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What Are the Differences Between State and Federal Drug Crimes

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In news reports of major drug crimes , you may have noticed that the offenders are sometimes arrested by federal authorities, charged with federal crimes, prosecuted in the federal court system, and sentenced to federal prison. In other cases, the offenders are arrested by state or county officers, charged with violation of a state law, prosecuted in the state’s circuit court system, and sentenced to state prison. However, these reports usually do not explain why the offenders are being charged with a federal as opposed to a state crime.

Illinois has a Controlled Substances Act that closely mirrors the federal Controlled Substances Act . But, why does the state need a law if a federal law already exists? One reason is that state authorities may wish to act more quickly than the federal government in changing drug laws. A good example of this is the recent easing of penalties for marijuana possession in many states. Some states, like Illinois, have also been leaders in creating alternative sentencing programs for drug-addicted offenders that offer the option of a supervised treatment and rehabilitation program rather than prison.

The main factor that determines whether a person is charged with a federal versus a state drug crime is the nature of the crime. Federal drug charges usually involve high-volume drug trafficking across state borders or conspiracy to distribute drugs. The less serious crime of drug possession , on the other hand, is more commonly charged at the state level. The types of drug busts that result in federal charges generally involve kilograms of cocaine or heroin, whereas the sale of just a few grams of cocaine or heroin will more commonly result in state charges.

The penalties for federal versus state drug crimes can also vary. For example, at the federal level, a dealer caught with 280 grams of crack cocaine is subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years for a first-time offender or 20 years for a repeat offender. Only a person with a very limited criminal history, such as one or two prior misdemeanors, can avoid a federal mandatory minimum sentence. In contrast, at the state level, a dealer caught with that amount of crack faces a potential sentence of at least 9 years in prison, with no mandatory minimum prescribed by Illinois law.

A Will County Drug Charges Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with drug possession, manufacturing, distribution, or trafficking, call an experienced Joliet drug charges defense lawyer . Attorney Jack L. Zaremba has practiced criminal law in the Will County courts for more than a decade and will provide the aggressive defense you need. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.

DUI Laws You Should Be Aware Of

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Most people know that the “magic number” when it comes to drinking and driving is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). If you are driving and a police-administered Breathalyzer shows your BAC is above 0.08 percent, you are legally driving under the influence . However, DUI laws are not all this straightforward. Some individuals have even been charged with a DUI and they did not know they were breaking the law! One of the best ways to avoid a criminal DUI charge is to fully understand Illinois DUI law and your rights as a citizen. If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, legal guidance from a qualified criminal defense attorney can be a tremendously valuable asset.

Under the Legal Limit

Although the 0.08 percent BAC standard applies to most DUI situations, the rule is not the only way that person could face penalties. A driver could still be charged with driving under the influence in Illinois with a BAC under the legal limit, if prescription drugs or illegal drugs were present. In addition, drivers under the age of 21 can face stiff license penalties even if they are under the .08 BAC limit. Many young people experiment with alcohol before they are of legal age to do so. However, driving with even a small amount of alcohol in your system can result in punitive license consequences. For those drivers under age 21, a BAC of even just 0.01 percent is considered a failed test and can result in a license suspension under a zero tolerance administrative action.

An underage driver who fails a chemical BAC test for the first time will face a three-month driver’s license suspension. If the underage driver’s BAC is greater than 0.08 percent, the license suspension is six months. The suspension period is longer If the underage driver has been caught drinking and driving before. Underage drivers above the legal limit, convicted of a DUI, face a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Noticeable Impairment Alone Can Warrant a DUI Arrest

Alcohol affects everyone differently. Some drivers are obviously intoxicated and unable to drive safely even if their BAC is not technically over the legal limit. For this reason, Illinois law permits police officers to arrest any drivers who is “noticeably impaired.” If an officer witnesses a driver making erratic lane changes or driving unsafely, he or she will pull the car over. If the officer notices that the driver acts confused, is slurring his or her words, or otherwise seems drunk, the driver could be charged with a DUI even if they refuse the breath test.

Contact a Joliet DUI Attorney

If you are facing DUI charges, contact a Will County criminal defense lawyer for help. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

Understanding Common Violent Crimes Committed in Illinois

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines violent crime as any crime that involves the use of force or the threat of force. Violent crime was once a very big issue in the United States and was cause for much concern at its peak in the 1990s. According to information from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crime in the U.S. has fallen anywhere from 49 percent to 74 percent between 1993 and 2017. Though this is an advancement, violent crime is still all too common and occurs in common forms. Here are a few common types of violent crimes in the United States:

Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are two of the most common violent crimes committed. It makes sense to talk about them together because they are very much interrelated. Assault occurs when you perform an activity that places another person in danger of being physically hurt. Battery occurs when you cause bodily harm or make physical contact with another in an insulting or provoking nature. Both crimes can be elevated to aggravated charges for a number of reasons, including using a firearm during the crime or committing the crime against a certain person or in a certain place.

Basic assault is classified as Class C misdemeanor, while basic battery is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Aggravated assault can be classified as anywhere from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 3 felony depending on the circumstances. Aggravated battery can be classified as anywhere from a Class 3 felony to a Class X felony, depending on the circumstances.

Robbery and Aggravated Robbery

Robbery occurs when you take property from the person or the presence of someone by using force or the threat of force. You can be charged with aggravated robbery if you make the victim believe you will use a dangerous weapon or firearm, or if you administer a controlled substance to the victim to commit the robbery. Basic robbery is classified as a Class 2 felony while aggravated robbery is classified as a Class 1 felony.

Domestic Violence

Charges for domestic battery are similar to charges for plain battery, though they differ in whom the victim is. To be charged with domestic battery , you must have caused bodily harm to a family or household member or made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature to a family or household member. Basic domestic battery will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Domestic battery can become an aggravated crime if you commit domestic battery but you knowingly cause great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. Aggravated domestic battery is classified as a Class 2 felony.

Get Help With Accusations from a Will County Violent Crime Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a violent crime, it is important that you understand the crime and the consequences that could come along with a conviction. A knowledgeable Joliet, IL violent crime defense lawyer can immensely help you fight against your charges. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can assist you with much-needed legal advice and will provide you with service like no other. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

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