Blogs | Law Office of Jack L Zaremba


Protecting Yourself During a Lawful Protest

joliet protest attorney

As protests both peaceful and violent become more and more common in cities across the United States, it might be a good idea to understand in advance the rights one is afforded when taking part in such an activity. Of course, the 1st Amendment protects every citizen’s right to free speech, but knowing how your actions at a protest may have consequences allows you to protect yourself from criminal charges .

Know What is Required of You Before You Attend a Rally or Protest

As stated, the First Amendment protects your right to speak. However, it is not a magic shield that allows you to act without regard for the law. Presented here is a summary of some important facts to help protect yourself:

• Your speech is protected, UNLESS you are on private property. In that case, the owner of the property can set limits and can order you off their property if you violate those limits.
• Picketing and distributing leaflets is fine, but you may not block pedestrians while doing so and you should refrain from aggressive or threatening actions.
• In certain circumstances, a permit may be required for your protest or rally.
• If stopped by police, be calm and cooperative. In some states, you may be required to provide your name, but you do not have to show identification. NEVER put your hands on a law enforcement officer, and keep your hands in plain sight at all times when talking with police.
• If you are arrested, do not resist. Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

New Law Under Consideration in Illinois

With protests growing in frequency, an Illinois legislator has introduced a bill that would make it illegal to conceal your identity while taking part in a protest. The sponsor indicated a few factors that influenced this action, including:

• A propensity for “masked” protesters, usually in the minority, to instigate violent activity during what might otherwise be a peaceful demonstration.
• The need to prevent masked groups from aggravating situations, such as was the case in protests that took place in other cities.
• The new bill under consideration is modeled after existing laws already in place in Georgia and Virginia in an effort to withstand a Constitutional challenge.

Consult a Knowledgeable Joliet Criminal Defense Lawyer

Actions have consequences. In the event you are charged with a crime while taking part in a rally or protest, it is important to secure the representation of a skilled and experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will review every detail of your case and create a strategy that provides for an aggressive and meticulous defense on your behalf. Do not trust your freedom to an inexperienced lawyer.

Drug Possession Charges: What Do You “Know?”

joliet drug possession lawyer

Recently, a post on this blog discussed the two different types of drug possession that could lead to criminal charges. “Actual possession” refers to drugs on an individual’s person, such as in a pocket or in a backpack that he or she is carrying at the time of the search or arrest. “Constructive possession,” by comparison, refers to illicit substances being found in a location that the suspect has control over, such as the interior of his or her car or residence. There are, however, two other elements that prosecutors must prove to secure a conviction in a drug possession case and they both revolve around the word “knowingly.”

Knowledge and the Law

According to the Illinois Controlled Substance Act , “it is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess a controlled or counterfeit substance or controlled substance analog,” unless expressly permitted to do so for the practice of medicine or other purposes addressed in the law. Other statutes that govern the possession marijuana (in amounts greater than 10 grams) and methamphetamines contain similar language. The word “knowingly” is an extremely large part of the equation, and it can be broken down into two important elements.

Knowing the Substance Is an Illegal Drug

If you are stopped by police and you are carrying cocaine or heroin, you are going to have a hard to time getting a judge or jury to believe that you did not know that a fine white powder in a tiny plastic bag was an illegal drug. But, what if you asked a friend for ibuprofen or something similar for a headache and he hands you several tablets that you barely glance at before putting them in your pocket? If you are stopped and the tablets turn out to be ecstasy or a prescription opioid, prosecutors may have a hard time showing you knew that they were illegal drugs—especially if you readily consented to being searched.

Knowing the Drugs Were Present

In reality, very few people will hold or take possession of an item—drugs, in particular—without knowing what it is. Thus, basing your defense on the idea that you did not know that what you were carrying was an illegal drug is possible but risky. It is more common for a person to unknowingly be in constructive possession of an illicit substance.
Consider a scenario in which you picked up your friend for a night out. He or she tosses a backpack in the backseat and you are on your way. When you drop your friend off at the end of the night, he grabs his backpack and a small bag of cocaine falls out onto the floor of your car. On the way home, you are pulled over for speeding and the officer sees the bag sitting on the floor and arrests you for possession because you are the only one in the vehicle. While the road ahead will not be an easy one, prosecutors still must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the drugs were in your car.

Defending Against Drug Possession Charges

If you have been arrested on charges of drug possession but you did not about the presence or the character of the substance in question, you need the help of an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer . Call 815-740-4025 for a free, confidential consultation with Attorney Jack L. Zaremba today. We will review your case and help you explore your available options.

Actual vs Constructive Possession: Drug Possession Charges in Illinois

joliet drug possession lawyer

If you have ever watched a television show about crime such as Law & Order or COPS, you have probably heard many of the typical claims a suspect makes when he or she is found to be in possession of illegal drugs. He or she might say “Those aren’t mine!” or “These are my friend’s!” or “Someone must have left these in my car.” In many cases, such excuses are little more than an attempt to avoid a drug possession charge . Sometimes, however, they are true. What happens if a passenger in a your vehicle brings drugs into your car and you are pulled over? It depends on the individual circumstances but in Illinois, where the drugs are found often determines what type of drug possession an individual can be charged with.

The Difference Between Actual and Constructive Drug Possession

There are two different types of drug possession in Illinois : actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession is what most people think of as drug possession. It refers to an individual who is in physical possession of an illegal substance. He or she may be holding the item in his or her hand or carrying it in a pocket or purse. Actual possession also refers to an individual who attempts to dispose of drugs while being pulled over or questioned by police—by throwing them out the window of a car for instance. If a passenger in your vehicle is found to be in actual possession of drugs, you are less likely to be held responsible.

Constructive possession , by comparison, refers to a circumstance in which a person does not have drugs physically on them but drugs are found in a house or car. Constructive possession means a person has “intent and capability to maintain control and dominion over” the drugs. For example, a person might have drugs stored in the glove compartment of his or car car or hidden under a seat. A driver who has drugs stored in their car is not in actual possession of the drugs but can still be charged with having constructive possession. Charges for constructive possession can be filed against anyone in the vehicle, although the owner of the vehicle is at the highest risk.

Let Us Help

If you have been arrested on a drug possession charge because a friend or acquaintance brought an illegal substance into your house or car, prosecutors must be able to prove that you were aware of the presence of the drugs. This is where the help an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney becomes extremely valuable. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is a former prosecutor who understands the elements necessary for state to secure a conviction, and he is ready to put that knowledge to work on your behalf. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.


Subscribe to RSS - blogs