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Ban the Box Laws Help Job-Seekers Find New Opportunities

Employment ExpungementAround this time last year, the Illinois legislature was considering a measure aimed at helping job-seekers with an imperfect past overcome their mistakes. The bill was passed, and was eventually signed by then-Governor Pat Quinn, as Illinois joined the growing number of states and cities which have taken steps to aid those looking to create a better future. Known as a Ban the Box law, the measure went into effect on January 1, 2015, and has helped even the playing field somewhat for job applicants with a criminal history.

Provisions of Ban the Box

The law is officially called the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act and was passed as a result of otherwise qualified job-seekers being eliminated out-of-hand for available employment opportunities. There was nothing preventing an employer from asking early in the application process whether an applicant possessed a criminal history and using that information to automatically remove the applicant from consideration.
As a result of the new law, however, an employer with 15 more employees may no longer pose such questions to an applicant so early in the process. The law does not preclude an employer from deciding not to hire individuals with certain offenses in their history, but the background check may not be initiated before the applicant is offered an interview or conditional employment. By forcing employers to look further into an applicant before conducting a background check, the law presumes that individuals deserving of a second chance are more likely to be hired based upon their qualifications rather than simply rejected due to their history.

Exceptions to the Law

There are certain situations in which employers may continue to pre-screen applicants in spite of the Ban the Box law. These include:

• Positions which exclude individuals with certain criminal convictions by state or federal law;
• Positions which require standard fidelity bonds or equivalent bonds, which applicants with certain convictions may be unable to obtain; and
• Employers who hire individuals licensed under the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act.

Ban the Box Enforcement

While Ban the Box efforts in Illinois are aimed at helping those with a criminal background improve their situations, enforcement of the law falls under the auspices of the Illinois Department of Labor. Employers found to be in violation of the law will be notified by the Department and given 30 days to take corrective action. Subsequent violations or failure to comply may result in civil penalties of up to $1,500 per occurrence.

If you have been charged with or convicted of a crime and would like to learn more about options available to help you, contact an experienced Will County expungement attorney . At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we have helped many clients overcome their past and build a better future for themselves and their families. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation and put our knowledge and experience to work for you.

Illinois BAIID Program Helps DUI Offenders Drive Sooner

DUI First Offender BAIIDWhen alcohol plays a role in a person’s decision-making, the consequences can range from somewhat embarrassing to possibly deadly. Among the most dangerous alcohol-related decisions one can make is to get behind the wheel of car while intoxicated, a choice that is not only unsafe, but also highly illegal. Those who are caught making such a mistake once , if they were fortunate enough not injure anyone while driving under the influence, may be eligible to participate in Illinois’ BAIID Program, which can reduce the punitive effects of a DUI.

What is a BAIID?

A Blood Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device, or BAIID , is an apparatus which, when installed in a DUI offender’s vehicle, is integrated into the vehicle’s electrical system. Similar to a breathalyzer, a BAIID determines blood alcohol content (BAC) by measuring the alcohol present in a person’s breath. The device, however, will not allow the car to start without the driver first blowing into the BAIID and registering a BAC under the legal limit.

Who is Eligible for the BAIID Program?

In Illinois, statutory suspension of a DUI offender’s driver’s license is handled by the Office of the Secretary of State. The same office is responsible for maintaining driving relief programs that help DUI offenders continue to work, attend school, and provide for their families after their arrest. Such efforts led to the implementation of the Monitoring Device Driving Permit , for which a first-time DUI offender may apply to participate in the BAIID program.

To qualify for the Permit and the BAIID program, a first-time offender must:
• Be 18 years old or older;
• Have not received a previous statutory summary suspension, been convicted of DUI, or have been under court supervision for DUI in Illinois in the last 5 years;
• Have not been convicted of DUI in any other state in the last 5 years;
• Have an otherwise valid driver’s license;
• Not have caused “death or great bodily harm” by driving under the influence; and
• Not utilize the Permit for operation of a commercial vehicle.

Those approved for the program must cover the installation costs and monthly fees associated with the BAIID. First time DUI offenders can begin driving on the first day of their suspension, provided they have complied with the BAIID program in obtaining the driving permit and provided they have the BAIID device installed in the car. Offenders who do not meet the requirements or voluntarily choose not to participate in the BAIID program may not drive any vehicle for any reason during their suspension and doing so can result in increased penalties.

Legal Help for DUI Charges

While the BAIID program has certainly proven beneficial for first-time DUI offenders, the program has been expanded to include more repeat offenders. Therefore, if you have been charged with driving under the influence, you may have more options than ever. When facing charges, however, you should be sure to enlist the help of an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney . Contact our office today to schedule your free initial consultation, and put our knowledgeable team to work for you.

Governor to Decide Fate of Bill Establishing Marijuana DUI Limits

DUI Marijuana LawsLegislation recently passed through both chambers of the Illinois legislature which would set the state’s first impairment standard for driving under the influence of marijuana . The bill, which looks to create an easily enforceable guideline for cannabis-related DUI arrests, now awaits the signature of Governor Bruce Rauner, who has not given an indication on his intentions for the measure.

Currently in Illinois, the law provides that an individual can be arrested for DUI or aggravated DUI with any trace of marijuana in his or her system, regardless of impairment. Those who have validly registered for the state’s medical cannabis pilot program were to be offered some level of protection from the zero-tolerance principle , but the program has yet to get fully underway. The current law falls short in increasing safe driving due to the fact that traces of marijuana can be found in a person’s blood for up to several weeks after use . This means that a driver can potentially be arrested for driving under influence even though he is totally unimpaired and the marijuana in his system is from ten days ago.

The proposed law, however, would take much of the guesswork on the part of law enforcement out of the equation. It would set the legal DUI limit for THC, the impairment-producing component of marijuana, in a driver’s blood at 15 nanograms and 25 nanograms in a driver’s saliva. The submitted limits were derived by extrapolating an European blood-alcohol content (BAC) to cannabis impairment calculation to approximate the state’s BAC limit of 0.08 percent.

Critics have suggested that the 15 nanogram limit is excessive, since many states’ laws have set their guidelines between two and seven nanograms. Senator Mike Noland, D-Elgin, pointed out, however, that the proposal in Illinois was approved by lawmakers and the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Association as a compromise between the 5 nanogram limit in Colorado and the 25 nanogram limit set in Washington, both states in which the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized. He also added that, if necessary, lawmakers can revisit the limits if they prove to be too high, and that the measure creates a reasonable starting point.

If you have been charged with DUI, whether related to alcohol or drugs, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we understand the seriousness of DUI allegations and are prepared to help you minimize the impact to your life and future. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

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