Chicagoland Law Blog

Are you accused of violating your probation?

Your sentence of probation meant you avoided time in jail. This may have been a relief to you, but it certainly did not mean you were completely off the hook. You may have received probation in return for a plea of guilty, which means you still have a criminal record. Additionally, your probation likely came with terms you may not violate without serious consequences.

The consequences of failing to fulfill the terms of your probation may vary depending on the circumstances of your conviction and the details of the alleged violation. You will want to take this offense seriously and seek quality legal advice since your freedom may be on the line.

Understanding title insurance and title reviews

In the last decade since the economy has been recovering from the great recession, many people in Illinois have been buying and selling homes as their personal financial situations also rebound and maybe even improve. While it is not uncommon to buy or sell a home, that does not mean consumers should not take the process seriously. Without the right steps being taken, a buyer could end up with a serious problem on their hands.

The need for title insurance is one thing that should not be overlooked or considered unimportant. As explained by Zillow, during the escrow process of a real estate transaction, a title company will conduct a thorough review of the property's title history. This is intended to confirm that the person selling the home actually has the legal right to do so and that the person buying the home will have full ownership and legal rights to the property upon close of the sale.

Can you buy a home without a real estate agent?

You would probably not have to have a real estate agent — or an attorney, for that matter — involved when you buy a home in Illinois. However, regardless of whether it is a legal requirement, it is often a practical necessity to engage the services of someone who is familiar with the buying process. 

If you were to work with a professional, you would be in good company. While not everybody uses agents, first-time homebuyers and seasoned investors alike often work through legal representatives during these purchases. There are several reasons:

  • Buying property is a legal transaction.
  • Only lawyers may draft contracts and property-specific riders.
  • Attorneys are ethically bound not to work on commission. 

Estate planning for blended families

It is not uncommon for people in Illinois to get married after having been married previously whether the prior marriages ended due to death or divorce. In many of these new marriages, at least one spouse has children from their prior marriage and this is where things can become complicated very quickly, especially when looking ahead to inheritances and estate planning.

As Forbes explains, one situation that can cause a lot of upset in families occurs when one spouse in a remarriage dies. Without the right estate plan in place identifying any other path, all of that person's assets may pass directly to the surviving spouse, leaving nothing for the children of the decedent. When the surviving spouse eventually dies, there may either be nothing left for the children of the first spouse or the last spouse to die may have left everything to their own children.

How an IID impacts a driver's life

A person who finds themselves facing a criminal charge for drunk driving will want to get a good understanding of the potential consequences they may face if they are convicted. Certainly this may involve logistics like what fines might be owed, the details of any driver's license suspension and even if they will be required to spend any time in jail. As unpleasant as some of these things may be, there are other factors to learn about that may impact a person's life on a daily basis for some time.

As explained by Cyberdrive Illinois, even someone charged with a first-ever offense for impaired driving may have to install and use a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. This is often in exchange for the right to drive in lieu of serving a full term license suspension. One thing a driver should know is that they will be fully responsible for all costs associated with the BAIID from installation through to removal. This includes regular rental or lease payments and potentially ongoing maintenance or calibration as well.

Could you have a defense to your traffic ticket?

It's quite possible, but you won't know for sure unless you decide to challenge the ticket. Many people dismiss traffic tickets as minor inconveniences, but if you accumulate enough points on your license due to multiple traffic tickets within a certain amount of time, you could find your license suspended. It could also cause your auto insurance rates to rise.

Moreover, if your job requires you to drive, traffic citations for certain offenses could cause your employer to suspend your driving duties. If you drive a commercial vehicle, this could mean that you lose your livelihood, at least temporarily. In light of these factors, it may be worthwhile to determine whether you have a defense to your ticket that could keep it from counting against you.

What are the benefits of downsizing?

As a homeowner in Illinois, the notion of downsizing may have come up for you before. You may be wondering if the benefits could outweigh any potential downside. There are plenty of benefits to be found in downsizing, some of them related to lifestyle and some related to finances.

U.S. News lists out numerous benefits to downsizing. Generally speaking, an interest in downsizing is first sparked when a house becomes too large for the current occupants to keep up with. A common point is soon after children leave and a house for three or more becomes a house for two.

What is a rehabilitation program?

When drivers in Illinois are convicted of driving while under the influence, they're going to face a number of stark penalties. These penalties can range from jail time to steep fines, may involve you gaining a criminal record, and even the potential loss or suspension of your driver's license. However, there may be an option available to you that will allow you to avoid this.

The US National Library of Medicine discusses driving rehabilitation programs, with a focus on older drivers. Rehabilitation programs are often offered to drivers who don't have a track record of DUI-related convictions, or for those whose crimes aren't considered to be too heavy. This means if you're facing a first time DUI conviction, a rehab program might be entirely within the realm of possibility for you.

DUI tests not 100-percent accurate

If you are like most people in Illinois you are aware that when a police officer suspects a driver they have pulled over may be impaired by alcohol, they may ask the driver to participate in some tests before making an arrest for drunk driving. These tests are commonly called field sobriety tests because they are done in the field where a driver has been stopped by officers and they evaluate to some degree a person's sobriety.

However, as explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, these tests do not actually prove that a driver is intoxicated. In fact, all these tests can do is to support the potential that a driver may be intoxicated. This information then can support an officer legally arresting a driver and charging them with a drunk driving offense.

Plea bargain considerations

If you have been arrested in Illinois and now face the prospect of enduring a trial to defend yourself against a criminal charge, you may understandably be scared and unsure of whether or not you want to experience this. These thoughts may make you want to investigate other options. A plea bargain is one option that may be available to you to avoid the time and cost of a full trial. However, whether or not this is the right thing for you to do may depend on a variety of factors.

As explained by Flow Psychology, there can be downsides to entering into a plea bargain just as there may be benefits to doing so. Some have argued that defendants at times might feel forced into accepting a plea bargain rather than given the choice to do so. If this happens, that is actually against the law as a plea deal should be optional because a person always has the right to a trial to prove their innocence.

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Mockaitis Law
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Oswego, IL 60543

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