Illinois Lawmakers Send Recreational Marijuana Bill to Governor

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No other substance has created as much controversy in recent years as marijuana has. Many states have legalized the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana, and now it looks like Illinois will join the legal recreational cannabis ranks. The only step left is for Governor J.B. Pritzker to sign the bill and turn it into law. It is important for Illinois residents to understand exactly what this proposed law will entail as well as when it goes into effect. While it appears as if recreational marijuana in Illinois will soon be a reality in Illinois, cannabis possession and sale is still against the law for many Illinois residents in the meantime.

Medical Marijuana is Currently Only Available to Qualifying Individuals in Illinois

Illinois currently has 55 medical marijuana dispensaries across the state. These dispensaries are not available to everyone, however. Only individuals with one of several severe medical conditions can currently obtain medical marijuana. These conditions include things like cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. Individuals who struggle with opioid dependence may also be eligible for medical marijuana.

It is critical to remember that while Illinois will likely have dramatically different cannabis laws in the future, that current laws are still in effect. If you are caught using, selling, or buying cannabis without having the authority to do so, you could still face criminal charges.

New Law Would Allow Recreational Cannabis Use and Pardon Misdemeanor Cannabis Offenses

If the bill is passed, the 55 medical dispensaries currently in Illinois will be allowed to open a second location as well as sell recreational marijuana to those without a medical condition. However, medical marijuana patients will still take priority over recreational users. If the governor signs the bill into law, recreational sales will start January 1 of next year. In addition, the governor says he plans to pardon all misdemeanor cannabis offenses involving less than 30 grams of cannabis.
Offenders who have been convicted of more serious cannabis offenses could petition the court to have their conviction pardoned and their record expunged. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says that the State’s Attorney office will not be prosecuting minor cannabis offenses. The office also plans to divert those convicted of a Class 4 felony marijuana possession to drug rehabilitation treatment instead of pursuing incarceration.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges for marijuana or other illicit substances, contact a Joliet drug crime defense lawyer for help. Call Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. at 815-740-4025 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Tips for Interacting with Police During a Traffic Stop

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Nobody likes interacting with police. Even if it is just a simple traffic stop , many drivers feel a surge of anxiety when they see flashing red and blue lights behind them. When you do interact with police, there are certain things which you should avoid doing. Following a few simple rules can help you minimize problems stemming from a police interaction. When you hear sirens or see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, make sure to keep the following rules in mind.

Do Not Keep Driving When You Are Being Pulled Over

If police are attempting to pull you over, never ignore them. According to Illinois law , fleeing or evading police is a crime. If police give you a signal to pull over and you increase speed or extinguish your lights, you can be arrested on an evasion charge. You can wait until it is safe to pull over, but do not wait too long. Pulling over without delay can also lessen the chances of further angering a frustrated or annoyed police officer. Use your turn signal when you are changing lanes and pull over as far to the right as possible.

Do Not Get Out of the Vehicle Unless or Until You Are Told to Do So

Police officers do not know who they are interacting with when they pull a driver over. The driver could be a friendly, law-abiding citizen, or the driver could be someone intent on doing harm to the officer. The officer has no way of knowing whether or not you have a weapon or harmful intent. Therefore, it is very important that anyone who is pulled over by police does not get out of their car without being told to do so. Police may mistake a person getting out of their car without permission as threatening, and the results could be tragic.

Do Not Incriminate Yourself

Police are trained to ask leading questions so you will incriminate or “tell on” yourself. Do not admit to any traffic violations or that you were driving negligently. The officer may ask you questions like "do you know why I stopped you?" Answer with a simple "no." Police may also try to get you to consent to a vehicle search by saying something like, “You do not mind if I take a look around the vehicle, right?” Do not fall for this tactic. You always have the right to politely refuse a vehicle search. The officer may search your car anyway, but if you denied the search, it could benefit you in any criminal proceedings later.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges related to a traffic stop, contact a Joliet Illinois traffic crimes defense attorney at the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. for help. To schedule a free consultation of your case, call us at 815-740-4025 today.

Will a Speeding Ticket Increase My Car Insurance Rates

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Everyone who owns a car knows that car insurance is not cheap, and if you have a less-than-perfect driving record, your premiums may be even more expensive. Car insurance companies will check your record before you enroll with them, and they will also typically check your record when it is time to renew your policy.

Speeding is one of the most common reasons why police officers pull people over and it is also a common reason for car insurance premiums to fluctuate, but not all speeding tickets were created equally, so to speak. Some speeding tickets may not even change your rate, while others—typically misdemeanor speeding violations —could cause your rates to skyrocket.

How Much Will My Rate Increase?

The short answer is that there is really no way to know how much your insurance rates will go up unless you talk directly with your insurance company. There are a number of factors that go into deciding how much your insurance premium is each month. Two main factors—the insurance company you use and your driving record—will be the biggest indicators of how much your rate will go up. Typically, you can expect your insurance rates to increase by about 13 percent after you receive a speeding ticket, though that can change depending on the severity of the speeding ticket. For example, receiving a speeding ticket for driving 10 mph over the speed limit is only a traffic citation, whereas if you receive a ticket for speeding 25 mph over the speed limit, the offense is a misdemeanor and will likely result in a higher increase in your rate.

Other Factors

There are also a few other factors that may affect how much your insurance rates go up after a speeding ticket. Insurance companies typically choose how much to charge you by assessing how likely you are to file a claim. This means the insurance company is taking into account the type of vehicle you drive, how old your vehicle is, where your vehicle is parked most of the time, if you have previous infractions on your driving record, and how old you are. Age is a rather important factor in determining car insurance rates, because insurance companies see younger drivers as a higher risk than older drivers.

Do Not Just Pay the Ticket. Contact a Will County Traffic Ticket Attorney Today

Most people think it is a good idea to pay their ticket as soon as possible and forget about it, but the Secretary of State does not just forget about your infraction—it stays on your driving record. If you received a trffic violation, you need representation from a knowledgeable Joliet traffic ticket lawyer immediately. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you keep your driving record clear and your insurance rates low. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.


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