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Good Samaritan Law Can Save Lives

Good SamaritanWith the many dangers of drug use so regularly emphasized, it is extremely concerning that illicit drug use continues to plague the country. Apart from being highly illegal , the use and abuse of substances such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines can have serious consequences on an individual’s health, lifestyle, and family relationships. In an effort to curb the most serious health impact, however, state laws throughout the United States, including Illinois, have been enacted to provide limited criminal immunity for those would seek emergency help for someone experiencing a drug overdose. Known as Good Samaritan Laws, such measures look to save lives by addressing the health dangers of a potentially deadly situation before legal concerns.

The use of heroin in Illinois has started capturing statewide attention, as there has been a significant increase in heroin-related activity and overdoses in recent years. In Will County, for example, there were 5 reported deaths attributed to heroin overdoses in 2000, a number which exploded by 2012 to 46. DuPage County similarly reported 42 heroin-overdose deaths in 2012, and numbers throughout the area are similar.

In that same year, however, the state legislature decided that it was time to take action in protecting the lives of Illinois residents. Passed in February of 2012, and taking effect in June, the law colloquially known as a Good Samaritan Law offered, for the first time, a level of protection for individuals acting to help a person who may overdosing on an illegal drug. Specifically, the measure states that a person is experiencing an overdose, or “who, in good faith, seeks or obtains emergency medical assistance for someone experiencing an overdose” will not be prosecuted for felony possession of illegal drugs.

There are certain limits to the law’s reach however, as it specifically applies to a limited amount of an illicit substance that was found or acquired as a result of the call for help. For example, a person in need of help or the caller found with less than three ounces of heroin by the responding authorities will be immune from possession charges. If probable cause for arrest or the detaining of a person existed prior to the need to seek emergency assistance, the Good Samaritan Law does not interfere with law enforcement’s right or ability to pursue the case.

As with any criminal prosecution, the details of each case are unique. If you are facing drug possession charges as the result of calling emergency services for friend in need, a qualified lawyer can help you understand your options under the law. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney today for a free consultation. We will work to protect your rights throughout the process and minimize the impact to your future.

Zero Tolerance for Underage Drinking and Driving

Zero ToleranceSchool is ending and the weather is warming. Soon it will be summer picnic season, perfect for graduation parties, family get-togethers, and spending time with friends. While such events can offer a great deal of fun, they can also create danger when a person who celebrated a little too much gets behind the wheel of a car to drive home. Most adults have some idea of how much is too much, but for those under 21 in Illinois , any level of alcohol intoxication can lead to serious consequences under the state’s Zero Tolerance Law.

For individuals under the age of 21, the consumption of alcohol alone is against the law . A person found guilty of possessing, purchasing, or consuming alcohol underage may have his or driving privileges suspended for up to 6 months for a first conviction. A second conviction results in a year’s suspension, and subsequent offenses will in result in the revocation of the individual’s driver’s license.

An underage person who is found to be driving with alcohol in his or system is subject to prosecution on at least two separate charges , depending on the amount of alcohol. As with a driver over 21, an underage driver operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher may be charged with driving under influence or DUI. First-time underage offenders face a two-year mandatory license suspension, fines of up to $2,500, and up to a year in prison. A second offense is punishable by up to a five-year revocation of the offender’s license, in addition to fines and prison sentences. Other factors, such as causing an injury or death, DUI without a valid license or insurance, for example, may further increase penalties.

In addition to DUI, an underage driver found to have a BAC higher than 0.00 percent is also subject to penalties under the Zero Tolerance Law. Operating a vehicle with any trace of alcohol in an underage driver’s system will result in three month suspension of driving privileges. The suspension is increased to six months upon the driver’s refusal to submit to BAC testing. A second offense results in a one-year suspension, increased to two years with refused testing.

If your child is facing charges under the Zero Tolerance Law or charges of DUI, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney . At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we understand the impact that a conviction can have on a family and are prepared to fight

FOID and Carry Permit Applications Moved Online

Illinois Conceal CarryWith its gun control laws being among the strictest in the nation, the state of Illinois carefully monitors the application and registration process for gun owners. A recent change, however, was aimed at making the process more convenient for owners and dealers alike. Illinois residents looking to obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card or a Concealed Carry License (CCL) are now required to utilize an online application system provided by the Illinois State Police (ISP).

New Online Process

Rolling out the changes earlier this year , the ISP and state authorities looked to streamline and modernize the application process. Previously, an online system was available for concealed carry applications, but required applicants to set up a digital ID through the state’s Department of Central Management Services. Meanwhile, FOID applicants were required to file paper forms.

Beginning in March, the paper applications have been eliminated , and the application process for both the FOID and CCL have been combined into a single system. In addition, obtaining the digital ID through Central Management Services is no longer required; instead, applicants will be able to provide their existing state ID or driver’s license information to access the new system. Those without internet access, minors under 21 without state-issued ID, and Amish applicants can contact the ISP’s call center for help with applying.

The new system also makes it easier for Federal Firearm Licensed (FFL) dealers to conduct the required background checks before selling a firearm to a properly licensed individual. FFLs are also required to register via the ISP system, but by making the appropriate information available in a single, user-friendly database, the ISP hopes to make the process easier and more efficient for everyone involved.

Illinois Weapons Offenses

In the state of Illinois, illegal possession of a firearm can be a very serious matter. An individual may face charges and potential criminal penalties for carrying or transporting a firearm without an appropriate license. That is why understanding the proper procedures for safe, legal gun ownership is so important.

If you or a family member has been charged with any type of weapons offense, choosing the right attorney is critical to the successful handling of your case. At our law firm, we realize how difficult such a situation can be and have the skill and experienced to help you. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney today to schedule your free consultation.

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