Matt Keenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 24 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU, Illinois State Bar Association.

Latest Articles

In reviewing a traffic ticket or DUI, the court generally reviews all the facts of your case. In some situations, the type of road you were driving on may become important. For example, does an officer have probable cause to stop you for improper lane usage if the road is particularly twisty? The answer may be no. See our related post What is Improper Lane Usage Under Illinois Law. You may not legally pass a school bus that is signaling a stop. However, this law does not apply to certain types of roads. See our related post Passing a
After getting in trouble at school, your minor child was questioned by police. You were not present, and your child was scared and started talking. What are your child’s rights? Under 705 ILCS 405/5-401.5, your child’s statement is presumed inadmissible as evidence if an officer or other public official takes your child’s statement during a custodial interrogation without first reading your child his or Miranda rights. The officer must then ask: (A) “Do you want to have a lawyer?” and (B) “Do you want to talk to me?” Further, any statement your minor child makes as a result of…
When you are arrested for DUI, the police must read you the Warnings to Motorists, but this is not the same as your Miranda rights. The Illinois Secretary of State will try to automatically suspend your driver’s license on the 46th day after your arrest for DUI. The length of that suspension depends partly on whether you agreed to take a breathalyzer or other field sobriety tests. Before taking those tests, the officer must read you the Warnings to Motorists to inform you that your license will be suspended for a longer period if you refuse the tests. Illinois law…
You must be fit to stand trial before you can be prosecuted. You must also be fit before sentencing or entering a plea agreement. Under Illinois law, you are not considered fit if you cannot assist in your defense or understand the nature and purposes of the proceedings against you because of your mental or physical condition. If your fitness is in question, your attorney must raise the issue before a plea is entered or before, during or after trial. In other words, you cannot claim you are unfit after you have entered a plea agreement or been sentenced. If…
The officer pulled you over for speeding. He ran a check of your license and issued the ticket. But the officer asked you to not to leave quite yet. You were forced to wait while the officer ran some checks or maybe brought in a narcotics dog. You were then arrested for an offense other than the original speeding ticket. Can they do that? What are the limits of a police stop? An officer may stop you for one reason and investigate you for another as long as he or she does not unduly prolong the stop. Authority for the…
You were just curious, so you called a government office and started asking questions. You wanted to know how they handle threats involving guns or bombs. Something in the nature of your questions spooked the office manager, and now you have been charged with disorderly conduct. Were your questions enough to get you convicted? What about freedom of speech? What can you do now? In Illinois, depending on what you said and how you said it, you could be convicted of disorderly conduct. (See 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(1)). To do so, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that…
The answer, in most cases, is no. A change in Illinois law permits you to expunge or seal your criminal record notwithstanding any fines or fees you may owe. Before you can clear your criminal record, your case must have been terminated. As of August 10, 2018, the definition of termination does not include any outstanding financial obligations. Therefore, the court cannot deny your petition because you owe a court or government imposed debt. Once your record is sealed, the court may still permit access to any records necessary to collect the debt from you. The court may still deny…
If you hear a siren or see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle, it should go without saying that you have to clear the way. Illinois requires that you move to the right side curb until the vehicle passes. If the emergency vehicle is stopped and flashing its lights, you must change to a lane that is not next to the emergency vehicle. If changing lanes is not possible, you must reduce your speed. Known as Scott’s Law, these rules seek to protect police officers who are too often killed by oncoming motorists while providing emergency aid. Scott’s…
Chicago police regulations allow officers to arrest people on the basis of an investigative alert where there is probable cause to believe a suspect has committed a crime. But a recent Illinois court has now ruled this practice unconstitutional. In People v. Bass, the defendant allegedly molested a minor. Chicago police issued an investigative alert but did not apply for an arrest warrant. Three weeks later, police pulled defendant over, ran a name check then arrested him based on the alert. The court held the arrest illegal because an investigative alert allows a police supervisor—rather than a judge–to determine…
A police officer can stop you if he or she has probable cause. An unlit headlight may be cause enough. But once stopped, an officer needs either your consent or a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing to search your car. What is a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing? The answer depends on how a judge sees the specific facts of your situation. A recent Illinois case provides a good example. In People v. Thomas, the defendant was stopped because of an obstructed windshield. An officer warned the defendant and returned his license. At that point, defendant’s first detention was over. However,…
The Fourth Amendment guarantees citizens the right to be free from unlawful searches. Therefore, an officer cannot enter your home without a warrant unless some exception to the warrant requirement—such as consent—exists. Court have also recognized that a certain area around your home, known as the curtilage, is protected from police intrusion. Your front porch would be one example but what about the hallway of an unlocked apartment building? An Illinois court says yes. In People v Bonilla, an officer used a narcotics dog to sniff the hallway outside defendant’s apartment. The court held that the police officer’s actions…
For the deaf, imprisonment can be especially isolating and punitive. Inmates may literally have no one to talk to. As a result of a federal class action law suit, Illinois agreed to accommodate prisoners with hearing disabilities. Among its terms, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will begin screen for hearing loss, create a centralized database on inmates with hearing disabilities and provide a specialist to assess an inmate’s need for services. IDOC must keep a ready supply of hearing aid batteries. IDOC must also make certain technologies available, such as amplified telephones and a teletypewriter. IDOC audio-visual media such…
As of July 1, 2019, a first offense for texting or using a cell phone while driving is now a moving violation. Before the change, a second offense incurred the moving violation. The rest of the law remains the same: It prohibits using an electronic communication device while driving. Such a device includes, but is not limited to, a hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, or a portable or mobile computer, but does not include GPS or a device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle. Fines range from $75 for a first offense to $150 for…
You were visiting family when things got crazy. One drunken relative started beating their spouse so you grabbed the family gun to put a stop to it. But since you didn’t have a gun license, the police arrested you on a weapons charge. Can they do that if you were just trying to protect yourself? Depending on the facts, a recent Illinois court said no. You may be charged with Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon if you (1) knowingly carried or concealed on your person an uncased and loaded pistol, (2) at a time when you were not on…
You know you blew a stop sign, so you were not surprised when the officer pulled you over. But then the officer searched your car and found an open bottle of whiskey under the passenger seat. You are now under arrest for DUI. Did the officer have the right to search your car? What can you do? To search your car without a warrant, the officer must have probable cause to believe that your car contains evidence of criminal activity. The officer may also search if an item of contraband, such as open alcohol or drugs, is in plain view,…
Let’s say you have been arrested based on an eye witness’s identification. The witness, however, is mistaken, and you can prove it by showing that you have physical characteristics missing from the witness’s description. For a number of reasons, your lawyer does not want you to testify on your own behalf. Can you show your physical characteristics without taking the stand? A recent Illinois court decision says that you can—provided you can lay the foundation necessary to admit the characteristic into evidence. In People v. Gonzalez, the defendant was linked to a murder based solely on eyewitness identification. The…