Wheaton white collar crime defense lawyerWhite collar crimes are non-violent offenses that are often prosecuted against business professionals. These crimes are typically motivated by gain and are characterized by deception or concealment. A goal of a white collar crime is benefiting in regard to money, property, or services. In these cases, a prosecutor will typically rely on paper trails and digital history rather than physical evidence such as DNA.

The term white collar crime began to be used around 1939 and is a broad term for a variety of offenses. Since there are many violations that are considered white collar crimes, the consequences can vary. Possible penalties include fines, probation, community service, and imprisonment.

Getting charged with a white collar crime can ruin your reputation, business, and lifestyle, and it is important to understand the nature of the charges and the best way to respond to them. Some violations that are considered white collar crimes include:

  • Money Laundering: This offense involves the process of making money one way, but manipulating it to appear as if it came from another source. If money is gained illegally, the funds may be made to appear clean by routing them through a legal business. Money laundering can also be used to evade taxes and hide funds, and the money may be used to fund illegal activities such as drug trafficking.
  • Identity Theft: Using another person’s information for financial gain is considered identity theft. With recent technological advances, it is easier than ever to get a person’s information digitally. Over the past several years, many popular retailers have experienced security breaches where customers’ credit card information has been stolen. Other examples of identity theft include using stolen social security numbers, legal documents such as birth certificates, or personal information for self-gain.
  • Insurance Fraud: Lying to an insurance company to receive a payout for something that never happened or falsifying information about a claim is a crime. This type of fraud can occur in multiple types of insurance policies. For example, a person who intentionally burns their house down and says it was an accident in order to collect home insurance is committing fraud. Other common types of insurance fraud involve car theft, car accident damage, and health insurance.

White collar crimes can take a long time to investigate, and they are often prosecuted by the federal government. The investigation will usually be performed before charges are filed, so it is possible that you may not be aware that you are a suspect until you are formally charged with a crime. When facing these types of charges, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to determine your options for defense.

Contact an Illinois White Collar Crime Defense Lawyer

A misunderstanding by the federal government can put you and your livelihood at risk. When facing charges such as money laundering, identity theft, or insurance fraud, you will want an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and formulate a defense strategy. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime

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Stepparent Stepchild AdoptionA traditional family consists of two parents and their biological children, but through remarriages and other family changes, many families are not traditional. Adoption is one family change that can make a huge difference in a child’s life. While adoption is often associated with adults taking on an unrelated child through an adoption agency, stepparent-stepchild adoption is actually the most common form of adoption.

Legal Requirements for Stepparent-Stepchild Adoption

When deciding whether or not to adopt a stepchild, one of the most important considerations is the other biological parent. If the child’s other biological parent is still alive, that person will either need to consent to the adoption or have their parental rights involuntarily terminated by the court. A lawyer experienced in stepchild adoptions can assist with the process of obtaining voluntary consent if needed. Alternatively, if the other biological parent cannot be found or is deemed an unfit person by the court, the court may terminate that person’s parental rights. In most cases, an Illinois court will not terminate the rights of one parent unless there is another parental figure who will take his or her place to support the child. The court may terminate a person’s parental rights for reasons such as:

  • Abandonment of the child

  • Proven abuse or neglect of the child

  • Failure to provide financial support for the child

  • Criminal depravity

  • Substance abuse

Another critical factor is the child’s consent. Illinois law requires children who are at least 14 years old to consent to their adoption.

Illinois law requires the adopting stepparent to be at least 18 years old (unless the court waives this requirement in special circumstances) and to be a reputable person of either sex who is legally competent to manage their own affairs. Married spouses–that is, the child’s biological parent and the stepparent–must both be parties to a stepchild adoption proceeding.

Benefits of Adopting Your Spouse’s Child

Adopting a stepchild can have many benefits for the child and your family.

When the other biological parent is unfit and the child has not had a good relationship with them, termination of their parental rights may be in the best interests of the child. A stepparent adoption would then give the child the support of two fit parents.

Adoption provides a child with financial and legal benefits. An adopted child can be on the insurance of the adoptive parent and will be entitled to any inheritances or Social Security benefits to which a biological child would be entitled. If the parents later divorce, the child would be entitled to financial support from the adoptive parent.

Adoption allows the stepparent to make healthcare and other important decisions on behalf of the child that they otherwise may not have the legal authority to make. This can be important if the child’s biological parent travels for work or in the event that the child’s biological parent becomes incapacitated.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you are thinking about adopting your spouse’s children so that you become their legal parent, seek advice from an experienced Wheaton family law attorney. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2098&ChapterID=59

 

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Wheaton dui license suspension lawyerAny Illinois resident who is charged with a DUI will have their driver’s license suspended or revoked. Not only can this be an inconvenience, but it can risk your ability to earn an income in a career where driving is necessary. It is only after an administrative hearing through the Illinois Secretary of State that you can begin the process of reinstating your driver’s license.

What Is the Difference Between Suspension and Revocation?

The primary difference between suspension and revocation of a driver’s license is the amount of time a person’s driving privileges will be taken away. Revocation is an indefinite loss of driving privileges, while suspension is a loss for a specified amount of time. After the revocation or suspension period is over, then a person has to begin the process of reinstatement by having a hearing.

A person’s license may be suspended if they are charged with fleeing a police officer, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage over $1,000, having a controlled substance in the car, or possessing an identification card or driver’s license of another person. Circumstances in which a revocation may be appropriate include leaving an accident that resulted in injury or death, conviction on DUI charges, a felony that involved the use of a car, or street racing.

License Reinstatement Hearings

There are two types of hearings for license reinstatement in Illinois: formal and informal. A formal hearing is similar to a court date. A written request must be made to the Secretary of State, and within 14 days, a hearing date and time will be received. These hearing dates are typically held within six weeks of the request, but no later than 90 days. The case will be heard, and the person with a suspension or revocation will provide a testimony and evidence for their reinstatement case. Cases of a more serious nature will likely require a formal hearing. Informal hearings do not require an appointment, and they are held between the defendant and a hearing officer. In either type of hearing, a person with a suspended or revoked license has the right to be represented by a lawyer.

If the hearing results in an approval of the request for license reinstatement, the driver must pay the required fees to the state, and their license will be reinstated. Some fees can be paid online on the Secretary of State website, such as fees for Discretionary Suspension, Field Sobriety Suspension, and Zero Tolerance Suspension.

Contact a Wheaton Driver’s License Reinstatement Attorney

An experienced lawyer will know how to organize your case and argue for you to have your license reinstated in a hearing with the Secretary of State. Whether you have an informal or formal hearing, working with an experienced DuPage County driver’s license reinstatement lawyer will give you the best chance of getting your driving privileges back. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/drivers_license/dlreinstatement.html

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/losepriv.html

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DuPage County divorce lawyer parenting time parental responsibilityWhen dealing with legal issues related to the custody of children in a divorce case in the state of Illinois, you may come across some unfamiliar terms. After January 1, 2016, an update to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect which changed the language used in family law cases. In fact, the terms “custody” and “visitation” were removed from the law altogether.

Illinois law now refers to child custody as the allocation of parental responsibilities. This replaces the idea of legal custody in which one parent has the decision-making power when it comes to their child, and parents may now share in different areas of parental responsibility. These areas include healthcare, religion, and education, and these responsibilities can be allocated in a variety of ways. One parent can have all the decision-making rights, the responsibilities can be split however is appropriate, or both parents can have an equal say.

Another term that was changed in Illinois law is visitation. This typically refers to the time that a non-custodial parent has with their child. Now, this is referred to as parenting time, and it is used to describe the time that both parents spend in their parental duties as they care for their children.

During a divorce case, a parenting plan will be created that describes how parental responsibilities will be allocated. It will also specify the child’s weekly schedule, describe transportation arrangements, and determine how parents will divide holidays and school vacations. This plan is a court order that parents will be required to follow after their divorce.

A parenting plan is likely to work best if both parents can come to an agreement on how to divide or share parental responsibilities and create a workable parenting time schedule. If the parents are unable to resolve their differences, then the matter will need to be resolved in court. A judge will look at what is in the child’s best interests, and they will take a variety of factors into consideration, including:

  • What the child wants
  • The relationships a child shares with family members
  • Where the parents live relative to each other
  • Any history of abuse
  • The parents’ history of decision-making for the child
  • The health of the child and parents

Contact a Dupage County Family Law Attorney

When your child’s well-being is at stake, you will want an experienced Wheaton family law attorney by your side to advocate for your rights and your child’s best interests. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/DomesticRelationsDivision/ChildRelatedIssues.aspx

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Illinois murder charges defense lawyerFirst degree murder is one of the most serious criminal charges a person can face. The key to proving first degree murder, as opposed to second or third degree murder, is intent. In these cases, a prosecutor must be able to demonstrate that the defendant intended to cause serious harm to another person, and a conviction on these charges could lead to a sentence of life in prison.

Under Illinois law, a person can be charged with first degree murder if they kill someone without a justifiable reason, such as self-defense. A prosecutor must typically prove that the defendant intended to cause harm or death, or that they knew that their actions were likely to cause harm or death.

When defending against first degree murder charges, an attorney may take one of two approaches. The first involves showing that the defendant is innocent and did not commit the murder at all. In the second approach, the defendant admits to killing the victim, but they believe that their actions were justified or that the circumstances do not fit with a first degree murder charge. Some potential defense strategies may include:

  • Mistaken Identity – It is possible that the defendant had nothing to do with the murder, and they were wrongly identified as a potential suspect. This can often be supported by an alibi, and the defendant may be able to show that they could not have committed the murder because they were somewhere else. Forensic evidence may be presented, and eyewitnesses may be questioned as part of this defense, and an attorney may be able to demonstrate that the crime was committed by someone else.
  • Justification – Although murdering someone with intent is a crime, a defendant may have a reasonable explanation for their actions, and this may help avoid a conviction for first degree murder. For example, killing a person while defending oneself or someone else may be justifiable. However, the force used in self-defense must match the danger of the situation.
  • Mental Illness – If a person cannot be held responsible for his or her actions, then they cannot be charged with first degree murder. However, there are specific requirements for demonstrating that a person is not guilty for reasons of insanity, and this is not an easy way out of a first degree murder conviction. For example, a person with a condition such as bipolar disorder still has accountability for their actions unless it can be demonstrated that they were in a condition in which they could not differentiate right from wrong.

Contact a Wheaton Murder Defense Attorney Today

A first degree murder conviction can be avoided if the circumstances do not match the crime, and an attorney can help you understand the best defense strategies that may allow you to have the charges reduced or dismissed. Contact a DuPage County criminal defense lawyer today to learn about your legal options when facing murder charges. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K9-1

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Wheaton divorce lawyer parenting planHow to raise children is a subjective topic, and the best way to continue doing so after a divorce will vary depending on each family’s individual situation. As parents, you and your ex-spouse both love your children and want what is best for them despite the disagreements that have led to your divorce. While your children may have a hard time understanding the reasons for your divorce, there are ways to help them cope with the changes in their lives and minimize the damage caused by your split.

In Illinois, divorced parents will typically share custody of their children. Except in extreme circumstances, a child will usually benefit most by having an ongoing relationship with both parents. This can be effectuated through a parenting plan, which is part of the parents’ divorce decree. The parenting plan will describe how the parents will share decision-making responsibility for their children, as well as a schedule that specifies when children will spend time with each parent. For example, a parenting plan may state that the child will spend weekdays with one parent, and then weekends with the other. A 50/50 split of parenting time may or may not be the best option for a family, and there are many ways to organize a parenting plan to suit the needs of the parents and children.

In addition to creating a parenting plan detailing how certain issues will be handled following your divorce, these tips may also help you make the process easier for your children:

  • Minimize disturbances – The more you can keep your child’s life the same after a divorce, the better. Of course, there are inevitable changes that will occur, including parents living in two separate homes, but keeping a similar schedule will help children adjust to these changes. If you or your ex-spouse participate in regular activities with your child, or if one or the other of you typically picks them up from school, be sure to continue following these routines and include these details in your parenting plan. By working together to the best of your ability to maintain stability in your children’s lives, you and your former partner can help your child feel secure during this time of change. Strong communication will help prevent any slip-ups and avoid upsetting your child.
  • Avoid negativity – Talking about your divorce in front of your children may unintentionally cause them stress or emotional trauma. Any negativity regarding the subject may also affect your child, and bad mouthing your ex to your child puts them in an uncomfortable position. Do your best to keep disagreements and negative emotions to yourself. Sharing inappropriate details, such as the reasons for the breakdown of your marriage, can be harmful, particularly for younger children. Although you may have negative feelings toward the other parent, you should not attempt to influence your child’s relationship with them.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Resolving issues related to child custody and parenting time can be much less difficult with a legal advocate by your side. Our experienced Wheaton divorce lawyers will help create a parenting plan that works for you and your ex while still being beneficial to your child. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/help-child-divorce.html

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Wheaton juvenile retail theft attorneyLike adults, juveniles can face serious punishment for crimes they commit. In the United States, a person is considered a juvenile if they are under the age of 18. For most crimes committed by minors, there is a separate court system with rules that generally lean towards rehabilitation as opposed to punishment such as jail time. However, even a juvenile can face felony charges after being caught shoplifting.

What Is Retail Theft?

Illinois law contains a specific definition of retail theft, or shoplifting, that is separate from general theft. The crime of retail theft occurs when a person takes merchandise with intent to deprive the merchant of full or partial value. This can mean physically stealing something without paying or using deception to pay a lesser value than what an item is worth. Some examples include altering price tags, hiding merchandise, or using a device that shields products from security measures. The key in these cases is intent, which can be hard to prove.

If a child is caught stealing from a store, the situation can be handled in a variety of ways. Depending on the child’s age and cooperation, they may just get a warning, and the child’s parent or guardian will typically be notified. In many cases, a juvenile will be banned from the store and be put on a watch list. Even if the store does not press charges, they may still call the police, and the juvenile may be taken to the police station, where a more serious warning may be given if it is a first time offense.

A juvenile court may handle the charges differently, but the classifications for retail theft are the same for adults and minors. If the value of goods is under $300, the offender may be charged with a juvenile misdemeanor. If the stolen property was over $300 in value, the juvenile may face a possible felony charge. Regardless of the value of the product, an offense may be charged as a felony if an emergency exit was used during the shoplifting attempt.

For first time shoplifting offenders, a deferred prosecution program is available to prosecutors. Instead of juvenile detention, this option encourages community service and counseling, and the child will need to return to court to prove the services have been completed. Charges will be dropped after completion of the deferred prosecution program.

Contact a Wheaton Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer

A misdemeanor may be expunged from a juvenile’s record, but a felony can follow them into adulthood. To make sure that mistakes made by your child do not ruin their chances at a successful future, contact an experienced DuPage County juvenile crimes attorney. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-25

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Wheaton Divorce LawyerWhile getting a divorce may be the best solution for you and your family, it can be difficult to navigate the many financial aspects involved. Marital assets are divided as part of your divorce agreement, which can have a significant impact on your daily life. It is a good idea to prepare your finances prior to getting a divorce. This can prevent any surprises later.

In Illinois, any assets or debts accumulated after a couple is married are considered marital property. The court splits marital property fairly in a process called equitable distribution. This does not necessarily mean equal, as income, the length of the marriage, the health of the individuals, their standard of living, and other factors are taken into consideration.

Here are some tips for preparing your finances prior to divorce:

Asset Organization

Make a complete list of all assets that were yours prior to the marriage. This may include inherited property or anything purchased before you got married. Also, make a list of any financial accounts or investments that are in your name to verify how much money you have and where.

Document Collection

Get hard copies of all financial documentation, such as bank statements and tax documents. The more information you can provide, all the better, because the court will not take your word for which assets are yours. If online documents are the only ones available, print them out for your records.

Plan for Post-Divorce Life

Before divorce agreement terms are negotiated, carefully consider what you need to take care of yourself and your children. If you share bank accounts with your spouse, it might be a good idea to set some of those funds aside for an account in your name. Also, now is a good time to cut back on spending and set up a budget.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

A skilled Wheaton divorce lawyer will be your best resource and investment when it comes to your divorce. At Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates, we help clients get the divorce agreement they need for a fruitful post-divorce life. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Source:

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-protect-money-divorce-2017-1#1-identify-all-of-your-assets-and-clarify-whats-yours-1

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Wheaton DUI attorneyDuring a nine year span between 2003 and 2012, there were 3,866 deaths caused by drunk drivers in Illinois, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Across the United States, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above. Even if you feel in control, alcohol and other substances can impact your judgment and reaction time, which endangers yourself and others who use the road. Whether you have been arrested on DUI charges for the first time or are a repeat offender, you should understand your rights, the processes that will be followed in your case, and your options for defense.

Anyone can get pulled over for a minor traffic violation, and that is where most DUI arrests take place. An officer may stop a driver who appears to be intoxicated, but in many cases, drivers are pulled over for a different reason, such as speeding, running a red light, or having a tail light out. After being pulled over, if the police officer suspects that you have been drinking, they may ask you to take field sobriety tests or measure your BAC using a preliminary breathalyzer test. However, these tests are voluntary, and you have the right to refuse them.

If you are arrested for DUI, you will be brought to the police station and held until you are sober enough to leave or until someone can pick you up. You will also be required to pay bail, which is a financial promise that you will show up for your trial. At the police station, you will be asked to take a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol, and this test is mandatory. Refusal to submit to this test will result in the suspension of your driver’s license for one year.

Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, DUI may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In most cases, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor, and it can result in up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. However, if you have multiple DUI convictions or if someone was injured as a result of your alleged drunk driving, this may be considered aggravated DUI and charged as a felony. Felony DUI can result in multiple years of jail time and fines up to $25,000.

Contact a Wheaton Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI, you should not face these charges alone. Our experienced DuPage County DUI defense lawyers will help you understand your best options for defense, and we will work to protect your rights and help you regain your driving privileges. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pdf/impaired_driving/Drunk_Driving_in_IL.pdf

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

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Wheaton stepparent adoption lawyerWhen you marry someone, you are also marrying their family. The conventional way to start a family is to get married and then have children together, but in many cases, couples choose to get married after one or both spouses already have children. Whether from a previous marriage or not, your new spouse’s child is now a part of your family. Depending on the situation, you may have the option of officially adopting your spouse’s child.

Adopting a Stepchild

These situations are known as related adoptions or stepparent adoptions, and in these cases, the legal process is generally easier than in an agency adoption where neither parent is related to the child. In order to go through with adopting your partner’s child, you need to be legally married. A child cannot have three legal parents in Illinois, so the child’s other parent will need to give up his or her parental rights. If the other parent cannot be found or is unknown, the court will issue a notice to be published in a local newspaper alerting the other parent of legal action to terminate their parental rights.

If the other parent does object to letting go of their parental rights, the court may still allow the adoption if they are proved to be an unfit parent. The grounds for being considered an unfit parent include abandonment of the child, lack of interest in the child’s well-being, failure to pay child support, or abuse.

When a child is over the age of 14, they must also give their consent to be adopted by a stepparent. They will typically provide a written statement for the judge to consider during adoption proceedings.

Along with creating unity within your family, adopting a stepchild has other benefits. If the child’s other parent has been an inconsistent presence in his or her life, adopting the child is a gesture that you take your relationship with them seriously. Following adoption, you will be the child’s legal parent, giving you the legal to make decisions about their upbringing and education. Adoption also benefits the child, because they now have options to be covered under your employer’s insurance, and they will be eligible to receive an inheritance from you later on in life.

If there are no objections, the related adoption process can take as little as 90 days. Courts look out for what is best for the child, and in most cases, adoption by a stepparent is seen as a benefit.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Although adopting a stepchild is often the easiest form of adoption, it is still important to work with an attorney to ensure the process goes smoothly. Contact an Illinois adoption lawyer to begin the process of making your family complete. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2098&ChapAct=750%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B50%2F&ChapterID9&ChapterName=FAMILIES&ActName=Adoption+Act%2E

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/f_step.pdf

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