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New Illinois Law Bans Synthetic Drugs that Mimic Marijuana, Cocaine

joliet drug possession lawyer

New illegal drugs appear on the streets every few years, necessitating new laws on drug possession distribution, and manufacturing . In the current decade, law enforcement has had to deal with the rise of synthetic drug manufacturing, including synthetic cocaine, known as bath salts, and synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or Spice. Because drug laws generally ban a specific chemical compound, manufacturers could sometimes skirt the law simply by modifying their formulas. To eliminate this loophole, Illinois legislators recently passed a new law with a broader definition of synthetic drugs.

The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic cathinones, or bath salts, are formulated to deliver a short-lived but intense feeling of energy and euphoria, similar to that produced by cocaine or methamphetamine These products are generally sold as a fine powder that can be swallowed, snorted, or injected. Their dangerous side effects—including paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior—have been reported to require hospitalization for as long as two weeks.

Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2 or Spice, are meant to mimic the effects of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana . These products are generally sold as a liquid that can be vaped or sprayed on plant material and smoked. Dangerous side effects can include suicidal thoughts and elevated heart rate and blood pressure.

Synthetic piperazines mimic the effects of ecstasy. High doses can cause seizures, confusion, anxiety, and heart palpitations.

In many cases, synthetic drugs are sold over the internet under the guise of products not meant for human consumption, such as incense or potpourri. Synthetic drugs can be far more dangerous than their natural plant-based forms because they can be made significantly more potent and they can be formulated with unknown, sometimes toxic, ingredients. Users do not know exactly what they are ingesting and can more easily overdose.

The New 2019 Illinois Law on Synthetic Drugs

In amendments amendments that took effect on January 1, 2019, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act now broadly defines synthetic drugs as any synthetic cannabinoids, piperazines, or cathinones which are “not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or, if approved, are not dispensed and possessed in accordance with state or federal law.” These are classified as Schedule I drugs, which carry the highest penalties. A person caught in possession of synthetic drugs can be charged with a Class 4 felony, while manufacturing is a Class 3 felony.

Will County Drug Possession Defense Attorney

If you are convicted of drug possession, you could have a permanent felony record. As soon as possible after an arrest, consult an experienced Joliet drug possession lawyer to discuss your case and defense strategy. For a free initial consultation, call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba in Joliet at 815-740-4025.

The Significance of Knowingly in Possession of Drugs

joliet drug possession lawyer

In previous posts, we have discussed the two different types of drug possession criminal charges in Illinois: actual possession and constructive possession. Understanding the difference between these two charges is vital for knowing how to defend against such charges. It is also very important for Illinois residents accused of drug possession to understand how the word “knowingly” is used in the law. In order for prosecutors to convict a criminal defendant of a drug-related charge, they must prove several elements are true, including that the defendant knew he or she was in possession of drugs. If prosecutors cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally had possession of an illicit substance, the defendant may be cleared of the charges.

Actual Possession and Constructive Possession

A criminal defendant in Illinois is charged with actual possession when he or she is found in physical possession of a controlled substance. For example, if police find a baggie of cocaine in a defendant’s pocket or purse, this is likely an actual possession of a controlled substance offense. On the other hand, constructive possession of a controlled substance refers to situations in which a person does not have the drugs on his or her person, but there are drugs in a location that he or she has control over.

For example, if police officers search a defendant’s vehicle and find illicit substances in it, the defendant will likely be charged with constructive possession. The criminal penalties for possession of a controlled substance can vary depending on the type of substance found in the defendant’s possession and how much of the substance was found.

Prosecutors Must Prove a Defendant “Knew” Several Things About the Substance

The Illinois Controlled Substance Act reads, “it is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess a controlled or counterfeit substance or controlled substance analog.” The word “knowingly” is one of the most important parts of this law. In order for a possession charge to result in a conviction, prosecutors must prove that the suspect knew the substance in question was an illegal drug and that the suspect knew he or she was in possession of the substance.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug-related crime in Illinois, you could be facing jail time. Speak with an experienced Will County drugs crimes defense lawyer immediately. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with Attorney Jack L. Zaremba today.

Four Types of Credit Card Fraud and Their Consequences

joliet credit card fraud lawyer

In today’s world, most people own at least one credit or debit card, and many people own multiple cards. According to the American Banking Association , there were 364 million credit card accounts open in the United States in 2017. Though new technology is always being developed to prevent credit card fraud, it is still an issue. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that around 42 percent of all identity theft complaints are related to credit card fraud . Credit card fraud is a serious crime in Illinois and can result in criminal charges, which are commonly felony charges. Many people do not know that credit card fraud comes in many forms. Here are four types of credit card fraud and the consequences for committing them:

1. Making a False Statement to Procure a Credit Card

You can be charged with credit card fraud if you lie about certain details on a credit card application. Typically, those who are charged with this type of credit card fraud use another person’s name or social security number to apply for the credit card. Sometimes people also lie about their address or employment on applications, which can also earn you a fraud charge. This type of credit card fraud is a Class 4 felony, which carries one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

2. Possession of Another Person’s Credit Card

A credit card holder must give consent before another person can legally use that card. If you have obtained a credit card from another person who is not aware that you have the card or did not give consent for you to use it, you can be charged with credit card fraud. This type of credit card fraud is classified as a Class 4 felony. If it can be proven that you possessed three or more credit cards that were not yours, you can be charged with a Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

3. Using an Invalid Credit Card

If you use a card that is not technically valid, you can be charged with fraud. An invalid credit card includes one that is counterfeited, forged, expired, revoked or unissued. If the items obtained with the credit card are valued at less than $300, then you will be charged with a Class 4 felony. If the items are valued at $300 or more, you will be charged with a Class 3 felony.

4. Using Your Credit Card to Defraud the Issuer

You can also be charged with credit card fraud even if you use your own credit card—if you intend to defraud your financial institution. For example, if you falsely report a charge as unauthorized, it could be considered an attempt to defraud. You can also be charged with this if you allow another person to use your card with the intent to defraud your financial institution. The charges can be either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony, depending on the value of the goods purchased with the credit card.

Contact a Knowledgeable Will County Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorney Today

Not all cases of credit card fraud are intentional -- some people do not even realize they are committing fraud. If you have credit card fraud charges against you, you need help from an experienced Joliet credit card fraud defense lawyer . At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you form an effective defense against any fraud charges brought against you. Attorney Jack Zaremba is a former Will County prosecutor and knows firsthand how these cases are handled. Contact our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

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