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Domestic Battery - Violence Inside The House

Will County Criminal Domestic Battery Lawyer

Accusations of domestic abuse are serious and may carry lasting penalties. While many understand that this type of crime is no laughing matter, there are other aspects of these charges that are alarming to those accused. For instance, you may be surprised to find out that you do not need to be married or even dating someone to be charged with domestic abuse. Domestic violence charges are possible even if you are only living with someone and you behave violently towards them.

Cohabitating Violence More Prevalent Than Marital Violence

Have you heard the old saying, “you fight like an old married couple?” Well, in recent years, the saying should be closer to, “you fight like old roommates.” If you have ever had a roommate, you understand there are struggles. Two (or more) separate lives with little more in common than rent and utility payments are bound to find conflicts. If one person enjoys staying up all night playing video games video while another likes to wake up early and go for a run after making a protein shake in the blender, you can imagine where things might become a little tense. Although these differences and tensions arise in marriages as well, statistics show that cohabiting relationships are more likely to be violent than married relationships. Did you know that:

• For every one protection order issued for a married couple, courts issue 10 for cohabitants?
• The Family Violence Research Program at the University of New Hampshire finds that cohabiters are much more violent than those who are married?
• Unmarried cohabitants are two times more likely to suffer abuse than married cohabitants?

Defining Domestic Violence

You can be a friend or a roommate and in no way intimately affiliated and still be accused of domestic violence. Additionally, the relation does not need to be current. As long as there is a connection, past or present, domestic violence charges are possible with any altercation. Under Illinois law, domestic violence occurs when a person hits, strikes, threatens, chokes, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of someone who is a family member or household member. Illinois defines this group of people as:

• Blood-related family;
• Those who are married or in a domestic partnership;
• Those previously married or in a domestic partnership;
• Individuals who share or previously shared a home or dwelling;
• Those believed to have a child in common;
• Dating partners;
• Those with previous romantic relations; and
• Persons with disabilities and their assistants.

Facing Accusations?

If you are surprised to find that you are facing domestic violence charges from an old roommate, you are not alone. In addition to being surprising, if convicted, you face higher criminal penalties than if the incident occurred with someone you never met. Contact a Will County domestic violence defense attorney to discuss your case. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Preparing to Meet With a Criminal Defense Attorney

Will County Criminal Defense Attorney

When you have been arrested on suspicion of drug possession , driving under the influence (DUI) , assault , or any other criminal offense , you need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights. Once you hire an attorney, however, there are a number of things you can to be proactive on your own behalf as well. You can help your case considerably by keeping an open line of communication with your lawyer and by providing him or her with all information that could be pertinent to your defense.

Before you meet even with your attorney, you should begin to:

Gather Documentation

Any and all paperwork and documents you receive from police, prosecutors, the court or any government agency could be relevant to your defense. Keep everything in a specific file and be sure to give your lawyer copies of documents such as:

• Search warrants and other documents related to a search executed by police;
• Arrest warrants and accompanying affidavits;
• Documents related to bail and the conditions of your release;
• Any evidence the prosecution has turned over;
• Charging documents;
• Any documents related to prior crimes for which you have been arrested and/or convicted; and
• Documents regarding your next court date

Write Down Your Story

It is not uncommon for criminal defendants to forget details over time, or they may have trouble recounting the situation for their attorneys. As soon as you are able, create a written account of your version of the events leading up to your arrest, booking, and release. It will helpful for you to have this record available when you speak to your attorney, though you may not need to give him or her a copy. Instead, you may wish to use the document as a reference to answer your lawyer’s questions.

Compile a List of Witnesses

Think about people who may need to testify at your trial. Potential witnesses may include:

• Witnesses to the events in question;
• Anyone who can confirm your alibi;
• Those who can speak to your character;
• Anyone who may have information on potential witnesses for the prosecution; and
• Witnesses who can substantiate your version of the events.

Names and contact information for such witnesses are most helpful, but even if you do not know the name of a particular person—a store clerk, for example, or a bartender—you should still include them if you think they could help.

Know Your Rights

Keep in mind that what you tell your attorney is confidential, even if you admit to committing a crime. Your attorney is focused on showing that the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to convict you, ensuring you that you are treated fairly and in accordance with your constitutional rights. At the same time, your attorney cannot ethically introduce evidence or present arguments in court that he or she knows to be false . Criminal defense attorneys understand this fine line, and your lawyer will guide your conversation accordingly.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges, our firm can provide individualized and thorough counsel to you, no matter how serious your case may. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney who will listen to your story and help you formulate an appropriate defense. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

Proposed Bill Would Curtail Practice of Asset Forfeiture

Will County Lawyer

Did you know that if law enforcement officials believe that your property or assets were involved in the commission of a crime , they can legally seize the property in question? Under civil asset forfeiture laws in Illinois, you could lose your property even if you are never charged with a crime, let alone convicted. Over the last decade, law enforcement agencies have reportedly netted nearly $320 million worth of property and cash through asset seizures, including nearly $80 million seized by the Chicago Police Department alone.

Civil asset forfeiture is a contentious practice, and its merits have been hotly debated across the country in recent years. In fact, 19 states and Washington, D.C. have amended their asset forfeiture laws since 2014 to create a more equitable system. As it currently stands, only a dozen states currently require a criminal conviction before assets can be permanently confiscated, but several others, including Illinois, may soon adopt similar guidelines.

Measure Offers Improvements

According to Illinois state Senator Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, the asset forfeiture system in the state is comparable to an “unfettered piggybank” for local and state law enforcement agencies. While he acknowledged that seizing assets is sometimes appropriate—such as money directly tied to drug trafficking operations—the widespread use is “a real overreach.” Harmon is the sponsor of a legislative measure that would require a criminal conviction for permanent asset forfeiture. The bill would also force law enforcement officials to publicly document the assets they seize and the reasons for the seizure. Currently, no such reporting requirements are in place.

In addition, the proposed law would put the burden of proof on the state to show that the owner of the seized assets knowingly consented to his or her property being used for an illegal purpose. At the moment, the situation is reversed, and those looking to have their assets released must show the property was connected to a crime. The process of doing so is also notoriously difficult and slow, and many innocent people whose assets have been seized simply give up because they cannot afford to keep fighting. And, low-income individuals cannot even ask public defender for help because the cases involve property instead of criminal charges.

Law Enforcement Opposition

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many police and law enforcement groups oppose the proposed bill as it currently written. They say that asset forfeiture is a necessary tool in upsetting the ability of a criminal enterprise to operate. It is easy to imagine that most agencies would also not be keen on the idea of losing such a lucrative stream. According to a spokesman for the Illinois State Police, the ISP is willing to work with the measure’s sponsors to expand protections for innocent property owners without compromising law enforcement’s efforts to deter illegal activities.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime or your property has been seized by law enforcement in connection with an alleged crime, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer right away. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba understands the law, and he will fight to ensure your rights are fully protected. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at our office today.

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