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The Significance of Knowingly in Possession of Drugs

joliet drug possession lawyer

In previous posts, we have discussed the two different types of drug possession criminal charges in Illinois: actual possession and constructive possession. Understanding the difference between these two charges is vital for knowing how to defend against such charges. It is also very important for Illinois residents accused of drug possession to understand how the word “knowingly” is used in the law. In order for prosecutors to convict a criminal defendant of a drug-related charge, they must prove several elements are true, including that the defendant knew he or she was in possession of drugs. If prosecutors cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally had possession of an illicit substance, the defendant may be cleared of the charges.

Actual Possession and Constructive Possession

A criminal defendant in Illinois is charged with actual possession when he or she is found in physical possession of a controlled substance. For example, if police find a baggie of cocaine in a defendant’s pocket or purse, this is likely an actual possession of a controlled substance offense. On the other hand, constructive possession of a controlled substance refers to situations in which a person does not have the drugs on his or her person, but there are drugs in a location that he or she has control over.

For example, if police officers search a defendant’s vehicle and find illicit substances in it, the defendant will likely be charged with constructive possession. The criminal penalties for possession of a controlled substance can vary depending on the type of substance found in the defendant’s possession and how much of the substance was found.

Prosecutors Must Prove a Defendant “Knew” Several Things About the Substance

The Illinois Controlled Substance Act reads, “it is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess a controlled or counterfeit substance or controlled substance analog.” The word “knowingly” is one of the most important parts of this law. In order for a possession charge to result in a conviction, prosecutors must prove that the suspect knew the substance in question was an illegal drug and that the suspect knew he or she was in possession of the substance.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug-related crime in Illinois, you could be facing jail time. Speak with an experienced Will County drugs crimes defense lawyer immediately. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with Attorney Jack L. Zaremba today.

Four Types of Credit Card Fraud and Their Consequences

joliet credit card fraud lawyer

In today’s world, most people own at least one credit or debit card, and many people own multiple cards. According to the American Banking Association , there were 364 million credit card accounts open in the United States in 2017. Though new technology is always being developed to prevent credit card fraud, it is still an issue. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that around 42 percent of all identity theft complaints are related to credit card fraud . Credit card fraud is a serious crime in Illinois and can result in criminal charges, which are commonly felony charges. Many people do not know that credit card fraud comes in many forms. Here are four types of credit card fraud and the consequences for committing them:

1. Making a False Statement to Procure a Credit Card

You can be charged with credit card fraud if you lie about certain details on a credit card application. Typically, those who are charged with this type of credit card fraud use another person’s name or social security number to apply for the credit card. Sometimes people also lie about their address or employment on applications, which can also earn you a fraud charge. This type of credit card fraud is a Class 4 felony, which carries one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

2. Possession of Another Person’s Credit Card

A credit card holder must give consent before another person can legally use that card. If you have obtained a credit card from another person who is not aware that you have the card or did not give consent for you to use it, you can be charged with credit card fraud. This type of credit card fraud is classified as a Class 4 felony. If it can be proven that you possessed three or more credit cards that were not yours, you can be charged with a Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

3. Using an Invalid Credit Card

If you use a card that is not technically valid, you can be charged with fraud. An invalid credit card includes one that is counterfeited, forged, expired, revoked or unissued. If the items obtained with the credit card are valued at less than $300, then you will be charged with a Class 4 felony. If the items are valued at $300 or more, you will be charged with a Class 3 felony.

4. Using Your Credit Card to Defraud the Issuer

You can also be charged with credit card fraud even if you use your own credit card—if you intend to defraud your financial institution. For example, if you falsely report a charge as unauthorized, it could be considered an attempt to defraud. You can also be charged with this if you allow another person to use your card with the intent to defraud your financial institution. The charges can be either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony, depending on the value of the goods purchased with the credit card.

Contact a Knowledgeable Will County Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorney Today

Not all cases of credit card fraud are intentional -- some people do not even realize they are committing fraud. If you have credit card fraud charges against you, you need help from an experienced Joliet credit card fraud defense lawyer . At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you form an effective defense against any fraud charges brought against you. Attorney Jack Zaremba is a former Will County prosecutor and knows firsthand how these cases are handled. Contact our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

What Happens if I Violate the Terms of My Illinois Probation

joliet probation lawyer

For many people who have been convicted of a crime, probation is usually one of the more favorable sentences. In the state of Illinois, probation is used as a way to allow those who are convicted of crimes to live in their own homes and stay in their communities while they serve out their sentence. Probation does require you to follow certain rules, however. There are certain things you can and cannot do when you are on probation. In Illinois, being on probation means you are not permitted to violate any criminal statutes, and you must periodically report to your probation officer, among other things. There are also situational requirements and prohibitions that you must follow while on probation. If you violate any of the terms of your probation , you could face even more consequences.

Notice of Violation of Probation

After your probation officer learns that you have done something that you were not supposed to do while on probation, he or she will file a petition for violation of probation with the clerk of the circuit court. You will then receive a notice of this petition in the mail, which may instruct you to attend a hearing for the violation. Depending on the nature of the violation, you may have a warrant for your arrest issued before the hearing, but if you do not show up for the hearing, you will also have a warrant issued for your arrest.

Hearings for Alleged Violations

Before anything is decided, the hearing will determine whether or not you actually violated the terms of your probation. The state has the burden of proof in probation violation cases, meaning you do not have to prove that you are innocent. Instead, prosecutors must prove that you are guilty. In probation violation cases, the state must provide a preponderance of evidence to the judge before he or she will determine that you are guilty. This means that the probability of the violation being true is higher than the probability of it not being true.

Consequences for Probation Violations

If the judge determines that you have violated a term of your probation, there are a few different things that the judge can do. As a result of a probation violation, the judge can:

• Allow you to continue with your existing probation sentence, unmodified;

• Change the terms and/or length of your probation;

• Revoke your term of probation; or

• Impose any other available sentence for your original crime.

Have a Will County Probation Violation Attorney by Your Side

If you have been summoned to attend a hearing or there is a warrant for your arrest because of a probation violation, the best thing you can do is to call a Joliet, IL probation violation lawyer right away. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we understand that accidents can happen, but we also believe everyone deserves a second chance. Call our office at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation today.

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