Thursday, December 28, 2017

Unconstitutional DUI Testing

An Illinois Appellate Court found unconstitutional the state statute that allows blood and urine tests to be taken without a warrant or a suspect's consent whenever a police officer has probable cause to believe that a suspect was impaired and involved in a crash resulting in death or injury.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Law Alters Pet's Status In Divorces

A new law in Illinois allows judges in divorce proceedings to consider the well-being of pets in allocating sole or joint ownership, by taking the best interest of the animal into consideration. Previously, pets have been treated no differently than other pieces of property to be divided up between the couple.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Test For Drugged Drivers

     Police will use mouth swabs to detect drugs quickly in drivers bodies in roadside stops.  It will be used to detect for marijuana, cocaine amphetamines, methamphetamines and opiates like heroin.
     Since 2015, for the first time, the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes nationwide who tested positive for drugs surpassed the number of drivers who had alcohol in their systems.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Ignition Interlock-Baid Device

Like a breathalyzer, an ignition interlock measures the alcohol in a person’s system. If that amount exceeds a pre-programmed level, then the interlock temporarily locks the vehicle’s ignition.


To take the test, the driver simply blows into the device. If the sample is good, then the vehicle will start as usual. If alcohol is detected, the driver must wait before testing again. The first time alcohol is detected, the wait time is a few minutes, but if subsequent tests are failed the driver is locked out for increasingly longer periods.


Most states require random re-testing while driving. At times on the road the device will beep, signaling the driver to deliver a breath sample. If alcohol is detected, the ignition interlock will not turn the engine off while the vehicle is in motion. Usually it will signal the driver to stop by blowing the horn and flashing the lights.
The rolling re-test ensures that a driver does not consume alcohol after performing the initial breath test.


The data received from all breath samples are sent to the authority (court/DMV/probation, etc.) that ordered the device to be installed.


A majority of U.S. States and Canadian provinces now use ignition interlocks as an alternative to revoking driving privileges. Interlock devices prevent drunk driving while giving those with DUI convictions the opportunity to work, attend school, and perform other essential tasks. The devices are widely seen as beneficial both to the offender and the public.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Change Of Venue

A motion for change of venue ensures that a case is heard in the best location. There are two basic requirements that must be met before a court can hear a case. The first is jurisdiction, which means that the court has the authority to decide the legal issues which affect the rights of the parties in the case.
The second is venue, which decides whether the court is in the best location to hear the case. Although this may sound unimportant, there are actually very strict rules concerning where a case may be heard.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Adoption In Illinois

Adoption is when an adult becomes the legal parent of another person who is not his or her biological child.  There are 5 types of adoption in Illinois.  
  • Related Adoption occurs when at least one of the adopting parents is related to the person being adopted.  This is typically the easiest type of adoption to accomplish.  When a step-parent wants to adopt his or her spouse's biological child, this is considered "related adoption."  In this case, the biological parent would be listed on the adoption petition in addition to the step-parent. 
  • Agency Adoption occurs when a licensed agency is given the authority to place a child with adopting parents.  This occurs when the biological parents either voluntarily give the child to the agency or when a court terminates the biological parents' parental rights. 
  • Private Adoption occurs when the child is not placed with an agency and neither of the adopting parents are related to the child.  In a private adoption, the adopting parents will have 72 hours after the child is born to revoke the adoption. 
  • Adoption of an Adult occurs when a child aged 18 years or older is adopted.  
  • Standby Adoption occurs when a legal parent who is terminally ill agrees in advance to have the child adopted by a specific person either when the legal parent becomes to ill to care for the child or when the legal parent passes. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Parenting Classes

According to Illinois law, parenting classes are required whenever parents of minor children are engaged in a court proceeding involving allocation of parenting time and responsibility, formerly referred to as custody and visitation.  This includes post-judgment cases involving modification of parenting time and responsibility or relocation of the child. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Judge dozing during trial won't necessarily be cause for new one.

A new Illinois Appellant Court decision states if a judge falls asleep during a murder trial, it will not necessarily be cause for a new trial, as long as the judge was not dozing through crucial evidence or motions.  They ruled an inadvertent nap is harmless.

Monday, November 6, 2017

New aggravated battery law

A new law, effective January 1 2018, provides that a person commits aggravated battery when, in committing a battery, other than by the discharge of a firearm, he or she knowingly causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to an individual whom the person knows to be a Department of Children and Family Services employee.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fully Automatic Rifles

In Illinois, fully automatic rifles are illegal to sell, buy, carry or own in the state, except for law enforcement, military members and federally licensed gun dealers. Such rifles which fire as long as the trigger is pulled can be bought only with the approval of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Illinois Gun Laws

     Illinois is one of five states that prohibit gun owners from carrying handguns that are visible to the public, while 31 other states allow for what is known as the "open carry" of a firearm, no permit required, though in same cases the gun must be unloaded.
     In Illinois, those with concealed carry permits are prohibited from bringing firearms into schools, public parks and playgrounds, government buildings, public transit and any building with a "no gun" sign or sticker clearly visible at the entrance.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Seal Felony Convictions

A new law in Illinois expands record sealing eligibility, allowing ex-offenders with nonviolent, nonsexual felony convictions to apply to have their records sealed from view by many private employers. Record sealing is important because it closes certain court records from public view. In order to obtain these records, one must first seek a court order.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Filing For Divorce

If you are served with divorce papers, this means you receive a summons and a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The petition lists why your spouse wants a divorce and what they want from the divorce. The summons tells you where and when to file an Appearance and an Answer to the divorce petition.
Usually, you have 30 days from when you were served the divorce papers to file anAppearance and an Answer. If you ignore the divorce papers, you won't go to jail or pay a fine. However, you will lose by default because the case will go on without you. This means that your spouse will what they asked for.
The judge will base the case decisions on what your spouse wants, without hearing your side. If you want your side to be heard, you should file Appearance and Answer forms and go to every court date.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Denial of Professional License

  • The Illinois Department of Financial Regulation may not deny a request for a professional license solely on the basis of an applicant's criminal record unless he or she was convicted of a crime directly related to the occupation for which the license is sought.  It also loosens rules involving discipline for license holders who owe child support.

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.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pet custody in divorce proceedings

A bill sent to Governor Rainer is set to decide whether divorce proceedings may assign sole or joint custody of a companion animal if it is deemed a marital asset and the well-being of the pet is considered.  The bill pertains only to cats, dogs and horses.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Drug and alcohol tests for police

A new law expected to be signed by Governor Rauner would require law enforcement agencies to administer drug and alcohol tests after an officer involved shooting that injured or killed someone. The tests would have to be completed before the end of the officer's shift or tour of duty.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Expunge juvenile court records

A proposed new law in Illinois would expand the automatic expungement of juvenile court records and increase confidentiality protections. The bill acknowledges that teenagers make mistakes and ensures those decisions do not affect the rest of  their lives.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Do police need a warrant for cellphone location records?

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether police need to obtain a search warrant to obtain past location data for a suspect’s cellphone.
The American Civil Liberties Union asked the Supreme Court to hear the case on behalf of its client, Timothy Carpenter, a convicted armed robber. During Carpenter’s trial, prosecutors introduced cell tower records showing he was in the area where four of the crimes took place.
Police had obtained the records under the Stored Communications Act, which does not require a showing of probable cause. The law authorizes release of records when there are “specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe” the records are “are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

High court backs cops who barge into homes

A recent U.S. Supreme Court case made it harder to sue police for barging into a home and provoking a shooting.  The case rejects the provocation rule wherein police can be sued for violating a victim's constitutional rights against unreasonable searches if they provoked a confrontation that resulted in violence.  The ruling holds that police cannot be held liable for injuries they caused as part of a search unless the search itself is unreasonable.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Eliminate statute of limitations on sex cases

A proposed law has been sent to Governor Rauner, which he is expected to sign,  would eliminate the statute of limitations for all of the serious sex offenses, including criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, when committed against someone under 18 years of age.
Effectively, the move would eliminate the statute of limitations for cases in which the current legal time limit hasn't yet expired.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lawyer Suspended For Swearing At Trial.

A Chicago area lawyer was suspended for 90 days from practicing in the Northern District of Illinois after she was accused of using profanity in front of a jury.  In an order issued by the federal court's executive committee, the attorney's conduct by rolling her eyes and using the "F" word prejudiced the administration of justice. In addition she was also barred from participating as lead attorney in any trial for a full year and ordered to take ethics and professionalism classes.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Changes to Illinois Continuing Legal Education

On April 3, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court announced changes to a rule impacting the requirements for continuing legal education (CLE) in Illinois. The rule change will go into effect on July 1, 2017, and begins with attorneys with the two-year reporting period ending June 30, 2019.
Pursuant to Amended Supreme Court Rule 794(d), Illinois lawyers will be required to complete one hour of diversity and inclusion CLE and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE as part of the Professional Responsibility CLE requirement. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Drug Impaired Driving

A recent study indicates drug impaired driving is now a bigger problem in the U.S. than drunken driving  Forty three percent of slain drivers with known results tested positive for drugs, compared to 38 percent for alcohol in 2015 data.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Will marijuana use in Illinois become legal?

Illinois lawmakers consider a proposal to make marijuana use legal in the state.  It would allow possession of up to one ounce of pot by people 21 and over.  Driving under the influence wold remain illegal and smoking in public would be prohibited.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Illinois passed a new law which will eliminate the requirement that a person have no convictions on his record in order to expunge a case. Under the old law, a conviction for even the smallest infraction (for example, a fine on a ticket for underage drinking) would mean that a person could not expunge anything else from his criminal record, even if those charges were dropped.

Although that person could have sealed the dismissed case, there are certain circumstances where an expungement is necessary for furthering someone's goals. Now, the law will determine the eligibility to expunge based solely on the case itself, rather than also on the person.

The new law will also waive the filing fees for many expungement petitions in Cook County during 2017. Petitioners in Cook County will not have to pay filing fees when the case(s) sought to be expunged resulted in acquittal or dismissal. This provision is set to expire at the end of 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Majority of car accidents caused by distracted driving

A new study from Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) found that, in most car crashes, distracted driving plays a role. They dug deep on this problem, examining phone logs from drivers in hundreds of thousands of real accidents.
The new study found in 52 percent of all wrecks, drivers had been on their phones. These aren't just fender benders -- 29 percent of drivers were doing over 56 miles per hour.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

On-call attorneys now available for consultations in Chicago police stations

Chief Judge signs order to provide free lawyers for arrestees in CPD custody
On-call attorneys now available for consultations in police stations

Currently, the vast majority of arrestees do not receive legal representation until their first court appearance, which is for a bail hearing. 

The order signed by Chief Judge Evans designates the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender to send one of its attorneys to the police station or designate a volunteer private attorney to attend in place of an assistant public defender. In 2015, 89 percent of defendants in the Circuit Court of Cook County were represented by the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender.

Arrestees will have access to assistant public defenders on Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteer attorneys from First Defense Legal Aid will assist individuals during all other hours and on weekends and holidays.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Under the new Illinois statute, child support is calculated by determining the gross income of each parent.Then, with appropriate calculations, the incomes of each parent are then tax affected to determine the individual and total net income of the family. These calculations are usually performed by implementing software programs such as “Family Law Software,” used  by many judges on their desktop computers. Once that total number is determined, there will be a published chart that will allow the parties and their attorneys to cross reference the amount of total child support that is found to be applicable to a given family at that income level, and for a given number of children. That total amount is then allocated depending on the percentage of income that each parent contributes to the total.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

High court allows judges to consider racial bias in jury room

The Supreme Court took a strong new stand against racial bias in jury rooms, ruling for the first time that reports of racist comments by jurors may require setting aside a verdict and holding a new trial.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Cook County prosecutors will not oppose the release of those held on non-violent offenses who cannot come up with small cash bonds. Keeping many nonviolent offenders behind bars crowds the jail.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Time limits on filing an Illinois injury lawsuit

Illinois sets a time limit of two years on filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state's civil court system. This two-year time limit, known as a "statute of limitations," begins to run on the date of the accident in most cases. Sometimes, however, a statute of limitations might run from the date you discovered you were injured, rather than the date of the event that injured you. This later date is known as a "discovery date."
For injury claims against a city or county, you have one year to file a lawsuit. The time limit to sue the state is two years, but you must file a formal claim within one year in order to sue.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Illinois law is especially harsh when it comes to driving and drugs. If you are tested and found to have anyamount of an illegal drug — or even a legal prescription drug that has adversely affected your ability to drive — or drug metabolite in your body while you are behind the wheel, you can be charged with a crime just as if you were drunk. And that can lead to severe  penalties.