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Juvenile Charges: You and Your Child Both Have Rights

Joliet juvenile law attorney

As a parent, one of the most difficult things to hear is that your child may have done something wrong. If your child is arrested or charged with a crime , it will be a stressful experience for the both of you, but one of the best things you can do is become informed about the rights that both you and your child have in this situation. Becoming informed will help both you and your child get through this process.

What Rights Does My Child Have?

In Illinois, anyone 17 years old or under is considered a child, although for very serious crimes, children over the age of 15 can be tried as an adult. There are a few differences between what rights your child has and what rights an adult has when they are charged with a crime.

1. Probable cause is needed to search a minor - As with adults, police must have reason to believe a person has committed a crime before searching a minor, and these reasons must be supported by facts. The exception to this rule is if a parent or a person with partial responsibility of the child (such as a school official) has reasonable suspicion of an offense.

2. Right to a phone call - If your child has been arrested, he or she has the right to make a phone call to call you or to directly contact an attorney. This is part of the Miranda Rights that also apply to adults.

3. Right to remain silent - Also a part of the Miranda Rights, your child has the right to refuse to answer questions until you and/or their attorney is present. Your child does not have to say anything to the police, no matter what the police say.

4. Right to a lawyer - Your child has the right to a defense lawyer. Your child should tell the police right away that they would like a lawyer present before they speak. If you cannot afford a lawyer, your child has the right to a state-appointed defense attorney.

5. Right to talk to a parent or guardian - Your child has a right to talk to you before they talk to police. They also have the right to have you present during questioning and during all court proceedings.

6. Right to notice of charges - Your child has the right to know what crimes he or she is being charged with. Police are required to explain what charges are being pursued and why they believe your child is guilty.

7. Privilege against self-incrimination - The Fifth Amendment applies to your child the same as it does to an adult - they cannot be forced to testify against themselves.

8. No right to bail - Unless a serious crime is committed, minors are often released from police custody to their parents or guardians prior to their arraignment in juvenile court. In the case that your child is held in police custody, they do not have the right to seek bail.

9. Limited right to a trial by jury - States are not required to give juvenile cases a trial by jury. In the state of Illinois, juvenile cases do not receive a trial by jury unless the minor is judged to be a “violent” or “habitual” offender.

What Rights Do I Have?

1. Right to be notified of arrest - Police must tell you as quickly as possible that your child has been arrested or is being held in custody.

2. Right to notice of charges - Like your child, you have the right to be informed of what charges are being pursued against your child. You also have the right to know where your child is being held in police custody.

3. Right to be present during questioning - You have the right to be with your child during police questioning and during all court proceedings.

4. Right to a lawyer - In Illinois, you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning, even if your child does not choose to exercise his or her own independent right to do so.

Contact a Will County Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your child has been charged with a crime, you need an experienced Joliet juvenile defense lawyer at your side. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Should I Allow the Police to Search My Car Without a Warrant?

Joliet probable cause search attorney

When you are stopped by the police for committing an alleged traffic violation, the officer is usually on high alert when he or she approaches your vehicle. The officer will likely ask you for your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance and may inquire as to why you think you were pulled over. While the officer is talking and listening to your responses, he or she is also likely to be looking into your vehicle for indications of illegal drugs or other criminal activity. Depending on what can be seen—or smelled, in some cases, the officer may ask you to consent to a search of your vehicle. If this happens ever happens to you, it is important to exercise your rights and respectfully deny the officer’s request.

Misleading Language

An officer who is trying to get permission to search your vehicle is likely to act friendly, casual, and even helpful. He or she may say things like “I know you have nothing to hide,” or “We can just clear this up real quick.” Police officers rely on a variety of techniques to obtain consent to a search, because consent makes an officer’s job much easier in the long run.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In most cases, this means that the government—and the police, by extension—must obtain a warrant to search private property. Cars, trucks, and other vehicles present unique considerations, however, because of their mobility. Case law, including decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, has established that the police may search a motor vehicle if there is probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed or that evidence of a crime will be found.

Consent Overrides Probable Cause

By affirming your right to refuse a search, you give the officer two basic choices. He or she can forget about the search and move along, or the officer can conduct the search and be ready to justify his or her probable cause if the search turns up anything illegal.

If you consent to a search, the need for probable cause is eliminated, which means you will not be able to challenge the legality of the search if you are charged. Probable cause, however, can be challenged, especially if it leads to an on-the-scene decision about a search. (A search warrant based on probable cause can be challenged as well, but a warrant can only be issued by a judge, so there is extra layer of oversight.) If the search is deemed to be illegal, anything found during the search is likely to be deemed inadmissible during your prosecution.

Contact Us for Help

In short, if the police ask for permission to search your car, you should respectfully refuse to give it. The officer may search your vehicle anyway, but you will have the opportunity to challenge the basis for the search later in court. If the search results in you being arrested, you should immediately contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are fully protected. Call 815-740-4025 for a free, confidential consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba.

Driving and DUI Rules for Medical Marijuana Users

Joliet marijuana dui attorney

Medical marijuana has made a huge difference in the lives of many Illinois residents who live with debilitating conditions and intractable pain. If you are a registered medical cannabis user and drive regularly, here are a few things you should know to avoid trouble with the law, including being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) .

Rules for Transportation of Medical Marijuana

In your car, handle your medical marijuana like open-container alcohol. Medical cannabis should be sealed in a tamper-evident container and kept in an area that is inaccessible while the vehicle is in motion. Illinois law allows patients to access 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 14 days, so be sure any amounts you carry are within the legal limit. Remember to renew your medical marijuana card before it expires and have your current registry card (issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health) with you in your vehicle. If you have a designated caregiver who brings you cannabis, make sure they are aware of these rules.

Your Medical Cannabis Status Is on Your Driving Record

If you are pulled over by the police for any reason, the officer will typically take your driver’s license and pull up your driving record on their in-car computer. This will show them that you are a medical cannabis cardholder. Keep that in mind when answering any questions. If asked questions about your use of cannabis, you are not legally required to answer, and anything you say could later be used against you.

DUI Rules are Different for Medical Cannabis Cardholders

For most Illinois drivers, the legal limit for marijuana is 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of other bodily substance (e.g., saliva). Anyone testing over those limits will be charged with DUI and have their driver’s license suspended. Medical cannabis cardholders, however, are not subject to these chemical test standards.

Medical cannabis users can still be charged with and convicted of driving under the influence, and your right to use medical marijuana is not a valid defense for driving while impaired by marijuana. The police simply use evidence other than chemical testing to make their case that you were driving while impaired.

If you are stopped by the police, it is up to the officer to determine if there is reasonable cause to suspect that you are driving impaired. Examples of reasonable cause might include erratic driving, a smell of marijuana on your person, or the presence of marijuana in plain sight in your vehicle.

If the officer has reason to suspect DUI, he will ask you to submit to field sobriety testing. While other drivers can refuse field sobriety testing, medical cannabis cardholders cannot.

If you refuse or fail the field sobriety tests, your driver’s license will be suspended, just as if you tested over .08 on a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test. This statutory summary suspension can be imposed regardless of whether you are ultimately convicted of DUI, although it can be challenged (consult an attorney immediately to challenge a suspension).

If you fail the field sobriety tests, this does not necessarily mean you will ultimately be convicted of DUI. There are many possible defenses to a DUI charge, and an experienced local DUI attorney can advise you of your best course of action. A DUI conviction can impact your life for years, resulting in fines, jail time, higher insurance rates, loss of driving privileges, revocation of your medical cannabis card, and other consequences.

Lastly, if you drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, the usual standards for alcohol and drug DUI will be applied.

Trust an Experienced Joliet Marijuana and DUI Defense Attorney

If you are a registered user of medical cannabis in Illinois, and you have been charged with DUI, illegal transportation, or another offense related to your use of medical marijuana, you deserve the best defense. Consult a Will County DUI Defense lawyer with experience in marijuana-related violations, one who will aggressively defend your rights and advocate for you to get the best possible resolution of your case. 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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