Skokie Criminal Lawyer

Practicing Attorney Matt Keenan explains Illinois law on misdemeanors, felonies, retail theft, drug offenses, battery, cybercrime, sexting and other criminal offenses.

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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 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…
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,…
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…
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…
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…
Your loved one was a good student but had some tough friends. Eventually those friends were involved in a murder, and your loved one got stuck with the rap. After being convicted, he or she was sentenced to life in prison. Is there hope for a release? In some circumstances, the governor could commute their sentence. Illinois permits offenders to petition the governor for clemency through the State of Illinois Prisoner Review Board. The various types of clemency include commutation of sentence, pardon, expungement or reprieve. While an attorney is not required, it is well worth considering getting one on…
You agreed to take care of your sister’s children while she recovered from surgery. You knew your one nephew was a bit of a handful who doesn’t like the word, “No.” That same child sprained his ankle on the basement steps, and now he says you pushed him down the stairs. The Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) investigated and has indicated you for child neglect or abuse. Can you appeal? An indicated finding by DCFS can have a dramatic impact on your entire life. Your name may be placed on a statewide registry of offenders, which could limit…
If you have a loved one in an Illinois state prison right now, there may be hope for early release. The current coronavirus pandemic across the world is unprecedented in many ways. There is a general agreement that Illinois should try to control the spread by reducing the number of prisoners in custody. Governor J.B. Pritzker has indicated that his staff will be evaluating cases on an individual basis. If your loved one has a history of respiratory or lung issues, he or she may be an excellent candidate for a medical release. Bear in mind that while such a…
Frustrated by a traffic stop, you let the officer know exactly how you felt. Or maybe you took your frustration out on a judge who ruled against you. Either way, you are now charged with threatening a public official. Can you be convicted? The answer depends on what you said and the context in which you said it. In Illinois, you can be charged with threatening a public official or human service provider when you knowingly communicate a threat that would place the official or their immediate family in reasonable fear of bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, restraint or damage…
You texted some things you probably shouldn’t have to your ex-fiancé. You knew the texts were nasty, but you were blowing off steam. And what about your right to free speech? A recent Illinois court decision has held that certain comments, such as true threats, are not protected speech under the First Amendment. Under one definition of cyberstalking, the state must prove that you knowingly and without lawful justification harassed another person at least twice through electronic communication, and you transmitted a threat of bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint which was directed towards that person or their family;…
Under Illinois law, you commit aggravated stalking when you stalk another and either 1) cause bodily harm; 2) confine or restrain that person; 3) violate a court order; or 4) stalk a victim or their family when you were required to register as a sex offender because of an offense against that victim. (See Aggravated Stalking.) Stalking means that you knowingly engaged in conduct directed at a specific person, that you knew or should have known would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress or fear for their own or another’s safety. Stalking is also defined as knowingly…