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joliet criminal defense lawyerYears ago, when a person wanted to take a photo, they needed to have a camera with film. They then had to take or send that film somewhere to be developed into hard copy prints. Today, smartphones, electronic devices, social media, text messaging, and emails have all changed the way we take and share photos. This also includes photos and videos that could be considered “racy” or inappropriate for public viewing. This has led to materials that were meant to be private shared without the subject’s permission by another party whose intention is to cause harm. This has become such a problem that it has resulted in many states, including Illinois, to pass revenge porn laws.

Revenge Porn

Revenge porn is a type of digital abuse where one party distributes intimate material of another party without their consent. It often occurs between couples who break up – hence the “revenge” description – but can also be involved in blackmail attempts.

In 2015, the state of Illinois confronted revenge porn issues head-on and passed a law that made the act a Class 4 felony. Penalties if convicted include up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. In addition, the victim can file a civil lawsuit against the defendant for financial damages.

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joliet playground accident lawyerEach year, more than 220,000 children end up at emergency rooms with playground-related injuries. These injuries range from fractures to internal bleeding to head injuries. In fact, more than 20,000 children sustain some form of traumatic brain injury in playground accidents every year. After a year of pandemic restrictions, children are more eager than ever to play with friends at parks, playgrounds, and summer camps and there is a concern that there may be a spike in the number of children injured. How can parents protect their children from these injuries and who is liable when they occur?

Playground Injuries

National data collected on playground accidents and injuries show that the most common cause of injuries to children are falls, resulting in about 45 percent of all emergency room visits. The most common injury that sends parents rushing to the ER is bone fractures, followed by cuts, bruises, sprains, and injuries to internal organs.

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joliet traffic violations lawyerWhile traffic violation fines can be a nuisance, they can also mean losing your license if those fines are unpaid. Under current Illinois law, if a driver has five or more unpaid camera tickets, their license can be suspended. If a driver has just one unpaid traffic ticket, the state can put a hold on their license that stops the driver from being able to renew it. But a new Illinois law about to go into effect July 1 will put an end to all that.

Illinois SAFE-T Act

Several months ago, Illinois lawmakers approved a massive criminal justice reform omnibus, the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity – Today (SAFE-T) Act. Included among the many issues the bill addressed were:

  • All Illinois police officers will be required to use body-worn cameras by January 1, 2025.

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Joliet personal injury lawyerIllinois law allows victims who are injured in accidents caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party to file legal action against that party for financial compensation for the losses those injuries cause. These losses can include medical expenses to treat the injuries, loss of income if the victim is unable to work while they recover, pain and suffering, and more.

Many accident claims are handled through the at-fault party’s insurance company, such as in car accidents, premises liability accidents, and medical malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately, the majority of insurance companies will do all they can to get a victim to settle for far less than what they deserve, including dragging the entire process out for an extended period of time. But a new Illinois law could end up penalizing insurance companies who engage in these types of practices.

Pretrial Interest Legislation

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and any time they are forced to pay funds to a victim, it cuts into those profits. Prior to the new law’s passage, there was no legal incentive for the at-fault party or an insurance company to settle a case before it went to trial. Insurance companies are well known for engaging in tactics that pressure victims to settle for less than what their losses are, or they attempt to find ways to deny a victim’s claim completely.

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joliet defense lawyerIf you are a fan of television crime shows, you have likely watched a scene where police characters play the “good cop, bad cop” roles. This is where one officer comes off as aggressive and menacing to the person who is being interrogated, while the other officer acts as their ally, encouraging them to tell the truth about what they know regarding the crime being investigated. Police officers are allowed to use many tactics like this in order to get a suspect or material witness to confess what they know. But just how far is too far and what law enforcement actions violate a person’s constitutional rights?

False Confessions

The Fifth Amendment grants several rights to protect individuals during a criminal investigation or proceeding, including guaranteeing the individual due process of law, prohibits double jeopardy, and protects the individual against self-incrimination. Unfortunately, the Fifth Amendment does not always protect an individual from any of the many deceitful tactics that police officers use to coerce a confession from a suspect. The ability for law enforcement to use these tactics has even been approved by the U.S. Supreme Court (Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731).

One of the more frequent ploys that police use in order to get a suspect to confess to a crime is to lie about the evidence they actually have. They may tell the suspect that they have DNA evidence linking them to the crime when they actually do not have that evidence. They can also lie about another suspect’s “confession” that the person they are interrogating helped in the commission of the crime.

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