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McHenry County criminal defense lawyerPolice interactions can make many people incredibly nervous – even if they have done nothing wrong. This may be a result of the many instances of police brutality that can be seen on the news or for more personal reasons. However, interacting with the police does not have to be a stressful ordeal. If you are ever stopped by police, it is important that you treat the officers with respect while simultaneously protecting your own rights. You should know how to safely interact with police and what to do if you have been arrested and accused of a crime.  

Do Not Give Police Officers a Reason to Be on the Defensive  

Police officers risk their lives every day in the course of their duties. Many officers have had co-workers or friends who have been injured or even killed while performing routine responsibilities such as traffic stops. One way you can make your police interaction less stressful for all parties involved is by following certain procedures designed to keep you and the officer safe. If you are pulled over by police, make sure you do the following: 

  • Keep your hands where officers can see them and do not make sudden or unexpected movements.

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Crystal Lake personal injury lawyerAlthough all motorists have a legal duty to drive in a safe manner, truck drivers have an even greater responsibility on the road. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer combination can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. At this size, a truck can cause devastating damage. If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, you may have considerable medical bills and other costs caused by the accident. You may also be wondering who is at fault for the damages you suffered.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident Involving a Commercial Truck

Truck accident liability may lie with a number of different parties depending on the circumstances of the accident, including the following:

  • Truck Driver or Trucking Company: Sometimes, fault lies with the truck driver himself or herself. If a truck driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, violating traffic laws, or was otherwise driving in a negligent or reckless manner, the driver or the trucking company he or she works for may be liable for damages.

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Can I Still Prove Paternity in Illinois If My Child’s Father is Deceased?Legally recognizing your child’s father, in a process known as establishing paternity, is important for a number of reasons. Your child is entitled to know their biological father, have a relationship with him, and know his family history. Your child is also subject to financial benefits from their biological father, such as social security benefits, health and life insurance coverage, veteran’s benefits, and any inheritances. Proving paternity is not a difficult process if all parties cooperate. Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) is a form that both parents complete to establish who the child’s father is when the parents are not married. If the parties do not cooperate, you can turn to court orders for DNA testing to prove who the child’s father really is. However, for alleged fathers who recently passed away, the process can become slightly more complex.

DNA Testing

With modern technology, it is possible for you to determine your child’s father even after his passing. It is still relevant to make this legal determination for your child’s knowledge and for any financial legacy that your child may be subject to. When proving paternity using DNA testing, the child, mother, and possible biological father will all submit to DNA sampling, often through a cheek swab or blood test. Since the child is half made up of the mother’s genes, the alleged father’s genes must match up with the other half. This is a quick and definitive test that a medical professional can perform and send to the court for evidence.

You may think that since your child’s alleged father passed away, all attempts at definitively knowing his father are gone. Luckily, DNA testing can be performed on the man’s immediate family members and be used to make this determination. Since men have XY chromosomes, and women have XX chromosomes, one can test the males of the alleged father’s family to see if the Y chromosome matches your child’s Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is passed, unchanged, down the male line, and is different once the male lineage is broken. In other words, if you have a son, he will have the same Y chromosome as his father’s father and brothers. For female children, the testing would be the same, but the alleged father’s female family members would be submitted to these tests.

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McHenry County, Crystal Lake, Crystal Lake IL, criminal defense, attorney, lawyer, Driving under the influence is a criminal offense and is treated seriously under Illinois law because of the danger it poses to yourself, your passengers, and other users of the road. First-time DUI offenses are no exception, though penalties are typically less severe in recognition that the behavior may indicate a one-time lapse in judgment rather than the start of a pattern of endangerment. If you have not been convicted of a DUI before, you may be concerned about the penalties you could face if it does happen to you.

Consequences for First-Time DUI Offenders

If a law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance, they may pull you over and ask you to submit to a field sobriety or blood alcohol content (BAC) test. If you refuse a chemical test, or if the results indicate impairment above the legal limit, you can be arrested and may face consequences including:

  • Court Supervision: First-time offenders may be sentenced to supervision instead of being convicted, which allows you to avoid some of the penalties for DUI and for the charges to be dismissed if you comply with the terms of the supervision order.
  • Fines and Court Costs: If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you can face the consequences of a Class A misdemeanor, including a fine of up to $2,500. You will also likely be responsible for paying for court costs associated with your trial.
  • Jail Time: Class A misdemeanors can carry a sentence of up to one year in county jail, which may be reduced due to good behavior.
  • Suspended or Revoked License: Your driver’s license can be suspended after a DUI arrest or court supervision order, and it will be revoked for at least a year in the case of a DUI conviction. First-time offenders will often be required to install a BAC ignition interlock device in their vehicle during a suspension. You may apply for reinstatement of your license at the end of the suspension or revocation period.
  • Court-Ordered Programs: For a first-time DUI offense, you may be required to participate in a drug or alcohol treatment program or a DUI education program as part of your sentence.
  • Increased Penalties for Exacerbating Factors: Even if you are a first-time offender, you can face higher penalties and sometimes felony charges if your BAC is 0.16 or higher, if you have a child passenger in your vehicle at the time of arrest, if you are driving under the influence in a school zone, or if your impaired driving causes an injury or fatality.

Contact a McHenry County DUI Defense Lawyer Today

Many first-time DUI offenders can avoid being charged with the full extent of the possible penalties with the help of an experienced defense lawyer. At Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, we can help you obtain supervision or negotiate for a fair sentence. For a free consultation with a Crystal Lake DUI defense attorney, call 815-338-3838.

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How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Affect Your Divorce?Coming to a settlement that both parties agree to can be challenging even in the most amicable divorce. There are many important factors to consider, including division of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, parenting time, and parental responsibilities. Couples who are considering a prenuptial agreement or who already have one in place may expect that it will prevent any major disagreements in the event of a divorce, but it is important to keep a few things in mind about how a prenup may actually impact the divorce proceedings.

A Prenup Can Ease Financial Negotiations in a Divorce Settlement

Under Illinois law, a prenuptial agreement can address a variety of important financial considerations that are likely to come up in a future divorce. Couples can determine which of their properties will be considered marital and non-marital assets, which may be beneficial if one or both spouses have family heirlooms or businesses that they want to retain. Couples can also agree as to how assets and debts will be distributed in the event of a divorce, as well as whether any spousal support will be paid.

If both spouses entered the prenuptial agreement in good faith, divorce settlement negotiations regarding finances often proceed smoothly, especially if the divorce is amicable. Because there are few, if any, additional property decisions to be made, divorcing couples have more time and energy to focus on other aspects of the separation.

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