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Diversion Programs Offer Hope to Illinois Juvenile Offenders

joliet juvenile lawyer

Unfortunately, even good people sometimes get caught up in the criminal justice system . If you have a son or daughter who has been charged with a crime, you may be filled with questions such as “Will my child have to serve time?” and “Are there alternative programs for juvenile offenders?” Fortunately, Illinois lawmakers understand that many individuals convicted of a crime deserve to have a second chance. There are several diversion programs that exist in Illinois which allow young offenders to reduce or avoid jail time.

Examples of Diversion Programs in Illinois

Illinois diversion programs are intended to help offenders avoid strict penalties and/or get the help they need to avoid becoming a repeat offender. These programs include but are not limited to:

• Illinois Second Chance - Illinois Second Chance program is intended for offenders aged 17 1/2 and younger who struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues who are being released from secure correctional facilities to Cook County. Through the program, young offenders are given personalized aftercare planning and help as they transition from incarceration into the community. Illinois Second Chance begins two months prior to the offender’s release and continues for four months after the release. Illinois Second Chance services are currently offered in Cook County, Illinois.

• Will County Drug Court – Avoiding a life of crime can be nearly impossible when drug addiction is present. This is why the Will County Drug Court program allows criminal defendants who struggle with substance abuse or addiction to receive the treatment and counseling needed to overcome their addictions. Offenders must be accused of certain crimes to be eligible for this program.

• Redeploy Illinois – The Adult Redeploy program was established by the Illinois Crime Reduction Act in hopes to reduce the amount of crime occurring in Illinois state. The program offers financial incentives to local jurisdictions with community-based services for non-violent offenders. The program uses counseling, talk therapy, and drug treatment to help Illinois offenders leave their past behind them and avoid becoming repeat offenders.

• Juvenile Justice Diversion Project (JJDP) – JJDP is a diversion program in partnership with the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. This program provides young people an opportunity to participate in activities designed to promote advocacy, education, leadership, and community service.

Contact a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child has been charged with a crime, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer today to discuss the case (815) 740-4025.

Illinois Retail Theft and Related Charges

joliet retail theft lawyer

One of the most common crimes in the United States is retail theft, and while it may seem like a victimless crime, it is not. According to the National Retail Federation , inventory shrinkage due to theft or shoplifting cost American retailers nearly $49 billion in 2016. Many retailers have made retail theft a priority of theirs in order to combat this costly occurrence. In Illinois, retail theft is a crime that is taken seriously and can even be prosecuted as a felony in certain cases. If you are caught shoplifting, it will probably not be a simple matter that can be settled by giving the item back or paying for it -- you will most likely be prosecuted.

General Retail Theft Definition

In its most basic form, retail theft occurs when someone knowingly and willingly takes possession of, carries away or transfers any merchandise in a retail establishment without paying for it and that person intends on keeping the merchandise or depriving the retail establishment of the possession of the merchandise permanently. As long as the value of the stolen merchandise does not exceed $300, the crime is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. If the merchandise does exceed $300, then the charge is increased to a Class 3 felony, which carries a possible sentence of two to five years and up to $25,000 in fines.

Related Charges

Though the most common form of retail theft is that of general retail theft, there are other ways you can be charged with retail theft. These related charges include:

• Price Switching: This occurs when a person alters, transfers or removes a price tag or label on an item and attempts to purchase that item for a lower price that it is worth.

• Under-Ringing: Under-ringing is a form of retail theft that mostly employees commit, but customers can also commit under-ringing at self-service cash registers. This occurs when a person rings up an item for less than its full retail value or applies fraudulent discounts or coupons.

• Fraudulent Returns: If a person tries to return merchandise that they do not lawfully own to receive money, gift cards or other merchandise, they can be charged with retail theft.

• Taking a Shopping Cart: A person can also be charged with retail theft if they remove a shopping cart from the premises of a retail establishment without the permission of the merchant and with the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the shopping cart.

• Using or Possessing a Theft-Detection Shielding Device: If a person uses, attempts to use or even just possesses a theft-detection shielding device, they can be charged with retail theft.

A Joliet Retail Theft Defense Lawyer Can Help

Retail theft is a crime that may start as a misdemeanor charge, but that can grow to a felony charge very easily. Do not let your retail theft charge cause you to become a felon. Call our skilled Will County retail theft defense attorneys immediately. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we strive to make sure that the damage to your future is as minimal as possible. We will fight to keep you from being convicted whenever we can and we aim to get you fair sentences. Contact our office today by calling 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

Illinois CCL Holders Use Concealed Carry Handguns in Self-Defense

joliet firearms lawyer

Since Illinois legalized the concealed carry of handguns in 2014, there have been at least 40 shootings by concealed carry license (CCL) holders reported in the media . More than half of those shootings involved self-defense or defense of others in response to a crime in progress. A review of these cases provides useful insights to all firearm owners in Illinois who may someday need to use their gun in self-defense or find themselves charged with unlawful use of a weapon .

Summary of Illinois Shootings with Concealed Carry Handguns

Defense of others. In at least four instances, CCL holders have come to the aid of their neighbors or total strangers:

• While driving through downtown Chicago, a CCL holder saw three people wearing surgical masks attacking a man. The CCL holder stopped his car, got out, walked toward the attackers, and pulled out his gun, effectively scaring them away.

• An Uber driver stopped in Logan Square saw a gunman firing at a group of people who were walking in front of his car. The driver, a CCL holder, fired at the gunman several times and wounded him.

• An Oswego firearms instructor heard screams in his apartment building, grabbed his rifle, and ran down the hall. He confronted a man who was stabbing another man, effectively scaring off the attacker.

• In a store in the Gage Park neighborhood, an armed robber demanded money from the female clerk behind the counter. When another female employee approached, the gunman told her to go to the back of the store. Fearing for the women’s safety, a male customer in the store pulled his own CCL handgun, fired, and killed the robber.

Defense against armed robbers. More than a dozen shootings have occurred in self-defense during armed robberies. The locations have included a Target store, a McDonald’s, a Chicago church, an auto parts store, a convenience store, a sidewalk, and an ATM. In January 2019, a 25-year-old female CCL holder shot and killed a man who tried to rob her at gunpoint at a Chicago bus stop. The 19-year-old robber had a history of arrests, including one for allegedly attacking or resisting arrest by two police officers during a drug raid.

Carjackings. At least four shootings involved carjackings. In one notable case, a woman was taken hostage in her truck by a stranger with a knife who made her drive to a rural area. She was finally able to grab her handgun out of her truck’s center console and the man fled.

Home invasions. At least two intruders who broke into homes have been shot by the homeowner.

Justifiable Self-Defense vs. Assault/Battery with a Firearm

Anyone who considers using a firearm in self-defense needs to be sure of their actions and aware of the potential consequences. If the police and prosecutor do not believe you acted in self-defense, you can be charged with a crime such as:

• Aggravated assault with a firearm if you shoot without hitting anyone; this is a Class 4 felony, the lowest class of felony.

• Aggravated battery with a firearm, if you fired and caused an injury; this is a Class X felony, the most serious class of felony.

Several CCL holders have been charged with reckless discharge of a firearm (a Class 4 felony) or reckless conduct (a Class A misdemeanor) when they fired their handgun inappropriately. None of these were considered to be self-defense cases.

Will County Firearms Defense Lawyer

If you are involved in a shooting, whether in self-defense or defense of others, contact a Will County firearms defense lawyer immediately to safeguard your rights and interests. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, day or night, at 815-740-4025 for a free initial consultation.


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