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Will County Offers Alternatives to Drug-Addicted Offenders

Joliet Drug Court Lawyer

Will County Drug Court

In 1971, President Richard Nixon announced to the American public that the nation was at war. Instead of fighting a pitched military battle against another country, the enemy in this particular was drug abuse. In the months and years that followed, federal efforts to control illegal drugs were kicked into high gear with the creation of new agencies and regulations that increased the penalties associated with drug convictions. The “War on Drugs” continued for several decades, with presidents like Ronald Reagan expanding its reach. Criminal consequences became even more severe and prisons began filling to capacity and beyond with non-violent drug offenders.

More recently, however, government officials around the country are beginning to second-guess the draconian approach to illegal drug use and abuse, especially pertaining to offenders whose behavior is driven by bona fide addiction. Harsh criminal penalties are hardly a detriment for a person with addiction issues, and the War on Drugs did surprisingly little to rehabilitate those who were addicted to drugs. As a result, diversionary programs have become increasingly popular in many states, including here in Illinois. One such program is known as Drug Court and is specifically designed to break the cycle of addiction and integrating non-violent offender back into a law-abiding way of life.

Cost Savings

According to the Will County State’s Attorney’s office , a single inmate at the Will County Adult Detention Facility costs taxpayers approximately $23,000 per year. By comparison, the cost for one offender to complete the Drug Court program is about $3,000. Beyond these savings, the average non-violent offender who is sent to prison is up to 10 times more likely to re-offend than an offender who graduates from Will County Drug Court.

Defendant Eligibility

Will County Drug Court is a comprehensive program that includes counseling, substance abuse treatment, job preparation, and careful supervision by the courts and other assigned individuals. In order to be eligible for Drug Court, an offender must be charged with a non-violent misdemeanor or felony and cannot have three or more non-violent felony convictions in the past 10 years. A defendant is also ineligible if he or she has been convicted of any violent crime during that same period. Pending DUI charges will also disqualify an individual.

The Drug Court Program

An applicant must admit that he or she has a drug or alcohol problem and be compliant with all treatment recommendations of the program. He or she will be required to sign a contract pleading guilty to the charged offense and waiving the right to a full trial and other specified rights. Throughout the course of the program, a participant must make regular court appearances, submit to random drug testing, and check in with a probation officer while continuing his or her ordered treatment. Successful completion of the program results in the original charges being stricken with leave to reinstate, making them eligible for expungement.

Call Us for Help

If you or someone you love is facing non-violent drug charges and you would like to know more about Drug Court or other diversionary programs, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney . Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation today.

Theft Charges and Possessing Stolen Property

Joliet Theft Lawyer Stolen Property

Most people are familiar with the crime of theft —which is an offense that is committed when someone takes property that belongs to another. Most are even familiar with the principle that a theft is still committed when a person obtains control over another’s property by trickery or by deceit. Furthermore, most people are aware that it is a crime to knowingly receive property that was stolen by another. However, Illinois law states that, if a person has received stolen property, he or she may be charged with theft, almost as if he or she stole the property in the first place.

Theft

There are several ways to commit a theft in Illinois. The most basic understanding of theft includes obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over another’s property, including by deception or some type of threat. Theft is also committed if a person obtains or exerts control over property known or stated by law enforcement to have already been stolen.
In short, a person commits theft anytime he or she, without the permission of the owner, takes another’s property or knowingly receives stolen property.

Stolen Property

This definition of theft means that a person can be arrested and charged if he or she possesses stolen property and either knows or should have known that the property was stolen. But, if someone receives stolen property but does not know that the property was stolen, and does not have reason to believe that it was stolen, no theft is committed.
Under Illinois law , “property” means anything of value. It can include money, goods, such as jewelry, or instruments embodying services, such as an airline ticket. It includes intellectual property, such as blueprints or computer programs, and real estate or anything affixed to or growing on land.

Stolen Motor Vehicles

Possession of a stolen motor vehicle , however, is a separate offense in the state of Illinois. It is a violation of Illinois law to receive, possess, conceal, dispose of, or transfer a stolen vehicle or an essential part—such as a chassis, seat, or engine—of a stolen vehicle. The crime of possession requires knowledge that the vehicle was stolen. However, since the transfer and sale of vehicles is so strictly regulated and so well-documented, the court can infer that a person in unexplained possession of a stolen vehicle knew that it was stolen. Possession of a stolen motor vehicle is a Class 2 felony and can result in a prison sentence of three to seven years.

If you have received or possessed property that you knew or should have known was stolen, you can be charged with the serious crime of theft. When facing charges such as these, the advice of an experienced attorney is essential. Contact a skilled Joliet criminal defense attorney at the Law Office Jack L. Zaremba today for a free consultation.

Issues Unique to Juvenile Defense

Joliet Juvenile Crimes Lawyer

Despite the common belief to the contrary, juvenile criminal cases are often more complex than those for their adult counterparts accused of the same offense. Regulations covering the criminal conduct and prosecution of juveniles are not uniform, with individual courts often instituting their own policies on any aspect of such procedures not explicitly governed by the relevant law. If one is accused of a crime while still a juvenile under the the law, there are certain questions that may must be addressed that would likely be taken for granted with an adult defendant.

Similar Yet Different Rules

Juvenile proceedings in Illinois are usually governed by the Illinois Juvenile Court Act , though some, such as for minors in possession of controlled substances, are usually tried in the same court as those of adults accused of the same offenses. However, some of the rights commonly associated with criminal trials are not granted to juvenile defendants. For example, no bail is available in the juvenile system, and juvenile defendants are not usually held until their trial, even for crimes that might otherwise warrant it.

Despite this, most of the procedures are the same as those executed in court with adults, with the only differences being greater considerations for the rights of the defendant and the potential harm to the defendant’s future. This is the main reason why most juvenile records are sealed and thus inaccessible to most future employers or colleges. Juvenile judges must be more exacting in weighing the necessity of punishment versus the potential to have a young person’s future negatively affected due to one youthful indiscretion or mistake.

Disclosures by Juvenile Defendants

Another potential issue that is less common when defending adults is that often, juvenile defendants are insufficiently educated regarding the potential pitfalls of the criminal court system, especially in regard to what they choose to disclose to the prosecution or to law enforcement. Being untruthful to anyone in authority is obviously not advisable, but for example, it is the right of any defendant to remain silent until granted access to counsel. A juvenile defendant is less likely to be aware that they are not required to grant a statement to law enforcement without an attorney present.

Be advised, however, that Illinois jurisprudence emphasizes that—especially in a case involving a minor—confessions and other statements taken without either counsel or parents present are likely to be ruled inadmissible. A confession must be “free, voluntary, and not obtained by any … exertion of improper influence,” and it is much easier to argue that a minor’s confession or statement is involuntary given the circumstances than it would be for an adult.

Contact a Skilled Juvenile Defense Attorney

Seeing one’s children having to go through the juvenile justice system is frightening and confusing for any parent, but qualified legal counsel can help make the process easier. Contact an experienced Will County juvenile defense attorney at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today. Mr. Zaremba is a former prosecutor who is ready to assist you and your family when you need it most.

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