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Can Juvenile Offenders Be Silenced on Social Media?

joliet juvenile attorney

Over the years, juvenile court judges have come up with some creative ways to punish and rehabilitate youthful offenders . One Cook County judge reduces community service hours in exchange for reading books . Another judge, in DuPage County, ordered a teen to stop playing violent video games and told the parents to take away the boy’s smartphone.

But can a judge prohibit a juvenile from posting on social media, or is that a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech?

Illinois Juvenile Court Sentences Often Address Social Media

Current practices in the Cook County juvenile courts recognize that social media plays a big role in both teen life and criminal activity. Cook County probation officers regularly generate social media reports on teen offenders, which are provided to judges for consideration at sentencing. In one recent case , a teenage male was convicted of armed robbery. The teen’s social media report included pictures of him posing with guns, gang symbols, and marijuana. As part of his sentence, the judge ordered him to wipe his social media pages clean—and keep them clean—of any references to “gangs, guns and drugs.” This type of sentence has become common nationwide. But is it constitutional?

Illinois Appellate Court Rulings Allow Social Media Restrictions

Social media restrictions as a condition of probation or court supervision have been challenged several times in Illinois appellate courts. In the case described above, the “limited topics” social media restriction was upheld. The December 2017 ruling stated that “...the State has a compelling interest in restricting social media and related activity to protect adjudicated delinquent minors from destructive and antisocial influences and prevent re-offending.”

A separate Illinois appeals court ruling in October 2017 overturned a social media sentence that was judged too broad, with “no exceptions from the restrictions for legitimate purposes.”

Juveniles Who Misuse Social Media Can Get Harsher Sentences

In some cases, judges react to social media misuse by meting out harsher punishments. One teen, after being ordered “not to place crap on social media,” chose to post additional photos of himself holding firearms. The next time he appeared in court, charged with carrying a loaded firearm, he was sentenced to the toughest penalty allowed for his crime: juvenile detention until age 21.

Trust an Experienced Joliet Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your child has been charged with a crime, you should contact a knowledgeable Will County juvenile defense lawyer Will County juvenile defense lawyer as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba will thoroughly investigate the details of your child’s situation and recommend the best defense strategy. We can also help clear your child’s record via expungement or sealing. Contact us at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.

Illinois May Soon Allow for the Expungement of Marijuana Convictions

joliet marijuana attorney

While possessing small amounts of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense in Illinois, people who had previously been convicted of marijuana possession marijuana possession still have a criminal record for offenses that are no longer a crime. However, those people might soon be able to have their records expunged, thanks to House Bill 2367 .

Prior Possession Laws

Possession of small amounts of marijuana was decriminalized in Illinois by a bipartisan law that was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2016. Prior to this law, the Cannabis Control Act made possession of amounts up to 2.5 grams of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor, which carried a punishment of up to 30 days in jail, and possession of 2.5 to 10 grams of marijuana was a Class B misdemeanor, which carried up to six months in jail. After the passage of the 2016 law, possession of 10 grams of marijuana or less is a civil offense that carries a fine between $100 and $200.

Records Could Be Expunged

If the new law passes , those who were convicted of possession of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia before 2016 could have their records expunged. Under this bill, you would have to wait at least three years after the completion of your sentence to petition for expungement of your charges. In order to have your records of convictions or guilty pleas relating to those offenses expunged, you must petition a circuit court.

What is Expungement?

Expungement is a process in which the record of an arrest or conviction of a crime is erased in the eyes of the law. Once you have expunged your criminal conviction, you do not have to disclose information about it for things such as a job application. Your conviction also will not show up if a background search or a search of public records is conducted.

What Does it Mean to Petition the Court?

Petitioning a court is simply the act of asking a court to hear a case. Petitioning a court means that you have gone through the process of filling out the right forms to ask permission from the court to have your matter heard. Petitioning the court can mean a lot of paperwork and possibly a lot of stress, but with the help of an experienced attorney, it can be completed effectively, allowing you to clear your criminal record.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a drug offense like marijuana possession, a Joliet drug criminal defense lawyer can help you take the steps needed to benefit you. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba to explore your options for defense against charges or learn how we can help you expunge or seal a previous conviction. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation.

Boat Safely--and Legally--This Spring and Summer

boating dui arrest

As temperatures finally begin to rise in northern Illinois, boats are coming out of storage, and soon the lakes and rivers will once again be filled with fishermen, wakeboarders, and jet-skiers. And what fun is a boat without a cooler of beer and other beverages? However, boat operators should be aware that if they consume alcohol, they may face similar charges to what a motor vehicle driver would face for DUI . Just remember the old saying, “It is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt...or arrested.”

With over 230,000 registered watercraft in Illinois, our lakes and rivers are often very crowded. Here are a few reminders to keep you safe and legal while boating this summer:

Check Your Gear & Licenses Before Heading Out on the Water

Illinois requires all boats to carry one life jacket or other personal floatation device (PFD) per person onboard. Anyone under the age of 13 must wear their life jacket at all times when the boat is underway, unless they are below deck, operating on private property, or on a boat of 26 feet or longer. Jet-skiers must also wear their PFDs at all times.

When towing skiers or tubers, boaters must display an orange flag and obey other rules set forth in Illinois law. (625 ILCS 45/5-14, effective January 1, 2015)

Make sure you have identification with you, and that your boat registration is up to date. Anyone born after January 1, 1998 (who is now 20 or younger) must carry a Boating Safety Certificate from a DNR-approved course in order to operate a motorboat with an engine over 10 horsepower on Illinois waters. (625 ILCS 45/5-18, effective January 1, 2016)

Stop for Conservation Police and Other Law Enforcement Officers

The waterways and boat launch areas of Illinois are patrolled by the Conservation Police officers of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as well as county deputy sheriffs and municipal police. Watercraft operators are required by law to stop and obey the directions of these officers when signaled by hand, voice, siren, or lights.

In Illinois, BUI Is Treated Like DUI

Illinois treats boating under the influence (which includes operating any kind of watercraft, including jet-skis), or BUI, much the same as driving a car under the influence. Boat operators are subject to the same legal limits for drugs and alcohol as car and truck drivers, and the penalties for BUI are basically the same as for DUI.

One difference is that BUI will generally result in suspension of boat operating privileges , but not land driving privileges. However, a boat operator involved in a crash that results in personal injury or death, and who fails or refuses chemical testing, can lose not just their boating privileges, but also their driver’s license. Multiple violations can even result in the confiscation of the boat. (625 ILCS 45/5-16, effective July 29, 2016; 720 ILCS 5/36-1)

Trust an Experienced Joliet BUI/DUI Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been arrested for BUI, you should contact a knowledgeable Will County DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba will look at all of the evidence in your case and recommend the best defense strategy. Contact us at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.

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