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Pokémon Go Helping Criminals and Law Enforcement

Joliet InjuriesEvery so often, a new fad or cultural phenomenon will take the world by storm. Suddenly, everybody is interested in a particular person, music, movie, or other form of engagement. Right now, we are in the midst of one largest such events the gaming world has ever seen. Earlier this month, the augmented-reality game Pokémon Go was released, and, almost immediately, users were hitting the streets trying “catch ‘em all.” The record-breaking popularity of Pokémon Go—it recently doubled Facebook’s number of active daily users—has, as you might expect, created opportunities for criminals to prey on unsuspecting players, with assaults, robberies and other violent crimes having been reported. However, there have also been stories about the game providing assistance to law enforcement efforts.

Get Up and Go

The creators of Pokémon Go designed the game to reward players for physical activity. The app requires users to walk, jog, or bike around their communities, seeking out new creatures and collecting needed items. The gameplay interface uses a smartphone’s GPS signal to guide users through the streets of their town, while “catching” a Pokémon overlays an animated creature on the image captured by the device’s camera in real time.

Dangerous Distractions

The game’s unique design requires players to focus their attention on their devices, making them somewhat unaware of what is going on around them. Unfortunately, there have been a number of reports of players falling victim to criminal activity. Four teenagers in Missouri were arrested on the suspicion that they used a Pokéstop—an in-game location that provides helpful items—to attract and rob victims. In Maryland, college students were robbed by an armed suspect while playing the game. A pair of men in California say they were carjacked and robbed by an armed assailant. Such developments have led to numerous admonitions from the game developers and local officials to avoid playing the game in dangerous areas and to never be wandering around alone.

Doing Their Part

Pokémon Go players have also been credited with aiding law enforcement in tracking down wanted suspects and preventing crimes. Users in Fullerton, California, were credited with helping police catch an attempted murder suspect. Police say the man was seen by Pokémon Go players as he followed women and was attempting to touch children inappropriately. The players alerted police and engaged the man, keeping his attention occupied until officers arrived on the scene.

As with any cultural phenomenon, Pokémon Go cannot really be considered inherently good, bad, safe, or dangerous. It all depends on how individuals use the game or exploit the situation. If you have been accused of a crime in connection with Pokémon Go, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney for assistance. Call 814-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Illinois Stingray Law Headed to the Governor

Joliet Cell Phone TrackingOver the last few years, cell phone technology has been a major point of contention between law enforcement and the general public. Police and investigative agencies, as one might expect, have sought to exploit available technology to track and build cases against alleged criminals and those who were known to have committed crimes. That very same technology, however, can be used in a manner that feels very threatening to private, law-abiding citizens. Legislation and case law around the country have been slowly limiting how law enforcement officials can access, use, and store digital information, several cases even going all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police and other investigative bodies may not search a person’s cell phone without a warrant. While many heralded the ruling as a victory for the Fourth Amendment rights, cell phones can offer a great deal of information even without being physically searched. Many police departments have begun using devices that mimic a cell phone tower, allowing officials to track cell phones within a certain radius. The most popular brand of cell-site simulator is known as a Stingray, and at least a dozen states, including Illinois, have legislation pending that would limit the use of such devices.

Stingray Success Stories
Stingrays and similar devices essentially collect data being transmitted by mobile phones within a certain area, allowing police to look for and track targeted individuals. This makes the tool very valuable, as it has helped law enforcement capture suspects wanted for murders, robberies, and rapes. The problem, however, is the potential for abuse, as the device is also collecting data on completely innocent—and unaware—private citizens, allowing police to track their every move and creating a record.

Limiting the Power

The U.S. Justice Department has issued guidelines for using Stingrays, typically requiring a warrant for most cases and setting limits on how long tracking data can be kept. Lawmakers in Illinois are now looking to hold state and municipal police departments accountable to the federal standards.

In June of this year, the House and Senate approved a bill that would require a court order to locate and track phones, except in an emergency. When the police know which phone they are looking for, the measure requires the deletion of all other phones’ data within 24 hours. If the police do not know which device to target, the proposed law would provide 72 hours to analyze the collected data and delete non-targeted information. Having passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, the bill now awaits a decision by the governor.

Protecting Your Rights

If you have been charged with a crime based on evidence collected in a search that unduly compromised your right to privacy, you need an attorney who will fight for you. Contact experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer Jack L. Zaremba today for a free, no-obligation consultation. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Zaremba understands the law and is fully prepared to help you protect your rights. Call 815-740-4025 to get the representation you deserve.

Driving Privileges Following a DUI Offense

Joliet DUI License SuspensionDriving under the influence of alcohol or any drug can mean severe consequences, especially when it results in bodily injury and fatality. Even the least tragic DUI offenses can still cause irrevocable damage, however. When a driver is pulled over and found to be operating under the influence, their driving record as well as their driving privileges can be affected instantly, triggering consequences that can follow them for months and even years.

New Laws Concerning Driving Privileges After a DUI

Operating a vehicle under the influence has long had the ability to impact a person’s freedom to drive, but new state laws that began in January of 2016 have changed the legal groundwork for penalties for DUI offenders. If you are found guilty of a DUI, you can expect your driving privileges to be affected in the following ways:

• If you are a first-time DUI offender, you are eligible to apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit during the first 30 days of your statutory summary suspension. Previously, you were required to serve at least 30 days of “hard time” suspension;
• If you have two or more DUI convictions, you are required to obtain a restricted driving permit and have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in your vehicle. You may only drive a car with this device for a period of five years;
• If you resided in another state and had your license revoked or suspended but have lived in Illinois for at least 10 years now, you may seek a hearing to request the issuance of a driver’s license; and
• If your license has been permanently revoked for life due to multiple convictions, you may apply for a Restricted Driving Permit after a five-year revocation period. You must also be completely drug- and alcohol-free for at least three years in order to apply and are only permitted to operate vehicles that have a BAIID installed.

State restrictions regarding the restoration of your driving privileges following a DUI are strictly enforced to discourage high-risk driving behaviors. As a standard, if you fail chemical testing as a first offense, your driving privileges are automatically suspended for 6 months. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing entirely, your privileges are automatically suspended for one year. Second or subsequent offenses within a five-year period guarantee automatic suspension for a minimum of one year (for failure of chemical testing) or three years (for refusing to submit to chemical testing).

Get the Help You Need

If you have been involved with a DUI incident and are concerned about your driving privileges, speak with an experienced Joliet DUI defense attorney to better understand your rights and options. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today for a free consultation by calling 815-740-4025

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