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Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

Joliet DUI Breath Refusal AttorneyYou are driving home from a night out with some friends. You have had a few drinks but you feel fine to drive. Halfway home, you see you the blue lights behind you. Immediately, you pull over and start get out your license and registration. The officer comes to your window, asks if you have been drinking, and then asks you to submit to a breathalyzer test. While it may be very tempting to refuse, it is extremely important to understand seriousness of such a decision.

By operating a motor vehicle in the state of Illinois, you are presumed to have granted your implied consent to submit to blood alcohol content (BAC) chemical testing. As such, the office of the secretary of state may impose administrative penalties on drivers fail or refuse testing. While refusing a test is not technically a criminal offense, the administrative penalties can still have a tremendous impact on your life.

If you refuse a BAC chemical test, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended for one year. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be eligible for driving relief after 30 days. A second or subsequent refusal during a future DUI stop will result in a statutory summary suspension of your driving privileges for 3 years with no relief available.
While a simple license suspension may seem like a preferable alternative to a DUI conviction, it is important to remember that the DUI case against you can proceed without test results. The officer may present his or her observations, along with other proof of your impairment. In fact, your refusal to submit to testing may be presented as a suggestion that you knew you were too drunk to drive.

The criminal penalties associated with a DUI conviction would be imposed in addition to the statutory summary suspension for refusing the test. This means that you could be feeling the effects of your decision for many years to come.

If you have failed or refused BAC chemical testing and are facing charges of driving under the influence, you need the help of an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we understand how to work within the law to find a solution that minimizes the impact to your life and your future. Call us today at 815-740-4025 to schedule your free, confidential consultation and put our knowledge and skill to work for you.

New Law Prevents Domestic Violence Calls from Leading to Eviction

Joliet Domestic ViolenceIn the last several years, neighborhoods and towns around Illinois and throughout the country have been enacted laws intended to reduce crime. Some of them, however, have had serious unintended consequences, particularly for victims of domestic violence. Presumably designed to make cities safer, these laws, known as “crime-free” or “nuisance property” ordinances impose fines and penalties, up to including eviction, on landlords and tenants who attract a certain level of police or law enforcement attention. Last month, though, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure that prevents local authorities from punishing tenants who require police assistance for sexual or domestic violence situations.

Noble Aims and Unintended Consequences

The Chicago Tribune reports that more than 100 cities and towns in Illinois have some form of a nuisance ordinance currently in effect. Nearly 40 of them directly punish tenants and landlords for too many calls to the police, regardless of the activity in question. To be fair, many municipalities have never applied the ordinances to domestic violence calls, or at least they claim they have not. Oak Forest Police Chief Gregory Anderson insists that his department does not punish those who truly need help, but that the ordinance has been a tremendous help in reducing drug-related crime.
Other towns, however, seem to have a bigger problem. In many cases, domestic violence victims were left with a serious dilemma: call the police, get help, and risk being evicted; or remain silent and continue being victimized. The fear of losing their homes was, in fact, causing the opposite effect than that intended by the ordinance. Instead of reducing crime, the laws were leading to the underreporting of sexual and domestic violence.

Bipartisan Efforts for Change

The push to amend existing nuisance ordinances was led in various communities by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois. The effort was spearheaded in the Illinois legislature by Senator Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, and quickly gathered support on both sides of the aisle. Senate Bill 1547 was drafted to exclude sexual violence, domestic violence, and concerns related to persons with disabilities from any crime-free or nuisance property laws in the state. Landlords and tenants could still face penalties for excessive law enforcement calls, but not those “made with the intent to prevent or respond to domestic violence or sexual violence.”
The measure passed both the House and Senate without significant opposition earlier this year and was signed by the governor in August. The new law goes into full effect on November 19, and local authorities around the state have begun amending their policies.

Trustworthy Defense Lawyer

While calling the police regarding domestic violence can no longer get you evicted in Illinois, it could lead to criminal charges. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you deserve representation from a lawyer who is committed to protecting your rights. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today. Schedule your free consultation by calling 815-740-4025.

Governor Refuses to Add PTSD to Medical Marijuana Conditions List

Joliet medical marijuana PTSDIllinois Governor Bruce Rauner continued to demonstrate his unwillingness to amend the state’s medical marijuana pilot program until it finally gets off the ground by illegal drug possession "> vetoing a proposal that would have added several ailments to the list of qualifying conditions. The proposed measure would have added, among others, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, allowing those suffering from the condition to seek medical marijuana treatment legally. The governor’s decision is not sitting well with many across the state, including a number of veterans groups who believe that Illinois needs to keep up with other states, especially when it comes to offering aid to those who have sacrificed and served.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Once known as shell shock and battle fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious psychiatric condition that can affect an individual who has experienced or witnessed a particularly troubling or terrifying event. The event typically involves the infliction or threat of serious harm or violence, and may include wartime combat, a violent crime, auto accident, sexual assault, or natural disaster. PTSD can cause intense feelings of fear, helplessness, anger, nervousness, anxiety, depression, and other physiological and psychological symptoms.
While there is no cure for PTSD, its symptoms are often treated with antidepressants or blood pressure medications. Medicinal treatments are commonly provided in conjunction with psychotherapy to help the affected person develop coping skills and to work through fears. However, according to many military veterans and a growing number of more progressive mental health professionals , marijuana may provide a measure of help and relief to those who suffer from PTSD.

Growing Pressure

To date, twelve states and the District of Columbia have approved PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in their jurisdictions. This number represents roughly half of all states that have any type of medicinal cannabis program. Veterans groups, in particular, were hoping that Illinois would join them. “It makes me angry because I don’t think they are researching the whole situation,” said Mike Malstrom , veteran and member of the Marine Corps League.

According the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Illinois is home to more than 720,000 military veterans, including more than half a million wartime vets. For its part, however, the VA insists that the effects of medical marijuana on PTSD have not been adequately studied and will not make an official recommendation regarding its use.

Help for Drug Possession Charges

As the Illinois medical marijuana program finally gets going, those without a qualifying condition and valid registration card can still be prosecuted for marijuana possession. If you are facing such charges, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba . We will evaluate your case and work with you to protect your rights and your future. Call 815-740-4025 for your free consultation today.

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