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Understanding the Process of Criminal Cases in Illinois

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Being hit with a criminal charge can be a scary thing, especially if you do not know what to expect. The process through which you go through when you are accused of committing a crime is basically the same throughout the country, with a few differences here and there, depending on which state you are facing charges in and the specifics of your individual case. Here is what you can expect to happen in an Illinois criminal case:

Initial Incident and Arrest

Involvement with the criminal justice system begins when you are accused of violating some sort of local, state or federal law. Before you can be arrested, the police officer must have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime. Before the police can begin to question you, you must be informed of your Miranda rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Being informed of your Miranda rights is crucial in criminal investigations. If you have been interrogated by the police and your Miranda rights were not given, an experienced trial attorney would seek to have those statements excluded from your trial. In essence, it would be as if you never spoke to the police to begin with.

Arraignment

Before you go to trial, you are scheduled to attend an arraignment, during which the formal charges that are being brought against you are read to you and you must enter a plea. You can plead guilty, not guilty, or guilty but mentally ill. If you plead guilty, the court will not accept the plea until the judge explains the consequences of that plea and is sure that your plea of guilt was made freely. If you plead not guilty, the court moves ahead to a trial. If you refrain from speaking, it is assumed that you have pleaded not guilty. If you declare that you are guilty but mentally ill, you will be required to undergo examinations by a criminal psychologist or psychiatrist who will compile a report for the court to be used at a hearing to determine your mental state.

Trial

The actual trial will be held to determine whether or not you are guilty of the charges brought against you. If it is a bench trial, the judge will make the determination. If it is a jury trial, the jury, which is comprised of 12 jurors, will make the determination. During the trial, evidence will be presented and witnesses will be called to the stand by either side to present their case. You will hear the verdict at the end of the trial, which may be guilty or not guilty. If you are found not guilty, the case ends. If you are found guilty, a date will be set for you to be sentenced.

A Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If you are facing criminal charges, it is imperative that you contact a skilled and experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer . The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. can help. As a former Will County prosecutor, Jack Zaremba knows the ins and outs of the Illinois criminal justice system and can help you fight to keep your criminal record clear of a conviction. To schedule a free consultation, call the office today at 815-740-4025.

New Safety Campaign Targets Drug-Impaired Driving

joliet drug dui attorney

With more states legalizing marijuana and a rising number of drug DUIs , federal safety officials have added a focus on driving high to their 2018 ad campaigns. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ongoing “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign has been supplemented with two new slogans: “Drive High, Get a DUI” and “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.”

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Can Prove Fatal

An examination of data from the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System found that the number of drug-impaired drivers killed in car crashes has risen substantially over the past ten years, while the number of alcohol-impaired drivers killed has declined in the U.S. In 2006, 41% of drivers killed in crashes tested positive for alcohol while just 28% tested positive for drugs. Ten years later, in 2016, 38% percent of drivers killed in crashes tested positive for alcohol (a decline of 4 percentage points) while 44% tested positive for drugs (an increase of 16 percentage points).

Of the drivers who had consumed drugs, 38% tested positive for THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. About 16% tested positive for opioids, including illegal drugs like heroin as well as prescription drugs such as OxyContin or Vicodin.

Illinois Law is Tough on Drugged Drivers

The per se definition of drunk driving in Illinois is a blood-alcohol concentration at or above .08 percent. For an average person, you can have about one drink per hour, and remain under the legal limit. Even if you drink yourself to over twice the legal limit (BAC of .18), your body will metabolize alcohol at a rate of about .015 per hour and you will be completely sober within about 12 hours from the time you stop drinking.

The Illinois legal limit for drugs is much tougher. You can be convicted of drugged driving in Illinois with “any trace of a drug (other than marijuana), illegal substance or intoxicating compound.” And for marijuana, if you are over the legal limit for THC (marijuana) at five nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms or more of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of other bodily substance. In addition, many drugs will remain detectable in body fluids long after the high has worn off.

Pick an Aggressive Will County Drug DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, do not delay in contacting an experienced Joliet DUI defense attorney . At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, we are experienced in defending drug DUI and drug possession cases as well as alcohol DUI. We will fully investigate every aspect of your case to build a strong defense for you. Contact us at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation.

Sale of Look-Alike Drugs Is a Serious Crime in Illinois

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Nearly every day, the Will County jail receives new prisoners charged with drug crimes ranging from marijuana possession to heroin dealing . With real drugs seemingly available in every town, it may seem surprising to hear of people being charged with selling fake drugs. Yet the Illinois Controlled Substances Act defines the sale of look-alike drugs as a serious crime.

What Is the Definition of “Look-Alike Drugs”?

A look-alike drug is defined as a substance that a reasonable person would believe is a controlled substance based on its color, shape, size, markings, taste, consistency, and packaging, or that the seller states or implies is a controlled substance.

What Is the Penalty for Possession of a Look-Alike Drug?

The first time a person is caught in knowing possession of a look-alike substance, they are guilty of a petty offense punishable by a small fine. A subsequent offense, however, is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and a fine of no more than $1,500.

What Is the Penalty for Manufacturing/Distributing a Look-Alike Drug?

A person who knowingly manufactures, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute a look-alike substance is guilty of a Class 3 felony, punishable by imprisonment for two to five years and a fine not to exceed $150,000. However, a person 18 years of age or older who sells certain look-alike drugs to a person under 18 years of age may be given a prison sentence up to twice the maximum term and fine up to twice the maximum amount stated above.

Are Many People Actually Arrested on Look-Alike Drug Charges in Illinois?

As strange as it may seem, there have been numerous reports on look-alike drug sellers in Illinois this year. The most concerning such reports involve dangerous substances that are purported to be something else by a seller. For example, in May 2018, the Perry County, Illinois, sheriff’s office put out a warrant for the arrest of a woman who sold a substance she claimed was heroin to a confidential informant. The substance turned out to be a combination of Tramadol and Fentanyl , two powerful opioids that could have caused a user to overdose.

In Peoria County, a man was indicted in June 2018 for possession with intent to distribute a look-alike substance that he falsely claimed was a synthetic cannabinoid commonly referred to as K2 or Spice.

Call a Knowledgeable Joliet Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested on illegal drug or controlled substance charges, seek advice from an experienced Will County drug crimes defense attorney . At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we will aggressively defend you against any misdemeanor or felony drug charges. Contact us at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation.

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