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Property Seizure May Occur In Illinois Even if There is No Conviction

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Many people may not know this until it is too late, but police in Illinois can seize your property even if you have not been convicted of a crime . Asset forfeiture can result in the loss of your car, home, or other possessions while creating a major burden for you and your family.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Authorities expanded the application and use of forfeiture laws while engaged in the “War on Drugs” with criminal drug kingpins during the 1980s. The strategy was to cripple a criminal organization by taking possession of cars, trucks, boats, homes, and other assets found to be used in the manufacturing, storage, transportation, or distribution of illegal drugs.

Now, however, innocent citizens are finding themselves inconvenienced, because under the law, police can take possession of and keep property they suspect may have been involved in the commission of a crime. This can take place even if the person who owns the property was not involved in the alleged crime. For example, a 70-year-old woman lost her car for five months when it was seized by police. The car was being driven by her grandson when he was arrested for driving on a revoked license.

The practice of civil asset forfeiture by police is believed to be more widespread than is known by citizens, and its application can cause confusion and end up costing defendants large sums of money while fighting to regain custody of their property. Records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) show that police in Illinois have seized property totaling $72 million dollars over the past two years. This practice has led to some criminal activity on the part of law enforcement, as one Illinois police chief was sent to a federal prison for his role in a scheme to profit from the seizure and sale of property.

The unfairness of this practice and the incidents of impropriety have led many to assert that civil asset forfeiture laws in Illinois are ready for reform.

Opioid Use Still on the Rise

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The use of opioids such as heroin, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl can be extremely dangerous. These opium-derived drugs are highly addictive and are almost impossible to quit once a person has become dependent on them. Often, a person becomes addicted to opioids after an injury or illness necessitates the use of pain management medicine. For example, a person may be originally prescribed a pain pill such as Percocet to be taken for a finite amount of time. When the pills run out, the person can no longer function without them and therefore seeks illegal means of finding relief. The terms “opiate” and “narcotic” are sometimes used interchangeably with the word “opioid.”

Deadly Addiction

Tragically, opiate overdoses result in thousands of deaths a year. In fact, in 2016, an estimated 64,000 people lost their lives to opiate overdoses, many of which were unintentional. In some cases, users do not realize the potency of the drug they use, or do not realize that it has been combined with another substance. Some people who manufacture and sell narcotics cut their product with fillers, such as baby powder to increase profits, while others add additional drugs. For example, many batches of heroin sold on the streets also contain fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and is responsible for a large percentage of opioid overdoses.

Actions Aimed at Minimizing Overdose Deaths

As a means of managing this crisis, 25 states have passed legislation to increase criminal penalties for those use manufacture or sell fentanyl-containing drugs. Florida has recently passed an unprecedented law in order to fight opioid overdose and death. Florida governor Rick Scott signed a law which came in effect in October of last year which expands the state’s first-degree murder code to include selling a lethal dose of fentanyl. This means that a drug dealer who is caught selling products which include fentanyl has the potential to face the death penalty. In addition, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in November of last year that it has used its emergency scheduling powers to categorize fentanyl and similar substances as schedule I drugs in the Controlled Substances Act.

Aggressive Criminal Defense

If you are facing drug-related charges, you need an experienced Joliet narcotics defense attorney . A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you understand your legal options and guide you in your decision-making process. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, we believe that clients accused of a crime deserve a passionate and effective defense. Jack Zaremba has the experience and skills necessary to help those accused of a crime get their life back on track. Contact at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation today.

Should You Refuse DUI Field Sobriety Testing

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In the unfortunate event that you are stopped by the police and accused of driving under the influence, you should be aware of the types of tests that you may be asked to undergo and the consequences of agreeing or refusing to undergo these tests.

The three types of tests are field sobriety tests, portable breath tests, and evidentiary breath tests. This post will focus on the field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are conducted at the site of the traffic stop by the police officer who pulls you over. The officer will use the results of these tests to decide (1) whether or not to ask you to take a portable breath test and (2) whether or not arrest you for DUI.

The Most Common Field Sobriety Tests

The most common field sobriety tests are (1) the one-leg stand, (2) the walk and turn, which involves walking in a straight line taking heel to toe steps, and (3) the horizontal gaze. These three tests taken together are referred to as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests .

Research suggests that these tests, when conducted properly and taken together, are about 90% accurate in predicting a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. That said, these tests are not infallible, and they may be challenged as part of a DUI defense. Each test, taken alone, can falsely suggest intoxication as often as one in three times. The accuracy rates for the individual tests are 77% for the horizontal gaze, 68% for the walk and turn, and 65% for the one-leg stand. Many people would have trouble correctly following an officer’s directions and passing these physical tests simply out of normal tiredness at the end of the long, busy day.

Should I Consent or Refuse to Do Field Sobriety Tests?

You are NOT required to consent to field sobriety tests. There is NO penalty for respectfully refusing. You will have to make the decision to consent or decline on the spot. You will not be given time to consult an attorney prior to making your decision.

By taking and passing the tests, you may avoid a DUI arrest altogether. It is always in your best interest to avoid an arrest, if at all possible. If you suspect you may not pass, it may be in your best interest to refuse, thus denying the police this source of evidence against you. If you decline to perform requested field sobriety tests, the police may still use other observations of you (for example, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol or drugs on you, clearly visible open containers in the vehicle, or the way you were driving) as sufficient cause to arrest you and take you to a police station for evidentiary testing. But again, at least you have denied the police the evidence of the standardized field sobriety tests.

Protect Your Rights with a Skilled Joliet DUI/Traffic Violations Attorney

If you submitted to field sobriety testing and were arrested for DUI, contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced DUI attorney may be able to challenge the validity of the tests if they were not conducted and interpreted according to the documented standards or if you had legitimate reasons for failing a test. A knowledgeable Will County DUI/traffic violations defense attorney can examine the details of your case and help you determine the best legal strategy for your situation. Contact 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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