Blogs | Law Office of Jack L Zaremba

Blogs

Can the Police Search My Cell Phone?

joliet cell phone attorney

When a person is arrested on the suspicion that he or she committed a crime , he or she has certain rights. You are probably familiar with some of them, including the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and the right to a trial by a jury of his or her peers. Other rights may sound familiar, but you may not know exactly what they guarantee.

For example, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. But, what does that mean? What is unreasonable search? Does that mean the police cannot search me at all during an arrest? In today’s digitally connected world, this question is often raised in regard to police searches of cell phones and other mobile devices.

Supreme Court Ruling

In 2014, two separate cases —Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie—made their way to the United States Supreme Court. The cases were similar enough that the high court heard them both at the same time. Each case involved a criminal defendant whose cell phone was seized and searched incident to arrest. The search in each case yielded photos, data, and other evidence that was subsequently used in the investigation and the prosecution of the defendants.

In making its decision, the Supreme Court was forced to consider how Americans use their cell phones. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion of the unanimous court, observing, “Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life.” The court concluded that in a vast majority of cases, police officers and prosecutors must obtain a warrant before conducting a search of a cell phone’s contents. Exceptions can be made in rare instances where immediate action is required, and the court specifically cited child abduction cases and imminent bomb threats.

Effects on Law Enforcement

While the cases were progressing to the Supreme Court, law enforcement agencies expressed concerns that warrantless cell phone searches could be used to increase officer safety. A search, for example, could reveal that the arrestee’s friends or accomplices were on their way to the scene. The court addressed such concerns by noting, “Privacy comes at a cost.” Once a cell phone has been secured and physical threats have been eliminated, the court held, data on the phone does not place officers in danger.

Call Us for Help

If law enforcement officers have searched your cell phone without a warrant and you are facing criminal charges as a result, you need a lawyer who will fight to protect your rights. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney for help. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Medical Marijuana Program Continues in Illinois

joliet medical marijuana arrest

Over the last several years, Illinois lawmakers have approved several measures that have changed the state’s approach to marijuana . While they did not go so far as to legalize recreational use of the drug, low-level possession is no longer a crime, and individuals who have been duly registered with the state are legally permitted to use the drug on a medical basis. The state’s medical marijuana program has been somewhat controversial, but it still remains a legal option for those who qualify.

A Quick Review

In August 2013, then-Governor Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act which took effect on January 1, 2014. The Act laid the groundwork for a new medical marijuana program that was set to lest four years, as a sunset provision in the law would automatically repeal it on January 1, 2018. As growers and dispensaries applied for permits from the government, however, lawsuits and red tape did not allow the first patients to legally obtain marijuana for medical purposes until November of 2015.

Since the program went into effect, dispensaries around the state have reported sales of nearly $50 million, though these numbers are still below initial projections. Lawmakers have also approved an extension of the program until July 2020 to offset the delays in getting started. It does not seem likely, however, that the state will allow the program to end as trends across the country are making marijuana more accessible rather than less.

How to Qualify

The Illinois Department of Public Health is responsible for reviewing application from patients who wish to participate in the program. In order to qualify , an applicant must be a resident of Illinois aged 18 or older—minors may use a separate process to apply with the approval of their parents or guardians. An applicant must also have a debilitating medical condition, as certified by a physician. Those who have been convicted of certain felonies are not eligible, nor are those who currently serve as law enforcement officers or hold a commercial driver’s license.

There are more than 40 conditions recognized by the state as “debilitating medical conditions,” including:

• HIV/AIDS
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS);
• Cancer
• Crohn’s disease;
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Lupus;
• Post-traumatic stress disorder;
• Rheumatoid arthritis; and
• Traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Short-term participation in the program is also possible for individuals diagnosed with any terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less. Approved patients may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from state-licensed dispensaries.

Facing Marijuana Charges?

Marijuana skeptics have expressed concern that medical cannabis programs like the one in Illinois have created a growing black market for the drug. While possession of up to 10 grams is no longer a crime in Illinois, possession of more than that or possession with intent to deliver can lead to serious criminal penalties.
If you have been charged with any type of marijuana-related offense, contact an experienced Joliet drug crimes attorney . Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

The Benefit of Completing a Diversion Program in Illinois

joliet diversion program illinois

The news often features reports of celebrity defendants who check themselves into drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs in an effort to gain leniency when faced with the prospect of criminal charges. In some instances, a judge may grant a defendant an opportunity to redeem themselves in order to avoid a stricter sentence.

The use of diversion programs is a strategy that allows some defendants to receive help in exchange for less severe or dropped charges.

Examples of Diversion Programs in Illinois
Many diversion programs are geared toward juvenile offenders in an effort to help reduce the number of incarcerated youth. Examples of diversion programs and state initiatives created to help offenders avoid severe penalties and obtain the help they need to reduce the likelihood of becoming a repeat offender include, but are not limited to:

Adult Redeploy Illinois - Established by the Illinois Crime Reduction Act, this program provides local jurisdictions with financial incentives for creating and offering community-based services as diversions for non-violent offenders. Through these programs, like the Will County Adult Redeploy Illinois, the courts seek to change the behavior of offenders through the use of counseling, therapy, and drug treatment in order to prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.
Illinois Second Chance - The program provides services to defendants who are younger than 17 ½ years old and have mental health and substance abuse issues. The defendants are released from secure custody into this program, which provides individualized care designed to help reduce the rate of recidivism.
Will County Drug Court - This program allows defendants with drug addictions who are charged with certain crimes to seek and receive the treatment, supervision, and counseling they need to overcome their addictions.
Teen REACH - (Responsibility, Education, Achievement, Caring, and Hope) This extensive development initiative provides after-school programs and services to high-risk residents between the ages of six and 17. It is geared more toward at-risk individuals with the aim of keeping them from ever entering the criminal justice system.

Whether due to the particular charge or the repeated nature of an offense, a diversion program may not be made available to a defendant. A skilled criminal defense attorney can provide the information you need to determine if a diversion program suits the circumstances of your case and whether or not completion of such a program will have a positive impact on your defense

Retain the Services of a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

When facing criminal charges, it is important to know if diversion programs that might alter the manner in which the state pursues your case are available. Rely on an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer to research the options most beneficial to your circumstances. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba presents a vigorous defense on your behalf and works diligently to find diversion programs that might soften any potential outcome.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - blogs