduct a traffic stop and what you can do if you believe you were unconstitutionally stopped in Illinois.

Legal Right To Stop A Driver

There are a few factors that allow a police officer to legally stop a driver. The most common instance is when the officer witnesses a driver commit a driving infraction. It doesn’t matter whether the driver is knowingly breaking the law (like speeding) or unknowingly breaking the law (driving with a broken tail light). If they are in violation of a driving law, an officer can conduct a traffic stop.

It’s also worth noting that the reason for the traffic stop does not need to be related to the eventual charges the driver faces. For example, if you were pulled over for expired license plates and the officer realizes after speaking with you that you may be under the influence of alcohol, you can still face DWI charges even though the basis for the stop was for an unrelated matter.


COVID-19, also referred to as the coronavirus, is having a significant impact on our personal and professional lives here in Illinois and across the US. Now that the government has mandated that we should practice social distancing and avoid groups larger than 10 to help slow the spread of the virus, Illinois courts have issued some changes to help citizens heed these instructions. Below, we take a look at some of the changes that are affecting courthouses in our area.

Changes To DuPage County Courts

Effective earlier this week, Daniel P. Guerin, Chief Judge of DuPage County, issued an order that went into effect on March 17. The order stated that all pending cases in DuPage County Circuit Court will be rescheduled to after April 17, and that cases will be continued for 30 to 60 days after their originally scheduled court date. Each party involved in a pending case should be notified of a new expected court date. Additionally, all traffic courts in DuPage County are closed until after April 17. You or your lawyer will be notified of a new court date by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Bond hearings will proceed as normal, and if your case is set for a preliminary hearing or an arraignment, it will proceed as scheduled. Cases involving defendants in custody will move forward as planned. Other cases that will proceed normally include:


Illinois State Police announced that it will be conducting extra DUI patrols throughout the remainder of March in a number of counties across the state, including DuPage County.

Aside from keeping more eyes on the roads to stop impaired drivers, the task force also announced specific locations where “Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement” will take place. Those areas include:

  • The Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Kane County
  • The Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in Dupage and Kane counties
  • The Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355) in Dupage and Will countie

Police said that the patrols will be conducted during nighttime hours when drunk driving rates are at the highest. Unsurprisingly, they also said that they will take a zero-tolerance approach to getting impaired drivers and underage drivers who consume alcohol off of the road.


If you’re planning a road trip down to Florida or just visiting some family in Wisconsin, you may plan on imbibing in some spirits once you’ve reached your destination. This is fine so long as you keep it in check and don’t get behind the wheel after drinking. If you end up making a mistake and getting a DUI in another state, don’t just assume you can scamper back to Illinois and avoid penalties by never returning to the other state. That’s not how the system works, and it can have significant repercussions for your ability to drive in Illinois. Below, we explain what can happen if you get an out of state DUI and how you should proceed once you’re back in Illinois.

Out Of State DUI

When it comes to an out of state DUI, it’s important to recognize that it’s not just an issue in the state you were traveling to at the time of the arrest. If you are charged with a crime like DUI in another state, that is the only state that can punish you criminally for the act. So if you get a DUI in Wisconsin, only the Wisconsin court can hand down punishments like jail, fines or alcohol education classes. However, both the state you were traveling to and your home state of Illinois can lay down repercussions for your driver’s license.

Let’s go back to the DUI example in Wisconsin. Say you get a DUI in Milwaukee the court offers to allow you to plead guilty to DUI in exchange for a $600 fine, completion of an alcohol education course and a 90-day license suspension. This may sound like a worthwhile deal, but you need to remember that license restrictions can also be put in place by Illinois. Our state is much tougher on DUIs than many neighboring states. If you accept the deal, Wisconsin will report the incident to Illinois, and they may impose harsher license restrictions. For example, if you refuse a breathalyzer in another state, Illinois automatically suspends your license for one year, regardless of how the other state wants to restrict your license.


Defenses To Marijuana Possession In Illinois

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Recreational marijuana may be legal in Illinois, but that doesn’t mean you have free reign to do whatever you please with the plant. There are still rules and regulations that need to be followed, and if you don’t follow them, you can end up with a marijuana possession charge. It may not seem like a big deal considering the drug is legalized recreationally in Illinois, but that conviction can still cause significant problems in the future. It may show up on background checks for jobs and housing applications, and it could impact your ability to get into the school of your dreams, so don’t take the charge lightly.

So what are your options if you end up facing a marijuana possession charge in Illinois? We share some of the more common defenses to possession charges in today’s blog.

Defending Against Marijuana Possession Charges

You are allowed to purchase and possess recreational marijuana in Illinois, but certain limitations apply. For example, you can’t have more than 30 grams in your possession, otherwise you can face charges. Being in possession of between 30 and 100 grams is a misdemeanor offense, and it only gets worse from there. Possessing more than 100 grams of having a subsequent possession offense will result in felony charges, which carry the potential for significant fines and jail time.


Gun Possession Charges And Penalties In Illinois

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It’s no secret that Illinois is currently dealing with a gun possession and trafficking problem, and one of the responses by the state has been to severely increase penalties for anyone caught in violation of its gun laws. Whether by mistake or a regretful action, we’ve seen lives get turned upside down as a result of a gun possession or trafficking charge, and we want to help explain the laws, penalties and defenses so you don’t end up needing legal defense. We’re here to help you in your time of need, but we’re hoping that by learning more about the laws that you’ll stay clear of any gun charges.

Common Gun Possession Or Trafficking Charges In Illinois

In order to be a law-abiding gun owner in the state of Illinois, you must abide by some pretty strict regulations, and for good reason. At the most basic level, in order to legally carry a firearm in Illinois you must be over the age of 21, possess a Firearm Owner’s identification card and not have certain criminal convictions on your record that outlaw future gun possession. If you fail to meet these guidelines, or you violate some other stipulations, you can end up facing some of the following charges:

  • Possession of a Firearm – Illegally possessing a firearm may be considered a misdemeanor for a first offense, but that can be upgraded to a Class 3 felony for subsequent offenses or if certain aggravating factors are present.
  • Possession In An Establish That Serves Alcohol – Even though you may legally carry a firearm, that doesn’t mean you’re free to bring it anywhere. Carrying in a bar or place that sells alcohol can lead to a Class 4 felony.
  • Possessing Of A Machine Gun/Possession Of A Sawed Off Shotgun – Possessing certain types of weapons is also illegal in Illinois. Carrying a machine gun or a shotgun that has been sawed down past certain lengths can lead to Class 2 or Class 3 felonies, and these can be upgraded if the weapons are loaded.
  • Possession While Concealing Your Identity – If you’re carrying a gun while robed, masked or using another device to shield your face or identity, it’s a violation of the law, even if you have the other requirements for legal possession. This is punishable by a Class 4 felony.

Other potential violations include:

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