Family Law & Divorce
Child Related Issues
Can I Plead the Fifth in My Illinois Divorce?
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution is known as the self-incrimination clause and states “No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” When someone says, “I plead the Fifth,” they cannot be required to answer any questions or state any information that may incriminate them.
Most Americans are aware that they have the right to refuse to answer questions about their own criminal conduct. However, many do not realize that Fifth Amendment protections are limited in civil cases related to divorce.
Some people may wish to plead the Fifth because they are hiding assets, having an affair, or engaging in another activity they do not want to disclose. They may prefer to remain silent rather than lie in court or answer questions that reveal secrets to their spouse.
Unlike in a criminal court case, if you invoke your Fifth Amendment rights in a civil court case, a judge can hold your refusal to answer against you. Therefore, if you are involved in a divorce or another civil case and are concerned that you may be asked to admit criminal conduct, it is in your best interest to reach out to an experienced divorce attorney.
Prior to your court date, your attorney will inform you of what types of questions to expect and how to handle the questions that may make you feel uncomfortable. In most cases, you will need to respond to all questions, unless your attorney tells you otherwise. Aside from preparing you to answer difficult questions, your attorney will object to inappropriate questions and help you avoid answering questions that may hurt you case.
If you are going through a divorce proceeding, you should call the highly skilled divorce attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC at 630-665-7300. For decades, we have been assisting clients from DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties, and can help you understand how the Fifth Amendment and the Illinois divorce statutes apply to your case.
Can I Have My Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon Conviction Overturned?
In recent years, several Illinois guns laws have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts. If you have been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, you may be eligible to have your conviction overturned. To determine whether or not you are eligible, you should reach out to our Wheaton, Illinois criminal defense attorneys. We may be able to guide you through the process of asking the court to remove your weapons conviction.
Before the year 2011, most people convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon would receive probation with little or no jail time. In 2011, the laws changed and became far harsher. As of January 1st 2011, any person convicted of this crime who did not possess a valid concealed carry license must spend between one and three years in prison.
If you have been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, you should know that this conviction can negatively impact your life for years to come. You may find it difficult to land a job, rent an apartment, and get accepted into the educational program of your choice. In addition, if you are charged with another crime in the future, your aggravated unlawful use of a weapon conviction can be used against you.
If you were convicted for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, contact a skilled attorney at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. For decades, we have been supporting clients from DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties with all of their criminal defense needs. Call us at 630-665-7300 today.
Can Employers Ask About Expunged or Sealed Criminal Records?
Often times, people choose to expunge or seal their criminal records after they have dealt with consequences such as fines, jail time, and probation. By expunging or sealing your record, you can increase your chances of landing a job, attending college, and/or qualifying for financial aid. Expunging or sealing your record is a step towards restoring your reputation and moving on with your life.
If you have had a criminal offense expunged or sealed, you may be wondering whether you have to inform a potential employer. The good news is that, with the exception of certain state and government agencies, you do not have to disclose your record, because employers cannot consider an expunged or sealed offense when determining whether to hire you.
In fact, under Illinois law, an employment application must contain a specific warning which states that the person applying has no obligation to disclose a sealed or expunged record. You should be cautious, however, because a new law which gave certain employers the right to omit the warning from their employment applications and place it on their website instead became effective January 1, 2018.
A sealed or expunged record can give you a fresh start when searching for employment. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we will determine whether you can expunge or seal your record and increase your chances of securing a job. Contact us today at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.
Can I Represent Myself in My Illinois Divorce?
If you are considering divorce or been recently served with divorce papers, you may be asking yourself, “Can I represent myself in my divorce?” The answer to this question is yes. Regardless of the legal proceeding, you always have the right to represent yourself. However, the more important question is ,“Should I represent myself in my divorce?”
Since the process of divorce is complex, both legally and emotionally, seeking legal representation for your divorce case can protect your rights and increase your chances of a favorable outcome. You may have your own set of ideas of how the division of your marital assets, the allocation of parenting time, and other aspects of your divorce should be handled. Unfortunately, what you believe is most fair may be contrary to what Illinois divorce laws state.
To avoid becoming confused or frustrated by how a judge may rule in your divorce case or making an error that costs your thousands of dollars more than you would have paid, you should consult a skilled, experienced divorce lawyer. If you elect to represent yourself initially and later retain an attorney, your attorney may spend a significant amount of time attempting to undo mistakes that have already been made. Sometimes, mistakes made during self-representation cannot be fixed. Therefore, it is in your best interest to receive legal counsel at the very beginning stages of your divorce.
The decisions made during divorce will determine what happens with the things that are most important to you: your home, your retirement, your life savings, and your children. Rather than trying to tackle your divorce on your own, you should contact an experienced attorney at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. We have been assisting clients from DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties for decades, and we look forward to helping you reach a favorable outcome to your situation. Call us at 630-665-7300 today.
New 2017 Illinois Law Expands Eligibility to Seal Records for Most Offenses
In previous years, only a few select felony offenses could be sealed in Illinois. In the event that an offender wanted to seal an offense that was not eligible under the law, they would have to petition the governor for a pardon. The process of petitioning the governor for a pardon took a great deal of work, and the pardon was only granted in rare cases.
Fortunately, on August 24, 2017, eligibility to seal criminal records expanded to most felony offenses in Illinois. Under the new law, you may be able to seal your record if you were convicted of burglary, possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, possession of a stolen vehicle, retail theft, or forgery.
With a sealed criminal record, your criminal background will not show up on background checks and, you will be in a better position to land a job or rent a property. Since the new law offers a “one shot” chance, if you are convicted of another felony once your record has been sealed, you will be ineligible to apply to seal your subsequent conviction. Additionally, a court will have the right to unseal your previously sealed record.
If you have been convicted of a nonviolent felony and would like a fair chance at securing a job or housing, it is in your best interest to contact our offices to learn about your eligibility for record sealing or expungement. You can depend on Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC to guide you through the process and represent you as you petition to have your record sealed or expunged. Call us at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.