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Can the Police Search My Car Anytime They Want?In recent years, there has been a great deal of public debate about the power and authority given to police officers in various situations. Among these concerns is the issue of conducting a search for illicit drugs, unlawful weapons, or other illegal items. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution promises American citizens the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” of their homes, papers, effects, and persons. The same amendment also specifies that all warrants must be based on probable cause and must describe in detail “the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” If you are facing charges based on evidence found during an illegal or unreasonable search, an experienced criminal defense attorney could get the case against you dismissed.

Consent Trumps Everything Else

Most people will never have the police come to their house wanting to conduct a search. It is much more common, however, for such a situation to develop during a traffic stop. If you have been stopped by the police and the officer wants to search your vehicle, he or she will almost certainly start by asking for your permission. If the officer obtains your clear consent, the search becomes lawful, and you will no longer have the option of challenging the evidence based on an unreasonable search.

Keep in mind that the officer might not use the word “search” or even ask for your consent in a clear manner. He or she might say something to the effect of, “I’m sure you don’t mind if I take a quick look around, right?” As a citizen, you always have the right to refuse to consent when an officer asks to search your car. Refusing will not always prevent the search, but you will retain the ability to challenge the validity of the search later.

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Can I Collect Compensation for a Car Accident If I Was Partly at Fault?One major misunderstanding about personal injury lawsuits is believing that the issue of fault is usually cut and dry. In reality, determining who is to blame for an injury-causing or fatal accident is often the hardest and most time-consuming part of an injury suit. Sometimes, the person at fault for an accident is obvious. However, many personal injury suits involve situations in which several parties share fault for the injury-causing accident. Fortunately, you can still receive compensation for your damages even if you were partially at fault for them. Doing so, however, requires an understanding of Illinois’ “comparative negligence” laws.

Modified Comparative Negligence Basics

Illinois courts rely on a doctrine known as “modified comparative negligence.” This means that you may be able to recover compensation for your losses even if you are partially to blame for the situation in which your losses occurred. As long as you were not more than half at fault for the accident or incident that caused your injuries, you can still pursue compensation.

For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver, it may seem obvious that the driver of the other vehicle is to blame. However, what if you were speeding when the accident occurred? In situations like these, the courts will assign a percentage of blame to each party involved in the incident. The amount of compensation you can receive will be reduced according to your percentage of fault. However, if you are found to be 51 percent or more to blame for the accident, you cannot recover anything.

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When Can Parenting Time Be Restricted in Illinois?There is arguably no relationship more sacred than the one between a parent and child. For children, solid, loving relationships with their parents are crucial for their healthy development and well-being. Because of this, many states, including Illinois, have placed a specific emphasis on allocating parenting time to both parents of a child, rather than solely to one parent. Though it may not always be a 50/50 split, most cases involve both parents having parenting time with their children, and it is typically in the child’s best interests to spend time with both parents. However, there may be cases in which the court finds that it is necessary to place restrictions on parenting time.

When Are Parenting Time Restrictions Appropriate?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) specifically states that both of a child’s legal parents are presumed to be fit to care for their child, and in the vast majority of cases, the court will not restrict or limit parenting time. When children are involved in a divorce or a parental dispute, the duty of the judge and the court is to ensure the child is being taken care of adequately. If the court finds that the physical, emotional, or mental well-being of the child would be seriously endangered by allowing a parent to exercise parenting time, the judge can restrict parenting time for that parent.

How Can Parenting Time Be Restricted?

Before it is determined that a parenting time restriction is in the best interest of the child, a hearing will be held. During such a hearing, the court will do its best to investigate the situation and determine if spending time with the parent in question would truly endanger the child. The court will examine issues such as each parent’s work schedule, living arrangement, and any history of domestic violence, mental health issues, or substance abuse.

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What You Should Know About Seeking Compensation After a Construction Site AccidentConstruction workers make up only about 6 percent of all U.S. laborers, but they are responsible for about 17 percent of all work-related fatalities, according to federal estimates. If you work in the construction industry, this statistic may not surprise you. Construction jobs may require workers to work in extreme conditions, often using very powerful equipment. Some of the most common construction site fatalities are caused by falling from heights, electrocution, and being struck by an object. If you or a loved one have suffered a severe injury in a construction site accident, a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit may be the best way for you to receive full compensation.

Federal and State Laws Require a Certain Degree of Safety

Although construction work is dangerous, there are many steps that employers can take to keep workers as safe as possible. The responsibility for maintaining a reasonably safe worksite typically falls to the general contractor. The general contractor is also expected to hire workers who are capable of safely performing work tasks and to provide any training needed. Contractors should also ensure that equipment is functional and regularly maintained so that it does not present an avoidable risk to workers or bystanders.

All Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations should be followed. If a contractor fails to adequately follow safety protocols, the contractor or company overseeing the construction work may be fined for its violations. In Illinois, an OSHA violation does not allow an employee to file a personal injury lawsuit instead of a workers’ compensation claim against his or her employer. If the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission determines that the employer willfully violated the OSHA regulation, it can increase the injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefits by 25 percent.  

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4 Healthy Ideas That Can Help You Cope During Your Illinois DivorceA divorce is one of the most stressful life events that a person can experience. Divorce brings about all sorts of changes, from disruptions in your routines and responsibilities to changes in your relationships with your family and friends. As much as divorce is a legal process of separating yourself from your spouse, it is also very much an emotional process that takes a good amount of time to deal with. Going through a divorce can put an immense amount of stress and pressure on you, which can manifest in unhealthy ways. Here are a few healthy coping mechanisms you can use if you are going through a divorce:

Healthy Idea #1: Let Yourself Grieve

One of the most important coping mechanisms you can practice when going through something as painful as divorce is letting yourself grieve. While nobody died, your marriage did come to an end, and you did suffer a major loss. It is important to allow yourself to acknowledge that. Your feelings of resentment, anger, sadness, and even despair are normal and important for you to experience so you can begin to heal.

Healthy Idea #2: Refocus on Yourself

The time during and after a divorce is a great time to place your focus on yourself and becoming the best “you” you can be. You can start with your physical health. Taking the time to exercise, eat healthily, and get enough sleep can make you feel invigorated and ready to tackle the emotional issues that are not as easy to deal with. Now might also be a good time to explore hobbies and interests that you might have set aside during your marriage.

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