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Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana use beginning January 1, 2020, but just because the drug becomes legal does not mean that you have free reign to smoke as you please when the calendar turns. There are still a number of rules and regulations that must be followed if you’re going to use recreational marijuana, and we want to highlight those laws so you don’t need to hire us to get you out of trouble. We’re obviously more than willing to help you out of a sticky situation, but we also want to promote education so you can stay out of trouble in the first place. Here’s a little bit more information about the changes coming in the new year regarding recreational marijuana use.

Recreational Marijauna FAQs

Below, we provide answers to some common questions about the upcoming legalization of marijuana use in Illinois.

  • Can I smoke anywhere? – No, just because recreational marijuana is legal does not mean that you can light up wherever you please. In fact, it is illegal to smoke in public, so if you’re caught smoking in a public place, expect a ticket. You are allowed to use recreational marijuana in private dwellings and in establishments if local jurisdictions allow it.
  • Can I grow my own marijuana? – Users who smoke marijuana recreationally will not be allowed to grow their own plants. However, if you have been medically cleared to use marijuana, you are allowed to grow up to five plants in your home.
  • Who can buy recreational weed? – Adults over the age of 21.
  • How much recreational marijuana can I buy? – Illinois residents can buy up to 30 grams of marijuana plant material, edibles totaling no more than 500 mg of THC, and five grams of cannabis concentrate products. Out of state visitors can purchase half of those amounts.
  • Can anyone sell marijuana? Only existing medical marijuana growers and dispensaries will be able to sell to adults until new cultivator licenses are approved, and the state won’t begin processing new applications until March 15, with the earliest new approvals coming on May 1, 2020.
  • Can I drive after smoking? – No. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of marijuana in your system greater than 5ng/ml. If a police officer suspects that you are under the influence of marijuana, they will get a warrant for chemical testing. A blood test may be performed by a trained professional, and if it reveals that you have more than the legal amount in your system, you can face drugged driving charges. Conviction of a first offense charge for driving under the influence of drugs carries with it a one year loss of your driver’s license, a fine of up to $2,500, up to a year in jail and the completion of a DUI victim impact panel course. Drugged driving will be the biggest issue once marijuana becomes legal because there is no roadside test available like there is for drunk drivers.
  • What Happens With My Old Marijuana Arrest Charge? The change allows for people who were convicted of possession of under 30 grams of marijuana prior to legalization to ask the Prison Review Board and Governor Pritzker for a pardon. If the pardon is granted, the Illinois attorney general will move to expunge the crime from a person’s record. If you were convicted of possessing more than 30 grams, you can still petition for expungement or work with a lawyer in your area to see if your record can be expunged. We can help with this process once the law goes into effect.

This change will be new for everybody, but if you have questions leading up to the legalization of marijauna or once the law goes into effect, reach out to Brett Appelman and the team at Appelman Lawyers.

Following a divorce, the court may order that one spouse pay a monthly support payment to their former spouse as a way of helping each party become self-sufficient following the split. A number of factors go into the award amount, but the point of spousal maintenance is to ensure that both parties come out of the split with the financial means to support themselves.

However, circumstances can always change, and the factors that go into a monthly spousal maintenance award can be influenced by these changes. For example, maybe you lost your job, or your spouse got a raise and is making more money. These factors and more can impact how much you need to pay in spousal maintenance each month, but how do you go about modifying your previous agreement? We explain how we can help you modify your spousal support payments in today’s blog.

Terminating Alimony Payments in Illinois

For starters, it’s worth noting that even if you are in the process of modifying or terminating your spousal maintenance award, you must continue to pay the original agreed upon amount until a new agreement is finalized by the court. Even if things change, you owe the original amount until a modification has been granted.


Distracted driving continues to be a problem on the state and national level, but Illinois lawmakers have made a push to help keep our roads safer. Starting last week, new distracted driving laws went on the books, and they are much stricter than the previous laws. Below, we take a closer look at what constitutes a violation under the new laws, and what you should do if you receive a ticket for texting while driving.

Electronic Device Use Behind The Wheel

The new law makes it illegal for a person to use an electronic device while they are behind the wheel. This action was already illegal, but the scope has been broadened and the penalties enhanced. Under the previous law, a police officer could stop a driver who was texting behind the wheel and issue them a warning ticket. If they were caught texting behind the wheel a subsequent time, they were issued a monetary citation that was considered a non-moving violation, which meant it didn’t affect the status of their driver’s license.

Under the new law, a person can be ticketed the first time they are spotted using an electronic device while they are driving. The key word here is using. Any use of an electronic device, be it sending a text, holding your phone up to your ear or holding it in your hand while on speakerphone are all considered actions that could warrant a ticket. Moreover, the new citation is considered a moving violation. In Illinois, three moving violations in a one-year span can result in the suspension of your driving privileges.


Common Illinois Prostitution Myths

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There are many common misconceptions about prostitution laws. In this article we’ll debunk many of the prevalent myths about prostitution in Illinois.

Myth: An officer cannot expose himself, or actually engage in sex with a provider before arresting her.

Fact: Police have been known to do both of these things to catch suspected prostitutes. Do not assume that a client who exposes himself cannot be a cop. Cops will go to great lengths to make arrests, and even experienced providers have been tricked into incriminating themselves.


Now we’ll investigate the procedures surrounding prostitution—specifically how law enforcement officials go about setting up and arresting patrons.

Prostitution stings operate on a two-call system. When a prospective john calls the number posted on a fake advertisement, the information exchanged is initially very general. The officer posing as a prostitute will give the patron a general location at which to meet. Once in the area, the patron will have to call again to get a specific location (e.g. Holiday Inn, Rm. 231). All calls are recorded and used for evidence.

When the patron arrives at the agreed upon location (usually a hotel room that is wired and video recorded from an adjacent room), the undercover officer will entice conversation regarding the patron’s desires by asking leading questions like: “What are you interested in?” or “Is it ok if you use a condom?” Such statements ensure the recorded conversation covers the required sex-for-money elements of the crime.


Guide to an Illinois DUI Stop

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There are many Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to a DUI stop. Outlined below are the best and worst practices of a DUI stop. Follow these guidelines if you’re ever pulled over for drinking and driving in Illinois.

What to Do:

It is always a good idea to keep your driver’s license and proof of insurance with you while driving. In fact, it’s the law. When you’re pulled over, the officer will undoubtedly ask for these. Have them out and ready before the officer approaches your vehicle. This will demonstrate that you’re of sound mind and will prevent the officer from observing you fumble around in the glove compartment.

Insist upon your right to speak with an attorney before answering any questions, taking any tests, or signing any documents.


Drunk driving is a serious problem with serious consequences. It is important that all Illinois drivers be aware of the consequences of drunk driving.

Criminal Consequences

Criminal consequences of a DWI charge include: bail and conditions of release from custody, jail time, probation, court-ordered chemical dependency evaluation, and random testing.

Jail time and fines vary based on the degree and circumstances of the DUI charge.


Cyber-Bullying Laws in Illinois

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Introduction, Definition

In our tech-savvy society, cyber-bullying has become a rampant problem. Bullies not only push and shove on the playground; now they also insult and harass on the internet, hiding safely behind a mask of anonymity.

Cyber-bullying is the repeated harassment of a person through an electronic medium, such as e-mail, text messaging, or social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). It is most prevalent among children and teenagers who have access to these modes of communication at increasingly younger ages. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, 43% of teenagers report that they have been victims of cyber-bullying.

Cyber-bullying is often much more severe than traditional bullying because it allows the bully to hide behind an electronic façade. This permits the cyber-bully to be much harsher than he/she would be in person. The intensity of this harassment can have terrible psychological effects on victims.


Illinois DUI: An Overview

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Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a very serious, yet common, crime in Illinois. It is important that all drivers in the state familiarize themselves with the laws, consequences, and defenses of the Illinois DUI laws.

What is a Illinois DUI?

Many factors must be in play in order to convict a person of DWI. A person can be convicted of a DWI when that person drives, operates, or is in physical control of a motor vehicle:

  1. When the person is under the influence of alcohol or a hazardous substance that affects the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the person so as to substantially impair their ability to drive or operate a motor vehicle; or
  2. When the person is under the influence of a combination of any two or more of the elements named above; or
  3. When the person’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the time or as measured within two hours of the time of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the motor vehicle is .08 or more; or
  4. When the person’s body contains any amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocanabinols.

In Illinois it is illegal to drive, operate, or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more. Illinois DWI law also states that any driver with the mere presence of any scheduled controlled substance in their blood can be charged with a drunk driving offense. Further, an officer may arrest a driver for suspicion of driving while impaired even if his/her blood alcohol content is under .08, provided the officer feels the drunk driver was operating the vehicle in a manner indicating that the driver was impaired.


What to Do if Falsely Accused of a Crime?

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Being accused of a crime is not a matter to be taken lightly. Even if you didn’t commit a crime, the accusation alone can have serious legal consequences. Many people assume that because they know they didn’t commit the crime, there is nothing to worry about. This is not true. Many have been falsely accused, convicted, and punished for terrible crimes they never committed. Being falsely accused is a serious matter that must be handled delicately. These are the five best things you can do if falsely accused of a crime in Illinois:

Realize the Seriousness of Your Situation

As mentioned above, being accused of a serious crime, such as rape, assault, or murder, is a gravely serious matter. Defending your innocence is going to be pricey. In addition to hiring a good criminal defense lawyer, numerous expert witnesses (medical doctors, chemical dependency experts, etc.) must often be called to give testimony.

Educate Yourself

You are essential to your own defense in a false accusation case. You do not need to go to law school and learn all the intricacies of the legal system—that’s what your defense attorney is for. However, it’s essential that you understand the facts of your case, what you are being charged with, and your civil rights. If you are confused about something, ask your defense lawyer for clarification. The more you know about your case, the better chance you have of defending yourself in court.

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