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Required Proof for a Juvenile Drug Possession ConvictionTeenagers sometimes give in to the temptation of experimenting with illegal drugs. While teens may see no harm in trying drugs, being caught in possession of drugs has serious consequences. Your teen may not face the same jail sentence that an adult offender may receive. Courts focus on rehabilitation for juveniles who commit nonviolent crimes. However, a drug offense can limit some of the opportunities available to your teen. For instance, a person convicted of drug possession for the first time cannot receive government student aid for one year. Teens may also face discipline at school and difficulty getting into the college of their choice. Your teen may be able to avoid a costly drug conviction if your defense attorney can show that the circumstances did not meet the legal definition of drug possession.

Knowledge

Prosecutors must prove that the person charged with drug possession knew that they were in possession of an illegal drug. Saying that the teen did not know it was an illegal substance may not be a valid defense depending on the circumstances. Teens can be guilty of drug possession if it is reasonable to believe that they knew they were in possession of an illegal drug. Circumstances may include:

  • How the teen came into possession of the substance;
  • Who gave the drugs; or
  • Whether the substance looks like drugs.

A judge will have difficulty believing that a teen did not know that a leafy substance, powder, or pills were drugs. It is a different matter if the drugs were hidden or disguised and the teen honestly did not understand the situation.

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How to Reclaim Your Maiden Name After DivorceMany women going through a divorce must decide whether they will revert to their maiden name if they took their spouse’s last name during the marriage. There may be many factors to consider other than whether they want to continue being identified by their former marriage. Some women in Illinois must weigh whether it is worth their effort or expense to go through the legal process of changing their name. A proposed law awaiting the governor’s signature would simplify the process by getting rid of the newspaper publication requirement.

Changing Your Name

The easiest way to change your last name after a divorce is to request it as part of your divorce agreement. The divorce court will approve the change as long as you are reverting back to your previous name. However, some women are unaware that they can include the request in their agreement or change their mind about keeping their married name after the divorce. The standard petition to change your name in Illinois requires you to publish a notice of your petition in a newspaper within your county. The notice must be published for three consecutive weeks and at least six weeks before your hearing on the petition. The requirement exists in order to prevent identity theft if someone is trying to take another person’s name. Illinois law waives the publication requirement after marriage as long as the petitioner presents their marriage license. The proposed law would create the same exception for divorces if the person is reverting to her maiden name.

Why Would You Keep Your Married Name?

Some divorced women choose not to reclaim their maiden name for personal reasons, such as:

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Receiving Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel SyndromeCarpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in the hand and arm that is often characterized by pain, tingling, or numbness. The cause is pressure applied to the median nerve, which runs down the arm, through the carpal tunnel in the wrist and into the hand. The carpal tunnel can narrow over time, or the nearby flexor tendons may swell – either of which can apply pressure to the nerve. If not caught early, carpal tunnel syndrome may cause you to lose function in your hand or require surgery to relieve pressure. You may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you can show that your work caused your condition.

Causes

It is possible for a single incident to cause carpal tunnel syndrome, such as your wrist or hand being crushed in an accident. However, carpal tunnel syndrome is most often a repetitive trauma injury caused by:

  • Repetitive hand or wrist motions; or
  • Flexing the hand or wrist in a position that puts pressure on it.

Heredity may also play a role if you were born with a smaller carpal tunnel or develop conditions such as arthritis or diabetes.

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The Dangers of Teenage Driving and How to Protect ThemThe summer is a time of year when many teens are learning how to drive and getting their driver’s license. While teens may be excited by this life development, parents have reason to be concerned about their safety. Drivers ages 16 to 19 are more likely to be in a vehicle accident than any other age group in the U.S. In 2016, more than 2,400 teens in the U.S. were killed in motor vehicle accidents and almost 300,000 were treated for personal injuries. As a parent, you need to be aware of the dangers that teenage drivers face and how you can protect them.

Dangers

The main reason that teenage drivers are involved in more accidents is the most obvious reason: they lack driving experience. Beyond the technical aspects of operating a vehicle, learning to drive is about making quick judgment calls. Teen drivers are more likely to:

  • Drive at speeds that are unsafe for the conditions;
  • Misjudge how they need to react to a hazard;
  • Become distracted by digital devices or friends in the vehicle; and
  • Forget to wear their seatbelts.

Teens may also make poor decisions before they start driving, such as drinking alcohol. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. A teen driver with any amount of alcohol in their system is breaking the law. Even if a teen’s blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit for an adult, they may not be able to drive safely with that level of intoxication.

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Police Must Prove Probable Cause Before Obtaining WarrantIn order to conduct a search of a person or premises, police officers must obtain and present a valid warrant. A judge will issue a warrant based on the information presented in an affidavit from a police officer. The affidavit must show that there is probable cause to believe that criminal activity has taken place and that a search will turn up evidence of the crime. Even if a judge approves a warrant and police conduct a search, you can challenge that the warrant did not establish probable cause, which would allow you to suppress evidence from the search.

Establishing Probable Cause

A police affidavit must describe in detail what they are searching for and why they believe that a crime has been committed. For instance, a police officer can request a warrant to conduct a blood test based on evidence that they reasonably believe a driver is under the influence of alcohol. When requesting to search a private residence, the affidavit must show probable cause by:

  • Presenting objective evidence of criminal activity at the residence and involving the accused parties; and
  • Establishing the credibility of the source of that information.

A police officer who claims to have witnessed the alleged criminal activity is generally considered a reliable source, based on their experience in such cases. Other sources are less reliable, particularly when they are police informants who may be providing information in exchange for leniency on their own criminal charges.

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