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Joliet, IL domestic violence defense attorneyChildren learn from the early years of their life what is right and what is wrong. They do this by observing the behavior of their parents, or those adults closest to them. Therefore, if a minor is in a household that experiences acts of domestic violence, the child is more likely to mimic the behavior later in life. According to the Office of Women’s Health (OWH), more than 15 million children live in homes that have experienced domestic violence at least once. These children are more at risk for abusive acts that can lead to being arrested and charged with simple assault.

The Reality of Children Caught in Abusive Households

Illinois law defines domestic violence as any one member of a household causing injury by means of choking, biting, hitting and similar acts to any other member of the household including:

  • Blood relatives

  • Spouses

  • People who share the home

  • Parenting partners

  • People with disabilities and their assistants

When a child is caught in the middle, it does not matter if he or she is being physically abused. The abusive behavior will still affect his or her mental health. The OWH reported that children who witness domestic violence can develop anxiety and depression when they become teenagers. Minors can also experience symptoms of poor self-esteem and even have their physical health be put at risk of diabetes, heart failure, and obesity.

The best thing a parent can do to keep his or her child away from any abusive behavior is to get out of the relationship--however hard it may be--to protect from any negative long-term effects.

How Does a Child Become the Abuser?

Children who see violence happening in the household can think that it is normal behavior and can act violently to either conform or to protect themselves from others. Teenagers can become bullies out of self-defense so they do not have to suffer more abuse.

In many cases, when minors become abusive, they target their violence toward those who share domestic space with them, according to a study done by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The report concluded that one in every 12 cases of domestic violence that was brought to authorities nationwide involved an abuser under the age of 18 years old. It also stated that juveniles are more violent the older they get, as shown by these statistics:

  • 16 percent of reported assaults were by minors under 12 years old.

  • 25 percent of reported assaults were by minors ages 12-17 years old.

  • 44 percent of reported assaults were by recent adults ages 18-25 years old.

These offenders can be arrested and taken to court to face simple assault charges. Depending on the nature of the crime, a child can face time in a juvenile detention facility, fines, and/or community service.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Any case of domestic violence should be taken seriously. In many instances, a pattern of abusive behavior starts with parents or adults and transfers to a child in the household. It is important to know that even minors can be charged with simple assault in domestic abuse situations. If you or your child is facing charges of domestic violence, hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. to help defend you from consequences. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County domestic violence defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285.




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Plainfield, IL drug charges defense lawyer

Illegal drug possession and use have climbed rapidly throughout the United States in recent years. The use of opioids has become more prevalent, and these drugs were responsible for 68 percent of fatal overdoses in 2017. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 47,600 people died in 2017 due to an opioid drug overdose. It is important to understand Illinois laws regarding the possession of illegal drugs in the event you are faced with such charges, even if you were simply a witness to an overdose and called for help. 

Who Is to Blame For Overdose Deaths?

In Illinois, a person who sold the drugs that led to a fatal overdose can be prosecuted for drug-induced homicide. However, Illinois is also one of 40 states in the United States that upholds the Good Samaritan Law, which protects both the victim of the overdose and the person who calls the police for help from facing charges.

The Good Samaritan Law was established to encourage people to call the police for help if they see someone who is overdosing on drugs. In many cases, people hesitate because they do not want to get into trouble, but this law ensures the callers will not be charged unless:

  • They are in possession of more than three grams of heroin.

  • They are in possession of more than three grams of morphine.

  • They are in possession of more than 40 grams of prescription opioids.

  • They are in possession of other illegal drugs of various amounts.

If the above circumstances apply, the person(s) in possession of the drugs will face felony charges.

What Are the Punishments for Drug Possession?

The state of Illinois has specific rules and punishments depending on the type of drug and the amount of the drug that is found in an offender’s possession. Possession of cocaine, heroin, morphine, methamphetamines, and LSD is a felony charge, regardless of the amount of drugs found. The punishments increase in severity when more drugs are found:

  • 15-100 grams: fines of up to $200,000 and a prison term of 4-15 years.

  • 100-400 grams: fines of up to $200,000 and a prison term of 6-30 years.

  • 400-900 grams: fines of up to $200,000 and a prison term of 8-40 years.

  • Over 900 grams: fines of up to $200,000 and a prison term of 10-50 years.

If a person is caught selling these drugs, he or she will face even more fines--up to $500,000-- and a prison term of up to 60 years, depending on the amount sold.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Under certain circumstances, the Good Samaritan Law can protect those individuals who may be in possession of drugs, but if a fatality occurs from an overdose, a police investigation could lead to serious criminal charges and penalties. If you are facing drug possession charges, hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton P.C. to make sure your rights are not compromised during an investigation. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County drug charge defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285 today.



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Joliet, IL stalking charges defense attorney

A lot of people do not think of stalking as a form of domestic violence, but it can be just as devastating to a victim as physical abuse. Stalking can come in many different forms, especially now with the prevalence of electronic communication and social media outlets. Illinois law has different categories when it comes to stalking charges, but stalking is generally defined as engaging in conduct that makes another person, the victim, fear for his or her own safety and/or suffers emotional distress. Whether it be actually following someone or harassment through text messages, it is important to know how Illinois law defines the different types of stalking and their penalties if you are ever faced with this kind of charge.  

Types of Stalking

The obvious form of stalking that everyone knows about is the act of one person following another from place to place with the intent to commit bodily harm or even kidnap the victim. However, Illinois also observes stalking as being any of the following:

  • Threatening a victim with bodily harm

  • Sexual assault

  • Restraint of a victim or threats of restraint against the victim’s family

  • Taking unlawful surveillance of the victim without his or her consent or knowledge.

Any person convicted of stalking of this nature will be charged with a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to two years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses are charged as a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to five years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

Stalking becomes a more serious crime when bodily harm or actual abduction occurs. Then, the charges turn into aggravated stalking. The state of Illinois also views the violation of a temporary restraining order as aggravated stalking, which is a Class 3 felony for a first offense. Subsequent offenses will be charged as a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

As the use of social media websites has increased, cyberstalking has become more serious. Illinois law defines this offense as engaging in electronic communication directed toward a victim who becomes fearful for his or her safety or experiences emotional distress. In severe cases, victims have committed suicide as a result of cyberstalking. Any person convicted of cyberstalking can face a Class 4 felony sentence for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for subsequent offenses.

How to Avoid a Stalking Conviction

There are several defense strategies that an alleged stalker could utilize in order to avoid a wrongful conviction:

  • Intent: An alleged stalker could argue that he or she had no intention of causing harm to the victim of the stalking.

  • A mistake of fact: An alleged stalker could say that the incident under investigation was simply a “wrong place at the wrong time” type of scenario and that he or she was not purposefully following the alleged victim.

  • Duress or coercion: The alleged stalker could say that someone forced or persuaded him or her to stalk or harass the victim, and he or she would not have done so without the third party’s involvement.

  • Insanity: The alleged stalker could say he or she was not in the right state of mind to distinguish the difference between right and wrong when the alleged stalking took place.

The above defense strategies are only for stalking charges. Unfortunately, if a person is charged with stalking, he or she can sometimes also face charges of breaking and entering, trespassing, or intimidating a witness.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Cases involving stalking are usually complicated and sensitive for both parties involved. These are serious charges that can carry stiff penalties depending on the circumstances of the incident(s). If you or someone you know is facing stalking charges, you need to seek legal counsel so you understand your options for defending against these accusations. The Law Offices of Tedone & Morton P.C. will collect evidence and build a strong defense strategy for you. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County domestic violence defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285 today.




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Joliet, IL DUI defense attorney

Several things happen when a driver is pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence in Illinois. After the police officer approaches the car, he or she may observe any unusual behavior or appearance of the driver. Officers will look for signs of drunkenness, including blood-shot or watery eyes, slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol. If the officer suspects impairment, he or she will ask the driver to exit the vehicle to perform a DUI field sobriety test. The officer can also administer a chemical test, but most of the time that kind of test is performed after a driver is taken into custody on suspicion of DUI and arrives at the police station.

What Types of Field Sobriety Tests Are Performed?

An officer may ask a driver to perform several different tasks during a field sobriety test, such as counting by fives or reciting the alphabet backward. However, there are three main types of standardized field sobriety tests that are recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test: In the HGN test, the officer holds up a finger or pen and moves it back and forth, asking the driver to follow it with his or her eyes only. If there is substantial jerking of the eyes, or if the driver cannot follow the movement, the driver fails the test.

  2. The Walk-and-Turn Test: The driver is asked to take nine steps in a straight line before turning and taking another nine steps in the opposite direction. An officer is looking for lack of balance during the walk. If the driver has to stop to regain his or her balance at any time, uses his or her arms for balance, or takes the wrong amount of steps during the test, the driver fails the test.

  3. The One-Leg Stand Test: The officer will ask the driver to stand on one leg and count up from 1,000 until he or she is instructed to put his or her foot back down. If a driver loses balance or has to put his or her foot down before the test is over, the driver fails the test.

Since these tests are performed on-site at the stop, usually on a sidewalk or empty street, there are several factors that could make them inaccurate, which is why a driver may refuse to perform the tests. For example, even a sober person is likely to fail these tests if he or she suffers from a certain physical disability or a mental disorder that would prevent him or her from doing the tasks correctly. 

These tests may also be unreliable because of conditions at the testing site that could factor into a sober driver failing the sobriety test. If the pavement is wet or icy, this could throw off a person’s balance while performing the one-leg stand or the walk-and-turn tests.

Refusing a field sobriety test will typically result in the officer taking the driver into custody and performing a chemical blood alcohol test. The chemical test can also be refused, but the officer will then typically obtain a warrant for the test to be taken. The Illinois Secretary of State automatically suspends a motorist’s driving privileges for refusing to submit to chemical testing.

Contact a Joliet, IL DUI Defense Attorney

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime in Illinois. There are several consequences for a conviction, including loss of driving privileges and hefty fines. If you believe your rights may have been compromised during a traffic stop or field sobriety test, hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton P.C. to build your defense. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County criminal defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285.




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Plainfield, IL firearms charge defense attorney

Thousands of people from across Illinois flocked to Chicago’s Navy Pier to see this year's fireworks show in celebration of the Fourth of July. However, the booms of the fireworks were not the only noise present throughout the city. According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, 16 people were shot and two were killed in violent crimes that occurred in and around the city on Independence Day. One potential reason for the high number of incidents may be the increased consumption of alcohol over the holiday weekend. Regardless of the time of year, Illinois has several rules for firearms that are meant to keep people in the state safe. Violations of these laws can result in being charged with a weapons crime.

Who Can Legally Own a Gun?

Anyone who wishes to own a gun for either home defense or concealed carry in Illinois must first apply for a Firearms’ Ownership Identification Card (FOID). The Illinois State Police are in charge of approving FOIDs, and there are several requirements that one must meet before legally owning a firearm:

  • Must be 21 years old or over, unless there is consent from a parent or guardian. Minors under the age of 18 are not permitted to own a gun.

  • Must not have been convicted of any felony.

  • Must not be addicted to narcotics.

  • Must not have been a patient in a mental institute within five years prior to the application.

  • Must not be intellectually disabled.

  • Must be a citizen of the United States.

Furthermore, there are steps that must be taken if gun owners want to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois. They must apply for a concealed carry license, pay a $150 fee, and attend 16 hours of training. A person with a valid concealed carry license will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in most places; however, there are places where it is never legal to carry a weapon, including schools, libraries, parks, and government facilities.

What if I Am Caught Using an Unlicensed Firearm?

Depending on the nature of the crime, unlawful use of a firearm can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in Illinois. Unlawful possession of firearms other than handguns or firearm ammunition is a Class A misdemeanor. The offender can face up to one year in prison, two years of probation, and up to $2,500 in fees.

Carrying a loaded gun is classified as aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. It is punishable as a Class 4 felony, and the offender can face up to three years in prison, 30 months of probation, and several fines. Possession of a stolen firearm is considered a Class 2 felony, resulting in jail time from three to seven years. The fine can be up to $25,000. Probation is possible for a Class 2 felony in Illinois.

Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a Class 1 felony, which carries a prison sentence up to 15 years and a fine up to $25,000. Furthermore, if a victim is injured or killed in an incident involving a firearm, the offender could also face charges such as manslaughter, assault, or even murder. Murder can result in a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Illinois has specific laws regarding firearms, and gun owners must meet their requirements for obtaining a FOID or concealed carry license. Due to the prevalence of gun violence, weapons charges are taken very seriously, and unlicensed gun owners could face criminal consequences. If you are facing weapons charges of any kind, the first step you should take is to hire legal counsel. The Law Office of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help build a strong defense on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County weapons charge defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285.


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