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Know Your Rights During a Traffic Stop

joliet traffic attorney

There is quite a bit of information floating around telling drivers what they can do if stopped by police . Videos on the Internet claim to illustrate a driver’s rights if pulled over by police, and Social Media accounts post bulletins and other materials related to that same issue. The best thing a driver can do is read information from reliable sources and ask questions from knowledgeable professionals .

Some Facts about Traffic Stops

Traffic stops vary. For example, being pulled over in traffic differs from law enforcement officials conducting a DUI roadblock. It is important to understand the limitations of law enforcement in these different situations and when motorists are required to comply with certain requests. Here are a few things to know:

1. The United States Supreme Court ruled that a roadside sobriety checkpoint does not violate the 4th Amendment, which prohibits intrusions on one’s privacy. If you are asked to pull to the side of the road at a checkpoint, you should comply.
2. At that checkpoint, however, a driver does not have to show identification or vehicle registration UNLESS an officer witnesses signs of intoxication.
3. The same holds true if a traffic stop is conducted on the open road or municipal street, but not initiated by a violation—that is police do not have the right to ask for identification or check vehicle registration.
4. A Federal Appeals Court recently ruled that police DO NOT have the right to look through a vehicle glove box for the registration without the driver’s permission since a simple computer search could determine vehicle registration using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) (which is visible on the outside of all automobiles).

Your Rights During a Traffic Stop

Drivers have a number of rights they can exercise during a traffic stop , which include, but are not limited to the following:

• If you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, you must first state that is your intent.
• You can refuse to consent to a search of your vehicle and your person.
• If you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave (calmly).
• If you are placed under arrest, immediately ask for legal representation.

A Final Tip

In addition to knowing your rights during a traffic stop, it is always a good idea to remain calm and be polite throughout the process.

Contact an Experienced Will County Traffic Violation Attorney

When you are issued a ticket or taken into custody following a traffic stop, consider seeking help from a knowledgeable Joliet Traffic and Driving defense lawyer . Allow a professional to review your case and learn if follow up action is necessary. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will review your case and determine the most appropriate defense strategy for you.

Can the Police Search My Cell Phone?

joliet cell phone attorney

When a person is arrested on the suspicion that he or she committed a crime , he or she has certain rights. You are probably familiar with some of them, including the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and the right to a trial by a jury of his or her peers. Other rights may sound familiar, but you may not know exactly what they guarantee.

For example, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. But, what does that mean? What is unreasonable search? Does that mean the police cannot search me at all during an arrest? In today’s digitally connected world, this question is often raised in regard to police searches of cell phones and other mobile devices.

Supreme Court Ruling

In 2014, two separate cases —Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie—made their way to the United States Supreme Court. The cases were similar enough that the high court heard them both at the same time. Each case involved a criminal defendant whose cell phone was seized and searched incident to arrest. The search in each case yielded photos, data, and other evidence that was subsequently used in the investigation and the prosecution of the defendants.

In making its decision, the Supreme Court was forced to consider how Americans use their cell phones. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion of the unanimous court, observing, “Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life.” The court concluded that in a vast majority of cases, police officers and prosecutors must obtain a warrant before conducting a search of a cell phone’s contents. Exceptions can be made in rare instances where immediate action is required, and the court specifically cited child abduction cases and imminent bomb threats.

Effects on Law Enforcement

While the cases were progressing to the Supreme Court, law enforcement agencies expressed concerns that warrantless cell phone searches could be used to increase officer safety. A search, for example, could reveal that the arrestee’s friends or accomplices were on their way to the scene. The court addressed such concerns by noting, “Privacy comes at a cost.” Once a cell phone has been secured and physical threats have been eliminated, the court held, data on the phone does not place officers in danger.

Call Us for Help

If law enforcement officers have searched your cell phone without a warrant and you are facing criminal charges as a result, you need a lawyer who will fight to protect your rights. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney for help. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Medical Marijuana Program Continues in Illinois

joliet medical marijuana arrest

Over the last several years, Illinois lawmakers have approved several measures that have changed the state’s approach to marijuana . While they did not go so far as to legalize recreational use of the drug, low-level possession is no longer a crime, and individuals who have been duly registered with the state are legally permitted to use the drug on a medical basis. The state’s medical marijuana program has been somewhat controversial, but it still remains a legal option for those who qualify.

A Quick Review

In August 2013, then-Governor Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act which took effect on January 1, 2014. The Act laid the groundwork for a new medical marijuana program that was set to lest four years, as a sunset provision in the law would automatically repeal it on January 1, 2018. As growers and dispensaries applied for permits from the government, however, lawsuits and red tape did not allow the first patients to legally obtain marijuana for medical purposes until November of 2015.

Since the program went into effect, dispensaries around the state have reported sales of nearly $50 million, though these numbers are still below initial projections. Lawmakers have also approved an extension of the program until July 2020 to offset the delays in getting started. It does not seem likely, however, that the state will allow the program to end as trends across the country are making marijuana more accessible rather than less.

How to Qualify

The Illinois Department of Public Health is responsible for reviewing application from patients who wish to participate in the program. In order to qualify , an applicant must be a resident of Illinois aged 18 or older—minors may use a separate process to apply with the approval of their parents or guardians. An applicant must also have a debilitating medical condition, as certified by a physician. Those who have been convicted of certain felonies are not eligible, nor are those who currently serve as law enforcement officers or hold a commercial driver’s license.

There are more than 40 conditions recognized by the state as “debilitating medical conditions,” including:

• HIV/AIDS
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS);
• Cancer
• Crohn’s disease;
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Lupus;
• Post-traumatic stress disorder;
• Rheumatoid arthritis; and
• Traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Short-term participation in the program is also possible for individuals diagnosed with any terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less. Approved patients may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from state-licensed dispensaries.

Facing Marijuana Charges?

Marijuana skeptics have expressed concern that medical cannabis programs like the one in Illinois have created a growing black market for the drug. While possession of up to 10 grams is no longer a crime in Illinois, possession of more than that or possession with intent to deliver can lead to serious criminal penalties.
If you have been charged with any type of marijuana-related offense, contact an experienced Joliet drug crimes attorney . Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

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