sign and drive, traffic violations, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyConsider the contents of your wallet. If it was stolen, what would be the most challenging thing to do without for a few days? Chances are, you could get by without your credit or debit card and insurance identification cards for a little while until you receive new ones. Your driver’s license, however, is a whole different story. Without it, you would probably struggle to board an airplane, purchase alcohol, or even cash a check. However, for many years, the state of Illinois allowed law enforcement officers to take a person’s driver’s license as bail when citing him or her for a traffic violation. Thanks to a law that went into effect earlier this year, though, the practice has come to an end, and it is important to know your rights and responsibilities.

Implementing Sign and Drive

Just over a year ago, the Illinois legislature and then-Governor Pat Quinn recognized the challenges presented to citizens by having their licenses confiscated as bail. They realized that affecting the way that a person goes about his or her daily life was not appropriate based on relative minor severity of most traffic violations. Thus, in August of 2014, the so-called Sign and Drive was officially signed by the governor, taking effect on January 1, 2015.

The previous law permitted an officer to confiscate a license to ensure the driver’s compliance in responding the citation. The license was returned when offender appeared in court or paid the fine associated with the ticket. Under the new law, a driver who receives a citation is required to provide a signature guaranteeing that he or she will respond appropriately, by either pleading guilty and paying the fine or by appearing in court to dispute violation.

Possible Penalties

Although requiring only a signature now, the new law still includes potential consequences for those who fail to comply. Any driver who fails to appear or enter a plea as directed by the citation is subject to having his or her driving privileges suspended by the Secretary of State until the violation is resolved. A suspension may be avoided based upon a showing of good cause, but the final authority rests with the Secretary’s office.

If you have been charged with a traffic violation and your license was confiscated as a result, your rights have violated. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney and put our team to work for you. We will review your case and the details of your citation, and offer you the top-quality legal representation you deserve. Call 847-253-3100 for your free consultation today.



Posted in Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney, Illinois law, Traffic Violations | Tagged , , , , , ,

spousal support, Illinois law, Rolling Meadows Divorce AttorneyUnder the law in Illinois, children have to right to expect financial support from both parents, regardless of the adults’ marital situation. The same is not true, however, for divorcing spouses. While there may be situations in which spousal maintenance is appropriate, there is no inherent assumption that it will be granted. Instead, in the absence of an agreement either at the time of divorce or prior, such as a prenuptial agreement, the court will examine the applicable circumstances and decide if an order for spousal support is necessary.

Negotiated Maintenance and Prenuptial Agreements

Most aspects of divorce can be settled fairly amicably through the process of negotiation. You and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement regarding spousal support with an arrangement that works for your particular situation. Spousal maintenance provisions can also be included in a prenuptial agreement, created prior to your marriage. As long as such agreements are workable and relatively fair, they are likely to be accepted by the court.

Court-Ordered Maintenance

When you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement regarding support, the court will review the circumstances of your marriage and divorce. It will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to award spousal maintenance, and to determine the amount to be paid based upon provisions in the law. The court is expected to take into account:

  • The income and property of each spouse, including the portion of the marital estate each is receiving and the resulting tax consequences;
  • The needs of each spouse;
  • The current and anticipated earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The impact on each spouse’s earning capacity based on roles in the marriage and family;
  • The standard of living established in the marriage;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The age and health of each spouse;
  • The contributions of the spouse seeking maintenance toward the other spouse’s earning capacity;
  • The time necessary for the spouse seeking maintenance to become self-sufficient, if even possible; and
  • Any other factors deemed to be just and equitable.

If the court determines that maintenance is appropriate, the law provides a formula for calculating the recommended amount and duration of the award for most cases. The court may deviate from the formula, however, based on findings of fact related to the individual couple’s situation.

There are a large number of factors that could impact your requirement to pay spousal support or your eligibility to receive it, and an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney can help you through the process. Contact the Cosley Law Office today to schedule your free initial consultation and get the answers you need to whatever questions you may have. Call 847-253-3100 for an appointment.



Posted in Alimony, Rolling Meadows Family Lawyer, Spousal Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , ,

permission to search, fourth amendment rights, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerEvery year, a surprising number of people are arrested after having their cars searched. Often, the police find drugs, weapons, or other contraband in the car and then arrest all of the occupants. But, police are not allowed to randomly search vehicles. Everyone in the United States has a Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

If you have had you car searched by police, it is important to know if the search was legal or not.

Search and Seizure Law Basics

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to not have your property searched or taken unreasonably. This means that the police must either have your permission, a warrant, or there must exist some special circumstance, before they can search your property, including your car.

If a search is found by a court to have been illegal, all evidence gathered from that search will be inadmissible in court. This is sometimes called “fruit of the poisonous tree”. If you give the police permission to search you vehicle, however, the search will almost certainly be legal.

Closely related to car searches is the idea of the stop. Police must have seen a violation, even a minor one, before they can pull you over. If there was no reason for the stop, anything that happens after the illegal stop will not be allowed into court.

Police Tactics

The police know the law better than you do in most cases. If you refuse to let them search your car, they may try to pressure you by telling you that you must be guilty, otherwise you would have nothing to hide. This is little more than a tactic, do not give in. You are within your rights to refuse permission to search your car.

Another tactic commonly used by police is the threat of a drug sniffing dog. The dog may or may not exist. Regardless, you should still refuse to give permission to search your car. If a drug sniffing dog is called out and the dog indicates there may be drugs in the car, the police will be able to search your car without your permission.

You have a duty to cooperate with the police, but not at the expense of your legal rights.

You do not have to face the criminal justice system alone. Before you talk to anyone about your criminal case, including the police, consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal law attorney. We are prepared to fight on your behalf and to ensure your rights are fully protected at every stage of the process. Call 847-253-3100 today to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated lawyer who knows how to get results.


Posted in Fourth Amendment Rights, Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney, Search and Seizure | Tagged , , , , ,