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Plainfield Criminal Defense LawyerWhile domestic violence is a very real concern in households across Illinois, not every allegation of domestic abuse is legitimate. An individual may accuse a romantic partner or family member of abuse to gain leverage in a divorce or child custody case, or out of anger or revenge. If your girlfriend has falsely accused you of domestic violence, make sure you understand your rights and options under Illinois law. Additionally, reach out to a criminal defense lawyer with experience defending clients who have been accused of domestic violence.

Comply with any Orders of Protection

If your girlfriend has accused you of physical abuse, threatening behavior, harassment, or stalking, she may have obtained an Order of Protection (sometimes referred to as a restraining order) against you. This is an official court document that restricts your contact with her, and it may also restrict access to a shared home or prohibit you from spending time with children you have in common. The order will likely require you to stay a certain distance away from her and avoid calling, texting, or emailing her.

The first thing you need to know about protection orders is that violating a protection order is a criminal offense - even if you believe the order was unwarranted. Complying with the protection order and following the provisions contained in the order is one of the best things you can do to avoid worsening your situation.


Plainfield Criminal Defense LawyerThe drinking age is 21 in Illinois. However, teenagers often experiment with alcohol before they are able to drink legally. Youth and inexperience are often a dangerous combination, and teenagers who drink may not realize how intoxicated they are. This may lead them to get behind the wheel of a car even if it is not safe or legal to do so.

For adults aged 21 or older, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent. However, for individuals under 21 years old, the legal limit for BAC is 0.00, meaning any amount of alcohol can lead to driver's license suspension and other penalties. A BAC over the legal limit can lead to the same DUI penalties that over-21 individuals face. 

If your child was arrested for drunk driving, an experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer can help you determine the best way to handle the situation and provide valuable legal advice to you and your child.


Will County Juvenile Crime LawyerWhen a young person is accused of a criminal offense, he or she is often less equipped to deal with the situation than an older person may be. Teenagers and young adults may be more easily influenced by others and may not have a clear understanding of their legal rights. This can be a major problem when a young person is charged with a criminal offense such as theft, assault, illegal possession of a firearm, or drug possession.

Contrary to popular belief, police can and do lie to suspects during interrogations. Police may claim that they have evidence against the suspect or that a friend of the suspect implicated him or her in a crime even if it is not true. Officers may also imply that if the suspect confesses, he or she will be granted leniency or a lighter sentence–even though police officers are not the ones who determine sentencing.

Many people believe that these types of interrogation tactics greatly increase the chances of a false confession. In 2021, Governor JB Pritzker signed a new bill prohibiting deceptive interrogation techniques when dealing with juveniles under the age of 17.


joliet juvenile criminal defense lawyerJuvenile crime has decreased over the past few years, but certain crimes still tend to be associated with teenagers. Each year, according to federal statistics, tens of thousands of juvenile suspects are arrested on suspicion of committing theft or larceny. In the United States, a juvenile is considered to be anyone who is under the age of 18. Although juveniles are typically not tried in the same court as adults, they may face similar charges and penalties that can become very serious rather quickly. Teenagers and young adults who are 18 years or older face adult criminal penalties. 

What is Retail Theft?

Illinois law not only defines the offense of general theft, which occurs when someone unlawfully takes possession or control of property that belongs to someone else, but also the specific offense of retail theft. Retail theft occurs when a person takes possession of, carries away, or transfers any merchandise from a retail establishment with the purpose of depriving the merchant of the benefit or full or partial retail value of the merchandise.

Retail theft is a Class A misdemeanor as long as the retail value of the merchandise that was stolen was no greater than $300. Penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, and/or up to two years of probation. If the retail value of the merchandise exceeds $300, then the charge is increased to a Class 4 felony. Penalties for Class 4 felonies include one to three years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and/or up to 30 months of probation.


joliet juvenile criminal defense lawyerIt is very scary for a parent when their child is charged with a crime, such as underage drinking or retail theft. One of the most frightening aspects is the fact that so many parents are unsure about what to expect, or the penalties their child will face. If your child has been charged with a criminal offense, answers to these common questions about the Illinois juvenile system may help you better understand what can happen.

When Are Minors Tried in Adult Court?

This is perhaps the most common question when a minor is charged with a crime, because a child being tried as an adult is typically the biggest fear for parents. The answer to this question largely depends on the type of criminal offense a minor is accused of committing. Minors aged 17 or younger who are charged with a misdemeanor will likely remain in the juvenile system.

When a minor who is at least 13 years old is accused of committing a felony offense, they may be transferred to adult criminal court, but only after a full hearing on the matter in front a judge. In order for a case to be transferred to adult court, the judge must consider a number of factors, including the seriousness of the alleged offense, the alleged use of a weapon, and the minor’s educational background and history of abuse.


joliet criminal defense lawyerWhen your child gets arrested, it is normal to feel angry and upset. However, being too emotional can make it hard to communicate effectively with your child, the police, and your child’s lawyer. It is important to remain calm so that you can work effectively with your juvenile defense lawyer to obtain the best possible outcome for your child. If you have not worked with a lawyer before, four things you can expect from a juvenile defense lawyer are the protection of your child’s legal rights, simple explanations of the process, a thorough investigation of the circumstances of your child’s case, and appropriate recommendations for your child’s defense.

Protecting Your Child’s Legal Rights

The first thing your child’s lawyer should do is make sure you and your child understand your legal rights within the Illinois juvenile justice system. For example, your child has the same rights as an adult to remain silent and to have a lawyer at their side to counsel them during any questioning by the police or the State’s Attorney. Your minor child also has the right to request that a parent or other adult family member be with them during questioning. Under Illinois law, the police must make a “reasonable attempt” to contact the juvenile’s parent or guardian before questioning the child. 

Understanding Illinois Juvenile Justice Procedures

If this is your child’s first encounter with police, fear of the unknown can be stressful for both you and your child. The lawyer you choose should help ease your fears by providing clear and concise explanations of each step in the Illinois juvenile justice process. You should feel comfortable asking questions of your lawyer at any time, and your attorney should offer information as it arises.


joliet juvenile criminal defense lawyerIf you are a parent, you probably spend a great deal of time and energy worrying about your child and the decisions that they are making. Unfortunately, children and teenagers can sometimes get involved with the wrong crowd and make decisions that lead to formal charges being filed in juvenile court. Young people may behave in reckless or illegal ways because they are trying to fit in, they struggle with an addiction or mental health problem, or for other reasons. If your son or daughter has been accused of a crime, a diversion program may help them avoid jail time and turn their life around.

What is the Purpose of a Diversion or Intervention Program?

Juvenile detention is similar to adult incarceration. Minors who are convicted of a crime are sent to juvenile detention as a punishment for their wrongdoing. Generally speaking, juvenile diversion and intervention programs are an alternative to incarceration which may be more likely to help your child stay out of the criminal justice system in the future.

While the structure of juvenile diversion programs varies from program to program, they all share the same goal: to help juveniles avoid becoming repeat offenders. Intervention and diversion programs can be highly beneficial to young people and their families. Studies have shown that these types of programs are overall much more effective at preventing future illegal activity than incarceration in juvenile detention is.


Will County divorce attorneyIllinois couples who are considering a separation or divorce should also begin the process of evaluating their amount of consumer and other debts. When couples elect to divorce in Illinois, the partners are required to divide both their assets and debts between them. If the matter of debt and asset distribution is placed into the court system, the state’s equitable distribution guidelines will be used.

However, in most cases, these rules are not conducive to the wide variety of financial situations couples may be contending with. Also, it is important to understand that the state’s equitable distribution guidelines do not mean that all debts and assets will be divided equally. Instead, they will be divided in a manner that court deems to be fair and just based on the circumstances of the situation.

Prenuptial Agreements Often Fail to Include Provisions for Debt Accumulated While Married

In many cases, even if the couple had executed a prenuptial agreement that outlines the distribution of separate and marital assets, the issue of debt accumulated during the marriage was not included and planned for in the agreement. Many couples find that the best solution to amicably resolving the issue of debt accumulated during marriage is to work together to pay it off before beginning the divorce process. If this is not possible, each partner must be proactive about making sure that they do not take on more than their fair share of the total debt load.  


Joliet divorce decree modification lawyersThe purpose of divorce is to separate two peoples’ lives that have been intertwined through marriage. When two people get married, they not only combine their personal lives but also their financial lives. In order to divide them again during a divorce, a judge will decide what is a reasonable amount of marital property, spousal support, and/or child support to assign each spouse. These decisions are made based on several factors such as each spouse’s income, their contributions during the marriage, and their respective parental responsibilities. But, what happens if these factors change after the divorce is finalized? In a case like this, a divorced individual may need to seek a divorce decree modification.

Verbal Agreements Are Not Enforceable

Circumstances which would necessitate a divorce modification include substantial changes in income, illnesses, relocation, or remarriage. Generally, courts do not make changes to the original property or debt division, but modifications of spousal support or alimony, child support, and parenting time are more common. Couples who wish to modify the terms of their divorce agreements by way of a verbal agreement should be warned that such verbal agreements are not enforceable by the court. Modifications must be in writing and approved by the court to be effective.  

Motion for Modification

If a former couple agrees to modify terms of the original decree, they should do so in writing and submit it to the court. Sometimes, a hearing is required to ensure that both parties consent to the new terms of the agreement. Once the court is satisfied, the agreement is signed off on by the judge and becomes a legally-binding court order. If one spouse wishes to change the terms of the divorce agreement, but the other does not, a motion for modification must be filed. The two former spouses will need to attend a hearing. The spouse asking for a modification must have evidence to show that the change in circumstances warrants the modification. In matters related to parental responsibilities and parenting time, the person seeking a modification will also need evidence to prove that the change will be in the children’s best interest.


Joliet divorce attorneysSocial media apps like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others are a ubiquitous part of everyday life. Status updates, pictures, and opinions are regularly shared, giving the world a cultivated view into people’s lives. However, during the divorce process, social media posts can receive greater scrutiny as your assets and your behavior could be factored into the final divorce settlement. It would be wise to limit or eliminate your social media presence if you are going through a divorce.

Ways Social Media Could Affect a Divorce

A preoccupation with social media can drive many couples apart. Many studies have shown a link between increased social media use and decreased marriage quality. It is even possible social media played a role in the end of your marriage, as has recently been cited in up to 20 percent of cases by divorce lawyers. You should not let a preoccupation with online posts continue into the divorce proceedings.

Here are some that the process could be impacted by social media posts:


Joliet criminal defense attorneyIf you are charged with crimes related to heroin possession, sales, delivery, or trafficking, the results can be life-shattering. Heroin is considered a Class I drug, meaning that it has a high likelihood for abuse and has no accepted medical use. While punishments for some drugs like marijuana are slowly lifting, heroin-related offenses are still aggressively prosecuted, often resulting in severe penalties including substantial fines and prison time. Working with an experienced drug crimes defense attorney is essential.

Heroin Possession Penalties in Illinois

All heroin-related crimes are charged as a felony. Here are the potential penalties for heroin possession, which increase based on the amount of heroin found:

  • Up to 15 grams is a Class 4 felony with a minimum 1 to 3-year sentence and up to $25,000 in fines.
  • Between 15-100 grams is a Class 1 felony and carries a 4 to 15-year jail sentence with a fine of up to $200,000.
  • Between 100-400 grams is charged as a Class X felony, with a minimum of 6 to 30 years in jail and a fine of up to $200,000.
  • Between 400-900 grams is a Class X felony and carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 8-40 years plus up to $200,000 in fines.
  • If you possess over 900 grams, you will be charged with a Class X felony and face a mandatory minimum prison term of between 10-50 years and a fine of up to $200,000.

For Class X felonies, the fines may be increased to the street value of the drugs if that amount exceeds $200,000. By possessing over 1/2 gram of heroin you could also be charged with distribution and face a minimum of three years in prison. If you were found possessing or distributing heroin within 1500 feet of a park, school, or place of worship, or if you were in possession of a gun when the arrest was made, penalties can increase dramatically.


Joliet parenting time lawyerWhen parents divorce, children will likely share time between the two parents. To avoid having the important decisions related to your children decided by a judge, you and your spouse are encouraged to work together to negotiate a parenting plan, also known as the allocation of parental responsibilities. In addition to deciding how important decisions regarding the children will be made, the plan will also include a parenting time schedule. This schedule will allocate when each parent has physical care of the children, during which time they have the sole responsibility to make routine daily decisions as well as emergency decisions about the children’s health and safety.

Parenting Time Schedule Tips for Illinois Families

When negotiating the parenting time schedule with your spouse, it can be difficult to put the difficulties of the divorce behind you and cooperate. However, it is helpful to take a step back and remember that the schedule should be set up to help your children succeed in their new living environment.

Here are a few aspects to consider when planning a parenting schedule:


Joliet spousal support lawyersDuring an Illinois divorce, the spouses may agree on, or the court may order the payment of spousal support payments, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, from one party to another. These payments are to ensure that the receiving party is financially secure after the divorce is finalized. The amount and length of the payments are based on several factors, including income, length of the marriage, the receiving spouse’s education and training, any impairment to their becoming self-sufficient, and other factors. However, future modifications to the payments are possible.

Changes in Income, Marital Status, and Health Could All Qualify

Once the payment amount and length are set, life goes on and changes can and will happen to both parties. There are several factors that can qualify for a modification to these payments. 

These include:


Will County criminal defense attorneyGovernor J.B. Pritzker has signed a new bill into law that targets organized retail theft in Illinois. The law, known as the INFORM Act, will go into effect on January 1, 2023, and will allow the Illinois attorney general to charge anyone who knowingly participates in an organized retail theft of more than $300 with a Class 3 felony. Offenders who engage in organized theft from multiple establishments could be charged with a Class 2 felony.

The bill comes as a response to increasing retail theft, including by organized crime rings, and as a reversal of a movement in recent years in some jurisdictions to lower the charges of shoplifting and other retail theft crimes. The Cook County State’s Attorney has not yet commented on how the law would impact Cook County. 

The bill will give one state’s attorney jurisdiction when crimes by the same individual or group occur in more than one county. It will create a statewide intelligence platform to help law enforcement track organized groups and provide additional funding for attorneys and investigators. It also focuses on online third-party marketplaces, where much of the stolen merchandise ends up for sale.


Joliet child support lawyerAfter a divorce, it can be tough for a single parent to make ends meet. If you have the bulk of parental responsibilities, you could be depending on the money that your ex-spouse has been ordered to pay in child support to provide your family with food, clothing, and other necessities. If those payments suddenly stop, you could be faced with a real financial struggle. Fortunately, you do have different options to enforce the child support order and get the payments moving again.

Three Steps to Take to Get Your Child Support Payments

There are different steps to take, whether payments are coming in sporadically or not at all, to enforce your court-ordered child support. The most common and effective ways are:

  • Reach out to your ex-spouse directly – If you are still on relatively good terms, you can reach out directly to ask about the payments. While they may try to explain why they have been late, remember, the decision to excuse payments is not yours to make since the payments are through a court order. It is best to keep a record of all communications.
  • Contact DCSS – One of the missions of the Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is to help collect payments for child support orders and collect past due payments. However, given the number of cases and a relatively small staff, this route may take a significant amount of time.
  • Call a lawyer – Speaking with an experienced child support lawyer may be your best option to ensure payments start coming in again. We can help take legal action to ensure payments are restarted and any missing payments are repaid. Parents who are not keeping up with child support payments may be subject to wage garnishment, court-ordered payment plans, and liens against their property. Additional punishments against those who have the ability to pay but are still missing court-ordered payments include a suspended driver’s license, community service, fines, and even jail time.

If your ex-spouse’s financial circumstances have changed due to a lost job or drop in wages, they may try to file for a child support modification request to lower the payments they are responsible for. However, this is handled through a separate request and does not excuse any late or missed payments under the current court order.


Joliet uncontested divorce lawyerFor some couples who are ending their marriage on mutual terms, the divorce process can proceed in a more collaborative manner. You both may agree that it is time to end your marriage, and largely agree on how to divide your assets and responsibilities. This is certainly not the case in many divorces, but for those couples who do, an uncontested divorce may be an option.

Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

Even in an uncontested divorce, a couple must come to a resolution on many key issues, including dividing their marital property and whether one spouse will provide spousal support or alimony to the other. Marital property commonly divided in a divorce can include large assets including retirement savings and the marital home. If the couple has children, they additionally must address the allocation of parental responsibilities, how parenting time will be divided, and how child support payments will be made and at what amount. These do not all have to be decided before you start the process, but it helps when there are no major points of contention.

Here are some benefits to an uncontested divorce:


Will County family law attorneyLosing your job or having your salary cut can present you with several financial challenges. If you have been through a divorce and are providing child support, you may be wondering how you will keep your required payments going. When tough times hit, you do have the option to modify your monthly payments to keep providing for your children while adjusting to your new situation. Working with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you through the modification process is helpful.

Child Support Payment Calculations in Illinois

After a divorce, both parents are responsible for providing for their children. This includes their basic needs like food, housing, health, clothing, and education. During the divorce process, formulas are used to calculate how much each spouse should be providing for child support. The level for each parent is determined by combining their total net income and allocating an equitable share to each parent. While they are primarily based on each spouse’s income at the time, they also consider the allocation of parental responsibilities, the number of children, the previous standard of living before the divorce, and the needs of the children. The parent who spends more time and money caring for the children, known as the custodial parent, will typically receive monthly payments from the non-custodial parent.

Seeking a Child Support Modification

Illinois law allows child support payments to be modified when either spouse has a significant change in income. This includes the loss of a job or an involuntary reduction in salary. You will have to certify your new income, including unemployment benefits and your monthly expenses, with the court. Based on the new calculations, the court may grant a reduction in your required monthly payments. The new payments can also be applied retroactively based on the date you applied for the modification. However, you must continue making payments at the current level until the modification is approved or risk being fined.


Will County criminal defense attorneysIt probably comes as no surprise that retail theft is taken seriously by retailers and law enforcement in Illinois. To protect merchandise at stores and retailers, Illinois has some of the strictest penalties for shoplifting in the country. While you may commonly think of shoplifting as sneaking an item out of a store in a pocket or under a coat, Illinois law specifies a number of actions that constitute retail theft or shoplifting.

Retail Theft in Illinois

Under Illinois law, the following actions constitute shoplifting or retail theft:

  • Sneaking merchandise out of a store without paying for it. This is a classic example of shoplifting.
  • Changing the price tag or label of an item to make it appear to cost less than it should.
  • Hiding merchandise in other merchandise in order to sneak it out of the store.
  • Under-ringing an item at a register. This charge had been more commonly used against store employees when buying items for themselves or for their friends or acquaintances. However, it is also becoming more common with the advent of self-checkout lines in grocery stores and other retailers
  • Removing a shopping cart from the property of a store and not returning it.
  • Knowingly deceiving a store about the ownership of merchandise. This can include claiming you’ve already purchased an item if it has in fact not been paid for.
  • Using or possessing a theft detection shielding device or a tool to remove theft detection devices. These can include a laminated or coated bag or another device used to shield merchandise from being detected by a store’s theft sensors.
  • Not returning a leased item to a store within the agreed-upon lease term and not paying the full price for taking possession of the item.

Most minor retail theft charges, typically those under $300, are prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. More serious charges, up to a Class 3 felony can be charged under certain circumstances. These include previous convictions for shoplifting or other crimes, use of an emergency exit during the shoplifting, or shoplifting a total value of merchandise of over $300 or motor fuel of over $150. The value of items taken can quickly add up, meaning that felony charges are more likely than you might think.


Joliet divorce lawyerDisagreements over finances are one of the leading causes of divorce in the United States. Animosity can only grow if the couple is heading down the road to divorce and one spouse is intentionally spending the couple’s assets wastefully. This practice, known as dissipation, can be considered by the court during the divorce process and impact the final order from the judge.

Dissipation in Illinois Divorce Cases

Illinois is an equitable distribution state for dividing marital assets during a divorce. Rather than splitting a couple’s assets evenly, each spouse will receive the amount that the court decides is fair based on a number of factors. When a spouse is accused of dissipation, they may be trying to waste a portion of the existing marital assets before the division has been finalized in order to deprive the other spouse of that asset. The action does not need to occur during the divorce process but during the time when the marriage has undergone “an irretrievable breakdown.” While it is difficult to stop such spiteful behavior before it occurs, the court can consider those actions when making their final divorce order.

Common Types of Dissipation

Some of the most common ways that a spouse might dissipate marital assets include, but are not limited to:


joliet divorce lawyerAs divorce after the age of 50 becomes more common, it is becoming clear that the issues facing couples who split later in life may be different from those whose divorce occurs in their twenties, thirties, or forties. Child custody and child support are less likely to be issues, unlike if you had divorced when your kids were younger. However, new challenges on how to divide marital assets, handle spousal support, and plan for retirement savings and social security are more common.

Three Common Issues When Couples Divorce Near Retirement

  • Spousal maintenance or alimony – While alimony itself is not an uncommon issue to tackle during a divorce, there are additional challenges for older individuals. If one of the spouses has limited or no recent work experience, it can be more difficult to get the opportunities to learn new skills or receive training to start or restart a career. This has a bigger influence on the calculation of spousal maintenance.

  • Division of marital property – Like spousal maintenance, dividing marital property in a gray divorce. While you may have accumulated more assets by this stage in your life, you also have less time to save more for the future. This puts more emphasis on how existing property is divided.

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