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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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Four Questions to Ask When Considering Keeping Your Home After DivorceIf someone asks you whether you want to keep your house after a divorce, your initial reaction may be to say “Of, course.” People invest a lot in their marital homes, both financially and emotionally. It may seem overwhelming to lose your home on top of your marriage. Keeping your marital home is just one option during the division of property. In some situations, you may benefit more from letting your spouse keep the house or agreeing to sell it. Here are four key questions that may help you decide what to do with your marital home:

  1. Can You Afford the Home on Your Own?: If you keep the home, you will likely transfer the deed and mortgage to your name only. You will be solely responsible for paying your mortgage, property taxes, utilities, and home maintenance. Spousal maintenance could help you if you qualify, but you will still bear a larger financial burden for the home than when you were married. You must assess your income and other assets to determine whether you can afford those expenses.
  2. What Will You Give Up for the Home?: Illinois equitably divides marital properties between spouses during a divorce. If you receive the marital home, you will need to give your spouse other marital properties of similar value. Real estate is often the most valuable property in a divorce. You must decide whether keeping the home is worth the other marital properties you will lose in exchange. Selling a home is the only way to equally divide its value between you both.
  3. How Valuable Is Your Home?: Owning a home is an investment that can change in value. During the divorce, you will assess the value of your home as if you were preparing to sell it. The reputation of your neighborhood and the condition of the home will both affect the value. Housing market conditions will also play an important factor. It may not make sense to sell your home if you are unlikely to receive full value for it.
  4. Do You Need a Home of That Size?: Keeping a family home is most practical when your children are living with you. They need space and may benefit from staying in a familiar home. A family home may be more than you need if you will be living alone. You could save money by selling your home and using the proceeds to purchase a downsized home.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

What to do with your marital home is one of the most important property decisions you must make during a divorce. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can assess your financial situation to help you make an informed decision. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Can Workers’ Compensation Cover Cosmetic Surgery?Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to pay for medical treatment for your work-related injury. When a claim is filed, insurance companies often argue with workers about whether injuries are related to the work incident and whether the treatment is necessary for recovery. Cosmetic surgery is a gray area in workers’ compensation that may not seem like it would fall in the category of necessary treatment. However, a scar from an injury can degrade your quality of life, making corrective treatment appropriate as a workers’ compensation expense.

Disfigurement

An injury or a related medical procedure can leave a permanent visible mark, known as a disfigurement. In terms of workers’ compensation law, disfigurement is cosmetic damage to the body that does not affect your ability to perform your work. Visible scars and lost teeth are common examples of disfigurement. Insurers often argue against paying for corrective surgery on a disfigurement because they believe it goes beyond the treatment that is necessary to physically function. However, a disfigurement can affect your quality of life and, by extension, your work performance:

  • Scars on normally visible places of the body can cause embarrassment and distress; and
  • A scar may cause pain or itching, which a cosmetic surgery could fix.

Receiving Compensation

It may take several months after your injury to determine whether you have a disfigurement. Surgery may leave a scar, and you need time to see whether your scar will heal. Whether your disfigurement qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits and how much you receive depends on the size and location of the disfigurement. Surgery to correct a small scar may not be covered, but an arbitrator or the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission may award you additional compensation for cosmetic surgery if you have a noticeable scar on your:

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Illinois Police Warn of Danger from Trucks that Bypass Weigh StationsThe Illinois State Police is responding to what it believes is a significant number of truck drivers who avoid the mandatory weigh stations along Illinois highways. Officers are stationed near weigh stations, watching for trucks that do not pass through the weigh stations or violate other traffic laws. “Operation ByPass” is currently focused on Illinois State Police District 5, which includes Grundy, Kendall, and Will counties. Drivers across Illinois are at risk of personal injury from being in a crash with a commercial truck that is over the weight limit.

Problems with Overweight Trucks

Illinois requires trucks to go through weigh stations because a truck that is over the weight limit could cause damage to bridges and overpasses. The maximum allowable weight depends on the number of axles and the length between them. No truck is allowed to weight more than 80,000 pounds. Overweight trucks are also dangerous to other drivers on the road and can increase the risk of accidents. Because of their size and weight, trucks normally have more difficulty:

  • Maneuvering;
  • Making wide turns;
  • Coming to a quick stop; and
  • Maintaining control when going downhill.

These driving problems increase as a truck gets heavier. When a truck is over the weight limit, its response time will be slower than other drivers normally expect from a truck.

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What Recreational Marijuana Will Mean for Illinois ResidentsIn a long-expected move, Illinois is on the verge of becoming the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The new law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, shows that Illinois is changing tactics from criminalizing marijuana to creating a regulated industry. As with alcohol and tobacco, the state will control marijuana possession and use, with violations likely resulting in fines. Here are answers to common questions about how Illinois will regulate marijuana possession:

  1. Who Can Possess Marijuana?: Marijuana possession will be limited to adults age 21 and older. Illinois residents will be allowed to possess as much as 30 grams of marijuana in leafy form, five grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC infused in a product. Non-residents will be allowed to possess as much as 15 grams of marijuana.
  2. Where Can You Use Marijuana?: Marijuana use will not be allowed in public places, including most businesses and places of work. Local governments will be able to decide whether they will allow marijuana use inside marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana use will mostly be limited to private residences.
  3. Who Can Grow and Sell Marijuana?: You are not allowed to grow marijuana in your home unless you are a medical marijuana patient. Marijuana sales will be restricted to licensed dispensaries, similar to the medical marijuana dispensaries. This is how the state will try to keep the industry under control and generate revenue.
  4. How Will the Change Affect Those Previously Convicted?: People previously convicted for possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana will be able to petition for a pardon from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. If you are pardoned, the Illinois Attorney General could expunge the conviction from your record. State’s attorneys on the county level will also be allowed to expunge convictions.
  5. What Else Should You Know?: It will still be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. However, Illinois must determine how it will measure whether someone is impaired by marijuana. Unlike blood alcohol, traces of marijuana can remain in your body for weeks after use.

Contact a Crystal Lake Criminal Defense Attorney

After the law goes into effect, Illinois residents and law enforcement will need time to understand the limits of Illinois’ recreational marijuana policy. This may result in people being charged when they have not actually violated the law. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can contest an unjust drug charge being brought against you. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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