Law Offices of Matt Keenan

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According to recent Illinois case law, the answer is a probable yes. Under Illinois law, any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon the public way shall be deemed to have consented to chemical tests.  This is known as implied consent. Generally, you must be under arrest before the results of any testing can be used against you unless the tests fall under an exception to the warrant requirement. One such exception is actual consent.  In  People v. Patel, the defendant had been in a traffic accident and was at the hospital…
You have just been charged with domestic violence based on interfering with your ex’s personal liberty. What does that mean? What can you do about it? Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, “‘interference with personal liberty’ means committing or threatening physical abuse, harassment, intimidation or willful deprivation so as to compel another to engage in conduct from which she or he has a right to abstain or to refrain from conduct in which she or he has a right to engage.” In a 1994 Illinois case, In re Marriage of Healy, the court declined to find interference with personal…
Under Illinois law, you may only be terminated as a teacher for cause once your probationary period has expired. To do so, however, the school district must follow certain procedures. See: 105 ILCS 5/34-85. If the alleged “cause” is remediable, you must receive a reasonable written warning specifically stating that such cause may result in charges unless you take steps to remove the problem. There are a couple exceptions to this rule, such as if you have failed a remediation plan or if the district and your union have agreed on an alternative system of remediation. No written warning…
An officer stopped you for DUI and had you taking field sobriety tests. While doing so, a second officer searched your car without speaking to the first officer.  The search uncovered some narcotics, and now you are charged with DUI and illegal possession. Was the second officer’s search legal? The answer depends on specific circumstances. An officer may rely on another officer’s information in the same investigation to establish probable cause. The test is objective: Would a man or woman of reasonable caution be justified at the time of the search in believing that the search was appropriate?  A search…
You have been indicated for child abuse from the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). You want to appeal but you recall from TV that criminal defendants usually don’t take the stand. You are afraid you could say the wrong thing out of sheer anxiety and confusion. Do you have to testify before the DCFS? Under certain circumstances, the hearing officer could compel you. Under DCFS rules, the agency has the burden of showing by a preponderance of evidence that you are guilty of the offense charged by a preponderance of the evidence. (This is a dramatically lighter burden…
After a DUI arrest, the Illinois Secretary of State suspends your driver’s license beginning on the 46th day after your arrest.   An attorney can petition the court to overturn (or rescind) that suspension on certain grounds. To succeed, however, you must act quickly. Illinois law requires that you receive a hearing on your petition on your first court date or within 30 days of filing your petition, whichever is later.  Your petition must be granted if you do not receive a hearing on time as long as you did not cause the delay. By filing your petition promptly, your odds…
As of June 1, 2020, high school students old enough to vote will not have to choose between exercising their constitutional rights and facing trouble over an unexcused absence. Of course, this law may be less critical during the pandemic. Under 10 ILCS 5/7-42, a student may leave school in order to vote for up to two hours during a school day. The student may vote election day or during early voting beginning the 15th day before an election. The school, however, may specify the hours when the student may be absent. If you have questions about this or…
According to Illinois law, the answer is probably not–especially if the police used force. In People v. Augusta, defendant was stopped for failure to signal when turning. The officer asked defendant if he had something in his mouth, which defendant denied. The officer ordered defendant to open his mouth, but then began to choke him. Defendant had in fact been concealing bags of drugs. The trial judge denied defendant’s motion to suppress the drug evidence, stating that the officer had probable cause to believe the contraband was in defendant’s mouth. The appellate court disagreed. The court found that the…
Illinois again raised its penalties against drivers distracted by cell phones.  The minimum fine as of July 1, 2020 is $1,000 for aggravated use of an electronic communication device when causing an accident resulting in great bodily injury, permanent disability, disfigurement or death.  Also effective July 1, 2020, your driver’s license may be suspended for twelve months. If the accident resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.  If the accident causes death, the charge is a Class 4 felony. If you did not cause injury, penalties are…
As of August 7, 2020, Illinois has made it a Class 3 felony to attack any merchant who attempts to enforce COVID-related safety guidelines. The new law amends the aggravated battery statute. Section (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(d)(12)) applies when you commit battery (other than with a firearm) against a merchant who is performing his or her duties, including relaying government or employer-related health/safety guidelines, during and for six months after a government-declared state of disaster due to a public health emergency. If you are charged with aggravated battery or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately.…
If you are arrested for a criminal offense, you may be released from the police station on personal recognizance, that is, without paying bail. If not, however, you may appear before a judge who will set bail and/or determine any other conditions of your release that are necessary to reasonably assure 1) your appearance, 2) the safety of the community, and 3) the likelihood of compliance with all conditions of bail. Based on available information, the court looks at The nature and circumstances of the offense charged, Whether the offense involved the use or threats of violence, The likelihood the…
The U.S. Supreme Court says that they can under certain circumstances. In Kansas v. Glover, an officer ran a check on a truck’s license plate which revealed that the truck’s owner, Glover, had a revoked license.  Assuming Glover was the driver, the officer stopped the truck.  The court held that a stop on this basis did not violate Glover’s constitutional rights: “When the officer lacks information negating an inference that the owner is driving the vehicle, an investigative traffic stop made after running a vehicle’s license plate and learning that the registered owner’s driver’s license has been revoked is…
The answer is that you may have a diminished capacity defense if you were involuntarily intoxicated because you were not warned about the side effects of a prescription drug. Beyond that, diminished capacity and/or voluntary intoxication is not recognized as a defense in Illinois. To prove diminished capacity, you must show: 1) that your conduct was involuntary because of the unwarned side effects of prescription medication; and 2) these side effects made you so intoxicated that you lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate that you were committing a crime or to conform your behavior to the requirements of the law.…
Under Illinois law, you may not photograph, film or depict any minor child in a pose involving a lewd exhibition of the child’s unclothed or transparently clothed private parts. You also may not possess such depictions of a child you know is under age 18. But how do you know if the photo you have is pornography? A recent Illinois case reviewed that topic. In People v. Van Syckle, the court used an objective standard in weighing the following six factors: 1) whether the focal point of the visual depiction is on the child’s genitals; (2) whether the setting…
When you are arrested for DUI in Illinois, the Secretary of State automatically suspends your driver’s license on the 46th day after your arrest.  You may be able to overturn that suspension, particularly on a first offense.  Illinois law sets out four specific grounds upon which to fight: (1) Were you properly placed under arrest? (2) Did the arresting officer have probable cause to believe that you were driving while under the influence? (3) Did you refuse to take the breathalyzer or other chemical test? and (4) Did you fail the test if you took it? Your best chance at…
The answer is yes, if the search falls under the “automobile exception” to the warrant requirement. Because automobiles are mobile, a driver could easily take off with the evidence before police have time to get a warrant. Therefore, the automobile exception allows officers to search your car without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe your car contains evidence of criminal activity. The search may include any interior compartment of the vehicle that might reasonably contain a particular type of contraband. For example, an officer looking for open alcohol cannot search a coin box. If you have…