Law Offices of Matt Keenan

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The answer is generally not. Under the right circumstances, however, you may be able to prove that what you said to the child was in fact innocent. Although a law may be deemed unconstitutional if it penalizes innocent people who reasonably believe they were acting legally, the Illinois appellate court has held that the grooming statute is not such a law. The law instead restricts speech that is integral to criminal conduct. Under 720 ILCS 5/11-25, you commit grooming when you knowingly use an on-line or local bulletin board service or any other device with electronic data storage or
Continue Reading IS FREE SPEECH A DEFENSE TO THE CRIME OF GROOMING IN ILLINOIS?

In our April 20, 2021 post, we discussed People v. Pearson in which the court held that police could not search a defendant’s hospital room without a warrant because the defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his hospital room.  (Can Police Search My Hospital Room Without a Warrant?)
But a later Illinois Appellate case shows how specific facts viewed by a particular judge can reach a different outcome.  This is why it is important to hire an experienced attorney who is familiar with your courthouse and can present your facts in their best possible light to
Continue Reading CAN POLICE SEARCH MY HOSPITAL ROOM WITHOUT A WARRANT? PART II

You were invited to a party at the apartment of someone you didn’t know very well. The party was fun, and you drank a lot. Shortly after you left early in the morning, you realized you forgot your coat. You thought you remembered the apartment, but when you rang the bell, no one answered. The door was unlocked, so you figured you’d just go in and get your coat. You knew the host wouldn’t mind. But to your horror, you entered the wrong unit. The residents had been sleeping and immediately called the police. You ran away, but the police
Continue Reading WHAT IS CRIMINAL TRESPASS TO A RESIDENCE IN ILLINOIS?

You were driving to a friend’s one night when police pulled you over for a broken headlight.  Noticing a bag of white powder on the floor, the officer suspected you had illegal narcotics.  She searched your car, taking the baggie.  You then were arrested for a narcotics offense.
Can police search your car without a warrant?  What can you do?
Under Illinois law, an officer who lawfully stops your vehicle and has probable cause to believe you have contraband may lawfully search any closed containers within your car that might reasonably contain that contraband. An officer may properly seize evidence
Continue Reading CAN AN OFFICER SEARCH YOUR CAR BECAUSE OF SOMETHING THAT IS IN PLAIN VIEW?

Under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.3, you commit aggravated domestic battery if you knowingly cause great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement or if you strangle someone while committing a domestic battery. Domestic battery means that you caused harm to a family or household member. Household members include people with whom you share a common dwelling. (See 720 ILCS 5/112A-3(a)(3).) Sharing a common dwelling means “to stay in one place together on an extended, indefinite, or regular basis.” The court considers the length of time the parties lived together, the nature of the living arrangements, whether the parties had any
Continue Reading WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “SHARE A COMMON DWELLING” UNDER ILLINOIS DOMESTIC BATTERY LAW?

In Illinois, fleeing and eluding a peace officer means that the officer signaled you to stop and you willfully failed to obey, increased your speed, extinguished your lights or otherwise fled or attempted to elude the officer.  The officer must be in uniform, and if the officer is driving, his or her vehicle must flash its lights when used with a horn or siren.  (See 625 ILCS 5/11-204).
Your offense becomes aggravated if you do any of the following when trying to escape:

  • drive speeding more than 21 miles over the limit,
  • you commit more than $300 in property


Continue Reading WHAT IS AGGRAVATED FLEEING OR ATTEMPTING TO ELUDE A POLICE OFFICER?  

The legalization of recreational marijuana has caused some confusion regarding its effect on DUI laws.  A recent Illinois appellate court decision is providing some guidance. Essentially, the smell of burnt cannabis, without any corroborating factors, is not enough to establish probable cause to search the vehicle. This decision is likely to be revisited as the issue remains a complex one.
Effective January 1, 2020,   410 ILCS 705/10-10  permits  Illinois residents 21 years or older to possess no more than 30 grams of cannabis, 500 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a cannabis-infused product, or 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. Possessing
Continue Reading CAN AN OFFICER SEARCH MY CAR BASED ON THE SMELL OF MARIJUANA?

There are a host of offenses that can be either a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony if you knowingly possess or display a fictitious or unlawfully altered driver’s license or permit.  (See 625 ILCS 5/6-301.1).  Simply possessing such a license is a Class A Misdemeanor on a first offense and a Class 4 felony on a later offense.
It is also a Class 4 felony if you possess or display that altered license under any of the following circumstances:

  • You wanted to obtain an account, credit, credit or debit card from a bank, financial institution or


Continue Reading WHAT IS THE CRIME OF “FICTITIOUS OR UNLAWFULLY ALTERED DRIVER’S LICENSE OR PEMIT” IN ILLINOIS?

Although courts are doing more in person, many court appearances still take place on zoom in the Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Daley Center and other courthouses. This can seem intimidating, but it’s really not that scary. When you are arrested for a criminal, DUI or traffic offense, the officer will give you information on when and where to go for your first court appearance. Unfortunately, this does not usually include the zoom meeting and pass codes you will need to log into the courtroom. You will have to search the court’s website in the county where your case is located to
Continue Reading WHAT TO EXPECT FOR YOUR FIRST COURT APPEARANCE ON ZOOM COURT IN ILLINOIS

The officer stopped you for DUI near your home. You tried to reason with him to let you go. When he didn’t, you drunkenly tried to hit him. You missed. But now you are charged with aggravated assault on top of your DUI. Can they do that? What can you do? In Illinois, you commit assault when, without lawful authority, you knowingly engage in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. Normally, this is a relatively minor offense—a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail. See 720 ILCS 5/12-1. However, when
Continue Reading ASSAULTING A POLICE OFFICER DURING A DUI IN ILLINOIS

When you were very young, you got caught driving while intoxicated and pled guilty to DUI.  That was more than 20 years ago.  Now you have been arrested for a second DUI.
Does the first one still count?
The answer is yes.  The DUI law does not limit the amount of time the state can look back in order to enhance your punishment for a second-time DUI or upgrade you to an Aggravated DUI for a third or later offense.
Is there anything you can do?  First contact an experienced DUI attorney.  The attorney can review your case for your
Continue Reading CAN MY PAST ILLINOIS DUI HURT ME EVEN IF IT HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO?

Your cousin asked you to drive him to a convenience store. He ran in to pick up some lottery tickets, then came running out, jumped in your car and told you to take off. Later, you learned he’d committed an armed robbery inside the store. Can you be arrested when you had no idea what your cousin had been planning? The answer depends on whether the judge or jury believes in your lack of intent. When two or more persons engage in a common criminal design, any acts to further that design committed by one party are considered to be
Continue Reading CAN I BE CONVICTED FOR ABETTING A CRIME WHEN I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS HAPPENING?

Driving without a license is a bad idea.  Driving without a license while intoxicated is even worse.  Your DUI can then be upgraded to an aggravated offense and a Class 4 felony if you did not possess a driver’s license or any type of driving permit and you drove while intoxicated.
You can also be convicted of aggravated DUI if you had a license, but that license was suspended or revoked due to a reckless homicide or alcohol-related offense. Besides having a Class 4 felony DUI, you can also be convicted of driving on a suspended license and sentenced to
Continue Reading DUI WITHOUT A LICENSE

When it comes to the offense of “grooming” a child, Illinois law seems to take a fairly broad approach. It is best to steer clear of anything that remotely smacks of sexual exploitation. For example, in People v. Hubbell, the defendant sent a photo of his bare buttocks to a 16-year-old child with the message, “Now it’s your turn LOL,” and that he would like to “get with” her. He also asked her to keep the message secret. The defendant argued that he was only soliciting a picture of her buttocks which are not sex organs, and thus, the
Continue Reading WHAT IS THE OFFENSE OF GROOMING IN ILLINOIS?

The answer may be yes, if you are no longer living there. Under 720 ILCS 5/19-6, you commit home invasion when you, without authority, knowingly enter or remain in another’s home or falsely represent yourself to gain entry to another’s home while having reason to know that another is present, and you (1) threaten or use force while armed with a dangerous weapon or firearm whether or not injury occurs, (2) you intentionally injure someone in the home, or (3) you fire a gun, or in firing the gun, you cause great bodily injury, permanent disability or death. A
Continue Reading CAN YOU BE CONVICTED FOR INVADING YOUR OWN HOME?

According to a recent Illinois Appellate Court decision, the answer is no. Further, you could end up with additional criminal charges.
In People v. Hutt, an officer obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s blood and urine after arresting him for DUI.  The defendant refused to give the samples.  The state then charged the defendant with obstruction of justice.  Under one definition of that offense, you obstruct justice when you knowingly destroy, alter, conceal or disguise physical evidence, plant false evidence or furnish false information with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any
Continue Reading CAN YOU REFUSE TO GIVE A BLOOD OR URINE SAMPLE WHEN THERE IS A VALID SEARCH WARRANT?