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What You Need to Know About Miranda Warnings

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We have all seen it on TV and in the movies: a suspenseful investigation or a police chase ends with a suspect in handcuffs , and as the scene fades into the credits, an officer begins to speak, “You have the right to remain silent…” You probably know that the statements being recited are collectively known as the Miranda warnings or Miranda Rights, but there are certain things to keep in mind in the event you are ever arrested and charged with a crime.

Your Rights

The Miranda warnings consist of four specific points. The exact wording of the warnings may vary but the suspect must be informed that:

• He or she has the right to remain silent;

• Anything that is said can be used as evidence in court;

• He or she has the right to have an attorney present during questioning; and

• If the suspect cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for him or her.

Contrary to popular belief, a suspect does not need to be given the Miranda warnings immediately upon arrest. The United States Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona in 1966 that a suspect must be reminded of his or her rights prior to a “custodial interrogation,” But, what does that mean in practice? It means that a police officer is under no obligation to read Miranda warnings unless the person “has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant action. For example, a discussion during a traffic stop would not require Miranda warnings. If, however, the suspect was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car—regardless of an official arrest—the officer would need to give the Miranda warnings before asking any questions or risk having the entire exchange be thrown out in court.

Miranda “Warnings” vs. Miranda “Rights”

When referring to the Miranda statements, people often use the words “warnings” and “rights” interchangeably. This is understandable, but the ruling in Miranda did not give criminal suspects new rights regarding remaining silent or access to an attorney. These rights are already guaranteed by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Instead, the Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda created a new right for suspects to be reminded of their constitutional rights before being questioned. As such, the series of statements became known as the Miranda warnings—based primarily, it would seem, on the admonition that anything the suspect says can and will be used against him or her in a court of law.

Rights Violations

If you or someone you love was arrested and interrogated without being read the Miranda warnings, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney to explore your options. Call 815-740-4025 for a free, confidential consultation today. We will work hard to keep you out of jail and to protect your long-term future.

Owners of Mugshot Website Arrested on Extortion Charges

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In today’s digital age, it is easier than ever before to access information about another person. Such access can be helpful when deciding whether a particular individual should be hired or just trusted, in general. The downside, however, is that the information that is often available may be misleading, incomplete, or damaging. In some cases, this is entirely intentional, and, authorities say, little more than an extortion scheme designed to profit from other people’s misfortune.

This week, four men were arrested for their connection to a website that publishes mugshots and then attempts to extract payment in exchange for the mugshots’ removal. The men were arrested on warrants issued in California, but the scheme has allegedly victimized people across the country.

“Pay-for-Removal Scheme”

The charges are connected to a website called—a site that purportedly exists to notify the public of arrests. According to police officials, however, the site is actually an extortion scheme. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says that the site owners publish mugshots obtained from public records and post them on the site, along with fairly basic information about each arrestee, some of whom were never formally charged.

The photos remain on the website, often with outdated information—such as showing a person to be on parole when his parole actually ended months or years prior—until the individual contacts a sister site, to have the information removed. But, there is a catch. A person looking to have his or her photo removed from the site is asked to pay a large fee for the service. Many people have actually paid the site in an attempt to prevent the postings from hampering job-search efforts and other reputation concerns.

One man who was named in the court filings said he was asked to pay $399. When he spoke to a representative to inform the site that he had been cleared of all charges and that the practice of charging for pulling the photos down was illegal, he was allegedly berated and told that he had “been permanently published.”

Another individual said the site tried to charge him $2,000 to have his photo taken down and another $15,000 to have his arrest profile scrubbed from the site. “This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This is exploitation, plain and simple.” Becerra’s office estimates that the site collected more than $2 million in removal fees from some 5,700 people nationwide.

Clearing Your Record the Right Way

If you have been arrested in the past and you are concerned about how your record could affect your ability to find a job or affordable housing, contact an experienced Joliet expungement and record sealing attorney . We will help you explore your options and work with you in building the future you deserve. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

How the Proposed .05 DUI Standard Would Affect Social Drinkers

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As Illinois and other states across the country discuss the possibility of reducing the standard for DUI from .08 to .05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), you might be wondering how such a change would affect the average citizen, the social drinker.

Consumption Leading to .05 versus .08 BAC

A good rule of thumb is that consuming two standard drinks in one hour will raise a person’s BAC to .05, and drinking one standard drink each hour after that would maintain that level.

However, weight and gender also impact the speed at which the body processes alcohol. A 120-pound woman would be allowed only a single drink in the first hour, two drinks would put her over the .05 limit, and three drinks would put her over .08. A 200-pound man would exceed the .05 limit after three drinks in one hour and hit .08 after four drinks.

Watch Beverage Alcohol Content and Glass Sizes

The definition of one standard drink is 1.5 ounces (one shot) of 80 proof liquor, 12 ounces of beer (4.5% alcohol), or 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol).

But heed this word of warning: today’s popular small-batch and super-premium liquors can be 90 proof or higher, while craft beers are averaging 5.9% alcohol. If those are your drinks of choice, you would have to drink even less than the above guidelines suggest to stay under the legal limits. Some styles of beer, such as an imperial stout or double IPA, average 10% alcohol, making a 6 oz. glass the equivalent of a standard serving of alcohol.

In addition, many venues sell beer in sizes larger than 12 ounces. For example, Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Park both sell beer in 16 oz. cups, which is the same size as a traditional American pint of beer.

While the Illinois legislature is not yet considering this change , a “.05 Equal DUI” bill is likely to be introduced in Illinois within the next few years.

Trust an Experienced Joliet DUI Defense Attorney

We hope you will always drive safely, whether you drink or not. But we also realize that most people do not sit around a bar calculating each other’s BAC. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI, do not assume you have to plead guilty. There are many ways to fight a DUI charge.

To determine your best defense strategy, consult a knowledgeable Will County DUI Defense lawyer as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.


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