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Women Charged With Assault of Fast Food Employee

Assault Battery Joliet IllinoisThree women have been arrested following an incident that took place outside of a McDonald’s restaurant in Sandusky, Ohio. All three women, who appear to be smiling and unconcerned in their booking photographs, were charged with assaulting a store employee, two were charged with child endangerment, and one faces an additional charge for theft.

According to news reports and the Sandusky police department Facebook page, the assault occurred in the parking lot of the restaurant. The women were allegedly frustrated by the speed of service offered by the employee, who they felt was working too slowly. Though complete details are not yet available, the children of two of the women participated in the attack, leading to the endangerment charges.

Assault and Battery in Illinois

While this particular incident occurred along Lake Erie in Northern Ohio, it can serve as a reminder of the seriousness of assault charges here in Illinois. Assault is an offense that frequently misunderstood, as it is often confused with the related offense of battery. The definition of assault, in fact, depends on that of battery, so the confusion may be justified.

Under Illinois law, a person commits battery when he or she:

• Causes bodily harm to another individual; or
• Makes physical contact of a provoking or insulting nature with another individual.

The offense of assault, by comparison, occurs when a person engages in conduct or activities that place another person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. This means that assault could include, for example, throwing a punch or approaching another person aggressively, while battery occurs only when physical contact is made

The seriousness of an assault or battery charge depends on a wide variety of factors, including the age, status, and occupation of the victim, as well as the circumstances of the situation. Other considerations I include whether a firearm was present, threatened, or discharged, and the extent of the injury caused. Charges can range from a Class C misdemeanor up to a Class X felony for the most serious aggravated assault or aggravated battery offenses.

Facing Assault Charges?

If you have been arrested and charged with assault in or around Will County, you need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights. Contact a skilled Joliet criminal defense lawyer to schedule a free consultation today. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is a former prosecutor ready to put his experience to work for you. He will help you understand your options and ensure you get the reliable representation you deserve.

Understanding Gun Laws to Combat Weapons Charges in Illinois

Will County Illinois Weapons and Gun ChargesChicago may be the epicenter of gun violence in Illinois, but it is not the only place in the state that experiences serious violent crimes as a result of illegal gun ownership. There were reportedly 1,117 deaths in the state of Illinois caused by guns in 2013. Just over half of all these were ruled homicides (52 percent). Just slightly below that came suicides, accounting for 44 percent of all gun deaths in the state in the same time period.

These staggeringly high numbers are just one reason that many advocate for stricter gun laws regarding the sale, possession, and ownership of a gun in Illinois. The logic goes that if the state was able to reduce the number of guns that are floating around, it would consequently be able to reduce the number of violent crimes perpetrated using such weapons.

A Hotly Contested Issue

Restricting gun ownership, however, has serious implications when considered in light of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees all citizens the right to bear arms. Advocates for gun control argue that certain types of guns serve no purpose other than to harm another human being. Critics may counter this argument with the acknowledgment that the Second Amendment makes no stipulation about what types of gun a person may possess. The most important way to deal with gun laws is to understand them. Only when a person has a full comprehension of what the state does and does not allow when it comes to owning and carrying a gun can he or she begin to make an argument against such laws—and to combat charges brought based on an alleged violation of them.

Current Illinois Firearms Laws

All persons wishing to own a firearm in the state of Illinois must first obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification card (FOID). It is illegal to sell either a firearm or ammunition to anyone who does not possess an FOID—meaning that if you sell a gun online, for example, to someone without seeing their FOID, you may be subject to criminal charges. The state also requires that a person must wait before transferring ownership of a gun to a new owner—24 hours for a long gun (e.g. a rifle or shotgun) and 72 hours for a handgun.

The state of Illinois does allow the concealed carry of handguns, but a person must obtain an additional permit to do so. Concealed carry licenses are issued by the Illinois State Police and there are qualifying criteria that must be met. The state also allows minors under the age of 18 to possess and use firearms, but the Child Access Prevention law prohibits leaving a firearm unlocked and accessible to a person under the age of 14.

Seek Legal Help

Weapons charges can be very serious, so it is important to work with a lawyer who will protect your rights. If you have been charged with the unauthorized possession or use of a firearm, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation today.

U.S. Supreme Court Says Sixth Amendment Does Not Guarantee Speedy Sentencing

Supreme Court Speedy Sentence

As we have talked about recently on this blog, the right to a fair trial is one of the cornerstones of the American criminal justice system. Of course, amidst local and national concerns of false testimony by law enforcement and apparent flaws in forensic evidence processing, many wonder if a fair trial is an impossible ideal.

Be that as it may, the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” This means that a defendant has the right not only to a fair, public trial, but also a speedy one. The United States Supreme Court, however, has ruled that the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial does not extend to the sentencing phase once a defendant has been convicted.

Betterman v. Montana

The case before the high court essentially began with a guilty plea by a man in Montana for skipping bail in 2012 and failing to appear on charges for domestic assault. The man then waited in prison for more than 14 months for his sentence to be determined, much of the wait blamed on institutional delays by the court. The man was ultimately sentenced to seven years in prison, with four of the years suspended. He appealed his sentence on the basis that the 14-month delay violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.

The Court’s Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the Montana Supreme Court that the Sixth Amendment does not apply once a defendant has been convicted. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion of the court, stating that the Sixth Amendment is intended to protect the rights of the accused, not the convicted. The right to a speedy trial is meant to alleviate the pressures of being publicly charged with a crime—and presumed innocent until proven otherwise—and that is in the best interest of everyone involved to move quickly to determine guilt. The court held that once guilt has been established, the Sixth Amendment no longer applies. In addition, the only available remedy available for violating a person’s right to a speedy trial is a dismissal of the charges. Such a remedy, Justice Ginsburg wrote, would not be in the interest of justice following a conviction.

Narrow Ruling

Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, a defendant who has been convicted is not totally without rights. The court expressly acknowledged that its ruling is limited to challenges based on the Sixth Amendment. Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Sonia Sotomayor each wrote a concurring opinion suggesting that delays in sentencing may be better addressed by challenges based on the rights to due process guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Justice Thomas wrote, “We have never decided whether the Due Process Clause creates an entitlement to a reasonably prompt sentencing hearing.” In agreement, Justice Sotomayor said, “I write separately to emphasize that the question is an open one.” Regarding the case at hand, the original defendant’s counsel clearly stated they were not advancing a claim regarding the Due Process Clause, so the court issued no opinion on the matter.

Experienced Criminal Defense Assistance

If you have been charged with a crime, you need a lawyer who will fight to protect your rights at every stage of the process. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Will County to discuss your case and to learn more about your available options. Call 815-740-4025 today for a free consultation at the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba.

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