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Crystal Lake juvenile defense lawyerYour teen told you they were out with friends—perhaps friends that you have met dozens of times and you know their parents. Then, you get a phone call. At first, you think it is a joke or a prank, but the realization sets in that your child has been arrested for shoplifting, but the authorities are letting you take them home for now. What does that mean? The questions begin spinning through your mind, from how you will handle the situation as a parent to how this affects college applications and the future. The good news is that you are not alone; we are here to help.

Why Was My Child Released to Me?

Many juvenile shoplifting situations do not result in the young person being taken to jail. Instead, the police will often release the suspect to the custody of his or her parents after taking a report from the management at the store where the incident allegedly occurred. In the days and weeks that follow, you will receive further information about the case in the mail, including the dates and times of required court appearances. Your child must show up for these, and it is your responsibility to ensure that he or she does so.  Failure to appear will result in a warrant being put out for your child’s arrest and potentially other charges. You can assist your child by watching the mailbox and following up with the court.

What Else Can I Do to Help My Child?

It is common for parents to fluctuate between wanting to hold their children accountable for their bad decisions and wanting to protect them from the criminal consequences. A few helpful tips for parents wanting to achieve the best possible outcome in this awkward situation include:

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Crystal Lake burn injury lawyerEach year in the United States, approximately 210,000 vehicle fires occur on average, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. These fires claim hundreds of lives, injure thousands more, and cause nearly $2 billion in property damage.  

These disturbing numbers raise grave concerns about the severity, scope of injuries, and costs when victims suffer serious injuries or death in car fires. Not only is the permanent scarring from burns a constant reminder, but the pain endured, the medical care required, and the associated costs can be unimaginable.

Car Crashes and Burns in Illinois Accidents

A car accident alone is a terrifying experience, but the potential for sustaining serious injuries is worse. When considering the working parts of a vehicle, one can begin to understand how many different scenarios could play out and cause injury to an occupant. If your car ignites after an accident, your first priority should be to safely get out of a burning vehicle. Unfortunately, unpredictable and fast-moving fires can cause injuries such as:

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McHenry County divorce lawyerMovies and pop culture would have you believe that spousal support is almost always granted to one spouse—usually the wife—during a divorce. However, this is not always the case. There are many divorce cases in Illinois where maintenance is deemed unnecessary for a variety of reasons. If you are in the process of getting divorced, it is important that you understand the reality surrounding spousal support as it is handled under Illinois law. 

Factors Considered in Awarding Spousal Support in Illinois

Illinois law encourages divorcing spouses to reach their own agreement regarding all of the issues of their divorce, including arrangements for spousal support, whenever possible. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, the matter will be left up to the court to decide.

In order to determine whether support is appropriate or not, a court must consider a list of many different factors. Some of the relevant considerations include:

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McHenry County traffic defense lawyerBy now, we have all seen and heard the campaigns encouraging us to put our phones down while driving. Over the last few years, safety groups and even the cell service carriers themselves have consistently reminded drivers to stop texting while driving. Unfortunately, the public does not seem to be heeding these warnings. A law that was passed last year, however, made it possible for Illinois drivers to lose their driving privileges for illegally using their phones while driving. If you are a person who struggles to put your phone down behind the wheel, you should know the potential risks of such behavior.

Disappointing Texting and Driving Statistics

State Farm, an insurance industry leader, recently conducted a survey to gauge attitudes among the general public about using a cell phone while driving. The results of the survey suggested that most people realize the dangers, but far too many drivers use their phones anyway. Over 80 percent of respondents reported that they knew that using a handheld cell phone to make or receive calls was dangerous, but fully one-half of respondents acknowledged they used a handheld device for calls while driving. Nearly all of the survey’s participants—95 percent—said they knew that texting while driving was dangerous and distracting, but more than one-third—35 percent—said they text in spite of the dangers.

In the state of Illinois, it is and has been against the law to use a cell phone or another electronic device to send and receive messages, use apps, and access internet sites while driving. Talking on a cell phone without using a speakerphone or a hands-free function is also illegal. The penalty for a first-time violation is a fine of $75, and a second offense will result in a fine of $100. The fine increases to $125 for a third violation, and a fourth or subsequent offense is punishable by a fine of $150.

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McHenry County car accident attorneyHave you or a loved one been hurt in a situation where another car or truck collided with your vehicle? If so, would you really call the situation an “accident?” It is highly unlikely that the driver hit your car on purpose, so it might be an accident in that sense, but when a wreck occurs, intent and fault are two vastly different ideas. In fact, many people believe that using the word “accident” actually benefits insurance companies and lawyers who defend at-fault drivers. With this in mind, there are national efforts in motion to reduce the use of the word “accident” and to raise awareness regarding how the term can be misleading.

Making Assumptions Subconsciously

In recent years, several advocacy groups have come together to create a national campaign that discourages the word “accident” in car crash cases. Starting in 2015, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets launched an online educational program and pledge drive intended to eliminate assumptions caused by using “accident.” According to Amy Cohen, who founded Families for Safe Streets after her son was hit by a car and killed in 2013, her son and others like him did not die in accidents. “An ‘accident,’” she maintains, “implies that nothing could have been done to prevent their deaths.”

Proponents of the terminology shift believe that calling a crash an accident gives the subconscious impression that nobody bears specific responsibility for the situation. In reality, most crashes are caused by someone’s actions, inaction, or negligence, which means that someone can and generally should be held responsible.

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