Law Offices of Matt Keenan

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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traffic stop made after running a vehicle’s license plate and learning that the registered owner’s driver’s license has been revoked is…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…
The answer is yes. Given the right circumstances, you can petition the governor to reduce a life sentence, and such petitions have been granted. The governor of Illinois has full power to commute any sentence or issue a pardon for any petitioner he or she deems is worthy. Current governor J.B. Pritzker has already commuted sentences of convicted felons in a number of cases, including some that were very serious. During the COVID-19 crisis, some requests have even been expedited. After filing a petition with the Prisoner Review Board, you will have an opportunity to present witnesses at a hearing,…
After having too much to drink, you were involved in an auto accident and taken to the emergency room.  The nurse was very friendly while taking a sample of your blood.  The hospital had your blood tested for alcohol which showed you were way over the legal limit. The police then got the results and charged you with DUI. Did the police violate your constitutional rights by getting those results without a warrant? The answer is no, as long as the nurse was not acting as an agent of the police. A blood test is a search within the Fourth…
It’s been many years since your loved one was sent to prison. You believe that he or she has more than paid any debt to society. Is there anything you can do to help your loved get out early? The answer is yes, depending on the circumstances. In Illinois, your loved one can petition the governor for executive clemency and request a commutation (or shortening) of their sentence. You can assist this process in many ways. For starters, you can help select a qualified attorney, who you trust and feel you can work with. The attorney will likely meet with…
The answer is yes. In Illinois, you may be guilty of DUI if you are in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. To convict you, the state need only show that you had the capability or potential of operating the car. To determine actual control, courts look at factors including whether you are in the driver’s seat in possession of the ignition key and whether you have the physical capability of starting the engine and moving the vehicle. Illinois courts have convicted drivers based on the following: Defendant was zipped in a sleeping bag…
You commit the offense of resisting arrest if you knowingly resist or obstruct someone you know is a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee in performing any authorized act within their official capacity. See 720 ILCS 5/31-1. Resisting arrest is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. To convict you, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew (1) the person obstructed or resisted was a peace officer, firefighter or correctional institution employee, and that (2) you were obstructing or resisting that officer’s authorized act. Further, the officer must be…
Events in the news have justifiably sparked public outrage, which has resulted in protests and civil unrest. Sometimes these protests get out of hand, and participants may find themselves arrested for an offense such as reckless conduct. Under Illinois law, you commit reckless conduct when you, by any means lawful or unlawful, recklessly perform an act that (1) causes bodily harm or endangers the safety of another; or (2) causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another. (See 720 ILCS 5/12-5). The first type of reckless conduct is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to…
Under Illinois law, a neglected child is defined as: Children who are not receiving care necessary for their well-being, such as medical treatment, food, clothing or shelter; Children who have been abandoned; Children who have received crisis intervention services and cannot return home; and Infants born with controlled substances in their systems. Before indicating you for neglect, the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) considers the child’s age; medical condition; behavioral, mental, or emotional problems; any developmental or physical disability; your physical, mental, and emotional abilities; and any history of your being indicated for abuse or neglect. If you…
If you have been charged with domestic battery, the prosecution must still prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Under one definition, the state must prove you were in a dating relationship. But how much of a relationship is enough? Under Illinois law, a defendant is guilty of domestic battery if he or she causes bodily harm to any family or household member. (See 720 ILCS 5/12- 3.2(a)(1). A family or household member can be someone who has or has had a dating or engagement relationship with you, but does not include a casual acquaintanceship…
After you were arrested for DUI, the officers impounded and searched your car. The search yielded several capsules of an illegal narcotic. The officers did not have a warrant. You are now charged with possession with intent to deliver as well as DUI. Was the search of your car legal? The answer is generally yes. Officers are allowed to perform an inventory search without a warrant. The search, however, must satisfy three criteria: The original impoundment of the vehicle must be lawful; The purpose of the inventory search must be to protect the defendant’s property, to protect the police against…
The founding fathers likely never envisioned the challenges to the Fourth Amendment that storing your life on your computer would create. The courts, however, have developed some guidelines as these cases have come before them. The court in People v. McCavitt has spelled out these rules. For starters, you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your personal computers and computer files. Therefore, police must obtain a warrant before searching your computer (unless some exception to the warrant requirement exists such as the evidence was in plain view). After obtaining a warrant, the police may create a mirror image…
It was bad enough you were arrested for DUI. But now that you are looking at your tickets, you realize you have two tickets for DUI. Are you in twice as much trouble? What does it mean? Under Illinois DUI law (625 ILCS 5/11-501), there are seven different types of DUI. An officer can charge you with a combination of driving while over the legal limit of .08 (the 501A-1 ticket) AND driving while under the influence (the 501A-2 ticket). The state can prove driving over the legal limit through a breathalyzer, or less commonly, a blood test.…