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What Should I Do If I Am Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?In recent years, more attention has been given to certain social issues such as intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. This movement has brought about awareness of these issues and has created a mostly positive change in the culture of the country. There are people, however, who believe that the current culture allows any allegations of such misconduct to be taken at face value, which can end up convicting those accused of domestic violence, regardless of whether or not they actually committed the crime.

Being falsely accused of any crime can be problematic, but being falsely accused of committing a crime like domestic violence can be devastating. Such an allegation can cause issues in your personal relationships with your friends and family and could even negatively impact future educational or career opportunities. Being falsely accused of domestic violence requires swift and immediate action.

Remember Your Right to Remain Silent

If you have been arrested because of a domestic violence allegation, it is important to remember that you have the constitutional right to remain silent. After you are arrested, the cops will probably try to have a conversation with you in the hopes that you will give up information about what happened. If this happens, you should inform the officer that you do not want to speak with him or her until you have your attorney present.

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What Constitutes a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Illinois?Being charged with disorderly conduct can be a frightening experience. Unless you have had prior contact with the criminal justice system, you probably do not know what you should expect. Disorderly conduct can be charged as either a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge, depending on the situation and what the actual act of disorderly conduct was. If you have been accused of disorderly conduct, an Illinois criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the situation.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

In the state of Illinois, disorderly conduct is a rather vague crime. Instead of having a specific situation or set of actions outlined in the disorderly conduct law, the law is written to allow judges to determine what they believe to be disorderly conduct.

The disorderly conduct statute contains 12 situations in which a person could be charged with disorderly conduct. The first and most common way a person can be charged with disorderly conduct is by alarming or disturbing other people and provoking a breach of the peace. Other situations in which a person could be charged with disorderly conduct include:

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Can I Pursue a Workers’ Compensation Claim if I Get Sick While On the Job?Most people have heard of workers' compensation. All employers in the state of Illinois are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that helps take care of employees if they are injured on the job. However, accidents are not the only way you can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In some circumstances, you can also file a claim under the Illinois Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act if you have contracted an illness or have become sick as a result of your work environment.

What Diseases Qualify for a Claim?

There are a variety of situations in which you may be eligible to claim compensation through the Illinois Workers’ Occupational Disease Act. However, there are no specific diseases or conditions listed that qualify. Rather, the Act states that any employee is eligible if they suffer disablement, impairment, disfigurement, or death and such injury is caused by a disease, “arising out of and in the course of his or her employment.” The Act also states that any pre-existing condition that is aggravated because of a person’s employment may also be covered. Common diseases and illnesses that may be covered under the Act can include:

  • Asthma
  • Hearing loss
  • HIV
  • Tuberculosis
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Dermatitis

What Benefits Can Be Recovered?

If a person is suffering from an occupational disease, they must file their claim within a specific period of time in order for it to be valid. In most cases, a claim must be filed within two years from the last day that the employee was exposed to the condition that caused the illness. If the claim is found to be valid, the employee or his or her family members can claim benefits that may or may not include:

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Can I Face DUI Charges Even if My BAC was Below the Legal Limit?Being pulled over on suspicion of DUI can be a nerve-wracking experience for many. Even if you were pulled over for something unrelated to your driving, police officers are always looking for signs of impairment behind the wheel. If the police officer has any reason to suspect that you have been drinking or are impaired in any way, they will likely ask you to step out of the vehicle to perform sobriety tests. If you fail the sobriety tests, you will be arrested. Contrary to what some people may believe, you can actually fail a sobriety test even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit. DUI charges are serious in any capacity, so avoiding a conviction is essential.

DUI, BAC’s and Legal Limits

In almost every state in the United States, the legal limit for your BAC while you are driving is 0.08. If your BAC is over 0.08, you are considered to be legally intoxicated. However, most DUI laws are crafted to be open-ended in defining what constitutes a DUI charge. For example, in Illinois, the law states that a person is prohibited from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle if their BAC is 0.08 or more. However, the law also states a person commits a DUI if they are driving a vehicle “under the influence of alcohol.” This means that you do not have to have a BAC of 0.08 or more to be charged with a DUI.

Drug-Impaired Driving

In addition to alcohol, Illinois’ DUI laws also deal with drug-impaired driving. The law states that any person caught driving with a drug, substance, or intoxicating compound – whether legal or illegal – in their body can be charged with a DUI. The only drug, however, that has a limit set on it is THC, the compound found in marijuana. In Illinois, the legal limit for THC concentration is 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of another bodily substance. Like alcohol, you can also be charged with DUI if you were operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, even if your THC level was under the legal limit

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What Are Some Common Injuries After an Illinois Motorcycle Accident?Riding a motorcycle is a popular form of transportation for many Americans, especially as the weather gets warmer. Unfortunately, with the rising temperatures, traffic fatalities also tend to rise, especially for motorcyclists. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 5,100 motorcyclists killed from traffic crashes in 2017, with thousands more who suffered injuries. Even in motorcycle crashes that do not involve fatalities, the injuries can be very serious and can have a lifelong impact on the victim.

Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

There is a wide range of injuries that could occur after a motorcycle accident. The type and severity of injuries that occur depend on the circumstances of the accident, such as what the motorcyclist was wearing at the time of the accident, whether or not he or she was wearing a helmet and the type of crash that occurred. In many cases, injuries are more severe if the motorcyclist was not wearing protective gear when they got into the accident. Here are a few common motorcycle accident injuries:

  1. Broken Bones: Many times, motor vehicle accidents involve broken bones. In the case of motorcycle accidents, broken bones are common because the motorcyclist has little to nothing to protect themselves during the accident. Broken bones are often easy to identify because a person’s movement is typically limited or comes with intense pain if a bone is broken.
  2. Road Rash: Another rather common motorcycle accident injury is called road rash. This type of injury is a skin abrasion that occurs when a person’s skin comes into contact with the asphalt and is scraped off. Road rash can occur in degrees of severity and appears in many motorcycle accidents, from minor to severe crashes.
  3. Head Injuries: Head injuries are always possible from a motorcycle accident because of the exposed nature of a motorcycle. Other passenger vehicles provide protection from the outside because of the metal frame surrounding the occupants. Motorcyclists do not have such protection and can suffer head injuries if they are jostled around or if their head comes into contact with something else. Concussions are common with and without helmets, though the lack of a helmet often means head injuries are much more serious and could even be life-threatening.

Contact a Tinley Park, IL, Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney Today

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you should speak immediately with a skilled Cook County motorcycle accident injury lawyer. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we understand how injuries from an accident could affect you for the rest of your life. Our team of skilled lawyers is here to help you get the compensation you deserve for the injuries that have occurred to you. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 708-942-8400.

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How Can I Tell If I Got Whiplash From My Illinois Car Accident?If you drive a vehicle, there is a good chance that you will get into a minor accident at some point during your life. Many times these minor accidents, or fender benders, occur because someone was not paying full attention to the road. Whether or not the accident is your fault, you could suffer injuries ranging from bruises to something like whiplash. Though it may seem like a relatively minor injury compared to what some other car accident victims suffer, whiplash can be extremely painful and disruptive to your daily life. If you have been in a car accident, you should be aware of the signs of whiplash and seek medical attention if necessary.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury that occurs to the neck when the head is forcefully thrown back and forth. The movement the head takes is often one of a cracking whip, which is why it is aptly referred to as whiplash. This can cause damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and discs that are in your neck. Whiplash injuries are some of the most common injuries to occur during a car accident – especially rear-end car accidents. However, whiplash can also occur during other situations, such as a sports accident or physical altercations.

Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury

Symptoms of a whiplash injury typically appear within 24 hours after the injury, but in some cases, symptoms could delay for a couple of days. Signs that a person has whiplash commonly include:

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When Is an Illinois DUI Charged as a Felony?The state of Illinois is relatively strict when it comes to DUI offenders and there are many consequences that come with a DUI conviction. Even for a first-time DUI conviction, you face jail time, monetary fines, and a loss of your driving privileges for at least a year. Most DUI offenses are charged as a misdemeanor crime, but it does not take much to elevate the charge to a felony crime. Being convicted of a felony crime carries more consequences than a simple misdemeanor, which is why it is important to speak with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney if you face charges.

First and Second DUI Convictions

When it comes to basic DUI’s, both first and second convictions are considered to be misdemeanor charges. Both are charged as Class A misdemeanors, which carry possible jail time of up to one year, up to $2,500 in fines or a combination of both. A first or second DUI will not be charged as a felony crime unless another factor was present. For example, if you were caught with a child in the vehicle while you were driving under the influence and the child suffered injuries from a crash, you will be charged with a Class 4 felony.

Aggravated DUI Convictions

Third and subsequent DUI offenses are automatically classified as a felony or aggravated DUI. Third offense and fourth offense DUI’s are charged as Class 2 felonies, which carry a possible sentence of three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Consequences can increase all the way to a Class X felony for a sixth or subsequent conviction, which means you face six to 60 years in prison.

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Understanding Common Causes for Car Accidents in the United StatesMany Americans rely on motor vehicles being their primary form of daily transportation to get to where they need to go. Unfortunately, this means it is not unusual for car accidents to occur every once in a while. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were estimated to be more than 6.7 million traffic crashes that were reported to police in 2018. Around 71 percent of traffic crashes were property damage only, but there were still many crashes that resulted in bodily injury. More than 2.7 million people were injured in traffic crashes and nearly 37,000 people were killed.

These numbers have decreased since the 80s and 90s due to an increase in safety education, safety features of vehicles, and advertising campaigns. Even so, agencies like the NHTSA strive to understand the common causes of car accidents so that they can continue to educate people and reduce the number of traffic crashes.

Alcohol-Impaired Driving

In 2018, there were more than 10,000 fatalities attributed to alcohol-impaired driving alone. This amounts to around 29 percent or nearly a third of all traffic fatalities. Because of the deadliness of drunk driving, many campaigns over the years have been centered around not drinking and driving, alternatives to drinking and driving, and the severity of the consequences if you do. Alcohol-related driving accidents are often serious and can also result in extreme bodily injury and property damage. 

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How is Permanent Partial Disability Workers’ Compensation Calculated in Illinois?Each year, there are an estimated 200,000 work-related accidents that occur in Illinois, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Though most of these incidents do not result in a workers’ compensation claim, there are still quite a few claims filed each year. The latest information available from the Commission states that there were more than 38,000 workers’ compensation claims filed with the Commission in 2017. There are different types of workers’ compensation benefits that can be awarded to a worker, one of them being permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits that kick in when an employee is permanently injured.

What is Permanent Partial Disability?

According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, PPD benefits can be awarded to an employee who experiences:

  • Complete or partial loss of a part of the body
  • Complete or partial loss of use of part of the body; or
  • Partial loss of use of the body as a whole

Technically, there is no specific definition of “loss of use” that is determined by law, but it typically means that a person is unable to do things that they were able to do before the injury. To receive PPD benefits, you have to first reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) as determined by a doctor.

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What Are My Rights If I Am Pulled Over During An Illinois Traffic Stop?Traffic stops are one of the most common ways that police come into contact with the general public. According to data from the Stanford Open Policing Project, there were more than 12.7 million traffic stops conducted by state police in Illinois between 2011 and 2017. There are dozens of reasons why a police officer would want to pull you over. Maybe your tail light is out or you forgot to signal a lane change. Maybe the officer noticed that you were on your cell phone while you were driving. Maybe the officer suspects you are driving under the influence because your driving was erratic. Whatever the reason, there are certain rights that you have when you are pulled over by police.

Police Must Have Reasonable Suspicion

If an officer pulls you over, they must have a reason for doing so. It is not lawful for an officer to perform a traffic stop for no reason. It is a violation of your Constitutional rights if they perform a stop without having reasonable suspicion that you were committing a crime.

You Do Not Have to Offer Up Information

When you are pulled over, the police officer will almost always ask for your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. This is information that you are legally required to give to the officer if he or she asks for it. During the stop, the police may also ask you other questions, such as where you are going to or coming from or if you have had anything to drink that night. These are questions that you do not – and should not – answer. Offering up any sort of information could be used against you later.

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What Are My Options For Driving After an Illinois DUI Arrest?If you are convicted of driving under the influence in Illinois, you will lose your driving privileges. In fact, you can lose your driving privileges before you are convicted if you fail a chemical sobriety test by having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) greater than 0.08 or if you refuse to take the test during your arrest. This is called the statutory summary suspension and is an administrative driver’s license revocation that is separate from your criminal case. The amount of time that your license is suspended for depends on the nature of your arrest. For example, if you refuse to take a chemical test, your license will be suspended for longer than if you had simply just failed the test.

The Illinois Secretary of State is the governing body that is responsible for the administrative driver’s license revocations. The Secretary of State understands that not being able to drive can create hardship for some people, which is why they have provided a way to allow those with suspended licenses to still be able to drive. If your license is suspended because of a DUI charge, you have two options: a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP) or a restricted driving permit (RPD).

Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP)

For most first-time DUI offenders, an MDDP is the favorable option. To receive an MDDP, you must have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed onto your vehicle. A BAIID is a device that requires you to provide a breath sample before you can start your vehicle and periodically while you are driving. An MDDP allows you to drive anywhere at any time – as long as you are driving a vehicle that has a BAIID equipped. Only people without a previous DUI conviction are eligible to receive an MDDP, but not those who are under the age of 18 or caused death or great bodily harm during the DUI.

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Understanding Marijuana DUI Charges in IllinoisMany states across the country have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, with Illinois following suit. For Illinois, the beginning of the year brought the legalization of recreational marijuana, but it also brought concerns about marijuana-related DUI’s. Illinois now permits adults who are age 21 or older to purchase and consume cannabis, though the drug still remains highly controlled. Adults are only permitted to purchase and possess certain amounts of marijuana and are only permitted to ingest the drug in certain places. Like alcohol users, marijuana users are subject to charges if they are caught driving while under the influence.

Illinois’ Marijuana DUI Laws

The 2020 Illinois DUI Factbook states that drivers in Illinois are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs such as cannabis, whether it was used for medical or recreational purposes. Like alcohol, the state has placed a limit for what is considered to be a legal amount of THC (the intoxicating compound in marijuana) in a driver’s blood. While the intoxication limit for alcohol is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, the intoxication limit for THC is no more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of another bodily substance.

The issue with marijuana-related DUI’s is that they are not as clear cut as alcohol-related DUI’s. One of the reasons why marijuana-related DUI’s are a bit of a gray area is because there is no 100 percent accurate way of determining how intoxicated a person is when under the influence of cannabis. When it comes to alcohol, most people are impaired when their BAC is 0.08 or more. When it comes to the legal THC limit, some people can feel intoxicated with less than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood, while other people may sincerely not be intoxicated with more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood. There is also the issue that traces of THC remain in a person’s body for weeks after using marijuana.

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What to Do If in a Car Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?Getting into any type of car accident can be a very unpleasant experience. Depending on the situation, you could be facing extensive damage to your vehicle or even serious injuries to yourself or your passengers. If you are in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured, the complexity of your situation increases quite a bit. Every driver in the state of Illinois is required to have a certain amount of coverage for collisions that are their fault, but not every driver obeys that rule. According to a 2017 study from the Insurance Information Institute, around 13 percent of drivers in the United States did not have any type of car insurance. This can be problematic for everyone involved in an accident, especially if you are a victim.

Dealing With an Accident With an Uninsured Driver

Usually, when you are in a car accident, the insurance company of the driver who is found to be at fault pays for the costs associated with the accident. When you are in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, it can become a problem when trying to get your own insurance company to pay for damages. Even if a driver does have insurance, they may not have the right amount of insurance or enough to cover the costs of the damages. If you have been in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. You Should Immediately Call Emergency Services: Obviously, you should call 911 if anyone involved in the accident is seriously injured. However, it is always a good idea to call the police to the scene – even if there were no injuries – so that the accident can have an official record.
  2. Get the Other Driver’s Contact Information: If the motorist stops after the accident, you should ask them for their insurance information. They may or may not tell you if they have insurance, but even if they do not, you should get their contact information such as their name, address and phone number.
  3. Begin Gathering Evidence: This step can be crucial in any claim that involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist. You should collect as much evidence as you can when you are still at the scene of the accident. Try to take photos of any obvious injuries to yourself or others, any damage to your vehicles, their license plate number and vehicle, and the surrounding area.
  4. Consult with an Attorney Before Talking to Your Insurance Company: Before you contact your insurance company, you should contact an attorney. Your attorney will be able to provide you with all of the available options for obtaining compensation after your car accident, even if there was an uninsured or underinsured motorist involved.

Our Cook County Car Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve

Getting into a car accident can be devastating, but things can be even more stressful when the other driver involved in the accident does not have insurance to cover your damages. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we know how difficult it can be to obtain compensation for your injuries, even in situations in which the other driver does have insurance. Our skilled Tinley Park, IL, car accident injury attorneys will work with you and your insurance company to help you get the most out of your claim. Call our office today at 708-942-8400  to schedule a free consultation.

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How Does the Use of Weapons Change Illinois Assault and Battery Charges?Some of the most serious types of crimes are those that involve harming another person in some way, such as assault or battery. Some people may think they mean the same thing, but they are actually two different charges that are often committed together. As with many other crimes, assault and battery charges can change in severity depending on whether or not weapons were used in the commission of the crime. In almost all cases that involve the use of a weapon during an assault or battery, the crime is considered to be “aggravated” and the consequences are increased.

Weapons and Aggravated Assault

Assault occurs when you do something that causes another person to believe that you will physically harm them. When the assault involves the use of a weapon, this is considered an aggravated assault. If you use a weapon during the assault and you do not discharge that weapon, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. If you do discharge the weapon, you will be charged with a Class 4 felony, which can result in up to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

Weapons and Aggravated Battery

Battery occurs when you actually cause bodily harm to another person or you make physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature. When battery involves the use of a weapon, it is considered to be aggravated battery. If you use a firearm during the battery, you will be charged with the most serious of felonies, a Class X felony. Depending on the circumstances, you could face up to 60 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. However, if you used a weapon other than a firearm during the battery, you will be charged with a Class 3 felony, which carries up to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

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What is the Difference Between Burglary, Theft, and Robbery?Most of us know that it is wrong to take something from someone without asking. Not only is it not nice, but it is also illegal. You have heard the terms “theft,” “robbery,” and “burglary” before, but many people use them interchangeably. In reality, these words are three different things in the legal world. They each have their own definitions and their own punishments if you are convicted of them. While these three crimes all do involve the unlawful taking of property, the differences lie in the circumstances around how the property was taken.

Theft

General theft is a crime that occurs when a person obtains control over property without the authorization of that property’s owner. Theft crimes vary in seriousness depending on the value of the property taken and where it was taken from. For example, property that was taken that is valued at less than $500 is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. If that property was taken from a place of worship or belonged to the government, the crime is elevated to a Class 4 felony. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, theft can carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

Robbery

Robbery is similar to theft but involves the taking of property from a person using force or the threat of force. Robbery can be charged as up to a Class 1 felony, which carries as long as 15 years in prison and as much as $25,000 in fines. Armed robbery occurs when a person commits robbery and uses or is armed with a dangerous weapon or firearm. Armed robbery is charged as a Class X felony, meaning the person faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

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Understanding Personal Injury Claims for Catastrophic InjuriesSuffering an injury is a stressful experience, no matter the injury you have sustained. Many everyday situations such as car accidents, work accidents or even freak accidents can cause multiple types of injuries, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to more severe injuries such as brain or spinal injuries. Whatever the accident, there is always the risk of a more serious, catastrophic injury, which is much more consequential than something you will recover from completely. Depending on the situation, sustaining a catastrophic injury may allow you to recover compensation from the responsible parties.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

The definition of a catastrophic injury varies depending on the source you are getting your information from. For the most part, catastrophic injuries can be considered injuries that have serious consequences and permanently alter the person’s life or quality of life. Examples of catastrophic injuries can include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations or loss of limb
  • Crush injuries
  • Severe burn injuries

What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered?

Most of the time, if you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you will need medical care or specialized care for an extended period of time. In some cases, you may need specialized care for the rest of your life. Also, in many catastrophic injury cases, your ability to work is diminished or taken away completely. Here are a few examples of costs and the types of compensation you can recover by filing a lawsuit for a catastrophic injury:

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Important Things You Should Know About Carrying a Concealed Weapon in IllinoisThe right to own firearms is part of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution and cannot be taken away by the government. However, lawmakers in each state have the authority to make their own laws pertaining to the use, sale, distribution, and ownership of firearms and to legally restrict certain people from owning one. In Illinois, owning a firearm is legal and even carrying a concealed firearm can be legal. If you are a firearm owner, there are a few things you should know about carrying a concealed weapon in Illinois.

You Must Possess the Proper Licensure

In the state of Illinois, if you want to carry a concealed weapon with you, you must first obtain both a firearm owner identification (FOID) card and a concealed carry license (CCL). Everyone in the state who owns a firearm must possess a FOID card, while only those who wish to carry a concealed weapon must also have a CCL. To be eligible for a CCL, there are a variety of requirements, such as:

  • Possessing a current and valid FOID card
  • Not being convicted of more than two DUI charges or misdemeanor or felony charges involving violence
  • Successfully completing the required firearms training

Carrying a concealed weapon without having a CCL or having it in your possession can result in serious criminal charges.

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How Do Consequences Change for DUI If There Is a Child in the Vehicle?If you have a child, you know that your first priority is making sure they are safe at all times. Even though we strive to keep our children out of harm’s way, sometimes things happen that cause our children to be put in danger, whether it is our fault or not. Having a child in the vehicle when you are arrested for driving under the influence is a serious situation. Not only do you face consequences if convicted for driving while under the influence, but that could be just the beginning of your worries. Illinois law has provisions for what happens when a person is arrested and convicted of DUI when there is a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle with them.

Consequences for First-Offense DUI with a Child in the Vehicle

Consequences of being convicted of a DUI for a first offense can vary depending on the judge, but there is a good chance that you can receive court supervision as a sentence, which could keep a conviction off your criminal record. As long as you follow the rules of your court supervision, which typically include attending drug/alcohol counseling and/or community service, your case will be dismissed at the end of the supervision period. However, if a child was with you in your car during your first DUI, you face a minimum fine of $1,000 and at least 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.

Consequences of Felony DUI with a Child in the Vehicle

There are some situations in which you could be charged with a felony because you were carrying a child in the vehicle when you were arrested for DUI. If you got into a car crash while driving under the influence and a child was injured, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony, which comes with the possibility of up to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. In addition to that, you face a mandatory fine of $2,500 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children. Penalties increase for second or subsequent offenses.

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Can I File a Lawsuit if I Get Sick from Eating a Food Product?When you purchase food at a restaurant or grocery store, you should be able to expect that the product is safe to eat. Even though there are stringent inspection processes for food in the United States, sometimes there is still food on the market that can pose a health threat to those who consume it. There are hundreds of different types of foodborne diseases that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites, most of which can be prevented through proper storage, handling and cooking. If you get sick from consuming food from a restaurant or grocery store, you may be able to hold the manufacturer or supplier responsible.

Recent Listeria Outbreak Prompts Recall

Last week, Almark Foods issued a recall on all of its hard-boiled egg products over concerns of listeria contamination. The Food and Drug Administration linked the hard-boiled egg products that were produced from the company’s Gainesville, Georgia, plant with a listeria outbreak that affected people from five different states and killed one person in Texas. The egg products were sold under various brand names and at various retailers, including Trader Joe’s, Giant Eagle, Kroger, and Walmart.

What is Listeria?

Listeria is a foodborne illness that can affect anyone but can be particularly severe in newborns, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. The symptoms of listeria vary depending on the person and the part of the body that is affected. In adults who are over the age of 65, listeria can cause infections in the bloodstream and brain. Women who are pregnant with a listeria infection often experience flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle ache, but their babies can get extremely sick and even miscarry or die at birth.

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Three Things You Should Know About Your Miranda RightsIf you have ever seen any of the various law enforcement shows on TV, you have probably at least heard of your Miranda rights. The 1966 Supreme Court case Arizona v. Miranda further enforced that a police officer is required to notify you of your constitutional rights when you have been taken into custody. The case involved a young man, Ernesto Miranda, who was a suspect for rape and kidnapping. Before police informed him that he had a right to an attorney and the right to remain silent, he confessed to the crimes. This was a landmark case in the Supreme Court that is still upheld today and affects the way all criminal cases take place now. Here are a few things you should know about your Miranda rights:

  1. Your Miranda Rights Are Your Constitutional Rights: The U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens certain rights, some of which are the basis of your Miranda rights. You always have the right to remain silent, the right against self-incrimination and the right to seek legal representation. There is no situation in which you do not have the freedom to exercise your Miranda rights. 
  2. The Police Are Legally Required To Inform You of Your Rights: This is one of the areas that the general public is often misinformed on. Police are required to inform you of your Miranda rights, but only after you have been arrested and before you are questioned. After they read you your rights, they must also get a response from you that you have acknowledged that you were read your rights and you understand them.
  3. Any Information Gathered Before You Are Read Your Rights Might Be Inadmissible as Evidence: If police begin to question you prior to your arrest and you offer up information, this can be used against you if you are prosecuted. However, if you have been arrested and you were not read your rights, any information that is gathered from you will most likely be inadmissible as evidence in court. Likewise, if a police officer uses force to get information from you, this will also be inadmissible as evidence.

Contact a Tinley Park, IL, Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away

Your Miranda rights are rights that are given to you by the U.S. Constitution. If you are taken into police custody or you are questioned by police, you have the right to request legal representation from a skilled Cook County criminal defense lawyer. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you exercise your rights and provide you with the legal advice that you are entitled to. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation. 

Sources:

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National Rifle Association Illinois State Bar Association Chicago Bar Association Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Cook County Bar Association National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys The John Marshall Law School Hellenic Bar Association Will County Bar Association National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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