Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

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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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Plainfield, IL violent crimes defense attorney

Social media has many benefits, but certain online sites also make it easier for teens and adults to “cyberbully” one another. Cyberbullying is defined as an act of demeaning, humiliating, or even threatening the safety of someone else through electronic means such as email, social media, and text messages. This type of behavior can be classified as harassment, which can have negative consequences. Harassment can leave deep scars on the mental health of a person, and this is especially true for young people. The victims of cyberbullying often engage in self-harming, and in some cases, they have gone on to commit school shootings. With this in mind, cyberbullying could be considered a violent crime in Illinois.

Does Illinois Have a Cyberbullying Law?

According to a recent study from Rasmussen College, 58 percent of teenagers admitted to being bullied online. 75 percent of kids admitted to having visited websites that focus on hateful comments about another minor, and 70 percent witnessed bullying via social media. It took some time, but cyberbullying is now enforced in Illinois, and legal punishments may be appropriate in order to put an end to online bullying. Illinois has an Anti-Bullying Law, which covers both face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying. It also covers acts of bullying that do not happen on a school campus. This way, a student can feel comfortable letting teachers or administrative staff know that he or she is being bullied online so action can be taken against the perpetrators.

Behaviors that are considered criminal include the following:

  • Harassing someone based on gender, race, or another protected status or distinguishing characteristic

  • Making violent and/or death threats

  • Making obscene phone calls or sending harassing text messages

  • "Sextortion" or child pornography

  • Stalking

  • Taking photos of someone to invade their privacy

What Are the Punishments for Cyberbullying?

While posting a demeaning comment online may seem like an innocuous activity, certain types of posts or actions could result in criminal consequences, including charges related to harassment or stalking. However, for teenagers, the social and academic punishments can seem just as severe as any legal action that can take place after cyberbullying someone.

In the state of Illinois, students who cyberbully can face any of the following penalties:

  • Suspension from school for up to 10 days

  • Expulsion from school for a period that does not exceed two years

On top of that, any legal action that takes place will result in a negative mark on the bully’s record. In the long run, one "inappropriate" comment that is made online can hinder a person’s ability to get into a desirable college or get a decent job.

Contact a Joliet, IL Cyberbullying Defense Attorney

Although many may not consider cyberbullying a violent crime, it can lead to violent outcomes. It is best to not engage in hateful behavior on the Internet, since this will not only avoid causing serious harm to another person, but it will also make sure you do not face legal consequences. If you or someone you know has been accused of cyberbullying, hire a lawyer from Tedone & Morton, P.C. to help build a strong defense strategy on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County criminal defense lawyer, call our office today at 815-666-1285.




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Will County underaged drunk driving defense attorney

The state of Illinois has serious consequences for those who drink and drive. When a minor under the legal drinking age of 21 decides to operate a vehicle while intoxicated, they may face severe punishments that can have a lasting effect on the young person’s life. Illinois has a "Zero Tolerance Law" for underage drinking and driving. Under this law, a minor driver who is found with any amount of alcohol in their system will have their license suspended and will have to take a driving course before having their driving privileges reinstated. Even those minors who are caught attempting to purchase alcohol with a fake ID can suffer consequences.

Illinois Zero Tolerance Law

A conviction under the Zero Tolerance Law may not lead to punishments that are as serious as those for a regular DUI conviction. However, if a minor is stopped under suspicion of drunk driving, the officer who makes the stop can decide which charges will apply: DUI, Zero Tolerance, or both.

A driver under the age of 21 who is convicted under the Zero Tolerance Law will have their driving privileges suspended for three months for a first offense and one year for a second offense. DUI convictions can lead to:

  • First conviction: Revoked driving privileges for a minimum of two years

  • Second conviction: Revoked driving privileges for a minimum of five years

During a traffic stop, the minor driver may be asked to submit to a roadside breathalyzer test or field sobriety tests. These tests may be used to establish probable cause to make an arrest. Following the arrest, the driver will be asked to submit to a chemical test of their blood alcohol content. If they refuse, driving privileges will be suspended for six months for a first offense or two years for a second offense.

Other Offenses That Can Lead to Suspended Driving Privileges

It is tempting for minors to want to drink alcohol before their 21st birthday. However, Illinois law clearly states that if a minor attempts to purchase alcohol with a fake ID, they will have their driving privileges suspended. Loss of driving privileges can also occur if the underaged person is caught possessing alcohol either in or out of a motor vehicle. If a minor is convicted of the illegal purchase, possession, receipt, or consumption of alcohol, the penalties are as follows:

  • Six-month driver's license suspension for first offenses;

  • One-year driver's license suspension for second offenses; and

  • Revocation of driver's license for subsequent offenses.

When the suspension term is up, a driver will have to complete a remedial driving course before being issued a new license. In some cases, the driver will have to retake a driver’s education course and final exam before earning their new license.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer

Minors are not the only ones to blame for a Zero Tolerance and/or DUI conviction. Parents can face consequences if they knowingly allow their child to drink alcohol and then let them get behind the wheel of a car. Everyone involved can have their lives altered after a DUI conviction. This is why having a knowledgeable lawyer from Tedone & Morton, P.C. in your corner is important when facing criminal charges. Our Will County underage DUI defense attorneys will be able to build a strong defense strategy and help keep your minor child’s driving privileges intact. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 815-666-1285.



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Will County forgery defense attorney

The state of Illinois classifies forgery as a “deceptive offense.” This means that the act involves defrauding a person or business with the intent to receive personal gain or cause financial loss to the victim. Forgery is punishable in Illinois as a felony offense, and those who are caught can face serious consequences from fines to jail time. It is important to understand what actions constitute this white-collar crime and the consequences for someone accused of it. 

What Is Forgery?

Any act that defrauds (illegally obtaining money from a person or business) a specific victim is classified as forgery. This includes any of the following:

  • Creating or altering documents that make defrauding someone possible

  • Delivering documents that can defraud someone

  • Possession with intent to deliver fraudulent documents

  • Unlawfully using someone else’s signature

  • Unlawfully using someone else’s device PIN number to create an electronic signature

Someone can also be charged with forgery if he or she creates a false academic degree without the words “for novelty purposes” displayed somewhere on the document. If the words are not included, the offender will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Forgery is almost always considered a Class 3 felony punishable by two to three years in prison, periodic imprisonment of up to 18 months, fines of up to $25,000 per offense, and restitution payments. Charges are decreased to a Class 4 felony status if only one Universal Price Code Label is used in the offense. Punishments include a one- to three-year prison term, periodic imprisonment of up to 18 months, fines of up to $25,000, and restitution payments.

Defensive Strategies for Forgery Charges

In order for the prosecution to successfully convict someone of forgery, they must prove intent to defraud beyond a reasonable doubt. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, a defendant can fight back with several strategies, such as:

  • No intent to defraud

  • Mistake of fact

  • Duress or compulsion: The offender was coerced into doing something he or she would not have done on his or her own

  • Infancy (for offenders who are under 13 years of age)

  • Insanity

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

In most cases, forgery is considered a felony under Illinois law. Penalties can range from jail time to steep fines, depending on the circumstances. If you or someone you know has been accused of this crime, you need skilled legal counsel. A lawyer from Tedone & Morton, P.C. can thoroughly examine your case and advocate on your behalf to protect you from a negative outcome. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County forgery defense lawyer, call our office today at 815-666-1285.




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