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Hit and Run Defenses In Illinois

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When you think of a hit and run crime, you probably think of a driver who causes a major accident and then quickly flees the scene to escape taking responsibility. While this does happen, most hit and run cases are much more innocuous, but that doesn’t mean the criminal charges are any less severe. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at hit and run charges in Illinois, and we explain how we help defend clients against these charges.

Hit And Run Charges In Illinois

Illinois law states that individuals involved in an automobile accident must stop their vehicle and render assistance to a reasonable extent. What’s “reasonable” is open to interpretation, but drivers are also required to exchange contact and insurance information. If you fail to do this, and the other party wants to file a claim, you can be charged with a hit and run.

This happens more than you might imagine in Illinois. We actually rank fourth in the nation in terms of individuals with a prior hit and run violation (we’re twice the national average). Many of those individuals aren’t involved in the types of accidents we described above, either. They are much more likely to tap a bumper while parallel parking or unknowingly clip a side mirror while leaving the grocery store. If someone witnesses these actions, or they are caught by a surveillance camera, you can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. The consequences of a hit and run conviction are often much more severe than had you stayed around, reported the accident and filed a claim with insurance.


What Is An Aggravated DUI Charge in Illinois?

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Depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest, there’s a chance that you’ll face the upgraded charge of aggravated DUI. But what factors have to be present for you to be charged with aggravated DUI, and what are the potential penalties for the crime? We answer those questions and explain why you should always consider hiring a lawyer if you’ve been charged with aggravated DUI in Illinois.

Factors That Contribute To Aggravated DUI In Illinois

A standard first offense DUI in Illinois is typically classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries the potential of a modest fine and up to a year in jail, although penalties usually aren’t all that severe. However, certain factors can lead to an upgraded aggravated DUI charge, which is a felony-level offense. If a person is convicted of aggravated DUI, the judge is legally required to sentence them to a minimum of 10 days in jail or 480 hours of community service, and sometimes sentences are months or even years long.

But what factors need to be present in order for your misdemeanor DUI to be upgraded to aggravated DUI? Here’s a look at the factors:


Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Illinois

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If the honeymoon phase is both literally and figuratively over in your marriage, you and your partner may decide that it is in both of your best interests to get a divorce. In Illinois, there are two different types of divorce – contested and uncontested. Even if you both agree that you want a divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have an uncontested divorce, so to better help you understand divorce in Illinois, we break down both options in today’s blog.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is the simpler form of the two divorces, but even if you both agree that you want a quick and easy divorce, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically guaranteed an uncontested divorce. Both parties need to agree that they want a divorce in order to pursue an uncontested divorce, but they also need to come to agreement on many other items, including but not limited to:

  • Property and asset division
  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Child custody

Now, it’s also worth noting that just because you don’t see eye to eye on some asset division or custody matter, it doesn’t mean that you’re automatically headed for a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is all about give and take and the ability to negotiate. If, however, you’re both dead set on getting full custody or taking the vacation home you purchased together, you may need to consider a contested divorce.


We take a lot of phone calls from prospective clients who say they have been charged with DUI, but later in the conversation they mention that this is the second time they’ve been charged with drunk driving. This is a huge factor in the case, and many times clients don’t realize the gravity of a second DUI charge in Illinois. Our state handles these charges a little different than others, which is why it’s almost always in your best interest to hire a lawyer if you’re facing a second DUI charge. We explain why it’s so important in today’s blog.

Second DUI Charge In Illinois

As we mentioned in the intro, Illinois handles subsequent DUI charges a little different than most states. In Illinois, there is no time limitation in which a previous DUI drops off your record. For example, some states only consider it a second DUI if you were convicted of DUI within 10 years of your second arrest. That’s not the case in Illinois. If you got a DUI at 22 years old and you just got picked up for DUI at age 55, this will be considered your second DUI, and you’re going to face stiffer punishments than you did after your first conviction.

Per the law here in Illinois, a defendant facing a second DUI charge cannot receive court supervision as part of their conviction, which isn’t considered a criminal conviction. This means that if you are found guilty, a criminal conviction will go on your official record, which will show up in background checks. This can affect your ability to get a job or retain employment in certain industries.


Just last week, Illinois passed House Bill 2276, which makes it illegal for adults to smoke cigarettes or similar products in a vehicle if children are present.

The exact wording of the bill states that “a personal shall not smoke in a motor vehicle containing a person under 18 years of age, regardless of whether the vehicle is in motion, at rest, or has its windows down,” and it goes on to define smoking as “inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, weed, plant, regulated narcotic or other combustible substance.”

The new law went into effect immediately, and a first violation is considered a petty offense with fines not to exceed $100. A subsequent offense involves a fine that is not to exceed $250.


The majority of people haven’t been in serious trouble with the law, so when something flukey occurs and they end up facing criminal charges, oftentimes they are unsure what they should do next. Some instances are best handled with a professional legal team at your side, while other cases you may be fine going it alone. While there’s no perfect system for determining your best options following an arrest, there are some factors to consider that can make your decision easier. In today’s blog, we look at some of the factors that can be used to determine whether you should consider hiring a lawyer to defend you in court.

Is A Lawyer Worth It?

When it comes to determining if you should hire a lawyer to assist with your case, don’t just consider the price of a lawyer. You need to consider the totality of the circumstances that you’re facing. Looking at the following factors can help you decide if you should have a defense lawyer by your side in court:

  • Driver’s license loss – If you stand to lose your license upon conviction, it’s a good idea to consider a lawyer. Odds are you need your license in order to get to work, shuttle the kids around or just run errands, so losing this would be a major inconvenience and could negatively impact other areas of your life.
  • Job loss – If the arrest threatens your employment, whether it be because you can’t reliably get to work without a license or if a conviction would be a fireable offense, you need to hire a lawyer. Your job is your income, and if that is threatened, you need a strong legal defense.
  • Acceptance status – Some charges, most notably drug charges, affect a person’s ability to get their application approved, whether that be an application to rent a house, purchase a firearm or get into the college of their dreams. If you’re facing drug charges, felony charges or another charge that could result in denial of future application prospects, consult with professional legal help before trial.
  • Mandatory jail time – Even misdemeanor charges carry potential jail sentences, but first offenders rarely get jail time in most instances. However, if you’re facing serious charges or this isn’t your first time facing these charges, they may carry mandatory jail time upon conviction. This speaks to the severity of the charges and suggests you’d benefit from legal counsel.
  • If you’re confused or want help – A final reason to consider hiring a lawyer is if you feel lost or don’t know where to turn after an arrest. We offer a free case evaluation where you can sit down with a lawyer, go over your options and decide how you want to move forward. Sometimes that’s with a lawyer, and sometimes that’s on your own. You’ve got nothing to lose by learning more about your options and talking to a lawyer, so consider setting up that meeting today.

For more information, or to see if our firm would be a good fit for your case, contact Appelman Lawyers today.

How To Contest An Illinois Traffic Ticket

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Thousands of traffic tickets are handed out to motorists in Illinois each and every day, and it’s not just the fine that drivers have to deal with. Depending on their driving history and the circumstances surrounding their ticket, there’s a possibility that their driver’s license could be revoked or their car insurance rates could skyrocket. Because of this, we caution drivers from simply pleading no contest and paying the fine.

When you consider that you have almost nothing to lose and everything to gain by contesting your traffic ticket, it’s almost a no brainer. But how do you ensure you put yourself in the best position to beat the charges? We explain in today’s blog.

Be Unremarkable

When it comes to your interaction with the officer, be as unremarkable as possible. During traffic court, the officer is going to have to recall the traffic stop from memory, and being outlandish or aggressive will only help them remember the specific incident. Be polite, keep your answers short and be forgettable during your interaction with police.


7 Types of Civil Lawsuits in Illinois

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Criminal lawsuits get all the headlines, but civil lawsuits are also quite common in today’s society. When two or more parties have a legal dispute that they want to take to court, they pursue a civil lawsuit, oftentimes with the help of a civil lawsuit attorney. At Appelman Law we have civil litigation experience and have won a wide variety of civil lawsuits for our clients. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the more common types of civil lawsuits, and we explain how we can help you if you’re interested in pursuing a civil case against someone or some entity.

Common Civil Lawsuits in Illinois

Civil lawsuits typically involve someone attempting to collect monetary compensation or property, but they can certainly center around other areas of interest. Here’s a look at a number of common civil lawsuits that may be filed:

  • Personal Injury Claims – If you were bitten by someone’s dog or injured on their property, you may be able to take civil action against them for your injuries.
  • Asset Forfeiture – If police or a government body seizes your property, you can take legal action to try and get your property returned through a civil suit.
  • Breach of Contract – If someone failed to live up to a signed agreement, you can take them to civil court.
  • Landlord-Tenant Disputes – Similar to a breach of contract dispute, civil cases can also help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.
  • Employment-Related Issues – If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, or you were subjected to harassment in the workplace, you may want to consider taking civil action.
  • Tort Claims – A tort claim is considered a claim of reparation for a wrongful act by another party. You can file a tort claim in civil court for things like battery, medical malpractice, defamation or other instances where you have been wronged by another person.
  • Copyright or IP Claims – Civil cases can help settle copyright claims or cases where intellectual property rights are being disputed.

This is far from a comprehensive list, but it helps to highlight the wide variety of cases that can be settled in civil court. Brett and his team have handled countless civil cases and have a proven track record of success, so if you’re even considering taking legal action against another party, do yourself a favor and reach out to their experienced team. They’d be more than happy to sit down with you, go over the basics of your case, and explain what they’d do for you if you wanted to hire their firm to assist with your case. To set up that meeting, or to move forward with a civil case in Illinois, reach out to Appelman Law at (630) 717-7801.

Sexual assault survivors will no longer need to worry about getting justice due to statute of limitations issues when a new law goes into effect.

House Bill 2135, which Governor JB Pritzker signed late last month, removes the statute of limitations on criminal sex crimes in Illinois. Crimes on that list include:

  • Criminal Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse

As it’s laid out in the new law, prosecutors can bring criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges against an alleged perpetrator at any time after the incident. Under the previous law, victims had 10 years to report the incident in order for prosecutors to be able to legally bring charges against the perp.


Drunk driving is a problem across the US, but it’s also a significant problem right here in our own backyard. Thousands of motorists are arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Illinois each year, and some places are hotbeds for intoxicated driving. Thanks to a report from the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, we can see which cities were home to the largest number of drunk drivers in 2018. We dive into the report below.

Illinois Cities With The Most DUIs

Before we dive into the list and some other statistics from the findings, it’s worth noting that for the sake of this poll, Chicago was considered in its own category due to its size. It would have came in as the runaway top spot on this list, but for the sake of providing a closer look drunk driving in some of the smaller cities throughout the state, we’re not putting it in this list. So without further ado, here’s a look at the 10 Illinois cities with the most DUIs in 2018.

  1. Rockford – 552 arrests
  2. Aurora – 446 arrests
  3. Decatur – 391 arrests
  4. Elgin – 374 arrests
  5. Cicero – 315 arrests
  6. Carol Stream – 280 arrests
  7. Elmhurst – 277 arrests
  8. Lombard  – 277 arrests
  9. Naperville – 261 arrests
  10. Bloomington – 244 arrests

Here’s a look at some other interesting findings from the report:

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