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The answer is yes, if you knew the deceased had been murdered and you did something to conceal the death beyond simply withholding information. Under 720 ILCS 5/9-3.4, you commit concealment of homicidal death when you knowingly conceal a death and you knew that the person died by homicidal means. To conceal the death, you must perform an act for the purpose of preventing or delaying discovery of the murder. Death by “homicidal means” includes any legal or illegal act that causes the death. If the evidence warrants, the state may also be able to charge you with the
Continue Reading CAN YOU GET IN TROUBLE FOR CONCEALING A HOMICIDAL DEATH IN ILLINOIS?

Many years ago you were young and reckless.  You got arrested in Illinois.  You wanted to pretend your case didn’t exist, so you skipped out on your court date and eventually moved out of state.  Older and wiser, you worry that a routine traffic stop will send you back to Illinois in handcuffs.
Now, you are ready to deal with your past, clear the warrant and deal with the underlying case.  Can you put it behind you?
The answer is very likely yes.  An attorney can bring your open warrant before your original court to ask a judge to vacate
Continue Reading CAN I CLEAR MY OLD ILLINOIS ARREST WARRANT WHEN I LIVE OUT OF STATE?

The answer is yes, provided the state can show the messages are genuine.

The state may prove you were the source of an email, text or other social media message through circumstantial evidence, including the message’s appearance, contents, and substance. The message’s reliability may be established when a witness testifies as to the message’s distinctive characteristics.

For example in People v. Brand, the State was able to show that certain Facebook Messenger messages from “Masetti Meech,” came from the defendant. The victim testified that while they were dating, defendant messaged her via Facebook messenger multiple times under that username.
Continue Reading CAN MY SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES BE USED AGAINST ME IN COURT?

When the officer behind you turned on his signal lights, you knew you were in trouble.  So you decided to ignore the signal and try to get away.  The officer caught you anyway, and now you have a fleeing and eluding charge on top of other offenses.

What is fleeing and eluding?  What can you do?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-204,  you commit fleeing and eluding if an officer has signaled you to stop, you willfully fail to obey, increase you speed, extinguish your lights or otherwise flee or attempt to elude the officer.  The officer must be in uniform,
Continue Reading WHAT IS FLEEING OR ATTEMPT TO ELUDE POLICE IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, you have a legal duty to remain at the scene of an accident, provide information and render aid.  Failing that, you have a duty to report it.
Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury is a Class 4 felony.  If your accident resulted in personal injury and you failed to report it within half hour of either the accident or your discharge from a hospital, your offense becomes a Class 2 felony. Your offense is a Class 1 felony if it resulted in death.
You may also be subject to testing for alcohol or
Continue Reading WHAT IS AGGRAVATED LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT IN ILLINOIS?

The answer is not necessarily.  Although blood testing for marijuana is available, it is unlikely your blood would be tested if you did not end up in the hospital due to an accident.

However, there are other ways that the state can seek to prove you were under the influence of cannabis.  Police have specialized field sobriety tests for marijuana that are separate from the field tests for alcohol.  For example, the Romberg test examines if you can maintain your balance with your eyes closed.  Another example is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test which tests whether your eyes bounce up
Continue Reading DO POLICE NEED A BLOOD TEST TO PROVE I DROVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, felony murder is a type of first degree murder. You commit felony murder when you, by yourself or with another, commit or try to commit a forcible felony (such as armed robbery but not second degree murder) and in the course of your crime or attempted escape, you or your accomplice cause a death. See 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3). Felony murder does not require an intent to kill. If there is an intent to kill, you could be charged with another type of murder. Felony murder merely requires a death in the course of committing a forcible felony.
Continue Reading WHAT IS FELONY MURDER IN ILLINOIS?

In criminal or traffic law, the outcome of your case often comes down to how your particular judge sees all the facts in your particular situation.  One example of this can be found in People v. Hall, which involved obstructing a peace officer.
In that case, an officer had received notice of a possible domestic disturbance or kidnapping.  The officer stopped defendant and asked for his identification, which the defendant refused. Officers then questioned a woman in defendant’s car. Defendant swore at police, yelling for them to get away from his car.
To convict under 720 ILCS 5/31-1(a),
Continue Reading OBSTRUCTING A PEACE OFFICER IN ILLINOIS

A charge of reckless driving can be a kind of catch-all offense for police. It can cover everything from excessive speeding to swerving around corners to weaving in and out of traffic. Although less serious than a DUI, it can still have significant consequences.
In Illinois, the most common definition of reckless driving is someone who uses or drives a vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”  (See 625 ILCS 5/11-503.)  A secondary definition is using an incline such as a railroad crossing or hill to make your car  airborne.
Reckless driving
Continue Reading WHAT IS RECKLESS DRIVING IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, you may use force against someone if you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to stop or end someone’s unlawful entry or attack on your home. (See 720 ILCS 5/7-2.) Further, you may use deadly force to defend your home only if you reasonably believe such force is necessary 1) to prevent a felony, or 2) to prevent violence to yourself or another and the intruder’s entry was violent or riotous. Contrary to all those stories about burglars suing homeowners, Illinois law does not permit an aggressor to sue you if your use of force was
Continue Reading WHAT IS DEFENSE OF A DWELLING IN ILLINOIS?

 
The answer is that it’s possible.  By the same token, you may still be found guilty of DUI if your blood alcohol was below .08.
Your blood alcohol reading leads to a presumption that you were or weren’t driving under the influence.  If your reading is under .05, the presumption is that you were not driving under the influence.  If it is between .05 and .08, the presumption can go either way.  If you are over .08, the presumption is you are guilty.
But a presumption can be overcome by other evidence.
Your driving is the most important factor
Continue Reading CAN I BE FOUND NOT GUILTY OF DUI IF MY BREATHALYZER IS OVER .08 IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is a separate category of DUI. As with alcohol-based DUI, this form is a Class A Misdemeanor for a first or second offense but can become a Class 4 felony based on certain aggravating factors.
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(4), you commit driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs when you drive or are in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug such that you cannot drive safely.
Your offense can become aggravated if: (1) this is your
Continue Reading DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF BOTH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL IN ILLINOIS

In Illinois, you must stop for police when an officer gives you visual or audible signals directing you to stop your car.  The signal given by the peace officer may be by hand, voice, siren, red or blue light. The officer must be in uniform. Further, the officer’s car must display flashing red or blue lights used along with a horn or siren to indicate it is an official police vehicle.
You can be charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer if you willfully ignore such signals, increase your speed or turn off your lights.  A first
Continue Reading WHEN MUST I STOP MY CAR FOR POLICE IN ILLINOIS?

Although some states require an officer to make an arrest, Illinois does not. Under Illinois law, whenever an officer has reason to believe that you have abused, neglected, or exploited a family or household member, the officer shall immediately use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse, neglect, or exploitation. (See 750 ILCS 60/304.) While the officer has discretion over whether to arrest you, he or she can also assist the victim in other ways, such as by: 1) preserving evidence, 2) providing transportation, 3) referring the victim to social services, 4) advising them to seek medical attention, 5)
Continue Reading DO ILLINOIS POLICE HAVE TO ARREST ME IF THEY SUSPECT I COMMITTED DOMESTIC BATTERY?

Not necessarily. A recent Illinois case has clarified that your physical contact must be insulting or provoking to the victim, not a third party.

Under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2, you commit domestic battery if you knowingly without legal justification by any means: (1) cause bodily harm to any family or household member; or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member.

In People v. Ward, the defendant pushed his wife aside and told her to “shut up” while arguing with police at an accident scene involving defendant’s son. The witness who
Continue Reading CAN I BE CONVICTED OF DOMESTIC BATTERY BECAUSE A THIRD PARTY WAS OFFENDED BY MY CONDUCT?

The answer is yes, if a turn signal was legally required.

Under Illinois law, you must use your turn signal whenever you make a turn, change lanes, encroach onto the other side of the road or leave the roadway.  Failure to do so can give an officer a valid basis to pull you over.

Questions may arise, however, as to whether your driving fell into one of the above categories.   For example, did you actually change from one lane to another? You are not required to signal movement within a single lane, and a roadway with more than one lane
Continue Reading CAN FAILURE TO USE A TURN SIGNAL BE PROBABLE CAUSE FOR A POLICE STOP?