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Potential Pitfalls of Concealed Carry in Illinois

Joliet Conceal Carry Lawyer

Generally speaking, if a person possesses an Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID), he or she may own a firearm, as long as it complies with all other relevant Illinois laws. If that person also holds a valid concealed carry permit, he or she may then carry their weapon in that manner. However, many gun owners make the error of believing that they may carry their weapon anywhere and with very little restriction. This is emphatically not the case, and in fact, bringing a firearm into a location where firearms are banned—either carried openly or concealed—can result in weapons charges that carry serious penalties. Gun owners should be aware of their rights and how far they extend.

Concealed Carry Vs. Total Ban

It is not uncommon for a person to believe that when a certain location professes to ban firearms, they merely mean open carry. In reality, if a private business or public entity decides to prohibit guns and other firearms, this also applies to concealed carry license holders unless it specifically excludes concealed carry from the ban. Most private-sector bans do not, however, apply to weapons that are broken down or otherwise in a non-functional state, such as when they are being transported in an appropriate and legal manner.

Illinois law does, however, detail certain locations where firearms are statutorily prohibited, even if they are concealed and the owner holds the appropriate permit or if the firearm is non-functional. The list includes, among many others, courthouses, schools, medical facilities, and public transportation or system stations. One might assume that if they concealed carry, they may not be discovered as possessing a firearm, but the price for risking exposure can be prohibitive. In short, a concealed carry permit is not a license to carry a firearm anywhere one pleases, and too many take it as such.

Potential Consequences

While most people are familiar with the potential consequences associated with the unlawful use of a weapon, many are shocked to discover there may be serious penalties incurred for mere carrying. Possession of a firearm in any of the zones where they have been banned is usually charged as a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense, and if there is a second, it may then be charged as a Class 3 felony, which carries a maximum of 5 years in prison. Possessing a specific type of firearm, such as a machine gun or a sawed-off shotgun, may carry more time, depending on the specific nature of the offense.

One rather unique law that Illinois strictly observes is that if a person is in possession of any kind of firearm while robed, masked or are otherwise wearing any item that could conceal his or her their identity, he or she may be charged with a Class 4 felony. The rationale for such a law is to remove one layer of protection from those who would seek to commit armed crimes, though it has also been used as an effective tool in prosecutions which might qualify as hate crimes. For example, groups like the Ku Klux Klan historically donned hoods to mask their identity, and this law can provide an avenue for prosecution against a person who might otherwise escape justice.

Ask an Experienced Weapons Law Attorney

While gun ownership is a right that Illinois residents enjoy, it does not come without restrictions or responsibilities. If you have questions about your right to concealed carry or about firearm possession in general, contact and experienced Joliet weapons law attorney for answers. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

A Juvenile Adjudication Could Affect Future Education Opportunities

Joliet Juvenile Crimes Lawyer

Although Illinois has made some major steps in their treatment of juvenile offenders, there are still collateral consequences that may impact their ability to pursue higher education. Learn more about the educational collateral consequences that juvenile offenders could face with help from the following information. You will also learn how you can protect your child and their rights with assistance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Adjudication vs. Conviction

Before truly examining the collateral consequences of a juvenile offense, it is critical to understand the difference between an adjudication and a conviction. Convictions usually apply to adults—those aged 18 or older—and minors who are tried as adults, which may occur if the offense is violent or sexual in nature. This can affect the individual’s entire life in numerous ways, including imprisonment, fines, and a criminal record that can make obtaining employment, housing, or federal aid for higher education extremely difficult.

Adjudications, which generally apply to minors, may carry less severe consequences. For example, a minor adjudicated for a misdemeanor crime may serve far less time in detention, or possibly none at all. The long-term impact on an adjudicated minor’s future may also be less severe than a conviction. Adjudicated minors sometimes have more employment options and fewer concerns over housing than convicted adults or minors.

Higher Education Barriers for Adjudicated Minors

Although an adjudicated minor may still be able to pursue higher education and receive financial aid, he or she may be required to disclose their criminal record on his or her admission application. At a prestigious school, where only a limited number of students are selected each year, this disclosure could result in a lack of acceptance. Further, certain adjudicated minors may be ineligible for student housing. For example, a minor adjudicated on a sex offense may not be allowed to stay in a dormitory. This can create financial hardships for students.

Protecting Your Child’s Future

Although the criminal and collateral penalties may be less severe for minors, they are still at risk for barriers and obstacles in the future. An experienced Joliet juvenile defense attorney can help protect them from such consequences. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba for a free consultation. We will assist you in exploring your available options and work with you in protecting your loved one’s future opportunities. Schedule an appointment by calling 815-740-4025 today.

Changes to Expungement Law Could Make a Major Difference for Many

Joliet Will County Expungement Lawyer

The Illinois Criminal Identification Act (ICIA) governs numerous components of the state’s criminal system, including regulations about expungement of a person’s criminal record, and in recent months, it has undergone a major change. Since the law’s official modifications went into effect on January 1, 2017, some ex-convicts in Illinois have seen their lives change for the better. However, many are still unaware of the potentially beneficial amendments to the ICIA.

The Changes

The specific changes made to the ICIA may be somewhat difficult for the average person to understand, as the relevant statute is couched in highly technical language. Essentially, however, the most substantive change is to the requirements one must meet before beginning the process of expunging an eligible arrest from one’s record. Formerly, any Illinois resident who had been convicted of any type of crime which was not expungeable could not petition to remove any crimes on their record that were. The passage of Public Act 099-0881 in late 2016 changed that, with the law going into effect at the beginning of this year.

The measure modified the ICIA at 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(1), and it states that a person—even one who has been previously convicted of a non-expungeable criminal offense—may petition the relevant Circuit Court for expungement of any crime that is eligible. It even permits non-convictions to be expunged if an appropriate showing of the necessity of doing so is shown. Incidents such as successfully completed orders of supervision and arrests without charges may be removed from one’s criminal record if a petition is approved to do so. It can be difficult for many people to find gainful employment without a clean criminal record, and even court supervision or probation is enough to cost some workers their jobs.

Fee Waiver Pilot Program

One other change to Illinois’ expungement law involves a pilot program to waive the filing fees that would normally be incurred by those seeking expungements. While this may sound relatively inconsequential—the filing fees are high but not insurmountable for most—it has wider ramifications for former convicts who may have trouble obtaining employment following the completion of their case. The state is testing out the measure for one year, and in 2018, the clerks of court are scheduled to begin collecting filing fees again.

The unemployment rate among previously convicted individuals is extremely high, but steady employment is one of the most significant factors that may keep a first-time offender from becoming a repeat offender. If a person has no job and no money, the expungement process may be the difference between finding employment and being declined once more. Illinois has passed legislation to “ban the box,” meaning that criminal history may not be a factor in deciding whether or not to hire an otherwise qualified applicant, but significant obstacles still face former offenders. Removing the filing fees may eliminate one of them.

Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney

By permitting those with non-expungeable offenses to petition for the removal of expungeable offenses from their criminal record, the state of Illinois has shown its cautious interest in giving more offenders a chance to rejoin the legitimate workforce, which can only benefit all involved. If you need help seeking the expungement of your record or have questions concerning the process, contact a dedicated Joliet expungement attorney. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

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