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DUI Charges in Illinois

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If you have been charged with driving under the influence , you may be lost and unsure of what to do next. Penalties for an Illinois DUI can include the suspension of your driver’s license, hefty fines, and possible jail time. Subsequent DUI arrests can result in felony DUI charges and potential imprisonment. As with any criminal charge, the first step is to educate yourself about the law you have allegedly broken and to reach out to an experienced local DUI attorney. An experienced attorney will know how to form a solid defense against the charges.

Police Always Ask You to Take a Chemical Test

Many DUI cases can hinge on the results of a blood alcohol content (BAC) chemical test. There are a few different ways law enforcement can test a suspect’s BAC level. In Illinois, urine, blood, and breath are the most common ways, with a breath test being the most common. Blood screenings for BAC are considered more invasive, so they are only used when there is reason to believe a breath test won’t suffice; for example, if there is an allegation of drug use a blood or urine test would likely be requested. Another example of when a blood test might be requested is if there was grave injury done to another driver or individual due to your operation of a motor vehicle.

Driving Over the Legal Limit

Most people know that the “magic number” when it comes to alcohol impairment and driving is 0.08 percent. By law, a person is legally impaired when their BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. Drivers under the legal drinking age face a different set of laws regarding alcohol. If a driver under age the age of 21 has a BAC of even 0.01 percent, they may be issued a Zero Tolerance suspension of their license. For drivers under age 18, there are can be additional consequences to driving intoxicated. It is important that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away if you have been arrested.

Contact a Joliet, Illinois DUI Attorney for Help

If you have been charged with driving under the influence or been issued a license suspension due to alcohol, you could be facing jail time and other penalties. For help, call an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer . Call (815) 740-4025 to schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. today.

Can I Be Arrested for Filming the Police?

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In today’s digitally connected world, people are constantly sharing videos of virtually everything from their child’s school plays to funny moments with pets to a variety of “challenges” to raise money for charity. It is nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing at least one person on some sort of device filming themselves or the things going around them. While making and sharing such videos are usually little more than a form of entertainment, things become much more serious when citizens attempt to film police officers as the officers carry out their duties. In many cases, those attempting to film the police have been threatened with arrest , and some have even been taken into custody for refusing to stop filming. If you have been arrested simply for filming the police in a public setting, there are some things that you should know about your rights.

A High-Profile Example

Early last year, an attorney in North Carolina was stopped by police while he was working his side job as an Uber driver. It seems that he had picked up a passenger from a known drug house, and the police stopped the vehicle to detain the attorney’s passenger. During the course of the stop, the driver began filming the police as they milled about his car deciding what to do next. In the video—which eventually went viral on social media and is currently available on YouTube—one of the officers can be seen and heard threatening to arrest the driver unless he stopped filming. The officer even claimed that there was a new law in North Carolina that prohibited the filming of the police. (There was not then and is not now such a law.)

The attorney did not stop recording, but he was never arrested. After the police conducted what could only be described as a questionable search of his vehicle, the driver and his passenger were allowed to go with no charges. The local sheriff’s department eventually acknowledged that its officer was incorrect and said that the officer had been counseled. The department also made a public announcement that encouraged the public to film officers to increase transparency and accountability.

Federal Court Decisions

Last summer also saw a ruling by the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals which held that Americans have a constitutional right under the First Amendment to film on-duty officers in public. The Third Circuit Court covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Since 2011, similar rulings have been handed down by the Circuit Courts of Appeals in the First, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts. The Seventh Circuit Court includes Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, and its ruling on filming the police was issued in 2012. These rulings cover exactly 25 states and about 60 percent of U.S. citizens. There have been no federal appeals court decisions that have gone the other direction on this issue, and the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to see such a case.

So, Could I Be Arrested Anyway?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, you could be arrested anyway for filming the police. And it is possible for an officer to allege that you were obstructing him or her from carrying out his or her duties. If you were only filming, however, and not actually interfering, the charges against you are not likely to hold up — even if they are formally filed in the first place.

If you are dealing with a recent criminal arrest, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Will County right away. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba will fight to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the criminal justice process. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

Handling a Traffic Citation in Illinois

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For many people, an occasional traffic ticket is viewed as little more than one of the costs of a driving a car. They make their car payments, pay their insurance premiums, and, once in a while, pay a fine for speeding or running a red light. Others, however, take traffic violations much more seriously, and, to a certain extent, rightly so. Accumulating too many citations can lead to the suspension of your driving privilege, creating serious challenges to your ability to work, travel, and care for your family. It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when you have been issued a traffic citation, and a defense attorney can help you through the process.

Sign and Drive

Prior to 2015, being cited for a traffic violation meant that you could be forced to surrender your driver’s license to the issuing officer as security that you would respond to your ticket. Your license would be returned if and when you paid your fine, appeared in court to dispute the citation, or provided a cash bond at the police station in place of your license.

Several years ago, however, the law was changed throughout the state prohibiting law enforcement from seizing drivers’ licenses as bail. Under the current law , when you are pulled over and issued a ticket, you will be required to sign an acknowledgement of the citation, promising to respond appropriately in accordance with the terms printed on the ticket. You will then be free to go about your business.

How to Respond

Your response to the citation will depend upon your decision to plead guilty or not guilty. By making arrangements to pay the fine, you are considered to be pleading guilty and your driving record will be affected according to the law. Most jurisdictions allow you to pay the fine by mail, in person, or online. Once the fine is paid, the case is essentially closed and the prescribed number of points are added to your driving record.

If you decide to plead not guilty, you will be given a date to appear in court for a hearing regarding your case. You will have the opportunity to dispute the facts of your citation or the manner in which it was issued. If you are found guilty, you are responsible for paying the original fine, plus court costs, and the appropriate number of points will be added to your record. If you are found not guilty, you will not be required to pay the fine and no points will be added.

Get Legal Help

Before you make a decision on your traffic citation, contact an experienced Will County traffic violations attorney . We will help you understand your options and whether disputing the ticket is ultimately in your best interest. Call 815-740-4025 for your free consultation today.

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