Blogs | Law Office of Jack L Zaremba


Illinois Concealed Carry Laws: Shall Issue vs. May Issue

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There is little question that gun laws in Illinois are still among the toughest in the nation. While it may not be evident based on the amount of gun violence reported on the streets of Chicago and other Illinois cities, the reality is that the illegal possession or use of a firearm can lead to severe criminal penalties. In addition, a conviction on weapons charges could follow an individual for the rest of his or her life.

Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID)

To legally own a firearm in the state, an individual must apply for a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card through the Illinois State Police (ISP). The ISP has the authority to review all applications, and if the applicant meets the qualifications provided by law—which include age, residency, mental health, criminal background, and drug use criteria—the State Police will issue him or her a FOID. A valid FOID is also required for most gun transactions as well.

Concealed Carry License

Those who wish to carry a concealed weapon are required to obtain an additional certification from the ISP known as a Concealed Carry License, or CCL. To qualify for a CCL, the applicant must have a FOID and still meet the requirements for obtaining one. He or she must:

• Not have a conviction on his or her record of a violent misdemeanor in the last five years;
• Not have two or more convictions for driving under the influences of drugs or alcohol in the last five years;
• Not the be subject of an arrest warrant, prosecution, or other legal proceedings that could disqualify him or her from owning a firearm;
• Not have received residential or court-ordered substance abuse treatment in the last five years; and
• Complete the necessary weapons training required by the law.

What Does “Shall Issue” Mean?

The Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act states, “The Department [of State Police] shall issue a license to carry a concealed firearm under this Act to an applicant who:” [emphasis added]

• Meets the application criteria;
• Submits all of the required paperwork;
• Pays the necessary fees; and
• Does not pose a danger to himself, herself, or others, or to general public safety.

The phrase “shall issue” is an important one, as it specifically directs the ISP to issue a CCL to any applicant that qualifies. Such laws in certain other states are phrased as “may issue,” which gives the licensing agency wider discretion regarding whether or not to approve an applicant’s license. The language in the Illinois statute also gives denied applicants a stronger basis for appealing a rejection. Law enforcement agencies can still raise objections regarding whether a person presents a danger, but if an applicant meets all the necessary conditions, he or she must be granted a CCL according to the law.

Facing Weapons Charges?

If you have been charged with the illegal possession of a firearm or carrying a concealed firearm in a prohibited location, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney . Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba for a free consultation today.

The Difference Between Assault and Battery

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If you watch enough television or go to the movies, then you heard the terms “assault” and “battery” used a number of times. Perhaps you even heard them used in tandem. However, a charge of assault is different than that of battery, and while both are serious, it is important to know the distinctions.

What is Assault and Aggravated Assault?

In Illinois, assault is defined as when one person knowingly engages in conduct that places another person in reasonable apprehension of being physically attacked. The key here is that when it comes to a charge of assault, there is a lack of physical contact.

Aggravated assault is when the crime is alleged to have occurred in a public place such as a sports venue, public park, or any area deemed open to public access. Criteria that may also result in the upgraded charge include :

• Victim status: For example, if the victim is a teacher, has a physical disability, is a sports official, or is a public employee, then the assault may result in an aggravated charge result.
• Display or use of a non-lethal firearm designed to appear substantially similar to an authentic firearm.
• Wearing a hood, mask, or robe to conceal one’s identity.
• Recording (audio or video) the assault with the intent to distribute the audio or video recording.

Again, no physical contact need occur to be charged with aggravated assault.

What is Battery? Aggravated Battery?

The crime of battery includes the act of physical contact. Illinois law defines battery as the act of knowingly, and without justification, causing bodily harm to another person and/or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature.

Regular battery may be charged as aggravated battery based on certain factors, including the following:

• Victim status:
o A person who is of 60 years of age or older
o A pregnant person.
o A teacher or school employee on school grounds.
o Public employee.

• Use of a firearm: When the offender discharges certain firearms and causes injury to the victim.
• Delivery of a controlled substance that results in great bodily harm to the user.
• Other equally serious actions.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows and understands the nuances of both charges, the circumstances that may result in upgraded charges, and the sentencing guidelines that accompany these crimes.

Contact Knowledgeable Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Whenever you find yourself facing criminal charges, whether a misdemeanor or felony, the smart move is obtaining knowledgeable help from a Joliet criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights throughout the legal process. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will provide a thorough and vigorous defense to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

Know the Laws Regarding Cell Phone Use While Driving in Illinois

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According to recent estimates , more than 90 percent of American adults own and use a cell phone. This does not even account for those who use tablets or any other type of mobile electronic device. When cell phones were first introduced, their primary appeal was that they were perfect for business professional and others who were constantly on the go. While that focus has changed somewhat in the last three decades, cell phones are rapidly replacing traditional landlines giving more and more people to communicate without being tied to a particular location.

As cell phone technology has advanced, people have also become much more likely to use their devices while behind the wheel of their cars. Despite study after study showing the dangers of using a cell to talk or text while driving, many cannot seem to put them down. If this describes you, it is important to understand that you could be pulled over for using your phone while driving, and the penalties for doing so can add up quickly.

No Hand-Held Cell Phone Use

In 2013, Illinois lawmakers passed a measure that standardized cell phone laws statewide. Since then, several modifications have been made to the law to better encompass emerging technology. It is illegal in Illinois for any driver to use a hand-held cell phone in any capacity while driving a motor vehicle. “Using” means talking on the phone, sending a text message, checking emails, engaging on social media, and any other operation of a cell phone. The law also extends to any other device such as a tablet, laptop, or personal digital assistant.

Law enforcement officers may use such devices in their official duties, and drivers reporting an emergency situation may also use their cell phones to do so. The law also makes specific exceptions for drivers who use their devices with a headset or in a “hands-free or voice-operated mode.” Truck drivers and others who use CB radios may still do so, and GPS devices are not considered mobile communication devices for the purposes of the law.

Fines and Penalties

Illegal use of a mobile device is a primary offense, which means that you can be pulled over for using your phone even if you were not committing any other infractions. A first offense carries a fine of up to $75, and fines increase for each subsequent offense with a maximum of $150. If, however, you are using your phone and you cause an accident in which another person is severely injured, disabled, or disfigured, you could face Class A misdemeanor charges. The charge is a Class 4 felony is someone is killed.

Contact a Traffic Violations Attorney

If you have been cited for using a mobile device while driving, it is important to understand your available options. Contact an experienced Will County traffic offense lawyer to discuss your case. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.


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