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When Criminal Charges Arise from “Harmless” Hazing

hazing criminal charges

Often described as a “harmless rite of passage,” or “tradition among members,” the issue of hazing frequently makes the news when an injury or even death occurs. When this happens, it is necessary for police to get involved, and that may result in those involved facing serious criminal charges .

Hazing Laws in Illinois

In 2014 , the Illinois legislature approved passage of a bill that criminalized the act of hazing. That law provides for the following:

• A person commits hazing when they knowingly act in a way or cause a situation that puts another at risk of bodily injury for the purposes of induction or admittance to any group, organization, or society connected with an educational institution.
• The action or situation is not authorized or sanctioned by the educational institution.
• Hazing is a Class A misdemeanor that may carry a sentence of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
• Charges may be upgraded to a Class 4 felony if the action results in death or great bodily harm.
• A Class 4 felony may result in a sentence of between one and three years in prison, and a fine of up to $25,000 for an individual.

Making the Headlines

Even when claims or cases of hazing are reviewed and adjudicated by the learning institution at which they occur, it is still possible for those involved to face further punishment. This was the case in a recent incident which took place at a private college in suburban Illinois.

Following an incident of hazing that occurred during the previous school term, five football players were required by the school to write an essay and perform 50 hours of community service, and they were not allowed to play in the team’s first game of the 2016 season. Hospital personnel reported injuries sustained by the alleged victim of the hazing to local police. A lengthy investigation resulted in criminal charges of mob action, unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery for the five student athletes.

Rely on an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

Never attempt to defend yourself in court when facing prosecution for serious criminal charges that could result in your serving prison time or even a period of probation. Find a knowledgeable and aggressive Will County criminal defense lawyer who will work to ensure fair treatment by the court and the best possible outcome for your case. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba is dedicated to protecting your freedom and your rights by presenting a thorough defense for you.

Will My Criminal Arrest Automatically Disappear if I Avoid a Conviction? No.

joliet expungement sealing lawyer will county

Any time that a person is arrested on suspicion of criminal activity, a record of the arrest is created. That record remains a part of the person’s criminal history regardless of whether he or she is ever convicted. The arrest remains even if formal charges are never filed or are dismissed along the way. Having an arrest in your background can lead to uncomfortable questions and embarrassing conversations with potential employers, landlords, and school admissions officers.

The good news is that the state of Illinois makes it possible for individuals to get arrest records removed through a process known as expungement . The bad news is that many people do not realize the opportunity is even available, let alone what it entails. There are also a number of myths regarding expungement that continue to persist, making it more challenging for people to know what to believe.
Myth: An Arrest Will Be Automatically Expunged Without a Conviction

While it would certainly be nice if an arrest was removed from a person’s record when the charges are dropped or a not-guilty verdict is issued, this usually does not happen. Illinois law provides for automatic expungements for certain juvenile records, but if you were arrested as an adult, you will need to apply for the expungement process to clear your record.

Myth: Expungement Clears Convictions Too

Unfortunately, this one is also false. While other states may allow the expungement of certain arrests that resulted in a conviction, Illinois is not among them. It is possible to have a conviction record sealed—meaning that it will not be visible on most background checks—but a conviction cannot be completely wiped away without a pardon from the governor.

Myth: I Don’t Qualify Because of Other Convictions

It used to be that a person with a conviction on his or her record could not apply to have other arrests that did not result in convictions expunged. Illinois law, however, was amended last year to give more individuals the chance to clean up their records. Today, the offense in question is the primary deciding factor on whether a person is eligible for expungement, not unrelated charges that were resolved years ago.

Myth: Expungement Is Too Expensive

In most Illinois counties, there are fees associated with applying for expungement or record sealing. Recent legislation created a pilot program that allows expungement fees to be waived in Illinois counties with a population of at least 3 million people—which means only Cook County—but even if you live in another county, the price is likely worth paying. Clearing your record could make the difference in landing your next job or finding affordable housing, which could easily offset the costs involved.

Myth: You Should Do It Yourself

While there is no requirement for you to have an attorney when you are seeking an expungement or record sealing, the process is exhaustive and time-consuming. It also requires extremely careful attention to detail, as a single mistake could force you to start again. An experienced Will County expungement attorney can help ensure you get everything right the first time so that you can complete the process quickly and without unnecessary delays. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation and get the fresh start you deserve.

Does Race or Gender Influence Concealed Carry Permit Applications?

joliet conceal carry law

Earlier this year, Illinois officials announced that the total number of annual applications for concealed carry permits were on the decline. However, when it comes to legally owning and carrying guns , it turns out that certain segments of the population have maintained a steady interest in self defense and exercising their 2nd Amendment rights .

Citizen Niches Maintain Steady Interest

A recent report that provided a breakdown of annual applications for concealed carry permits in Illinois revealed that, despite decreases in license applications in other groups, the number of African-American women receiving permits has risen steadily since 2014. The numbers, derived primarily from Cook County, Illinois, show the following:

• 800 women of African-American descent received a concealed carry permit in 2014. That number has risen to 1,400 so far in 2017, and more than 4,000 permits were issued to that group in Cook County since the law was first adopted.
• Although other racial and gender segments still account for more applications overall, the African-American female group is the one that has shown steady increase year after year.
• A growing concern for personal safety in dangerous neighborhoods is a main factor driving the numbers.

National Numbers Show Similar Trend

Across the entire United States, concealed carry permits are on the rise for the fourth consecutive year . Records indicate that more than 16 million people possess concealed carry permits. An analysis by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that:

• African-Americans and women account for some of the largest increases.
• Overall, about six percent of the American population can legally carry a concealed handgun.
• That number rises to nearly eight percent outside states with more restrictive laws, such as New York and California.
• In states that record the gender of the permit carrier, women account for 36 percent of all permit holders.
• Eight states reporting data between 2012 and 2016 reported a 326 percent faster rise in permits among women than men.
• Records from states that record the race of a concealed carry applicants showed that the number of African-American permit holders grew 30 percent faster than whites between 2012 and 2016.

Find a Will County Gun and Weapons Lawyer Who Can Help You

If you need help navigating concealed carry laws in Illinois or have been charged with a weapons violation, it is a good idea to work with a lawyer who understands gun licensing and gun laws in this state. Retain the services of an experienced Joliet gun and weapons attorney to ensure your rights are protected. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will work tirelessly to present a defense rooted in the law and applicable to the charges levied against you. Protecting your rights and ensuring your freedom is a top priority.

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