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Keeping Your Attorney-Clients Conversations ConfidentialYour right to confidentiality is one of your fundamental protections when organizing a defense against a criminal charge. Your attorney cannot discuss any of your private conversations with someone else, even if you confess your guilt. If a defense attorney spoke to you but does not represent you, he or she cannot testify about what you said to him or her. Conversations with a therapist or your spouse are also confidential in most cases. However, there are situations in which your private conversation is not protected and could be used against you:

  1. Public Conversations: A witness can testify about your conversation with your attorney if you were speaking loudly in a public place. Conversations are confidential only if you make an effort to be discreet. You may not realize how loudly you are speaking if you are talking to your lawyer on a phone.
  2. Jailhouse Conversations: Though jail is not a public place, you must be careful when talking to your lawyer in a common area. Inmates may try to overhear you making an incriminating statement in hopes of testifying against you and gaining favor with prosecutors. Jailers may also be monitoring phone calls you make in a common area.
  3. Third Parties: Inviting someone other than your attorney to join your conversation may mean that what you said is not confidential, depending on the reason you invited the third party. You can claim that the conversation was still confidential if you needed the other person to provide insight into your case. However, a friend or family member other than your spouse could be asked to testify against you if you simply wanted him or her to be present.
  4. Future Crimes: Your attorney cannot disclose your confession to a crime you committed, but that does not apply if you express an intent to commit a crime in the future. Your attorney is allowed to contact the authorities in order to prevent you from committing a crime.
  5. Crimes Against Children: The exception to confidential conversations with a spouse or therapist is if you discuss a crime involving a child. A therapist is obligated to report crimes against children, and prosecutors could force your spouse to testify about such a crime.

Contact a Crystal Lake Criminal Defense Attorney

When you talk about your criminal case with someone other than your lawyer, you risk the prosecution trying to use that person as a witness. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will protect your confidentiality during your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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Divorced Parents Must Coordinate Vacation PlansWhether it is for spring break or over the summer, many parents are already making vacation plans. Children of a recent divorce can benefit from a fun trip because it is a chance to create happy family memories. However, there are different factors to consider when planning a vacation as a single parent than when you were married. You need to work out these complications well in advance so that nothing gets in the way of giving your children the vacation that you promised.

Parenting Schedule

Trying to fit your vacation within your normal parenting schedule could limit where you can go and how long the trip can last. Divorced parents commonly create separate vacation parenting schedules. You can do this by:

  • Scheduling designated vacation time for each parent when creating your parenting agreement during your divorce;
  • Modifying your parenting schedule to create vacation times; or
  • Entering a written agreement to deviate from your parenting schedule in order to allow a longer stay with one parent.

Your co-parent will likely expect to receive additional parenting time at another date to make up for his or her loss of parenting time during your vacation. You should not enter an informal agreement to modify your parenting time. You need documentation to prove your agreement if your co-parent later accuses you of denying his or her time with the children.

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Collecting Workers' Compensation After a Parking Lot FallTypically around one-third of Illinois’ workers’ compensation claims during the winter are from injuries caused by slips and falls. Snow and ice present a hazard for any employees who must walk from their vehicles to their place of employment. Normally, a workers’ compensation injury must occur when an employee is on the clock or performing a work-related task. However, Illinois has a parking lot exception that allows employees to receive compensation if injured from a slip or fall in an employer’s parking lot.

Parking Lot Exception

Illinois courts have ruled that an employer must cover worker injuries that occur in a parking lot because it is an extension of the employer’s premises. It does not matter whether the employer owns the parking lot as long as it is the designated area where employees are expected to park. The court will also consider whether the employee is exposed to a risk of injury that is different from what a member of the general public would normally experience. For instance, a court once rejected a woman’s workers’ compensation claim because she parked in a lot that was meant for both employees and customers of a store. However, the court may have accepted her claim if the store had required its employees to park in a designated area.

Safety Measures

Employers are not required to clear their parking lots of snow and ice, but their negligence would increase the risk of employees being injured and filing for workers’ compensation. Attentive employers will have a contract with a professional snow removal company, as well as salt and sand on site to create safer walkways. They will also instruct employees about safe walking practices, such as:

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Five Tips for Teen Drivers During the WinterPart of learning to be a driver is having your first winter driving experience and understanding how it affects your road safety. Teens who have recently obtained their driver’s license may not fully appreciate the dangers of driving through snow and ice. In the worst scenario, their inexperience may result in a vehicle accident that leaves them injured or worse. As parents, you can prepare your teen for winter driving with a few safety tips:

  1. Staying Warm: It is important to dress appropriately for the weather, including warm gloves and boots. Hands and feet that are numb from the cold may not respond quickly enough when the driver needs to take decisive action. Being cold in general can also be distracting. Remind them that the interior heating system may take a couple of minutes to warm up the vehicle if it has been sitting cold for a while.
  2. Decreased Traction: Wintery conditions on the road can make starting and stopping take longer than a teen driver is used to. Losing control of a vehicle due to ice on the road is frightening and may cause teens to panic. Tell them to give themselves additional time to brake and to not slam on the brakes or the accelerator if they lose traction on the road.
  3. Driving Distractions: Reiterate the importance of paying attention to their driving and not being distracted by electronic devices. In addition, teens must clear the vehicle of snow and frost before they start driving. Trying to clean a windshield or mirror while driving will take their attention away from the road.
  4. Extra Time: Winter conditions cause all traffic to slow down in order to stay safe. Teens should give themselves additional time to get to their destination. Running late may cause them to hurry, which can lead to accidents.
  5. Knowing to Stop: There are times when the weather conditions are bad enough that driving is unwise. Teens may not want to be told that they should not drive because of the weather, but their inexperience would put them in even more danger than other drivers. They should also understand that it is acceptable to pull over or stop somewhere if the weather suddenly turns worse.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Attorney

Though your teen may be the more inexperienced driver, it is possible that another driver was at fault for their accident. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you prove that another party should be liable for your teen’s injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Illinois ACLU Study Claims Racial Profiling in Traffic StopsBlack and Latino drivers in Illinois are statistically more likely to be pulled over for a traffic stop and subjected to a search, according to a report recently released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. The ACLU looked at results from nearly 6.5 million traffic stops from 2015 to 2017. Illinois law enforcement agencies collect the data as required by the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Statistical Study Act, which the state created in 2003 because of concerns about racial profiling. The ACLU said that law enforcement must end its practice of conducting excessive traffic stops and searches in hopes of finding criminal activity.

Statistics

The study cites several pieces of data in claiming that local and state police agencies disproportionately target minority drivers:

  • Police stopped minority drivers at a higher rate than white drivers, and the disparity increased each year from 2015 to 2017;
  • In 2017, minority drivers were 1.5 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers;
  • Black drivers were subjected to consent searches 1.7 times more often than white drivers, and Latino drivers were 1.3 times more likely;
  • Police officers were 1.3 times more likely to find contraband when searching a white driver’s vehicle than when searching the vehicle of a black or Latino driver.

Stops

The ACLU claims that law enforcement agencies have encouraged officers to be aggressive in conducting traffic stops and subsequent searches. The Illinois State Police supposedly instructed troopers to pull drivers over for all traffic violations because it would increase the chance of encountering someone conducting criminal activity. This instruction put into practice means that the troopers may be predisposed to believe that the drivers they pull over are committing other crimes.

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