Defending Drug Possession Charges

Joliet drug possessionIf you have been arrested on charges of illegal drug possession , you may feel like your options are very limited. It may seem nearly impossible to consider anything other than your life and your future crashing down around you. While you should certainly take any criminal charges seriously, including those for drug possession, a dedicated lawyer can help you realize that a successful defense is possible and that the case is probably not as clear-cut as it may appear.

Burden of Proof

As with any criminal matter, proving your guilt is entirely up to the prosecution. In order to convict you of drug possession, prosecutors must show beyond reasonable doubt that:

• You knew the substance in question was an illicit drug or controlled substance; and
• You knew the substance was in your possession or within property under your control.

The second point also includes what the law refers to as “constructive possession,” which can be used in several scenarios. Constructive possession is defined as the legal possession of something without being in a person’s direct physical control. For example, if you and your roommate each have a key to a locked cabinet in your home and illegal drugs are found in that cabinet, you both could be charged with possession. Similarly, prosecutors may attempt to prove that drugs in the trunk of your car were under your constructive possession since the vehicle belongs to you.

Possible Defenses

Building a solid defense against drug possession charges , of course, depends on the specific circumstances of your case. We may be able to show, for example, that drugs in question did not belong to you and that you were not aware of their presence. Since it is up to the state to prove they did belong you, creating a reasonable doubt is sufficient. If drugs were found on your physical person, disputing actual possession may be a bit more difficult, but we can explore other defense options with you.

The other primary element of a drug possession charge is the manner in which the evidence against you was found. Drugs that were discovered and seized in an illegal search can lead to all charges being dropped. We can review the police records and appropriate documents to determine the validity of any search and fight to get improperly seized evidence thrown out, along with the charges of possession.

For more information about building a defense against drug possession charges, contact a tenacious Will County criminal defense lawyer today. Attorney Jack Zaremba is a former prosecutor who will use his knowledge and experience to help you avoid a conviction and protect your future. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, introductory consultation.

Restricted Driving Permits Joliet Illinois

Joliet attorney restricted driving permitWhen your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked due to a conviction of driving under the influence (DUI) or other violations, your life can be greatly affected. It may be extremely difficult for you to continue working, to attend school, or to attend alcohol education programs in accordance with court directives. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, however, you may have relief options available to restore driving privileges on a limited basis. With the help of a qualified attorney, you may be able to obtain a restricted driving permit (RDP) and take the first steps toward getting your life back on track.

What is an RDP?

A restricted driving permit can be granted by the Secretary of State’s office to allow partial restoration of driving privileges. The terms of the RDP can be customized for each case and only permit a person to drive in certain areas and at certain times for specifically approved purpose. Depending on the situation, an RDP can allow driving to:

• Maintain employment;
• Attend recommended drug and alcohol remedial or rehabilitation activities; or
• Provide transportation for themselves, a child, elderly, or disabled person in the driver’s household for medical, daycare or educational purpose when alternative transportation is not available.

Applying for an RDP and Hearing

To obtain a restricted driving permit, a person whose license has been suspended or revoked must submit an application to the Secretary of State’s office. The individual must prove that a justifiable hardship exists, provide the results of a current drug or alcohol evaluation, and, if appropriate, offer proof of treatment or remedial education.

The offender will be required to appear for a hearing with a representative from the Secretary’s office. Serious offenses, including multiple DUIs and offenses involving a fatality will require a formal hearing, while less serious concerns can be handled at an informal hearing. Based on the results of the hearing, and the proof submitted with the application, an RDP will be granted with specified terms or denied. If an RDP is granted to an offender with two or more alcohol-related incidents in the last 10 years, the driver will be required to have a Blood Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed on his or her vehicle for the duration of the permit.

Get Legal Help for Your Case

If you have had your driving privileges suspended or revoked for any reason, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Zaremba understands the law and knows how to get results. He and his team are prepared to fight on your behalf and ensure your rights and your future are fully protected. Schedule your free consultation by calling 815-740-4025.

Sign and Drive: Get a Ticket, Keep Your License

Joliet License AttorneysYou are probably aware that if you receive too many traffic citations , your driving privileges can be suspended. It is likely of little surprise, as state authorities have a vested interest in keeping the roads of Illinois as safe as possible. Prior to 2015, however, you could also have your driver’s license confiscated as bail by a police officer after a single traffic violation. While, in theory, the practice was meant to ensure a driver’s compliance in responding to the citation, in reality, doing so created an unreasonable amount of inconvenience. In late 2014, legislation was passed by state lawmakers to end the confiscation of driver’s licenses for traffic offenses, instead relying on the assurance of the driver to respond appropriately to the ticket and securing the promise with a signature.

Change Needed

For years, traffic laws in Illinois permitted an officer issuing a citation to take the driver’s license of the alleged offending driver as a form of bail or security. Upon responding to the citation by paying the fine, appearing in court, or replacing the license with cash bail, the license would ultimately be returned to the driver. The individual’s driving privileges were not affected in any way; if needed, a driver could present a copy of the citation in lieu of a license.
While a copy of the ticket may have served the purposes of law enforcement well enough, leaving a person without a valid form of photo identification made life unnecessarily difficult. In today’s world, a driver’s license is used as identification for countless applications, including cashing a check, boarding an airplane, or purchasing alcohol.

Responsibilities of Sign and Drive

On August 9, 2014, then- Governor Pat Quinn signed a measure to stop the use of driver’s license as bail for traffic violations. Taking effect on January 1, 2015, the legislation completely changed the law’s approach to such offenses. Now, if you are issued a citation, you are required to sign the ticket to verify that you understand the offense with which you have been charged. Your signature is not a plea; it is a promise to respond to the citation be pleading guilty and paying your fine, or pleading not guilty and appearing in court to argue your case. If you fail to do either, your license and driving privileges will be suspended until your citation is fully resolved.

If you have been charged with a traffic violation and had your license confiscated as bail despite the new law, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney today. At our law firm, we are committed to helping you protect your rights and will fight to ensure you are treated fairly throughout the legal process. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.


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