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Many different acts constitute criminal offenses in Illinois. In order to convict someone of a crime, however, there must be evidence that proves he or she committed the act. This proof often comes from items, fingerprints, or photographs taken at the scene of the alleged crime. The most common reason why evidence is suppressed, and charges are reduced or dismissed altogether, is due to an illegal search and seizure by police. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine if the evidence in your case was obtained through a legal search warrant.  Different Types of Search Warrants  The Federal…
The path to U.S. citizenship can be complicated for someone coming from another country, especially when a language barrier is involved. There are various legal steps that must be taken to ensure legal entry to the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that oversees the country’s immigration and naturalization process. Obtaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status means an immigrant will receive what is called a Green Card. This is an important step in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization. Grounds for Deportation The U.S. government…
Coronavirus has affected millions of people all over the world. The global pandemic caused many non-essential businesses to temporarily shut down in states’ efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Here in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order that has been in effect for the past several months. As a result, the typically congested Chicagoland area roads have been much emptier. However, despite fewer people commuting to work or for extracurricular activities, there has been an increase in the number of traffic accidents. Studies show there may be various reasons for these statistics, namely traffic violations.   Illinois…
People across the globe dream of immigrating to the United States for a better life. In some cases, they may have family members who are already in the country and want to join them. For some, seeking asylum here offers freedom from persecution. In other scenarios, individuals may come to America specifically for employment reasons. Regardless of the reasons, once an immigrant lawfully enters this country, he or she will likely need to find a job to support himself or herself. If someone has a family, it may be even more critical to find work. Building a new life in…
Unfortunately, not every married couple lives happily ever after. Life can present its fair share of challenges, such as a job loss or the death of a close friend or relative, and these issues can put a significant strain on a relationship. Some spouses may turn to alcohol or drugs as a means of coping with stress. When controlled substances are added into the mix, arguments can escalate and even lead to physical confrontations in certain situations. According to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in three women and one in four men in the United…
The worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the way we live in just a matter of months. Local governments have issued “stay at home” orders and non-essential businesses have been closed for an indefinite amount of time. Individuals across the globe are practicing social distancing in an effort to flatten the curve for the number of new cases. Recently, the U.S. federal government announced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The largest economic relief bill in U.S. history, the stimulus package will allocate $2.2 trillion in support to individuals and businesses affected by the economic plunge due…
Laws are put in place at the local, state, and federal levels in an effort to protect society. As technology continues to advance, existing laws may need to be amended to remain relevant and effective. More than 200 new laws went into effect in Illinois at the start of the new year, impacting a number of different areas. Some of this new legislation affects the fines and penalties for various traffic violations. If motorists choose to disregard or disobey any traffic law, they may be subject to criminal charges, depending on the circumstances.   Punishment for Violating Scott’s Law  Scott’s…
When does the New Public Charge Rule take effect? Adjustment of Status Applications filed on or after Monday, February 24, 2020 will be subject to the new rule. Is this a new rule? No, public charge determinations have been part of immigration law since 1882. However, this new rule is more restrictive than in the past and requires that a totality of the circumstances test be applied to make a prospective, forward-looking determination of whether Intending Immigrants are likely to become public charges at any time after admission to the United States. Who is subject to the new rule? All…
On Monday, February 24, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is mandating the implementation of its new Public Charge Rule across the United States. History It has been part of immigration law since 1882 that those coming to the United States could not become a public charge, meaning that one emigrating to the United States could not expect the U.S. government to provide financial support to the intending immigrant. The term initially used was “professional beggars.” Although the immigration law does not specifically state how to determine whether an intending immigrant is to become a public charge, the…
The U.S. immigration process can be a confusing and time-consuming endeavor. However, regulations, policies, and procedures are put in place to protect the country and its citizens from harm. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that governs how a citizen of a foreign country can legally live and work in the United States or become a naturalized U.S. citizen. A foreign national who seeks to enter the United States must first obtain a U.S. visa. There are various visas available depending on a person’s circumstances and intentions.  Opportunities Through Employment  There are two main…
There are many acts that constitute a criminal offense in the United States. However, not everyone might know that certain actions that can result in an arrest, and they may be unaware of the potential punishments. In Illinois, a property crime is defined as the theft or destruction of another person’s property. Depending on the circumstances, the charges can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, with varying penalties if someone is convicted. It is important to note that property is not just limited to a piece of land or a personal possession, such as a house, a vehicle, or…
The phrase “violent crimes” can refer to various types of criminal offenses. Under Illinois law, violent crimes involve harm or the threat of harm to another person. One of the most serious of these offenses is homicide. Illinois law distinguishes between the types or “levels” of homicide as follows: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and involuntary manslaughter/reckless homicide. The main difference between the crimes is the state of mind of the alleged offender at the time of the killing. Generally, this means one act may be intentional or premeditated, while another may be accidental. This key distinction can be…
The answer is maybe. There is a rule called cross-chargeability, which might help. Cross-chargeability allows the beneficiary of a preference category visa petition to be assigned to a country other than that of his or her birth for visa bulletin purposes. This rule allows cross-chargeability between one spouse to another spouse, from parents to their children, and on rare occasions based on the place of habitual residence. Note that children may derive alternative chargeability through their parents, but parents cannot derive from children. The reason to allow children and/or spouses with different birth countries to use cross-chargeability is to avoid…
As we all know, if you are the beneficiary of a preference category family-based immigrant petition, the wait can be long. It can be very long. And life goes on. However, no one wants to lose their place in line for eventual immigration to the United States and understanding the Visa Bulletin is key to maintaining your place in line. First, knowing what categories are available is important. Note, however, those spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens are considered Immediate Relatives and are not subject to wait for an available visa. This…
Every month around the 10th of the month, the Department of State publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin, which lists the availability of preference-based visas for family- and employment-based categories. You might have noticed that there are two tables for each category—Final Action Dates and Dates for Filing. USCIS will indicate every month which chart can be used. But first, what does each chart mean? The Final Action Dates Chart indicates that visas are unavailable for Priority Dates equal to or greater than the date listed in the bulletin. For example, if your Priority Date is April 15, 2017 and the…
These days, people often marry individuals who are not from the same country as them. The ease of travel and increase of students studying abroad has provided Americans with the opportunity to meet friends and possible life partners outside of U.S. borders. Marrying someone from a different culture can lead to an exciting life. Not only are you merging two cultures, but you also must decide where you will live. This can be a difficult decision to make, and many couples decide to remain in the U.S. Making the decision to stay in the United States and getting an approved…