Retail theft involving “smash and grabs” has been making headlines in Illinois and across the United States. Organized retail theft typically involves a group of people who work together to steal many items at once. Last year, Illinois governor JB Pritzker signed a bill addressing organized retail theft and instituting stiffer penalties for individuals convicted of organized retail theft. This legislation went into effect January 1, 2023.
If you or a loved one were charged with shoplifting or theft, make sure you understand what you are up against. Theft is often a felony offense in Illinois and the penalties for a theft conviction can have a massive influence on an individual’s life.
The criminal penalties for a theft conviction in Illinois vary significantly based on the value of the alleged stolen property and other factors. Stealing items valued at $500 or less is a Class A misdemeanor, but the charges and penalties increase as the value of the stolen items increases. Theft of items valued at $500 to $10,000 is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Theft charges can be elevated if certain circumstances are present. For example, theft of items valued at $500 or less may be a felony offense if the items were taken directly from a person. An individual can also face increased charges if he or she has previous theft convictions on his or her record.
Studies show that it costs well over a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child from birth through age 18. This works out to approximately $17,000 a year, not including extra costs such as private school tuition, childcare, and college expenses. Single parents need all the help they can get when it comes to paying child-related costs, which is why child support is so crucial.
If you are an unmarried parent, you may have questions about your entitlement to child support or your obligation to pay child support. How is child support calculated? What happens if you have children from multiple partners? How much child support does a parent pay each month?
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has created child support guidelines that the court uses to calculate the amount of child support. The guidelines are based on both parents' incomes and other factors, such as parenting time and the number of children. If one parent does not have an income, the court may use imputed income or estimated income to determine child support. If you have the majority of the parenting time, or time spent caring for your child, you will be the recipient of child support, and the other parent will be responsible for paying child support.
In general, an acquittal means that the court found you not guilty of the crime you were charged with. This means that the prosecution was unable to prove its case for the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you were acquitted of a crime, you probably assume that you do not have a criminal record. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is a record of every arrest that occurs in Illinois. When someone has a criminal record, it is usually available for public viewing, even if the charge was later dropped or the person was acquitted of the crime. A criminal record can negatively impact many aspects of life, such as employment opportunities and housing access.
If you have an arrest or criminal charge on your record, you may be able to clear your record through expungement.
Expungement is a process that completely erases a criminal record from the state’s records, effectively making it as if the arrest or charge never happened. In Illinois, there are a few requirements for someone to be eligible for an expungement. To get your record expunged, at least one of the following must be true:
What used to be called "visitation" is now called "parenting time" in Illinois law. When an unmarried couple has a child or a married couple with children divorces, the parents describe the parenting time schedule in their parenting plan.
Reaching a parenting schedule that works for both parents and meets the child's needs is not easy. It is important to take the time to get it right. Here are five questions that parents should ask themselves when developing a parenting time schedule.
Both parents need to realistically assess their work and travel commitments, as well as those of the other parent, and make sure that the proposed parenting time schedule is practical. If travel or work commitments make it difficult for one parent to stick to the proposed plan, then modifications may need to be made.
In Illinois, breath alcohol tests or "breathalyzers" are commonly used to assess a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If someone's BAC is over 0.08 percent, they are intoxicated per se, or intoxicated according to the law. A BAC over the legal limit is not always required for a drunk driving conviction. However, having a BAC of 0.08 percent or more will certainly make the chances of conviction much more likely.
Many people have questions about the accuracy of breathalyzer tests. They may have heard rumors that these devices can be incorrect or even that diets like the keto diet can lead to higher-than-actual BAC results.
In this blog, we will explore whether low carbohydrate diets like the keto diet can lead to inaccurate BAC results as well as other factors that may invalidate breath test results.
The keto diet is becoming quite popular. If you are like most people, you probably know a few individuals who are doing this diet or a variation of this diet. The diet requires you to limit your consumption of carbohydrates. When the body does not receive carbohydrates, the body uses fat as fuel. As fats are digested, acetone is produced as a by-product. Acetone has a chemical composition that is similar to alcohol, so many people worry that a breathalyzer cannot tell the difference.
If you are going through the process of getting a divorce and your spouse is abusive, you may be wondering if you need an order of protection. An order of protection is a court order that can help keep you and your children safe from abuse or threats. Sadly, abusive relationships tend to escalate when the abuse victim tries to leave the relationship. An order of protection may require your spouse to vacate your home, leave you and your children alone, and cease contact with you.
An order of protection is a legal document issued by a judge that orders someone to stay away from another person or their family. The document includes specific instructions about what the other person must do (or not do) in order to comply with the court’s order. This could include staying away from the other person’s home or workplace, refraining from contacting them via phone or email, surrendering firearms, and more. Violating any of the protective order’s terms is a criminal offense. If the abuser violates the order of protection by contacting the victim, visiting a prohibited residence or workplace, or otherwise violating a provision in the order, he or she is subject to arrest.
Multiple new laws went into effect January 1, 2023. Among the recent Illinois legislative changes is the SAFE-T Act, which amended prison policy, criminal sentencing, and police reforms. Whether you or a loved one are currently facing criminal charges, or you simply want to be an informed citizen, it is important to understand the changes implemented by the SAFE-T Act.
The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act or SAFE-T Act passed the Illinois legislature in 2021 but some elements of the act are still in limbo. One of the main purposes of the legislation is to end the cash bail system – a matter that has been the subject of controversy and criticism for years. Cash bail is a system used by the criminal justice system to ensure that people who are charged with crimes show up to their court dates. This system requires individuals to pay money as collateral for their release from jail, and if they do not appear in court for their scheduled date, then the money will be forfeited. It also allows individuals to be released from jail while they wait for their trial, rather than being held without bond or detained for extended periods of time. Many people believe that the cash bail disproportionately affects individuals who are unable to post a large amount of money, while favoring wealthy individuals.
The phrase “the child’s best interests” is repeated multiple times throughout Illinois family law. When an Illinois court makes a decision about a child-related legal matter such as a divorce or child custody dispute, the court prioritizes the child’s best interests above all else. But what does this phrase mean? What does the court consider when assessing what is in the child’s best interests?
When the court is evaluating a family law case involving a child, there are specific factors the court will consider. These factors include:
The Child’s Preferences – If the child is old enough to understand the situation and express his or her wishes, the court will consider the child’s wishes.
The Child’s Adjustment to His or Her Current Living Situation – Is the child heavily involved in his or her school or community? Did the child grow up in his or her current residence? Would requiring the child to relocate cause him or her distress?
Domestic battery is defined as causing bodily harm or making physical contact of an offensive or provoking nature with a family or household member. False accusations of domestic battery in Illinois can have a devastating impact on the accused.
The consequences for being accused and convicted of domestic battery are serious: jail time, fines, mandatory counseling, and a criminal record. Furthermore, the accused may face social stigma, job loss, and difficulty finding housing or other assistance.
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic battery, make sure to work with an attorney who will advocate on your behalf.
In Illinois, domestic battery is considered a Class A misdemeanor. This means that the accused could face up to one year in jail, along with fines and other penalties. There are also certain aggravating factors that can increase the penalty for domestic battery, such as using a weapon during the alleged offense. If the alleged offender was previously convicted of domestic battery, he or she will face Class 4 felony charges for a second offense. Class 4 felonies are punishable by up to three years in prison.
Divorcing spouses have many additional issues to consider when they share children. In Illinois, divorcing parents are asked to provide a “parenting plan” to the court. This plan provides the basis for the child custody arrangement after the split is finalized. Developing a parenting plan is rarely simple, and there are seemingly countless factors to consider. If you are a parent who plans to divorce soon, make sure you understand your obligations and rights regarding the parenting plan.
Illinois law allows parents 120 days to file a parenting plan after the divorce petition is filed. If the parents can agree on the provisions of the parenting plan, they can simply submit the plan directly to the court. If they do not agree, the court may require them to attend mediation. During mediation, the couple works with a trained mediator in hopes of reaching a compromise on the disputed provisions. If parents cannot reach an agreement during mediation or through their respective attorneys, the court may make a ruling deciding on the unresolved issues.