Mineral Rights in Oil and Gas: What You Need to Know

Mineral Rights in Oil and Gas: What You Need to Know

The traditional conception of real property ownership was that a landowner owned his plot of land along with a column of dirt down to the center of the earth and a column of air up to the sky. This conception no longer holds true. It is now common, especially in Southern Illinois, that when one purchases a piece of real property, the purchaser obtains title to the surface of the land, but not the column of dirt beneath it. Very often, the mineral rights to a piece of property have been severed, and the owner of the mineral rights has the authority to mine them. When mineral rights are severed in the conveyance of a piece of property, the severance creates two distinct and separate interests in the land—a surface estate and a mineral estate, either of which can be conveyed, devised, or leased. When this occurs, the owner of the surface estate is subservient to the owner of the mineral estate. This means that he may not interfere with the activities reasonably necessary to extract the minerals from underneath his land. While title to metallic minerals vests2 at the time of conveyance, title to oil and gas does not, due to the tendency of these types of minerals to move around under the earth. Rather, mineral rights in oil and gas do not vest until they are actually discovered. Thus, mineral rights to oil and gas are better conceived of as rights to exploration and, very often, they are mined pursuant to a mineral lease rather than outright ownership. These leases are subject to the same rules as...
When Can Your Neighbors Legally Take Your Land?

When Can Your Neighbors Legally Take Your Land?

When Can Your Neighbors Legally Take Your Land? There is a concept in real estate law that is little known outside the legal world, whereby a trespasser can gain legal title to someone else’s land. The “trespasser” in these cases is usually a neighbor but, nonetheless, someone who does not own your property can become the legal owner by his use of it through a concept known as adverse possession. Claims of adverse possession are creatures of common law in Illinois, and require a showing of several elements. In order to legally take title to land, a person’s use and possession of the land must be: Hostile (against the right of the true owner and without permission) Actual (he or she exercises physical control over the property) Exclusive (In the possession of the trespasser alone and no one else) Open and notorious (the trespasser must use the property as the true owner would without hiding the occupancy) Continuous for a period of 20 years Adverse possession claims are especially common in rural areas (like most of Southern Illinois) as opposed to towns and cities because it is often more difficult to determine where one piece of property ends and another begins. Example of Adverse Possession Let’s take a look at how a hypothetical adverse possession case might play out. Assume there are two property owners—the Smiths and the Joneses—who own neighboring farms. Mr. Smith erects a barn that he believes is on his property, but is actually 15 feet over the property line on the Jones’s farm. Mr. Jones says nothing about this, and Mr. Smith uses this barn as...
Why You Should Never Resist Arrest

Why You Should Never Resist Arrest

Resisting arrest is very common and occurs any time a person interferes with or obstructs an officer’s attempt to make a legal arrest. In Illinois, it is usually charged as a misdemeanor. However, if there is an injury to the arresting officer, the offense rises to a felony. The charge of resisting arrest is defined at 720 ILCS 5/31-1:1 “A person commits the crime of resisting arrest if they knowingly resist or obstruct the performance by a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee of any authorized act within his or her official capacity.” While the most classic examples of resisting arrest are fleeing from the scene or engaging the arresting officer physically, the statute is worded broadly and encompasses a wide variety of behaviors. For example, you can be arrested simply for refusing to put your hands behind your back, refusing to lay on the ground, refusing to put your hands on the squad car, or refusing to clear the scene of a crime when ordered to do so. Resisting arrest is also a difficult charge to escape; even if the underlying charge against the defendant is dropped, resisting arrest is an independent charge and will remain. Thus, it is not a defense to resisting arrest that the underlying charge was dismissed. Further, a conviction for resisting arrest can even lengthen a person’s sentence if they are ever convicted of a future offense. Possible punishment for resisting arrest is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois and is punishable by up to one year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine. If the police officer is injured during the incident,...
What to do if Your Spouse Files an Order of Protection

What to do if Your Spouse Files an Order of Protection

Spouses can accuse each other of abuse for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are planning divorce and want to gain an upper hand in custody matters and other issues in the divorce proceedings. Perhaps they have themselves been abusive and want to deflect from their own actions. Whatever the reason, if your spouse files an order of protection against you, it is critical to take immediate action. An order of protection may do the following: Force you to stay away from your home Keep you from seeing your spouse or children Give up any guns that you own While an emergency order may go into effect, you will have the opportunity to appear at a hearing to defend against an extended order being granted. It is critical to have the assistance of a highly experienced defense attorney who understands how orders of protection cases work in Illinois. In addition, order of protection cases may also be accompanied by criminal charges for domestic violence and you want a lawyer who can handle both of your cases with skill. Domestic violence charges can result in the following consequences and more: Time in jail Probation Fines Extended order of protection Limitations on your professional options At your hearing, your attorney can provide evidence in your defense that an order of protection is not warranted and can help you avoid the restrictions on your life that an order of protection would create. If the order is granted, your lawyer can help to negotiate for less stringent terms of the order. Contact a Southern Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible Facing...
Concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

Concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

While a concussion is considered to be a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), one concussion can increase your chances of suffering additional concussions in the future. Sustaining multiple concussions in your life can then have long-term effects, including early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other degenerative cognitive disorders. One particularly concerning effect of multiple concussions is a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE refers to the degeneration of brain tissue caused by repeated head trauma. The symptoms of CTE can be very severe and include the following: -Cognitive difficulties -Lack of emotional control -Aggression -Physical impairments -Sensory problems -Dementia -Suicidal thinking or behavior As of now, the only way to diagnose CTE is to examine the brain in sections, which can only happen after death. CTE is commonly diagnosed in autopsies, especially in athletes who played contact sports such as football or hockey. Unfortunately, many of those players commit suicide due to the symptoms of undiagnosed CTE. Anyone who has suffered multiple concussions or head traumas should be aware of the symptoms of CTE and should discuss any symptoms with a medical professional. If you require treatment for your symptoms, you may be entitled to compensation for the costs of treatment and your suffering. If you had a family member who was diagnosed with CTE after death, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a sports league or another party who was responsible for the multiple concussions. Call for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Southern Illinois Concussion Lawyer If you have suffered a concussion in a motor vehicle accident, fall, sports...