Firearm Sound Suppressors (“Silencers”) Legalized in Iowa

On March 31, 2016, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed the Hearing Protection Act, House File 2279, into law. The Hearing Protection Act legalizes the possession of sound suppressors and the use of sound suppressors for hunting in Iowa. This change bring Iowa into line with the 41 other states that

What is a Motion?

Motions are a key part of just about every type of court case. This article discusses Motions in the Iowa and Illinois legal systems.

The Meaning of Court Case Numbers in Iowa

The court system in Iowa assigns court case numbers based upon the type of case. That means that the case number can provide useful information about the court case if one knows how to interpret the case number. This article provides information on decoding Iowa case numbers.

Election and Voting Related Charges in Illinois

A variety of Illinois election and voting related crimes are defined in 10 ILCS 5 as shown below.  These crimes include election misconduct, voter fraud, buying votes, ballot box stuffing, etc.:

Federal Conspiracy Against Rights Charges

US Federal law makes it a serious crime for a person to conspire with another to take certain actions against another person’s civil rights, as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 241:

The Meaning of Court Case Numbers in Illinois

The court system in Illinois assigns court case numbers based upon the type of case and when the case was filed. That means that the case number can provide useful information about the court case if one knows how to interpret the case number. This article provides information on decoding Illinois case numbers.

Perjury Charges in Illinois

Perjury is the crime that a person can be charged with for lying under oath in Illinois. The crime of Perjury in Illinois is defined by 720 ILCS 5/32-2 as follows:

Dissolving a Guardianship in Illinois

In Illinois, a guardianship for a minor automatically is dissolved when the minor reaches the age of majority. Before reaching the age of majority, a parent may file a petition to discharge the guardian and terminate the guardianship for a minor.

Denial of Critical Care of a Child in Iowa

In the state of Iowa, the Department of Human Services (DHS) investigates cases where a parent or other caregiver is alleged to have committed Denial of Critical Care of a child. Iowa DHS defines Denial of Critical Care as follows:

Military Divorces in Illinois

In cases where a person or their spouse is a military service memver, there are special consideration when getting divorced in Illinois.

Military Divorces in Iowa

When a person or their spouse is in the military, there are special consideration for a divorce case in Iowa.

Handling Illinois Criminal Charges from Out-of-State

Many of the people in Illinois who face a criminal or traffic charge are from out of state.  Indeed, it is easy for a visit to relatives or a vacation in Illinois to result in a traffic ticket or a more serious charge.  For such individuals, it is of great importance to handle the case properly.

A Person is Innocent Until Proven Guilty in Criminal Cases

One of the most basic principles in the American legal system is that a person who is accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.  This principle is the bedrock of our criminal justice justice system, and should be remembered by everyone who is involved in a criminal case.

Evictions (Forcible Entry and Detainer) in Iowa

In Iowa, to evict a tenant, a landlord cannot engage in self-help but must obtain a court order to evict a tenant. The procedure in Iowa to evict a tenant is called a forcible entry and detainer (FED) action.

Handling Iowa Criminal Charges from Out-of-State

Many people charged with criminal and traffic offenses in Iowa are from out of state (and sometimes quite far from the county in Iowa where the charges are pending).  In such a case, it is prudent for the out-of-state person with the pending charge to seek an attorney in Iowa.  At Puryear Law, we represent many such clients from out of state.

Harassment of Public Officers and Employees Charges in Iowa

The Iowa crime of Harassment of Public Officers and Employees is defined by Iowa Code Section 718.4 as follows: Any person who willfully prevents or attempts to prevent any public officer or employee from performing the officer’s or employee’s duty commits a simple misdemeanor. A conviction for Harassment of Public Officers and Employees in Iowa is a Simple Misdemeanor, meaning the maximum penalty is 30 days in the county jail.

Determining the Proper State in which to Seek Gun Rights Restoration

These days, more people than ever end up moving from state to state.  That can create issues for people when it comes to seeking a restoration of gun rights, as some people are unsure whether they need to seek the restoration of their firearms rights in the state where the crime occurred or in the state where they now live.  Luckily, the answer is a simple one.

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Street Gang Member Charges in Illinois

The crime of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Street Gang Member in Illinois is defined by 720 ILCS 5/24-1.8 as follows: (a) A person commits unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member when he or she knowingly: (1) possesses, carries, or conceals on or about his or her person a firearm and firearm ammunition while on any street, road, alley, gangway, sidewalk, or any other lands, except when inside his or her own abode or inside his … Continued

Gunrunning Charges in Illinois

The crime of Gunrunning in Illinois is defined by 720 ILCS 5/24-3A as follows: (a) A person commits gunrunning when he or she transfers 3 or more firearms in violation of any of the paragraphs of Section 24-3 of this Code. (b) Sentence. A person who commits gunrunning: (1) is guilty of a Class 1 felony; (2) is guilty of a Class X felony for which the sentence shall be a term of imprisonment of not less than 8 years and … Continued

Interrogatories in Divorce and Custody Cases

In Divorce and child custody cases, Interrogatories are a common discovery tool. Interrogatories can help a party to obtain information that is needed to reach a favorable settlement, or to take the case to trial.

Summer Visitation

It is common in divorce and custody cases in Iowa and Illinois for the court to award a non-custodial parent (a parent who does not have primary physical care) an extended block of visitation in the summer months.  Summer visitation is also commonly awarded to both parents so that each parent can have an opportunity to take a vacation or otherwise spend time with the child.  Summer visitation can be a great opportunity for a parent to spend more time with … Continued

Special Considerations for Daycare Operators when Dealing with Iowa DHS

The Department of Human Services in Iowa handles both the licensing of daycare operators and child abuse/neglect investigations in Iowa.  When a person who operates a daycare is accused of child abuse or child neglect in Iowa, they face both the standard concerns anyone would face, as well as concerns about their livelihood and ability to continue operating a daycare.

Useful Tools in Illinois Collection Matters

When a party obtains a judgment in a civil case, that party becomes what is called a “judgment-creditor.” The party that owes the judgment, which is a debt, is a “judgment-debtor.” While a judgment-creditor may be relieved to have won a judgment, that fact alone does not equal payment in all cases.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which is found at 50 U.S.C. sections 501-597b, was enacted to allow servicemembers to devote their energy to the defense needs of the nation and to provide for the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings, except criminal proceedings, that may adversely affect the civil rights of servicemembers during military service.

Dealing with Police Misconduct and Brutality

There are some police officers who engage in misconduct and commit acts of brutality.  Properly handling such a situation of abuse on the part of the police is vital to protecting oneself, obtaining the justice that is deserved, and putting a stop to such wrongdoing, so as to protect oneself and the community as a whole.

Improper Lane Usage Tickets in Illinois

Illinois law requires that drivers use traffic lanes in a particular manner. The portion of Illinois law that governs use of lanes on the road is 625 ILCS 5/11-709, which provides as follows:

Complying with Discovery in Divorce and Custody Cases

In divorce and child custody cases in Illinois and Iowa, Discovery is an important part of the case. Discovery refers to the process through which each side in a divorce or custody case is entitled to gather information from the other side, for use in court later.  It is important to comply with discovery, as a failure to do so can result in significant harm to a case.

Poaching Charges in Iowa

Poaching in Iowa is the crime committed when a person takes wildlife or fish without the proper permit. Iowa Code Section 483A.42

Federal Child Pornography Charges

Federal law imposes criminal penalties upon those convicted of certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography, as provided for by 18 U.S.C. § 2252A:

Federal Kidnapping Charges

The Federal crime of Kidnapping applies to kidnapping in the traditional sense, as well as parental kidnapping. It is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1201 as follows:

Federal Coercion and Enticement Charges

The Federal crimes of Coercion and Enticement relate to situations where a person is accused of causing another person to travel for or engage in prostitution or any other unlawful sexual activity. The penalties vary depending upon the age of the individual and other factors, as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 2422 as shown below:

Common Pitfalls for People Why Try to Represent Themselves in Divorce Cases

People will sometimes attempt to represent themselves in a divorce case.  When a person acts as their own lawyer (pro se) in a divorce, there are often serious problems created, both in the short term and the long term. Anyone who is considering representing themselves should consider the possible ramifications before proceeding.

What to Do When A Judge “Gets it Wrong”

Judges can and do make incorrect rulings. Sometimes a judge’s rulings are factually inaccurate, and other times they include legal errors. There are actions that can be taken to when a judge “gets it wrong,” but the time limits are short so it is important to act swiftly.

Military Orders and Domicile for Divorce Cases

The first step in the divorce process, is determining where exactly to file the divorce and begin court proceedings. This process is usually simple, but it can be difficult for military families. For a divorce judgment to be valid, one of the individuals usually must be domiciled in the State issuing the divorce decree.

How Long it Takes to Get Divorced

A common question in divorce cases is how long it will take for the divorce to be completed.  The answer to that question depends upon many different factors that are unique to each case.  Those factors include the following:

What to Say and Not to Say to Children During a Divorce

During a divorce case, it is critical that both spouses carefully choose their words when discussing the situation with their children.  This is important for both the mental wellbeing of the children, and each spouse’s legal interests in the case.

Federal Habeas Corpus

After a criminal defendant has been convicted and sentenced and completed his or her direct appeal and state post-conviction relief proceedings, the defendant has one final means to challenge his or her conviction and sentence. This final proceeding is called a federal habeas corpus proceeding, which is found at 28 U.S.C. section 2254 (prisoners in state custody) and 28 U.S.C. section 2255 (prisoners in federal custody). Habeas corpus is defined as a writ requiring a person to produce a prisoner … Continued

Navigating the Social Security Disability Benefits Application Process

Navigating the process of obtaining Social Security Disability benefits can be time-consuming, confusing, and stressful — and often for individuals who experiencing the worst hardship of their lives. This is, in part, because (in order to qualify for benefits) a person must demonstrate that he or she is disabled.

Severing Multi-Defendant Trials in Illinois

In Illinois, multiple defendants can be charged with the same or similar crimes in the same charging document, the information or indictment. A criminal defendant or the State may want to file a motion to sever the co-defendants if prejudiced by the joinder of the co-defendants.

Methamphetamine Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, methamphetamine charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies and carry varying penalties depending on the charge

Methamphetamine Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, possession, deliver, and manufacture of methamphetamine is illegal and are punished rather harshly. The punishments vary according to the amount of methamphetamine involved. Knowing possession of methamphetamine without

Drug Court in Illinois

The Drug Court Treatment Act was authorized to reduce the incidence of drug use, drug addiction, and crimes committed as a result of drug use and drug addiction in the State of Illinois. Pursuant to the Act, each judicial circuit within the State of Illinois must establish a drug court program. A Defendant may attend drug court as an alternative to a term of imprisonment.

Heroine Charges in Iowa

Iowa classifies heroin as a Schedule I Substance. Not all heroin offenses are treated the same, and the penalties vary depending on whether the individual was in mere possession of heroin, or whether the individual was manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with the intent to deliver or manufacture heroin. Other variables include the

Heroine Charges in Illinois

In Illinois it is a crime to possess, deliver, manufacture, and traffic heroin. The Illinois Controlled Substances Act details the guidelines and penalties that Illinois courts follow in sentencing individuals under the Act.

Deciding Where to File For Divorce

The question of where to file for divorce is one that can be complex, especially when a person has moved recently or has a spouse who lives in another state.  Selecting the right jurisdiction and venue for the divorce case is important, as incorrect choices can cause significant harm to a person’s case and interests.

Unlawful Use of Body Armor Charges in Illinois

Illinois law makes it the separate crime of unlawful use of body armor for a person to wear body armor while committing another crime. This law can be seen in 720 ILCS 5/33F-2, which provides as follows:

Illegal Gambling Charges in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, gambling is generally a crime unless it is done in a way that has been legalized, such as the Illinois Lottery or at a licensed casino.  The crime of gambling is defined by 720 ILCS 5/28-1 follows:

Court Date Continuances

Continuance is the legal term for when a court date is rescheduled to some time in the future.  There are many reasons that a court date may be Continued, and continuances can have significant effects upon cases.

Things to Discuss with a Lawyer During a Family Law Consultation

When a person consults with a lawyer about their family law case, there are many different things that should be discussed so that the client is as informed as possible about how the case would proceed and the terms of representation.  While each situation is different, there are some common things that are applicable in every case:

Proffer Letters and Proffer Meetings in Federal Criminal Cases

Those who are suspected of involvement in a criminal act by Federal prosecutors will sometimes be offered a Proffer, which is a type of limited immunity from prosecution in exchange for cooperation.  Sometimes the Proffer is initiated by the prosecutors, and other times a person and their attorney will request a Proffer.  Handling a Proffer situation properly is of the highest importance, as it can greatly affect whether a person is prosecuted and the outcome of such a case.

Federal Drug (Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroine, and Methamphetamine) Charges

Federal law prohibits the manufacture, distribution, possession with intent, or dispensing of a variety of drugs that include marijuana, cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamine. The applicable Federal law is 21 U.S.C. § 841 and 21 U.S.C. § 960.  Those accused of Federal drug offenses should take the matter seriously and work with an experienced attorney to properly handle the case.

Federal Money Order Charges

A variety of unlawful actions concerning money orders and postal notes are criminalized by the Federal government in 18 U.S.C. 500, which provides as follows:

Federal Counterfeit Postage Charges

Federal law provides felony charges for those accused of counterfeiting postage stamps, postage meter stamps, and postcard postage. That federal law, 18 U.S.C. 501, provides as follows:

Federal Felon in Possession of Body Armor Charges

Those who have been convicted of certain felony offenses are prohibited by US Federal law from possessing body armor.  The applicable Federal law can be seen in 18 U.S.C. 931, which provides as follows:

Bigamy Charges in Iowa

The crime of bigamy in Iowa is defined by Iowa Code section 726.1, which provides as follows:

Things to Remember when Talking to DHS in Iowa or DCFS in Illinois

When a DHS (in Iowa) or DCFS (in Illinois) become involved in a person’s life due to child abuse or neglect allegations, they often do so by making an unannounced visit and requesting that a person speak with them.  How that conversation is handled can have a significant impact upon the rest of the case.

Jury Selection in Criminal Trials

In a criminal jury trial, it is the members of the jury who decide the guilt or innocence of the accused.  Selecting the jury is an important part of a person’s defense.

Spyware and Other Snooping During a Divorce

Those involved in a divorce case are sometimes tempted to use spyware or other snooping techniques to spy upon their spouse.  Such spying is not favored by the courts in Illinois or Iowa, and can even result in criminal charges.

Judici: An Online Court Case Lookup System for Many Counties in Illinois

Whiles some states have a government-run website that allows for cases to be viewed online, the state of Illinois has no such unified system.  However, over 70 counties in Illinois do offer online court access through Judici.  Judici is a privately run website that partners with counties to provide free access to court records.

Iowa Electronic Document Management System (EDMS)

The state of Iowa has switched from paper filing to electronic filing for virtually all court matters.  The system used for electronic filing is called Electronic Document Management System (EDMS).  The use of EDMS is generally mandatory.

Failure to Signal Ticket in Iowa

Iowa law requires that drivers use their turn signal under certain circumstances.  Those requirements are specified in Iowa Code Sections 321.314 and 321.315:

Failure to Signal Ticket in Illinois

Illinois law requires drivers to make use of their car’s turn signal in certain circumstances, in accordance with 625 ILCS 5/11-804, and a failure to do so can result in a traffic citation for failure to signal.

Computer Spyware and Malware Charges in Iowa

Iowa Code Section 715 provides various definitions and charges that relate to computer spyware and malware.  This law imposes criminal penalties upon certain actions relating to spyware and malware.  The relevant sections of the Iowa code are discussed below:

Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Iowa

In Iowa, a party claiming that a judge exceeded his or her jurisdiction or otherwise acted illegally may file a petition for writ of certiorari with the Iowa Supreme Court. The petition for writ of certiorari must be filed within thirty (30) days after the challenged decision. If a motion to amend, enlarge, or reconsider is filed, the petition must be filed within thirty (30) days after the ruling on the motion. No extensions are allowed except for the failure … Continued

Gun Trusts

A gun trust is a type of trust used to register and own firearms in the United States. A gun trust is not a necessity to register or own firearms in the United States, but they do provide many useful benefits, especially in cases where the firearms owned are Title II/Class 3.

Postconviction Relief Proceedings in Illinois

Postconviction relief proceedings in Illinois are governed by 725 ILCS 5/122. Postconviction relief proceedings are civil actions attacking a criminal conviction and/or sentencing. Typically, postconviction relief actions are initiated after the criminal defendant’s direct appeals have been exhausted

Finding Hidden Assets During a Divorce Case

In divorce cases, it is not uncommon for a spouse to try and hide assets from the other spouse and the legal system.  It is important to properly handle such attempts to hide assets.

Armed Violence Charges in Illinois

The crime of Armed Violence in Illinois is defined by 720 ILCS 5/33A et seq. It is a serious felony in charge in Illinois that can carry decades in prison for those who are convicted. Contrary to the common-sense reading of the name of charge, a person need not commit any act of violence to be charged with armed violence in Illinois.

How to Talk to Your Spouse About Divorce

In divorce case, there is always the question about how to break the news about a divorce to one’s spouse.  The right way to handle the sharing of that information is something that will be different for each person, depending upon the unique facts in each case.

Deciding Whether to Move Out During a Divorce Case

Before and during a divorce is started, many people consider moving out of the marital home.  The decision as to whether to move out or remain in the marital residence is a complex one that has significant ramifications upon property, custody, alimony, and other issues for those with cases in Illinois and Iowa.

Stalking No Contact Order in Illinois

Pursuant to the Stalking No Contact Order Act, Illinois permits a person to file a Petition for a Stalking No Contact Order and to request relief from individuals engaging in stalking behavior. The perpetrator against whom relief is requested, also known as the Respondent, must be engaging in a course of conduct of stalking. This is generally proven by two or more acts of any method, including following a

Brady v. Maryland and Exculpatory Evidence in Criminal Cases

In the United States Supreme Court case of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), the United States Supreme Court held that a prosecutor who suppresses evidence favorable to the criminal defendant upon request violates the defendant’s right to due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good or bad faith of the prosecutor.  This is the law of the land in the entire United States, and applies to prosecutions in every … Continued

Inaccurate DHS (In Iowa) and DCFS (in Illinois) Reports

The Department of Human Services (DHS) in Iowa, and its counterpart the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in Illinois, are responsible for investigating child abuse accusations. Sadly, many of their reports inaccurately assign blame for child abuse, or claim that abuse exists when there has not been any abuse at all.

Premarital (Prenuptuial or Antenuptial) Agreements in Iowa

Iowa law permits couples to enact premarital agreements (also known as prenuptial agreements or antenuptial agreements) prior to marriage. Premarital agreements are becoming increasingly more common and enables couples to come to a mutual understanding of the distribution of property prior to

Probation Violations in Illinois

If a criminal defendant has allegedly violated his or her probation in Illinois, the court can issue a notice or a summons to the defendant to be present for a hearing or order a warrant for the defendant’s arrest if the defendant is a flight risk, causes serious harm to others, or

Premarital (Prenuptuial or Antenuptial) Agreements in Illinois

Premarital agreements (also known as prenuptuial or antenuptial agreements) are great for couples who want to figure out the distribution of their property prior to the filing of a divorce. A premarital agreement enables couples to come to a mutual understanding during the

Probation Violations in Iowa

If there is probable cause to believe that a criminal defendant has violated the terms and conditions of his or her probation in Iowa, the probation officer may seek a summons or an arrest warrant

Constitutional Expert Jonathan Turley on Privacy – C-SPAN Video

Below is a video interview and question and answer session with  Constitutional Expert Jonathan Turley, which aired on C-SPAN.  Given the implications of mass surveillance and privacy upon every area of law – especially criminal defense – the video is certainly worth watching.  That is especially true given the recent attempts to argue for insecure backdoors in encryption.

Hazing Charges in Iowa

The crime of hazing in Iowa is defined by Iowa Code section 708.10, which reads as follows:

Sexual Exploitation of a Child Charges in Illinois

The crime of Sexual Exploitation of a Child in Illinois is defined by 720 ILCS 5/11-9.1: (a) A person commits sexual exploitation of a child if in the presence or virtual presence, or both, of a child and with knowledge that a child or one whom he or she believes to be a child would view his or her acts, that person: (1) engages in a sexual act; or (2) exposes his or her sex organs, anus or breast for the … Continued

Resolving Disputes with Demand Letters Saves Time and Money

It is often possible to resolve a dispute without the need to resort to a lawsuit.  Avoiding such litigation though the use of properly drafted demand letters can allow a person to obtain the desired outcome swiftly, while avoiding the cost and delays associated

Dealing with Fraud and Perjury in Family Law Cases

It is sadly common for an opposing party in a family law case to engage in conduct that is fraudulent or involves perjury (lying under oath).  Handling those situations properly, so that the lies do not result in an unfair custody, child support, or other outcome is of great

Documenting Visitation Interference

A parent who is facing visitation interference should carefully document and report that interference, so that their attorney can properly use that evidence in court to resolve the problem.

Jury versus Bench Trial in Criminal Cases

A person facing criminal charges can have either a jury trial or a bench trial.  Depending upon the nature of the charges and facts of the case, it may be wise to opt for one type of trial or another.

Grounds for Divorce in Iowa

Iowa is a “no fault” state when it comes to divorces, although the Iowa Code requires certain grounds be alleged in order for a divorce case to proceed.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

Unlike many states that have switched to “no fault” divorces, the state of Illinois still requires that person wishing to be divorced prove “grounds” for the divorce.  There are many grounds that can be used to obtain a divorce in Illinois.

Arson Charges in Iowa

Iowa Code Chapter 712 covers the crime of arson. Arson is defined as causing a fire or explosion, placing any burning or combustible material, or any incendiary or explosive device or material in or near any property with

Fleeing and Eluding and Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding Charges in Illinois

The crimes of Fleeing and Eluding and Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding are defined by Illinois law in 625 ILCS 5/11-204 and 625 ILCS 5/11-204.1 as discussed below.  It is important o note that fleeing and eluding and aggravated fleeing and eluding are serious criminal charges, rather than a traffic tickets.

False Imprisonment Charges in Iowa

The crime of false imprisonment is defined by Iowa Code Section 710.7 as the crime a person commits when, having no reasonable belief that the person has any right or authority to do so, the person intentionally confines

Child Stealing Charges in Iowa

Iowa law defines the crime of child stealing in Iowa Code section 710.5 as the crime a person commits when, knowing that the person has no authority to do so, the person forcibly or fraudulently takes, decoys, or entices away any child with intent to

Kidnapping Charges in Iowa

The crime of kidnapping in Iowa is defined by Iowa Code section 710.1 as the crime a person commits when the person either confines a person or removes a person from one place to another, knowing that

Speedy Trial in Illinois Criminal Cases

The right to a speedy trial is guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Illinois Constitution. Illinois also has codified the speedy trial guarantee in a statute—725 ILCS 5/103-5. Illinois has two speedy trial rights, depending on whether the defendant is

Speedy Trial in Iowa Criminal Cases

The right to a speedy trial is guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Iowa Constitution. Iowa also has a more stringent court rule regarding the right to a speedy trial–Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.33. This rule requires that a defendant charged with an indictable offense (a serious misdemeanor up to a Class A felony) must be brought to trial within

The Pros and Cons of the “One Judge One Child” Rule

In some counties, there is a “one judge one child” rule which means that a single judge is assigned to handle each hearing in a divorce or custody case that involves one or more minor children.  The purpose of that rule is to ensure that the judge who makes the final custody determination is as familiar with the case as possible, since that judge’s ruling will have a long-lasting effect upon the child’s life.  The one judge one child rule … Continued

Plea Offers and Plea Bargains in Criminal Cases

In criminal cases, the prosecution will often make plea offers to the defendant. That process of negotiating is call plea bargaining. Deciding whether a person accused of a crime should accept a plea offer is an important decision that must be made carefully, as the ramifications are quite serious.

Arson Charges in Illinois

An individual who is charged with Arson in Illinois faces severe penalties. Arson is the intentional act of setting fire to real or personal property. There are three different types of Arson in Illinois, and each type carries with it a different penalty

Service of Process

Service of Process is the legal term that refers to legal papers being given to a person who is involved in a court case.  Properly handling service of process is vital, as the court cannot and will not proceed with a case when there is not good service of process.

The Joint Parenting Agreement

A Joint Parenting Agreement is a common legal document in divorce or child custody cases in Illinois and Iowa.  It contains the terms under which the parents of a child or children will interact as to each other and the children.

The Marital Settlement Agreement

In a divorce case that is resolved by agreement, a Marital Settlement Agreement will set forth the specifics of that agreement.

What is a Divorce Decree

A divorce decree (often formally called a Decree of Divorce or Decree of Dissolution of Marriage) is the formal legal document entered by the court that dissolves the marital relationship between the spouses.  Essentially, a divorce decree is the document that

Driving while Suspended or Revoked in Illinois

The Illinois Secretary of State has the authority to suspend or revoke an individual’s Illinois license. A charge for driving while one’s license is suspended or revoked is a serious criminal matter in Illinois.

Illinois “Heart Balm” Lawsuits Abolished, Effective January 1, 2016

The term of legal causes of action (lawsuits) where a person sues another over a “matter of the heart” have long been referred to as “heart balm” lawsuits.  Illinois is in the minority of states that allow such causes of action, although that comes to an end on January 1, 2016.

Driving While Suspended, Revoked, or Barred in Iowa

In Iowa, a driver’s license can be suspended, revoked, and/or barred for different reasons. Driving with a suspended, revoked, or barred license can result in serious criminal charges, as well as a further loss of driving privileges.

Habitual Offender Enhancements in Iowa

If a criminal defendant has a pending Class C or Class D felony charge in Iowa and has two prior felony convictions in Iowa or another state, the State may seek to impose the habitual offender enhancement on the pending felony charge. The habitual offender enhancement is recidivist statute designed to punish violators

Father’s Rights in Child Custody and Divorce Cases

The term “father rights” is often informally used in connection with a divorce or child custody cases in Illinois.  This article addresses father’s rights and the state of the law in Iowa and Illinois insofar as the gender of a parent is concerned.

The Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group (QCMEG)

The Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group, abbreviated as QCMEG, is a collaboration of law enforcement from the Illinois and Iowa police departments in the Quad Cities area. QCMEG focuses on drug charges in Illinois and Iowa, and is funded with by State and Federal money.

Murder Charges in Illinois

The crime of Murder in Illinois is defined by 720 ILCS 5/9-1 as the crime a person commits by killing another person under certain circumstances.

Handling Disputes with Customers Over Goods/Services and Payment

A reality of every business is the eventual disputes with a client over the client’s failure to pay for good provided or services rendered, or the client’s dissatisfaction with those goods or services.  Handling those matters properly is essential to the success of any business.

Iowa Supreme Court Limits Warantless Vehicle Searches

On December 11, 2015, the Iowa Supreme Court released its ruling in IN THE MATTER OF PROPERTY SEIZED FROM ROBERT PARDEE, No. 14–0029, which limits the ability of police to engage in warantless vehicle searches.

Murder Charges in Iowa

Murder is defined by Iowa law as the intentional killing of a person under certain conditions.  Iowa Code section 707.2 and 707.3 define the crimes of Murder in the First Degree and Murder in the Second Degree in Iowa as follows:

Hosting a Drug House Gathering Charges in Iowa

Iowa law bans the hosting of drug house gatherings (gatherings where controlled substances unlawfully used) in Iowa Code Section 124.407, which states that it is unlawful for any person to sponsor, promote, or aid, or assist in the sponsoring or promoting of a meeting, gathering, or assemblage with the knowledge or intent that a controlled substance be

Emergency Consultation for Iowa and Illinois Legal Matters

At Puryear Law, we understand that many legal situations become emergencies outside of a law firm’s normal business hours.  Those situations often include criminal defense, divorce, child custody, emergency injunctions, DHS/DCFS accusations, and protective orders.  For situations that cannot wait, we offer emergency phone consultations for potential clients who have cases in Iowa or Illinois (in either state or federal court).

Annulments in Illinois

In Illinois, one spouse may obtain a “judgment of invalidity” or an annulment under the following grounds

Annulments in Iowa

In Iowa, one spouse may obtain an annulment of marriage under the following grounds

No Insurance Tickets (Driving Without Liability Coverage) in Iowa

In Iowa, the requirement to have motor vehicle insurance is set forth in Iowa Code section 321.20B, which stated in relevant part that “Notwithstanding chapter 321A, which requires certain persons to maintain proof of financial responsibility, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle on the highways of this state unless financial liability coverage

Imputing Income in Child Support Cases

Child support in Illinois and Iowa are based in large part upon the income of the parent who is paying child support.  That makes determining the proper amount of income for child support an important aspect of the case.  The Iowa District Court and the Illinois Circuit Court have the authority to impute income to either party when child support is being calculated.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Charges in Iowa

Under Iowa law, a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident has a duty to stop and take certain action.  Failure to do so is the crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident under Iowa Code section 321.262 et. seq

Gun Rights Restoration for Illinois and Iowa Residents

Those who have been banned from gun ownership due to a criminal conviction or other disqualifying event in Illinois or Iowa can seek a restoration of their gun rights.  This is a somewhat involved process that must be handled properly in order to have the best chance of succeeding.  My firm has represented many clients in Iowa and Illinois to seek such a restoration of their gun rights.

Failure to Reduce Speed Ticket in Illinois

Drivers who are accused of being at fault for a car accident in Illinois are often charged with the offense of Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident, under 625 ILCS 5/11-601a.

Defamation (Libel and Slander) in Iowa

Defamation in Iowa consists of the torts of libel and slander—libel consists of written statements and slander consists of oral statements. Defamation laws in Iowa embody the public policy that persons should be free to enjoy their reputation unimpaired by false and defamatory attacks. An action for defamation is based on a violation of this right

Failure to Appear (FTA) in Criminal Cases

A Failure to Appear (FTA) is the legal term commonly used in Illinois and Iowa courts for a defendant not showing up to court as scheduled.  An FTA can cause significant problems for a defendant.

Bond Revocation in Criminal Cases

For those who are out on bond after being charged with a crime, it is possible for bond to be revoked by the court.  Bond revocation can happen for a variety of reasons in an Illinois or Iowa criminal case.

Avoid Defaults in Civil Cases

Those who have been served with papers in a civil case (e.g. a divorce, custody, child support, lawsuit, or other such case) should remember that there are strict deadlines that must be met to avoid a Default or other negative consequences in the case.

Motion in Arrest of Judgment in Iowa Criminal Cases

A motion in arrest of judgment in Iowa is a motion made by the defendant that no judgment be entered on a finding, plea, or verdict of guilty. Typically, this type of motion is filed to allow a guilty plea to be withdrawn

Speeding Tickets in Iowa

Speeding ticket (citations) in Iowa are issued by the Iowa Highway Patrol, as well as local law enforcement from counties and cities.  Speeding in Iowa can result in a license suspension, insurance increases, or even jail time.

Speeding Tickets in Illinois

Speeding tickets (citations) are issued by local Illinois law enforcement, as well as the Illinois State Police.  A speeding ticket can result in license suspension/revocation, higher insurance rates, and even jail time in Illinois.

Motions to Sever Multi-defendant Trials in Iowa Criminal Cases

When there are multiple defendants charged with the same crime in Iowa, they can be charged as co-defendants in the same Trial Information, which is the formal charging document. If co-defendants are charged in the same Trial Information, then they will have a joint trial where they are all tried at the same time. In some cases, it may be best for a defendant to have co-defendants charged separately with separate trials

Criminal Damage to Property Charges in Illinois

The crime of criminal damage to property is defined in Illinois by 720 ILCS 5/21-1 as follows. Criminal damage to property is commonly thought of as “vandalism” but can also cover other offenses in Illinois.

Criminal Mischief Charges in Iowa

Iowa Code Section 716 defines the crime of criminal mischief as any damage, defacing, alteration, or destruction of property is criminal mischief when done intentionally by one who has no right to so act. In essence, criminal mischief in Iowa is what we more commonly call vandalism.

Postconviction Relief Proceedings in Iowa

Postconviction relief proceedings in Iowa are governed by Iowa Code Chapter 822. Postconviction relief proceedings are civil actions attacking a criminal conviction and/or sentencing

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Both Iowa and Illinois recognize an individual’s right to file a medical malpractice claim against entities and individuals who provide inadequate care. A lawsuit may be filed against a health care provider for medical malpractice when the treatment falls below a standard of care generally practiced by the medical community. That means that if a health care provider makes a mistake

Intentional Tort Lawsuits

Both Iowa and Illinois allow for an individual to bring a lawsuit against an intentional tortfeasor for any damages caused by the wrongdoer’s intentional actions. Intentional torts tend to involve behavior that is more egregious than simple negligence, as the tortfeasor in intentional tort claims intentionally does an act that causes harm to the Plaintiff.

Trespass Charges in Iowa

The crime of Trespass is defined by Iowa Code section 716.7 as the crime a person commits any of the following acts:

Criminal Trespass to Vehicles Charges in Illinois

The crime of Criminal Trespass to Vehicles is defined by 720 ILCS 5/21-2 as the crime a person commits when he or she knowingly and without authority enters any part of or operates any vehicle, aircraft, watercraft or snowmobile.

Worker’s Compensation

If an individual is injured on the job, they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. As soon as the injury occurs, it is important that the injured party reports the injury to their employer. For long-term injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, the injured worker should report the injury as soon as it is reasonably apparent that they have suffered some impairment. Employers and their insurance companies

Premises Liability Lawsuits

Property owners must make a reasonable effort to maintain their property and to keep it safe from any dangerous conditions on the land. They must also warn others of any defective conditions with which the property owner should reasonably know about.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Any civil lawsuit can also include a wrongful death claim when the defendant’s actions or inactions resulted in the death of a loved one. When an individual dies as a result of the negligence or wrongful act of another, the victim’s close family may bring a wrongful death claim against that individual.

Dog Bite Lawsuits

An individual injured by a dog bite may have a cause of action against the dog’s owner.

Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) Appeals in Iowa

When the Iowa juvenile court takes action against a parent’s rights, that parent can appeal. Child in need of assistance (CINA) appeals in Iowa are governed by the Iowa Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Rules on Electronic Document Management System, which are the electronic filing of court documents. Because appeals are time sensitive and have specific requirements, it is highly advisable

Dealing with a Manipulative Spouse During a Divorce Case

At some point during their divorce case, many people will encounter attempts at manipulation from their spouse.  This manipulation can center around just about any of the matters that exist in a divorce case, and is important to handle correctly as the outcome of a divorce case will affect a person’s life for years and years.

Appealing a Criminal Conviction in Iowa

Those convicted of a crime in Iowa have a right to appeal that conviction.  Criminal Appeals in Iowa are governed by the Iowa Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Rules on Electronic Document Management System, which are the electronic filing of court documents. Because appeals are time sensitive and have specific requirements, it is highly advisable to contact an attorney immediately

Effect of a Parent Moving Away 150 Miles in an Iowa Custody Case

In situations where the parents of a child are no longer together, the parent with primary care of the child may decide to move at some point.  For the other parent, that could in essence mean losing their child.  Iowa law addresses that by considering a move of 150 miles to be a material change in circumstances, which justifies a Petition to Modify custody and physical care.

Grandparent Visitation and Guardianship in Iowa

Grandparents are often very involved with grandchildren, and those bonds that are formed can be meaningful to both the grandparent and grandchild.  In many situations, events will occur that result in the child’s parent or parents no longer allowing the grandparent to see the child. Depending upon the circumstances, there may

How to Handle Being Served with Child Custody Papers

A person who is served with papers for a child custody case is often shocked and upset by the situation.  Handing things the right way during that upsetting time is important, as missteps can result in lasting harm to a person’s child custody situation.

The Best Interests of the Child Standard in Illinois and Iowa Family Law Cases

In family law cases, the best interest of the child is the court’s highest priority.  The Iowa District Court and Illinois Circuit Court judges who handle custody and divorce cases are required by law to follow that standard.  This article discusses the best interests of the child as applied by the courts.

Bail and Pretrial Release (or Detention) in Federal Criminal Cases

In the Federal court system, the process through which a defendant is granted or denied pretrial release is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3142. These Federal rules concerning pretrial release or detention are much different than the state court bail rules in Illinois or Iowa.

Common Holiday Problems in Family Law

The holidays can be a wonderful time to spend with loved ones, yet it can also be one of the more difficult times for those with family law issues.  Properly addressing such problems can help keep the holidays enjoyable.

Alimony (Maintenance) in Illinois Divorce Cases

Maintenance, also commonly called alimony, can be awarded by the Illinois Circuit Court as part of a divorce case. This article discusses alimony in Illinois, which was revised effective January 1, 2015 to use a new guideline system.

Appealing a Criminal Conviction in Illinois

In Illinois, an individual has the right to appeal a criminal conviction. If an individual was found guilty either by a jury or at a bench trial, they may appeal their conviction and sentence

Federal Split Sentence Explained

A person who is sentenced to prison in the Federal court system may be eligible for a Split Sentence, which involves some time in prison and some time in community confinement or home detention.

Federal Criminal Charges Versus State Criminal Charges

In the United States, criminal charges can be brought by different levels of government, to include the Federal Government or the State government.  Whether a person is charged at the State or Federal level depends upon a variety of factors.

Home Invasion Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, the crime of home invasion is defined by 720 ILCS 5/19-6 as the crime a person commits when without authority he or she knowingly enters the dwelling

Overview of the Child Adoption Process in Iowa

 Adoption proceedings in Iowa are governed by Iowa Code Chapter 600. An adoption is a legal process whereby a parent-child relationship is established.  This article addresses the adoption process in Iowa.

Spousal Support (Alimony) in Iowa Divorce Cases

As part of a divorce or legal separation case in Iowa, the court can award spousal support (also called alimony). There are a few types of spousal support in Iowa that the court can award, for various reasons.

Fraudulent Practices Charges in Iowa

Fraudulent Practices is a crime in Iowa defined by Iowa Code section 714.8.  There are a variety of actions that a person can take in Iowa that will result in the charge of Fraudulent Practices. Those actions are defined by Iowa law as follows.

Employee Versus Independent Contractor Classification

 Classification of workers as independent contractors v. employees has become an important focus of the US Department of Labor in recent years. Misclassification of employees as an independent contractor is commonplace, and can subject an employee to significant financial penalties and costs.  For that reason it is in the interest of every business owner to

Dealing with False Domestic Abuse Accusations

False accusations of domestic abuse are common in divorce and custody cases in Illinois and Iowa.  Properly handling such accusations of domestic violence is of the highest importance.

Parental Alienation in Illinois Custody and Divorce Cases

Parental Alienation is a situation that is often created in custody and divorce cases when one parent (or other individual) attempts to destroy the relationship between a child and the other parent.  Illinois law quite correctly sees such improper action on the part of a parent, grandparent, or other person as seriously damaging to the child, and the Illinois

Parental Alienation in Iowa Custody and Divorce Cases

Parental Alienation is a situation commonly produced in divorce and custody cases when one parent (or other person) tries to destroy the relationship between a child and the other parent.  Iowa law recognizes such improper action on the part of a parent, grandparent, or other person is seriously harmful to the child, and the Iowa court system can address the situation.

Mediation in a Divorce Case

Mediation is a process employed by many courts to try and resolve some or all of the contested matters in a divorce case, without having to proceed to a trial.  Sometimes mediation is mandatory, and other times it is voluntary.  The mediation process has the potential to be useful to parties in a divorce case, but mediation also can lead to problems if it is not handled properly.

Dealing with Pets in Illinois Divorce Cases

Pets are an important part of many people’s lives.  Indeed, I have seen Illinois divorce cases where there was more concerns over a dog or cat then some people people sadly show for their children.  As such, handling pet matters in a divorce case can be of great importance.

Dealing with Pets in Iowa Divorce Cases

In the hearts of their human owners, pets can feel like as much a member of the family as a person.  As such, getting the right resolution for the distribution of pets in an Iowa divorce case is often of great importance.

Dealing with a Spouse’s Improper Spending During an Illinois or Iowa Divorce

During divorce cases, it is not uncommon for a spouse to try and spend marital money in an inappropriate manner.  Sometimes that involves emptying out bank accounts.  Other times, a spouse will overuse credit cards during the divorce case.  It is important to address that improper spending quickly in Illinois or Iowa.

Rule to Show Cause (Contempt Action) in Illinois

If a person does not obey a court Order in Illinois, then there is a remedy called a Rule to Show Cause (also referred to as a Contempt Action) that can be brought to address the matter.  In Illinois, a Rule to Show Cause is often used to address failures to pay child support and interference with visitation.

Rule to Show Cause (Contempt Action) in Iowa

In Iowa, when a person fails to follow a court order, the matter can be addressed through a Rule to Show Cause (which is sometimes also called a contempt action).  A Rule to Show Cause is most commonly used in family law cases to address violations of court orders involving custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support.

Safeguard Your Personal Information to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity theft affects tens of millions of Americans each year, costing billions of dollars.  In recent years, the number of breaches of personal information and the sophistication of identity thieves has increased dramatically, with no signs of stopping.  However, there are steps that everyone can take to reduce the risk of identity theft.

Seeking a Modification of Bond Terms in a Criminal Case

A person who is out on bond during the pendency of a criminal case may find that the bond conditions originally set by the court are not longer workable, due to a change in circumstances.  The solution is to seek a modification of the bond terms.

Slip and Fall Personal Injury is No Laughing Matter

Although “slip and fall” personal injury accidents are the butt of many jokes on TV and the internet, such accidents are no laughing matter in real life.  A person who experiences a slip and fall accident may suffer significant harm.  That harm often includes medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  Such matters should be properly addressed through the legal system in Iowa and Illinois.

Felon or Other Prohibited Person in Possession of a Firearm Charge in Iowa

Iowa law prohibits people who have been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor of domestic violence, who are subject to a protective order, or have a juvenile adjudication that would have been a conviction if they had been an adult from possessing firearms or ammunition, under Iowa Code section 724.26.

Iowa Business Registered Agent

Under Iowa law, a registered agent is an individual (or a corporation depending on the business organization) designated by the entity to accept service of process

Sentencing Guidelines and Factors in Aggravation and Mitigation in Illinois Criminal Cases

Illinois law requires a sentencing judge in a criminal case to consider a series of factors when determining a sentence to impose upon a defendant who has been convicted of a crime.  There are factors in aggravation, which suggest a harsher sentence, and factors in mitigation, which suggest a lighter sentence.  Those factors and additional guidance as to sentencing are

Sentencing Guidelines and Factors in Iowa Criminal Cases

In Iowa criminal cases, the sentencing judge is instructed by Iowa Code section 901.5 to consider certain guidelines and factors in determining what sentence to impose.  This article discusses that sentencing process in Iowa criminal cases.

Iowa Supreme Court Rules that Iowa Law Allows Drinking on Front Porch and Front Steps of Houses

On June 22, 2013, just before midnight, Waterloo police responded to a 911 call. In the process of handling that call, they arrested a woman who had stood on her own front porch for public intoxication, after determining that the woman was drunk. The woman was convicted at a trial of public intoxication. On appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court reversed the conviction, finding that the front steps and porch of a single family home are not a public place and … Continued

Iowa Drug Tax Stamp Charges

In addition to normal laws banning the sale of illegal drugs, Iowa also has a Drug Tax Stamp law that makes it a separate crime to sell illegal drugs without having first purchased a drug tax stamp.  Iowa Code Section 453B addresses the tax stamp requirements.

Cocaine Possession with Intent to Deliver Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, a person who possesses cocaine with the intent to deliver it to another person commits a serious felony charge, under Iowa Code Section 124.401.  Iowa law provides for harsh penalties for those convicted of possession with the intent to deliver cocaine.

Cocaine Possession with Intent and Manufacture or Delivery Charges in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, the Controlled Substance Act (720 ILCS 570/200, et seq) prohibits possession of cocaine. Under Illinois law, possession of cocaine is treated very seriously and is always a felony charge.  That differs from many states, which have a misdemeanor charge when a small amount of cocaine is possessed for personal use.

Conciliation in Iowa Divorce Cases

Conciliation is part of the Iowa divorce process in some cases.  The purpose of conciliation is to attempt to save the marriage by getting the spouses to work out their differences.  Iowa code section 598.16 addresses conciliation.

Have the Right Contracts Now to Avoid Business Problems Later

Owning one’s own business can be quite rewarding, both from financial and personal satisfaction perspectives.  However, it can also be a headache at times, and that is especially true when there are legal disputes surrounding the business.  Having the right contracts can go a long way to helping business owners avoid such legal problems, and is truly an area where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Carrying Weapons Charges in Iowa

For those who do not have an Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons, it is crime to improperly carry a gun, knife, or other weapon. Iowa Code Section 724.4 defines the crime of Carrying Weapons as follows:

Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Iowa

Iowa code section 124.414 bans the possession of drug paraphernalia, which is defined as all equipment, products, or materials of any kind used or attempted to be used in combination with a controlled substance

Depositions in Iowa Criminal Cases

Iowa law allows depositions to be taken in criminal cases.  That is a powerful tool that can be of great benefit to a criminal defendant in Iowa.  Rule 2.13 of the Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure

Illinois Misdemeanor Sentences

Illinois law provides for 3 classes of misdemeanors, each of which carries a different possible sentence.  This article addresses those Illinois misdemeanor sentences.

Iowa Misdemeanor Sentences

Under Iowa Law, as codified in Iowa Code 903.1, there are 3 classes of misdemeanors, each with its own possible term of imprisonment and fine.  This article addresses those Iowa misdemeanors.

Identity Theft Charges in Iowa

Under Iowa law, a person commits the crime of Identity Theft if they fraudulently uses or attempts to fraudulently use identification information of another person, with the intent to obtain

Iowa Felony Sentences

Felony charges in Iowa come in 4 different classes, with different penalties depending upon the class of felony and the charge.  This article addresses those felony sentences in Iowa.

Illinois Felony Sentences

Felonies in the state of Illinois come in several different classes, each which has a different range of prison terms and other penalties.  This article discusses those felony classes and punishments in Illinois.

Forgery Charges in Illinois

Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/17-3) defines forgery as the crime committed when a person does any of the following actions:

Forgery Charges in Iowa

Iowa code section 715A.2 defines the crime of forgery, which is committed when a person does any of the following acts in Iowa

Street Racing Charges in Illinois

The crime of Street Racing in Illinois (often informally called Drag Racing) is defined and prohibited by 625 ILCS 5/11-506.  That section of the Illinois Compiled Statutes defines Street Racing as well as the more serious charge of Aggravated Street Racing as follows:

Careless Driving Charges in Iowa

The Iowa code defines the crime of careless driving as the crime that a person commits careless driving if the person intentionally operates a motor vehicle on a public road or highway in any one of the following ways

Reckless Driving Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, the crime of reckless driving is defined by Iowa Code section 321.277 as the crime a person commits if he or she drives any vehicle in such manner as to indicate either a willful or a wanton disregard for the safety

Reckless Driving Charges in Illinois

The crime of reckless driving in Illinois is more than a mere traffic offense.  It is a serious criminal charge that can carry prison time under some circumstances.  Illinois law defines reckless driving

Harassment Charges in Illinois

The state of Illinois defines the various crimes of harassment through different means of communication in 720 ILCS 5/26.5-0.1. To understand IL harassment it is first important to

Domestic Battery Charges in Illinois

The crime of domestic battery is defined by 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2 as the crime a person commits when he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means causes bodily

Domestic Abuse Assault Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, the crime of Domestic Abuse Assault is defined by Iowa Code section 708.2A as the crime a person commits when they commit an assault against a person with whom they are in a domestic relationship.

Stalking Charges in Iowa

The state of Iowa’s crime of Stalking is defined in Iowa Code Section 708.11 as the crime a person commits when all of the following

Harassment Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, the crime of Harassment is defined by Iowa Code section 708.7, which states that a person commits harassment when, with intent to intimidate, annoy, or alarm another person, the person does any of the following

Illinois FOID and Concealed Carry License (CCL) Denial Appeal Process

 If an individual’s application for a FOID card is denied, or if their FOID card has been revoked, the aggrieved party may file an appeal with the Illinois State Police. All final administrative decisions by the Illinois State Police are subject to further judicial review

Expungement in Iowa

In Iowa, the courts allow for an expungement of criminal records for a limited number of circumstances. If an expungement is granted, the criminal record will be

Expungement in Illinois

In Illinois, an individual may request an expungement to clear certain charges from their criminal record. Only certain charges are eligible for expungement, and it is best to first determine if the charge is eligible before

Shoplifting Charges in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, there is no specific charge of “shoplifting” which means that a person accused of shoplifting is often charged with Theft under

Shoplifting Charges in Iowa

In the state of Iowa, there is not a specific charge of “shoplifting” that is filed when a person is accused of stealing from a store.  Instead, charges are generally filed for the crime of Theft

Appealing a Founded DCFS Child Abuse Report in Illinois

In Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services is the state agency that handles the investigation of child abuse and child neglect accusations.  In situations where the DCFS worker assigned to the case believes that child abuse or neglect has occurred, a “founded” report will be produced.  In some cases, such a founded report will result in a person being added to Illinois’ child abuse database, called the State Central Register, which can have significant negative

Residential Burglary Charges in Illinois

The Illinois crime of Residential Burglary (often abbreviated as Res Burg) is defined by 720 ILCS 5/19-3 as the crime a person commits when he or she knowingly and without authority enters or knowingly and without authority remains within the dwelling place of another

Burglary Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, burglary is defined by 720 ILCS 5/19-1 as the crime a person commits when without authority he or she knowingly enters or without authority remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft

Burglary Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, the crime of burglary is defined by Iowa Code section 713.1 as what any person, having the intent to commit a felony, assault or theft therein, who, having no right, license or privilege to do so, enters an occupied structure

Robbery Charges in Illinois

Robbery charges in Illinois are defined in a few different ways, which the crimes of Robbery, Aggravated Robbery, and Armed Robbery.  All three types of robber in Illinois are

Theft Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, the crime of theft is defined in 720 ILCS 5/16-1 as the crime a person commits when they 

Supervised Visitation with Children in Illinois and Iowa

In cases where a child’s safety or well-being (physical or emotional) would be endangered by regular visitation with a parent, the courts in Iowa and Illinois have the authority to order that visitation be supervised by a

Dealing with an Ex Who Wastes Time on Frivolous Court Appearances

All too often in divorce and custody cases, the opposing party will purposely waste a client’s time and money on frivolous court appearances.  Such a situation can often be addressed in Illinois or Iowa through a Motion with the court, when such behavior rises to the level of violating various Rules of Civil Procedure.

Substitution of Judge from a Civil case in Illinois

Illinois law allows a party in civil cases to have a judge removed from their case.  That removal (substitution) can be done for cause in cases where the judge is not properly impartial at any time in the case, or without there having to be any reason at all at

Settlement Conferences in Iowa Divorce and Custody Cases

Many Iowa counties require that a Settlement Conference be held in divorce and custody cases.  The purpose of the Settlement Conference is to get the parties and attorneys to try and work out some of all of the issues in the case, so as

The Importance of Holiday Visitation

For a parent that is not the primary caregiver for a child, holidays can especially important.  That is because the holidays are a time when a combination of factors come together to create an ideal

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, the crime committed by a person who drives a car or other vehicle while impaired by alcohol or a drug is called Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). The OWI charge is governed by Iowa Code

Robbery Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, the forcible felony of Robbery is defined by Iowa Code Section 711.1, as the crime a person commits a robbery when, having the intent to commit a theft, the person does any of the following acts to assist or further the commission of the

Emergency Injunctions in Custody and Divorce Cases

In some situations, a court can grant an emergency injunction as part of a divorce or custody case.  That emergency injunction can be used to prevent parental kidnapping, injury to children, or other serious

Theft Charges in Iowa

The crime of Theft in Iowa is defined by Iowa Code Section 714.1.  Theft in Iowa comes in several different degrees (or levels of seriousness), based upon the value of the property that is alleged to have been

Arraignment in a Criminal Case in Illinois

In Illinois, those charged with criminal offenses (which range from speeding tickets to misdemeanors and felonies) have a court appearance called an Arraignment.  The Arraignment happens at the beginning of the case, often the first or second

The Preliminary Hearing in an Iowa Criminal Case

Under Iowa law, a person accused of a crime more serious than a Simple Misdemeanor (which would be a Serious Misdemeanor, Aggravated Misdemeanor, or a Felony), is entitled to a Preliminary Hearing under some

The Written Arraignment Process in Iowa

The word “arraignment” has a slightly different meaning in each state, but it generally refers to the process of a criminal defendant being told about the charges and formally entering a plea of guilty or not guilty.  Since the plea of “not guilty” is almost always entered (at least at the beginning of a case), and the charges are not really a secret that the defendant is learning at arraignment, the court appearance for an arraignment is often more a … Continued

Illinois Sex Offender Law – Who is Required to Register

The Illinois law concerning sex offender registration is one of the more complex ones in the country.  Illinois also imposes serious penalties for those who are convicted of failure to register.  For that reason, any person who

Calculated Criminal Cannabis Conspiracy Charges in Illinois

Illinois law defines a calculated criminal cannabis conspiracy in 720 ILCS 550/9, as shown below.  Essentially, this charge involves the accusation that a person has possessed cannabis, obtained at least $500 in value from possession/delivery, and that another person was also involved in the scheme.

Promoting Prostitution Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, it is a crime to promote prostitution.  The Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) defines the crime of promoting prostitution as follows in 720 ILCS 5/11-14.3:

Prostitution Charges in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, prostitution is prohibited by 720 ILCS 5/11-14.  Prostitution is defined by Illinois law as a crime committed when a person who knowingly performs, offers or agrees to perform any act of

Iowa Indecent Exposure Charges

Indecent exposure is a serious misdemeanor in Iowa, and is defined in Iowa Code section 709.9, which states as follows:

Sexual Abuse Charges in Iowa

Iowa code section 709 addresses the crimes of Sexual Abuse in Iowa.  Sexual abuse is the crime committed when a person engages in sexual acts with another person who does not or cannot consent to those sexual acts.

Illegal Gambling Charges in Iowa

In the state of Iowa, gambling is generally illegal unless it is done in an authorized manner (e.g. a casino or the lottery). Iowa Code Section 725.7 addresses Gaming and Betting penalties:

Pandering Charges in Iowa

Iowa Code Section 725.3 defines the crime of Pandering. Pandering is a D felony, or even a C felony when the person who engages in prostitution is a minor.

Pimping Charges in Iowa

Iowa defines pimping as the crime that is committed when a person “solicits a patron for a prostitute, or who knowingly takes or shares in the earnings of a prostitute, or who knowingly furnishes a room or other place to be used for the purpose of prostitution, whether for compensation or not.” As stated in Iowa Code Section 725.2, pimping is a Class D felony.

Prostitution Charges in Iowa

In the State of Iowa, prostitution is prohibited by Iowa Code Section 725.1. Under that code section, a person who “offers for sale the person’s services as a partner in a sex act, or who purchases or offers to purchase such services, commits an aggravated misdemeanor.”

Appealing a Custody or Divorce Case in Iowa

Divorce and custody cases can be the most important legal system event in a person’s life, as the outcome can influence custody, visitation, property, and financial aspects of the person’s life for years to come.  If the outcome of the trial is not favorable, then an appeal should be considered.

Guardianship of Children in Illinois

A guardianship in Illinois is the legal process through which someone other than the parent of a child can legally care for the child.  Guardianship are commonly used when a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for a child.  For example, a relative may seek a guardianship of a child when the parent(s) are incarcerated, addicted to drugs to the point of being unable to care for the child, just not willing/able to parent, or deceased.

Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts)

While our eventual death is something that no one wants to think about, it is a fact of life.  Proper estate planning can ensure that a person’s assets are distributed as they wish, while avoiding a situation in which those assets are squandered in the probate process after death.  Estate planning can also help avoid tension within a family, as even the closest family may disagree over distribution of a loved one’s belonging (especially those of sentimental value).

Dealing with a Warrant for your Arrest

Often a person who is accused of a crime will learn (or suspect) that there is a warrant out for their arrest.   Handling that situation the right way can have immediate and longer-lasting benefits.

Car Accident Lawsuits

When a person is hit by a car, it can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating.  That is true whether the injured person is a pedestrian or is in a car themselves.

Guardianship of Children in Iowa

A guardianship is the legal process through which someone other than the parent of a child can legally care for the child.  Guardianship are commonly used when a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for a child.  For example, a relative may seek a guardianship of a child when the parent(s) are

Don’t Wait to Handle Child Support Cases

When it comes to Child Support, handling the case as soon as possible is almost always the best course of action.  That is true for the parent who is receiving child support, and for the parent who is paying child support.

What to Expect in an Iowa DHS Family Team Meeting

After the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) becomes involved with a family due to an abuse or neglect accusation, a Family Team Meeting is often scheduled rather quickly.  Handling that meeting properly can have lasting effects upon the situation, going so far as to influence the outcome of DHS reports, juvenile court decisions, and criminal charges.  For that reason, it is prudent to consult with an attorney prior to

Who is Prohibited from Possessing a Gun?

There are laws at the Federal and State levels that prohibit certain people from possessing a firearm.  These laws can be rather complex, and a person who is charged with unlawfully possessing a gun generally cannot avoid criminal liability by saying that they did not know they were prohibited.  This article discusses the general categories of people who are barred from possessing guns, and some of the related situations that often arise.

Child Custody in Illinois

Under Illinois law, a parent of a child can bring a custody case to have the court legally establish paternity, custody, visitation, and child support.  The Illinois law that governs such cases is the Dissolution of Marriage Act, and that law applies for the sake of custody matters whether the parents were married or not.  There are some differences in how cases proceed depending upon whether the parents were married, and this article discusses the scenario in which the parents … Continued

Child Custody in Iowa

Under Iowa law, either unmarried parent of a child can seek to have the court establish their respective rights and responsibilities as parents of the child.   Essentially, that involves establishing paternity, custody, physical care, visitation, child support, tax exemptions, and other similar matters.

Don’t Write Letters to the Judge

Sometimes a person who is facing a serious criminal charge may feel afraid and compelled to do “something.”  All too often, that urge to do “something” can lead a person to take action that is quite harmful to their case.  An example of that that I see from time to time is when a person writes a letter to the judge as their case is pending, apologizing and asking the judge to let them out of jail.  Such letters are … Continued

Dealing with DHS (in Iowa) and DCFS (in Illinois)

Each state has its own child protective services agency.  In Illinois, that agency is called the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS).  In Iowa, it goes by the name Department of Human Services (DHS).  A person who finds themselves facing a DHS or DCFS investigation, no matter how baseless that investigation may be, is wise to promptly seek an attorney and avoid saying or doing anything until that attorney can review the situation and provide

The Importance of Remaining Silent when Accused of a Crime

When accused of a crime, most people will naturally wish to express their innocence and explain exactly how they have done nothing wrong. It is only human nature to want to defend oneself against accusations. However, doing so can be disastrous from a legal perspective, which is why it is best to remain silent and seek an attorney at once.

Iowa VASCAR Aerial Speed Enforcement

The Iowa Highway Patrol often uses VASCAR (Visual Average Speed Computer And Recorder) as a means of speed enforcement. Often, this will take the form of a police officer in a light airplane, who uses a stopwatch to

A Self Defense Gun Case from Rock Island County, Illinois

Earlier this year, I had the honor of representing a woman named Judy, who used her gun to defend herself, her sister, and her sister-in-law after they were violently attacked in a parking lot in Rock Island County, Illinois. Much to her surprise, Judy was charged in Case Number 2010CF1076 in Rock Island County, Illinois, after telling the police about the attack she suffered. After a variety of motion hearings, we proceeded to a jury trial on February 7, 2012. … Continued

Criminal Sexual Assault in Illinois

In 1961, the State of Illinois revamped it criminal laws, eliminating the crime of “rape.”  In place of “rape,” a variety of new crimes were created, including “criminal sexual assault.”  Under Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/12‑13) the crime of criminal sexual assault is committed when a person does any of the

Assault and Aggravated Assault Charges in Illinois

In the State of Illinois, the crime of Assault is defined by law (720 ILCS 5/12 et seq.) to be conduct that “without lawful authority . . . places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery

Child Support in Iowa

When an Iowa court grants a divorce, annulment, or separate maintenance, it may order either or both parents to pay a “reasonable and necessary” amount towards the support and maintenance of a child.  The court is required to consider the responsibility of both parents to provide for the minor child’s needs and welfare.  The child support payments are

Child Support in Illinois

In a variety of situations – such as the end of a marriage or when unmarried parents cannot agree as to the sharing of child-related expenses – the “non-custodial” parent (the parent with whom the child does not live) may be ordered by an Illinois court to pay a certain amount as child support.

Defamation (Libel & Slander) in Illinois

Defamation is the general term for a legal claim involving injury to one’s reputation caused by a false statement of fact. The two sub-categories of defamation are Libel and Slander. Speaking in general terms, Libel is written defamation, while Slander is spoken defamation. A key part of any defamation action is falsity of the allegedly defamatory statement. Truthful statements that harm a person’s reputation will

Protective Orders (Restraining Orders) in Iowa

An order of protection, also sometimes informally called a “restraining order,” is a court order that is intended to stop domestic violence, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, or interference with personal liberty. Men, women, and children can seek an order of protection in Iowa.  The law surrounding orders or protection can be complex, so I always recommend that those seeking an order of protection – or those defending themselves against a wrongfully filed Protective Order –

Orders of Protection (Restraining Orders) in Illinois

An order of protection, also sometimes informally called a “restraining order,” is a court order that is intended to stop domestic violence, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, or interference with personal liberty. Men, women, and children can

Way to Avoid Deportation

An immigrant who is facing Deportation (also referred to more formally as “Removal”) may have one or more ways to avoid being deported.  It is important for those individuals facing deportation to understand their legal options, and to have an attorney who can help them navigate this complex area of the law.  A few of the ways that a non-citizen can potentially avoid deportation are

An Overview of the Immigrant Deportation (Removal) Process

Deportation, more formally referred to as “Removal,” is when the United States government forcefully makes a non-citizen leave the country. The government may attempt to remove a non-citizen from the United States due to an alleged violation of immigration or criminal law. Removal is a serious matter, as a person who is Removed may be forever

Overview of the Divorce Process in Illinois

A divorce, also referred to as a marital dissolution, is the termination of a marriage by court order. In Illinois, there is a 90 day residency requirement, meaning that the husband or wife must have lived in Illinois for 3 months. If neither spouse has lived in Illinois for the required 90 days, then the Illinois court system cannot grant a divorce. The proper court for filing for divorce in Illinois is the circuit court for the county where either … Continued

Overview of the Divorce Process in Iowa

A divorce, also referred to as a marital dissolution, is the termination of a marriage by court order. In Iowa, there is a 1 year residency requirement, meaning that at least one of the spouses must have been an Iowa resident for a least a year. If neither spouse has lived in Iowa for a year, then the Iowa courts do not have the authority to grant a divorce. The proper court for filing a divorce petition in Iowa is

Honesty Towards Clients

As an attorney, I have many ethical duties.  These include keeping client information confidential, always acting in my client’s best interest, and being honest with my clients, just to name a few.  In particular, I take the duty to be honest with my clients extremely seriously.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Charges in Illinois

Illinois DUI law in general In Illinois, driving a car while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a serious crime. There are two types of DUI in Illinois. The first is where a person has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or

Marijuana (Cannabis) Possession Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, the legal term for Marijuana is “Cannabis,” rather than “Marijuana,” “weed,” “grass,” “ganja,” etc.  Possession of Cannabis is a serious crime in Illinois, and anyone charged

Being Honest with One’s Attorney

As an attorney, I’ve seen a recurring theme: clients who are not fully honest with their lawyer. This is a problem because a lawyer who