Monday, September 11, 2017

Bail Reform Act

A new state law, effective in June 2017, calls on judges to generally find an alternative to cash bail in cases where someone is accused in a nonviolent crime.  That could include releasing a suspect on home electronic monitoring as they await trial.  It also allows low-level offenders previously held on a cash bond to get a new hearing and any defendant held on monetary bond to get a rehearing within seven days.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Gay Panic Defense

A new law banning what's known as the "gay panic defense" for defendants accused of murder, becomes effective in January, 2018.  Defendants will no longer be allowed to argue they acted out of passion after learning a victim was gay.  People accused of first-degree murder will not be able to use that claim as a mitigating factor to reduce their possible punishment.  And sexual orientation cannot be considered provocation for second-degree murder.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Initial consultation with a family lawyer

Top 5 questions to ask a family law attorney

You should always have an initial consultation before hiring a family lawyer. Prepare a list of questions to ask your potential family law attorney when you meet them for the first time. Their answers can help you decide if you would like to continue working with them.

How long have you practiced family law?
How regularly do you deal with many cases like mine?
Will you be handling my case, or will I be dealing with someone else in your office?
What are your payment options?
What special expertise can you bring to my case?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Who pays attorney fees in divorce cases?

There are two main provisions that govern whether to award attorney fees in an Illinois divorce case: The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which directs the court to consider a number of factors when deciding whether and in what proportion to award attorney fees, and the Schneider decision, which requires that a party seeking contribution show their inability to pay his or her fees while showing that the other party is able to do so.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Modify Child Support Orders Based On New Law

After passage of a new law, effective July 1, 2017, would a parent be able to have his existing child support order modified to bring it into line with the new child support guidelines?  The answer is that the passage of the new law, in and of itself, is not a basis to have your child support modified.  

You will still need to show a "substantial change in circumstances" other than the change in the law for the court to modify your child support.  However, if you are able to demonstrate a change in circumstances after July 1, 2017, your child support will be modified in accordance with the new law, as opposed to the law in place at the time the original order was entered. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cook County stops prosecuting certain traffic offenses

Citing a lack of personnel, the Cook County state's attorney's office plans to stop prosecuting certain traffic offenses, a top county official said.
Under a policy expected to take effect later this year, the state's attorney's office will not prosecute people accused of driving on licenses that have been suspended or revoked for financial reasons — such as failure to pay child support, tolls or parking tickets.
Instead, individual cities will have the option to prosecute those violations.
In the new policy on traffic cases Cook County prosecutors will continue to handle cases in which a drivers license was invalidated because of more serious crimes, such as DUI, fleeing a police officer and reckless homicide.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A new law calls for punishing repeat gun offenders with longer prison sentences.

A new law designed to crack down on repeat gun offenders became effective in Illinois.  It changes gun sentencing laws so that instead of a range of 3 to 14 yeas for some repeat gun crimes, judges would hand our sentences of 7 to 14 years. A judge who decides to depart from that guideline will need to explain why.  It is designed to help reduce crime in the city of Chicago.