Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

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Plainfield reckless driving defense attorney

It is a simple thing to do, but most drivers have been guilty of not using a turn signal while driving at least once in their lifetime. A recent study from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) revealed that approximately 2 billion occurrences of drivers failing to signal happen every day. On average, 48 percent of drivers fail to signal while changing lanes, while 25 percent fail to signal when turning. Not only is failing to use a turn signal considered a traffic violation in Illinois, but it can also lead to reckless driving charges, because it could lead to collisions. The study from SAE concluded that 2 million car collisions occur annually as a result of failing to signal.

How Does Illinois Enforce Turn Signal Usage?

It is against Illinois law to neglect to use a turn signal while driving. A turn signal should be given at least 200 feet before a turn, and the signal should be used before every lane change. There are other guidelines for drivers to follow in order to keep the road safe for all drivers and pedestrians:

  • At a red light, come to a complete stop before turning unless there is a green arrow on a traffic signal.

  • Yield to the right-of-way traffic.

  • Check for pedestrians and yield to their crossing.

  • Right-hand turners should make their turns as close to the curb as possible, while left-hand turners should complete their turns into the closest lane going in the intended direction.

It is not uncommon for police officers to stop a driver who fails to use the turn signal while driving. In most cases, the action will just result in a traffic ticket with a mandatory fine. However, if an injury or a collision occurs as a result of the neglect, the offending driver can be charged with reckless driving. This offense is defined by Illinois law as any action or inaction that puts other drivers and/or pedestrians in danger of injury or death. People cannot predict the actions of the drivers around them, and if a turn signal is not used, a lane change or a sudden turn can be jarring and can cause a serious collision. Reckless driving is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois that can result in a $2,500 fine and up to one year in prison.

Why Is a Turn Signal Important?

Communication is key when keeping the roads safe, and the only way drivers can communicate with each other while in motion is through their vehicles’ lights, including the turn signal. The turn signal is important for letting other drivers know:

  • You are planning to turn soon.

  • You are about to change lanes (when it is safe to do so).

  • You are about to change lanes because there is an obstacle in the road or the lanes are merging.

When a turn signal is used, the other drivers on the road can modify their driving so that the turn or lane change can be made safely. If this cooperation does not happen, it can lead to frustration, road rage, and collisions.

Contact a Joliet, IL Traffic Violation Attorney

The rules of the road are put in place for the safety of all motorists. In some cases, forgetting to use your turn signal on can lead to a traffic violation and even a car accident. Charges of reckless driving can have serious consequences, especially if multiple incidents occur close together. A lawyer from the Law Office of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help make sure your rights were not violated during a traffic stop. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County traffic ticket defense lawyer, call our office today at 815-666-1285.




Will County domestic battery defense attorney

The Illinois State Police approximates that 95 percent of domestic violence cases are men beating women. One case happens every 15 seconds, and Illinois has severe punishments for those offenders convicted of the crime. Charges can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, and convicted abusers can also face many ramifications to their lives, including no access to their victims, isolation from their community, a tarnish on their reputation, and the inability to get a job or purchase a house.

Illinois Domestic Violence Act

The state of Illinois observes domestic violence between members of a household, including:

  • Spouses

  • Parents and children

  • Step-children

  • People who share the same house

  • Co-parents who share parental responsibilities of a child

  • People with disabilities and their caretakers

According to Illinois law, domestic violence can include more than just physical violence. Other forms of domestic violence include harassment, stalking, peeping, keeping children away from their parents without reason, forcing a person to do something they do not want to do, and forcing a child to watch an act of abuse. These types of offenses can lead to a Class A misdemeanor charge, which can be punished by one year in prison, probation, fines, and counseling. Charges may be elevated to felonies for several reasons, including:

  • If an abuser has prior domestic violence charges, they will face a Class 4 felony.

  • A Class 4 felony will also be charged if the act of domestic violence involves a child, a firearm, or sexual assault.

  • Aggravated domestic battery is a Class 2 felony charge, which can lead to a prison term of three to seven years.

Alleged abusers may also face an order of protection, which victims are encouraged to file during a domestic violence case. This type of restraining order will restrict an alleged abuser from having any contact with their alleged victim, and it may place a number of other requirements on a person, including staying out of their house, paying child support or spousal support, or attending counseling.

Defenses Against False Allegations

Unfortunately, some cases of alleged domestic violence turn out to be based on false accusations. In these cases, alleged abusers benefit from having legal counsel on their side to help avoid negative outcomes and a criminal record. An attorney can look into each individual case and find out if there is any evidence showing that the abuse did not occur. An attorney may be able to help demonstrate that an alleged victim's story was fabricated in order to keep a parent from their child or as an attempt to influence the decisions in a child custody dispute.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Domestic violence is taken seriously in the state of Illinois. In some cases, however, the accusations may not be true. That is why it is imperative for an alleged abuser to seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney who can properly look into the circumstances of the case. The lawyers of Tedone & Morton, P.C. are capable of building a solid defense on your behalf to avoid a false conviction. To schedule a free consultation with a diligent Will County domestic violence lawyer, call our office at 815-666-1285.




Plainfield, IL weapons crime defense attorney

It may be obvious that there are certain requirements a person must meet in order to own a firearm in Illinois, but a lot of people may not be aware that Illinois does not allow possession of certain bladed weapons. The state has a law prohibiting people from possessing, selling, and manufacturing a variety of weapons other than firearms. Depending on the circumstances, violators of this law could face felony weapons charges.

What Weapons Are Prohibited?

Illinois law states it is illegal for anyone to purchase, sell, and possess a very specific list of weapons including:

  • Bludgeons

  • Black-jacks

  • Slung-shots

  • Sand-clubs

  • Sand-bags

  • Metal knuckles

  • Throwing stars

  • Any types of knives

  • Razors

  • Stilettos

  • Broken bottles

  • Stun guns

  • Tasers

These weapons cannot be carried in a vehicle or concealed anywhere on a person’s body unless that person is in his or her own home or has permission from a homeowner to be present in his or her dwelling place with the weapons. Firearms have the same rules, but guns cannot be possessed or concealed without a permit, and a person must have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card.

What Are the Penalties for Illegal Weapons Use?

Anyone caught illegally carrying and/or using a non-firearm weapon will face a Class A misdemeanor penalty. If the illegal weapon is a firearm, the charges increase to Class 4 felony punishments. Further penalties may apply based on the circumstances of the offense and the location of the incident, including:

  • A Class 3 felony applies to those who use a silencer on a firearm or to someone who manufactures or sells a rifle with one or more barrels less than 18 inches long.

  • A Class 2 felony applies to those who manufacture, sell, or purchase an automatic machine gun. Punishments include a prison term of three to seven years. A Class X felony will apply if this type of gun is carried while loaded in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle or on the person’s body.

  • Subsequent offenders of most weapons crimes will be further charged with a Class 3 felony. Each separate weapon found in a person’s possession will result in individual charges.

Punishments are elevated when the violator is caught in possession of their illegal weapon on the grounds of a school (regardless of school hours), in a public park, or in a courthouse. Even if the weapon is not a firearm, the offender can still face Class 4 felony punishments.

The only persons exempt from these laws are police officers who must carry their weapons while on duty.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Carrying a concealed weapon in public places can pose a danger to everyone, including the carrier. If you or someone you know have been accused of firearm or non-firearm weapons possession charges, you need a strong defense to clear your name. The lawyers from Tedone & Morton have experience defending against felony charges of illegal weapons usage. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County weapons charges defense lawyer, call our office today at 815-666-1285.




Will County traffic violation defense lawyer

Every state has rules when it comes to approaching and passing stopped school buses while they pick up or drop off students. Illinois law states that all drivers must stop when they see a school bus that has its safety bar outstretched, its lights flashing, and its stop sign engaged. The only exception to the rule is when the school bus is stopped on a four-lane highway. In this case, traffic moving in the other direction can proceed without stopping. Failure to stop and keep the road safe for crossing children can lead to fines and suspension of a person’s driver’s license. However, should an accident occur during an illegal pass, the offender could face more serious felony charges.

How Is Illinois Keeping Bus Stops Safer for Kids?

It does take time for a school bus to pick up its young passengers, and some drivers can get impatient waiting for the bus to proceed. Other drivers could be distracted and not even realize that they are recklessly putting a child’s life in danger by driving around the bus.

Whatever the reason, it is unlawful for a driver to pass a stopped school bus, and it is dangerous to the children who could be crossing the street to get to their bus. Illinois punishes traffic violators by:

  • Making first offenders pay a $150 fine

  • Making subsequent offenders pay a $500 fine

  • Suspending driving privileges for three months for first offenses

  • Suspending a driver’s license for one year if a second offense occurs within five years of the first violation 

Since many drivers tend to just keep driving if they illegally pass a stopped school bus, the busses are equipped with front-facing cameras to capture license plates and any other images that can help identify the owner of a vehicle that passes the bus illegally. If the owner of the car was not the person driving at the time of the incident, he or she must provide the contact information of the person who was driving. If the owner cannot, he or she will be the one facing the consequences.

What if an Accident Occurs?

While waiting a few extra minutes for children to get on a school bus may be frustrating for a person who is in a hurry, the time saved by passing a bus illegally is not worth putting children at risk. Children have been struck, hurt, and sometimes killed by motorists who were too impatient to wait. Drivers who commit this type of offense may face severe charges, such as:

  • Aggravated Assault: This felony offense can be charged if a child is struck by a car when the accident could have been avoided. The driver, if convicted, will face a Class 3 or Class 4 felony, depending on the circumstances of the situation.

  • Involuntary Manslaughter (Reckless Homicide): This felony offense can be charged if a child is killed by a driver who is performing a reckless act that results in the death. Charges can be elevated to “aggravated” if the offense occurs within a school zone. The convicted offender will face Class 2 or Class 3 felony charges, depending on whether or not the offense is considered “aggravated.”

In addition to criminal charges, the offending driver could also face lawsuits for damage to property that occurred during the violation. He or she may also be required to pay compensation for a victim's medical bills and pain and suffering, as well as the grief and sorrow of the family members of a child who is killed.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Nothing is worth the death of a child. If a driver strikes a child, or even just illegally passes a school bus, it can change the lives of everyone involved. The family members of the child will have to grieve their loss, while the offending driver will face serious punishments for his or her actions. The experienced lawyers at Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help those motorists who are facing charges after allegedly passing a school bus illegally. To schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Will County traffic violations lawyer, call our office at 815-666-1285.




Joliet, IL child abuse defense lawyer

The state of Illinois has a low tolerance for child abuse. Even actions that may seem like reasonable forms of discipline could result in child battery or domestic violence charges if they are misinterpreted. These accusations can be devastating to the parent who is being accused, especially if the family is split. In these cases, the allocation of parental responsibilities can be altered so that the child does not see the alleged abuser again. For those who are wrongly accused, they could lose precious time with their young ones. This is why a thorough investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is important when defending against such charges.

Understanding Child Abuse Allegations

Illinois law classifies child abuse as an “aggravated battery of a minor.” This charge is defined legally as any person over 18 years of age causing bodily harm and/or permanent disfigurement to any minor under 13 years of age or someone who is severely mentally impaired.

The sentence for the crime depends on the severity of the abuse. The most severe conviction is a Class X felony, which is punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and even then, a person can have the conviction elevated depending on circumstances such as:

  • 15 years in prison shall be added to the abuser’s sentence if he or she was in possession of a firearm when the abuse took place.

  • 20 years in prison shall be added to the abuser’s sentence if a firearm was discharged during an act of abuse.

  • 25 years or until the end of natural life shall be added to the abuser’s sentence if--during an act of abuse--a firearm was discharged, leaving a victim permanently disabled, disfigured, or dead.

Adults who either witness the abuse of a child or see signs of abuse (i.e., bruises, cuts, etc.) are required to report their findings to DCFS, who will then investigate the allegation. There are some people who are “mandated reporters,” which means they will be breaking the law if a child tells them about abuse and they do nothing. This is a long list in Illinois, which includes the child’s doctors, teachers, daycare workers, and clergy members.

Long bouts of child abuse can leave a young person with more than just physical scars. A child can also be mentally scarred, and he or she can develop certain disorders, such as the following:

  • Eating and/or sleeping disorders

  • Aggressive behavior

  • A decline in academic performance

  • Depression and/or anxiety

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

As for alleged abusers, they suffer as well if they are innocent. Not only will they risk losing time with their children, but their reputation in their community will also be damaged. 

Defending Against False Accusations

If DCFS finds enough evidence to take a case to court, the prosecution will have to rely on testimony from the alleged victim and any witnesses in order to convict an alleged abuser. In some cases, a younger child may be coached by an adult to say something in court to try to ensure a false conviction. This is why it is important for a defendant to have an attorney by his or her side who can look into the facts of the case and identify when certain testimony does not add up. The best defense against child abuse accusations is to make sure all evidence is examined by a trained criminal defense lawyer who can sift through fact versus fiction.

Contact a Joliet, IL Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic abuse of any kind is a serious matter in the state of Illinois. While it is important for children to be safe, it is also good for them to be able to spend time with each of their parents so long as actual abuse is not taking place. The lawyers of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help defend your rights as a parent against false accusations of child abuse, ensuring that you do not miss out on any time with your children. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Will County child abuse attorneys, call our office today at 815-666-1285.




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