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Man Spends Five Months in Jail Unaware of $2 Bail

Joliet Lawyer BailWhen a person is arrested on suspicion of criminal charges , he or she has certain rights that must be protected. Of course, a criminal defendant has the right to remain silent and the right to due process. He or she also has the right to be fully informed about the processes that lie ahead. In most cases, another fundamental right—the right to a qualified attorney—will allow the defendant to remain fully informed about the criminal proceedings and what is expected of him or her along the way. But when there is a breakdown in communication between the attorney and the suspect, things can go very wrong, as a Queens man recently learned after sitting in jail for five months on bail that was less than the cost of a slice of New York-style pizza.

A Confusing Situation

In November of 2014, an Algerian-born man living in Queens, NY, was arrested on several charges including assaulting the officer who was trying to arrest him. Bail was set at $25,000 on the police assault charge. A week later, when prosecutors failed to secure an indictment, the assault charge was dropped and the man was ordered released. There were, however, two minor charges still pending against him, with bail set for each at merely one dollar.

While $1 bail is not uncommon for minor charges in cases where more serious offenses are also alleged—assaulting a police officer, for example—nobody ever communicated the situation to the defendant, including his own attorney. As a result, the man never paid the remaining $2 bail and sat in jail at Rikers Island for another five months . The man said that his attorney did not let him know that he could have been released by simply paying an amount that many people could find in the cushions of their sofa.

The Importance of an Experienced Lawyer

This case should serve as a reminder that the criminal justice system can be overwhelming for a defendant caught in the middle. He or she is expected to comply with deadlines, dates, and regulations, some of which he or she may not even know about. This is where retaining a qualified criminal defense attorney can be invaluable. Your lawyer can help you be prepared for whatever challenges await you in the process.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, you need an advocate who will remain at your side to ensure your rights are fully protected. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney right away to get the help you need. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Understanding the Basics of the Sex Offender Registration Requirements in Illinois

Joliet LawyerSexual offenses and sexual assault charges can have lasting and significant implications for those who are convicted. Not only do you stand to face jail time, fines, and a criminal record, it is also likely that you will have to register as a sex offender. Akin to wearing a scarlet letter, the ramifications of registering can follow you around for a lifetime. Learn what it means to register as a sex offender, and how you can best protect your reputation and future, with help from the following information.

Who Registers as a Sex Offender?

Anyone that has been convicted of “sex offense” must register as a sex offender . This can include crimes such as child pornography, criminal sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and even sexual grooming of a minor child. However, not all criminal acts outlined in the Sex Offender Registration Act require you to engage in a sexual act. For example, you may also be required to register as a sex offender if you have received three convictions of public indecency, were found guilty of traveling to meet a minor with the intent to engage in a sexual act, or were found guilty of juvenile prostitution.

How Long Will You Be Required to Register?

The duration of your sexual offender registration will depend on the charge you are facing. If you are convicted of a crime that is considered predatory in nature (child pornography, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, etc.), you will be required to register for the rest of your natural life. Conviction of a sexual offense (any crime that is not considered predatory in nature) will require that you register for the next 10 years.

Duty to Register (When, Where, and How)

When required to register as a sex offender in Illinois, you must report to your local police department within the first three days of your conviction. If you move to another town or city, you must register in that new location within three days. If you leave your place of residence for three days or longer (in state), you will be required to register at the location you are staying. Furthermore, if you leave the state, you will be required to follow that state’s registration requirements. Failure to adhere to the registration requirements can lead to further consequences and is considered a Class 3 felony.

Collateral Consequences of Registration

Sex offender registration puts your information on a state registry, which is searchable by anyone. This includes members of your community, neighbors, friends, and any prospective employers. Essentially, it is like walking around with a sign on your back, everywhere that you go. Further, you will be restricted from coming within 500 feet of certain locations, including daycares, schools, parks, and playgrounds. You may also experience difficulty in finding a place to live and/or employment, due to your criminal record and registration requirements.

Protect Yourself from the Consequences of a Sexual Offense

Being listed as a sex offender can permanently scar your reputation, damage relationships, and completely upend your life, regardless of how long you are required to register. Avoid conviction and its consequences with help from a seasoned Joliet criminal defense attorney. Dedicated and experienced, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba will aggressively work toward the most positive outcome possible for your situation. Get the representation you need and deserve by scheduling a free confidential consultation with us today.

Everyday Identity Theft: Three Common Forms of Credit Card Fraud

Joliet Lawyer Marijuana Pot Possession Identity theft , in all of its various forms, is an increasingly growing problem all across the nation, causing consumers and business owners alike to sit up and take note of such troublesome trends. CBS News announced that in 2014 alone, IBM reported that more than one billion records containing personal information were leaked. Additionally, identity theft was the number one complaint to the Federal Trade Commission in 2014 and continues to be a major complaint year after year.

Are You Guilty?

With identity theft cases on the rise, more and more victims are speaking out in order to protect their money, credit, and reputation. Credit card theft is especially prevalent, and it comes as a surprise to many that serious credit card theft is not limited to seasoned criminals. In fact, many people unknowingly commit credit card theft or merely blur the lines with their actions with the hopes that a few little white lies won’t actually count as credit card theft . If you have ever even vaguely wondered if your credit card use is legally permissible, chances are you may be guilty of some form of fraudulent activity.

The Most Common Forms of Credit Card Fraud

Regardless of your intentions, if you have done any of the following , you may be in danger of facing charges for identity theft:

1. Request a refund with or without deceitful intent - Even if you forgot about a charge you indeed made to your credit card, calling the credit card company to request a refund for that charge if you actually made the purchase is considered fraud. Also known as chargeback fraud, this practice is often deliberately used by those wishing to profit twofold from merchandise purchases. They not only have the money they originally spent returned to them but they also keep the merchandise. If you ever report an unauthorized purchase and request to have the funds credited back to you, check to make sure the purchase was not one that you made.

2. Provide false information - Even the smallest lie on a credit application can land you in legal hot water if you are not careful. Many people found guilty of credit card fraud have embellished information on their applications regarding their income amounts, place of employment, and even their age. Intentionally providing false or misleading information on an application can result in a number of penalties, including up to fifteen years of imprisonment, hefty fines, and a range of criminal charges.

3. Claim Someone Else’s Pre-Approved Credit Offer - It does not matter if your brother discarded a pre-approved credit application letter he received in the mail - if you claim that pre-approval letter as your own and open the account under his information, you are committing fraud. Pretending to be someone else, even if you have that person’s permission to use their personal information, is never permissible by law. This standard also applies to other credit card activity, such as using someone else’s credit card at the store or signing on someone’s behalf.

If you have knowingly or unwittingly committed some form of credit card fraud, it is important to speak with a skilled Joliet criminal law attorney to protect your rights and minimize the damage to your record and reputation. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.

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