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Subsequent Drug Charges Are a Serious Matter in Illinois

Joliet Repeat Drug ChargesA Davenport man with two former drug convictions on his record is now facing a new criminal drug charge . Because he has had two convictions in the past, and because he was on probation at the time of his most recent arrest, he is likely to face even higher penalties if convicted. Unfortunately, it is a situation that anyone with a criminal record could find themselves in, even if they have done little or nothing to deserve further prosecution.

A Criminal Record Can Hurt You in Future Arrests

Research shows that more than 2,000 people have been wrongfully arrested and convicted over the last 23 years. But this estimate, which is likely on the conservative side, only includes those who were exonerated of their crimes. There are still others sitting in prison for a crime they never committed. Unless and until their cases are successfully appealed, their information may not ever make it to a national database.

Unfortunately, it is often those with a criminal record that find themselves facing wrongful charges. Some are victims of criminal profiling, which pushes law enforcement to look more closely at known criminals. Others are arrested for relatively minor reasons and then officers work to find any evidence they can to use charge the detainee with an additional crime. Still others are victimized by society upon their release. Neighbors, employers, or even family members may report them for a crime simply because they have a criminal past.

This very same stigma can do more than just get you arrested on charges of a crime you did not commit; it can also get you convicted. Judges examine your criminal record when making a determination in your case. Juries may hear of your sordid past. Even if you have turned things around for yourself, worked to become a contributing member of society, or were even wrongfully convicted before, your past may haunt you and can impact your future.

Aggressive Legal Defense for Your Criminal Charges

Regardless of whether you are facing your first criminal charge or your fifth, it is critical that you treat the matter seriously and seek immediate legal assistance. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba will fight to protect your rights every step of the way. Our team is prepared to provide you with personalized, assertive representation against drug charges, as well as other criminal charges. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. Call us at 815-470-4025 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

Asset Forfeiture Has Become a Police For-Profit Business in Illinois

Joliet Asset ForfeitureIn the state of Illinois, there is a little-known law that can leave those suspected of, arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime in a serious financial bind. Even worse is that law enforcement is often profiting from their misfortunes. The statute regarding civil forfeiture may allow the police to seize your assets and personal belongings, even if you are never convicted of a crime.

Civil Forfeiture – What Is It, and How Might It Affect You?

State and federal laws permit law enforcement to seize any land, cash, vehicle, or property that could be tied to a crime or illegal activity. The police and other law enforcement agencies are not required to verify that the property belongs to the suspected individual, nor do the laws require that the suspected person be charged (let alone convicted) of a crime to seize or withhold that property from its rightful owner.

In fact, a grandmother from Rock Island County had her Jeep Compass seized when her grandson was arrested for allegedly driving on a revoked license. The grandmother was not an accessory, and she argued that she did not know that her grandson had been driving on a revoked license. Yet law enforcement refused to return her vehicle, stating it had been used in the commission of a crime. She is not alone.

Law Enforcement Seizes More Than $319 Million in a Decade

A joint report issued by the Illinois Policy Institute and American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois found that law enforcement throughout the state of Illinois had seized and sold more than $319 million in property from its citizens over the last ten years. On average, law enforcement agencies auction off around $30 million in forfeited property per year. Even worse is that retrieving seized property is extremely difficult for citizens. Further, they may be denied a refund of any other losses they may have experienced throughout the process.

For these reasons and many others, advocacy groups are pushing to change the laws. They want a valid conviction before property can be forfeited. They also want there to be more transparency when it comes to listing what kind of property was seized, when, and where. This could potentially reduce the “lost assets” that seem to be plaguing the current system.

Fighting Criminal Charges and Property Seizure

If you or someone you love has been subjected to the seizure of personal property or assets or is at risk for the conviction of a crime, an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney can help. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba understands the legal system and will work hard to protect your rights. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at our office today.

Criminal Trends and Common Juvenile Offenses

Joliet Juvenile LawyerIn the realm of criminal law, the word “juvenile” is used to describe suspects and offenders under the age of eighteen. Juveniles are responsible for a large number of everyday offenses, often taking place in our schools, on our streets, and in our neighborhood establishments. Similar to adult crimes, juvenile crimes can include everything from minor scuffles with another young person to more serious assault charges to underage drinking and much more. Many juvenile offenses, however, go unreported, making it difficult to resolve many cases, and even more difficult to collect proper data for statistical purposes.

Observed Trends

While unreported juvenile offenses make it more difficult to get a complete picture of the problem, there are still distinct trends that have been observed over time, revealing certain patterns in activity among youth offenders. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports the following:

Juvenile offenses are not always minor. - While it is true that many juvenile crimes are minor in nature, many others are life-altering for both the offenders and victims. Homicide and other violent crimes, such as sexual and aggravated assault, as well as robbery are all prevalent among juvenile offenders. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that over 600 murders in the year 2014 alone included juvenile involvement.

Violent juvenile crimes happen most often during the hours immediately after the school day is over. - Studies show violent crimes by youth tend to peak during afterschool hours, although there is also a spike on non-school days, particularly during the early evening hours from 7 to 9 p.m.

Robbery has been reported as one of the most common youth crimes. - According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), past studies have revealed that robberies represented one of the largest percentages of youth offender involvement, with assault not far behind. Sexual assault was less common than other violent crimes, but still accounted for around 14 percent of all serious violent offense.

Violent juvenile crimes involving a firearm typically take place during specific hours. - The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency also reports that 28 percent of firearm-related violent crimes committed by juveniles occur between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m. Adult offenders who use firearms usually offend later in the evening compared to juveniles.

Consistent Patterns Over Time

Law enforcement agencies and government officials continue to review statistics, the nature of youth crimes and the times and rates at which they happen change. In the meantime, if someone you care about has been involved in a juvenile crime of any kind and you are concerned about protecting their rights, you need to speak with a qualified Joliet criminal defense attorney who can answer your questions and help represent the offender in a court of law. Contact the Law Office Jack L. Zaremba today for a free consultation.

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