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Can I Face Weapons Charges for Possession of “Ghost Guns?”

joliet gun chargesWhile the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, the laws surrounding guns and other weapons are constantly changing at both the state and federal levels. Because of this, many gun owners may not realize that they are in violation of the law, and they could potentially face weapons charges even if they believe that they have purchased firearms legally, obtained the correct licenses, and followed the law when carrying and using weapons. Some recent actions by the administration of President Joe Biden and a new law that was recently passed in Illinois may lead to criminal prosecution for selling or possessing “ghost guns.”

What Are Ghost Guns?

In recent years, law enforcement officials throughout the United States have become concerned about the proliferation of firearms that are purchased in kits and assembled by owners, as well as guns that may be created using 3D printers. These firearms do not have serial numbers, making them difficult to trace and track. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has stated that around 20,000 of these guns were recovered in criminal investigations in 2021. This number was 10 times higher than the number of ghost guns recovered in 2016.

To address this issue, the Biden administration announced a new rule that will require all “buy-build-shoot” kits to include serial numbers. To sell these kits commercially, a person must have a federal license, and as with other types of firearm sales, background checks will be required.

Alongside the new rules at the federal level, the state of Illinois has also passed legislation to address ghost guns. All firearms, including 3D-printed guns and weapons assembled through kits, will be required to have serial numbers. Those who own existing ghost guns will be required to have them stamped with serial numbers within 180 days after the date the law goes into effect. Possession of a ghost gun in violation of the law will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, and a person who is convicted may face a prison sentence of up to one year. A second violation will be charged as a Class 3 felony, which may lead to a prison sentence of two to five years.

Contact Our Will County Weapons Charges Defense Lawyer

While the new Illinois law has not yet gone into effect, it may lead to multiple types of weapons charges for firearm owners in the future. Those who have been charged with unlawful possession of firearms, unlawful use of weapons, or other criminal offenses related to guns or other weapons will need to determine their best options for defense. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we work to protect our clients’ Second Amendment rights and help them address accusations that they have violated weapons laws. To schedule a free consultation and get the defense you need and deserve, contact our Joliet weapons violations attorney at 815-740-4025.

Will a Formal Hearing Be Needed Before My License Can Be Reinstated?

driver license reinstatementThere are a variety of reasons why a person’s driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. Arrests for drunk driving or DUI convictions are some of the most common reasons for the loss of a driver’s license, but multiple traffic violations on a person’s record may also result in a license suspension. In these situations, a person will need to determine their options for driver’s license reinstatement. Depending on the reasons for a suspension or revocation, a person may be required to attend a formal license reinstatement hearing. If your license has been suspended or revoked, you will want to understand when a formal hearing may be necessary, the procedures that will be followed in these hearings, and the steps you can take to show that your driving privileges should be restored.

Formal Hearings with the Illinois Secretary of State

Informal hearings, which are conducted at multiple Secretary of State facilities throughout the state of Illinois, will be used in most cases involving driver’s license suspensions. However, formal hearings will be required in certain situations. These include cases where a person has multiple DUI dispositions, including criminal convictions or statutory summary suspensions that occurred because they failed or refused to take a chemical blood alcohol test after being arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving. A formal hearing will also be required if a license was suspended or revoked because a person committed an offense that caused someone else to suffer great bodily harm or resulted in a person’s death.
Formal hearings are held in four locations throughout Illinois. A person will need to request a formal hearing in writing, and they will state whether they are seeking the reinstatement of their driver’s license or requesting a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) based on hardship that will affect them and their family due to the loss of their driving privileges.

A formal license reinstatement hearing is conducted like a courtroom trial. An attorney representing the Secretary of State will be present, and the person requesting the reinstatement of their driving privileges may also have legal representation. Both sides will present their case to a Secretary of State hearing officer, and they may submit evidence or examine witnesses. To have their license reinstated, a person will usually need to show that they have met all requirements put in place by the Secretary of State. This may include providing documentation that they have received treatment for alcohol or drug abuse or completed any required traffic safety courses. They may also show that they are taking steps to ensure that they will be responsible in the future, such as by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Contact Our Joliet License Reinstatement Hearing Lawyer

If you are looking to have your license reinstated after a DUI-related suspension or revocation, or if you need to determine your options for obtaining a Restricted Driving Permit, the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. can assist with your case. We will help you determine whether a formal or informal license reinstatement hearing will be necessary, and we can help you prepare for a hearing and ensure you meet all of your requirements to regain your driving privileges. Contact our Will County driver’s license reinstatement attorney by calling 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation today.

What Are the Penalties for Different Types of Retail Theft in Illinois?

retail theftWhile stealing someone else’s property is generally considered to be wrong, and people are aware that they may face consequences for doing so, some may believe that “minor” forms of theft are less serious. Theft offenses that are often considered minor include retail theft or shoplifting, and people may feel that pocketing an item such as a pack of gum at a grocery store or gas station is not a serious problem that requires the involvement of the police or other authorities. However, retail theft is a crime and depending on the circumstances of a case and the value of the goods stolen, a person may face serious penalties. By understanding the laws related to retail theft in Illinois, a person charged with this offense will be able to determine how to approach these accusations.

Acts That May Be Considered Retail Theft

At the most basic level, retail theft may be defined as taking possession of merchandise that is displayed, stored, or offered for sale in a retail establishment with the intention of depriving the seller of the possession or benefit of these items without paying the full retail price. That is, shoplifting will often consist of taking items out of a store without paying for them. However, Illinois law also defines several other forms of retail theft, including:

• Altering price tags - A person may switch the labels or tags on different items, allowing a product to be rung up for a price lower than its actual value, or they may otherwise alter price tags in order to reduce the amount paid for an item.

• Switching containers - A person may transfer items from one container to another with the intent of paying a lower price for items, or they may place items within the container of another product that they plan to purchase in order to avoid paying for these items.
• Under-ringing - A person may cause an item to be rung up for less than its full retail price. This may be done at self-checkouts or with the assistance of a cashier working at the store.

• Theft by deception - A person may falsely claim that they are the owner of an item sold in a store with the intent of taking the item without paying for it.

• Removing theft detection devices - If merchandise contains sensors that trip alarms when items are taken from a store, a person may attempt to remove these devices illegally. Possession of a tool used to remove these devices or to shield them from tripping sensors is a criminal offense if a person intends to use this tool to commit retail theft.

• Failure to return rental property - If a person rents or leases equipment or other items, and does not return them to the owner or fails to pay the full retail value, they may be charged with retail theft. These charges may apply if an item has not been returned for ten days after an owner sends a demand letter asking for the return of the property.

• Theft by emergency exit - More serious charges may apply if a person commits any of the forms of retail theft described above and leaves a store through an emergency exit.

If retail theft involves property valued at less than $300 or $150 of motor fuel, a person may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a prison sentence of up to one year. Retail theft exceeding these amounts, including in separate transactions that are considered to be a continuing course of conduct committed during a period of one year, may result in Class 3 felony charges, which carry a prison sentence of two to five years. Theft by emergency exit of items worth less than $300 is a Class 4 felony with a prison sentence of one to three years, and for items worth more than $300, it is a Class 2 felony with a sentence of three to seven years.

Contact Our Will County Retail Theft Defense Lawyer

If you or a member of your family have been charged with retail theft, the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. can help you determine your best options for defense. To receive the legal help and representation you need, contact our Will County shoplifting defense attorney at 815-740-4025 and set up a free consultation.

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