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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Criminal cases do not routinely get thrown out of court short of a plea agreement or trial. But the court can dismiss your case if it meets certain criteria. A court may dismiss a case on any of the following bases: Your case did not go to trial within the time limits of the speedy trial act. Prosecution is barred by double jeopardy. You received immunity from prosecution. You were indicted by a grand jury that was not properly selected or certified, resulting in substantial injustice to you. The court does not have jurisdiction or the county is an improper…
The Illinois “Revenge Porn” statute does not require a vengeful intent, and the Illinois Supreme Court has said that is OK. In a recent decision, the court concluded the statute did not violate the First Amendment by unduly restricting free speech. Under the law, it is a Class 4 felony to intentionally disseminate an identifiable image of another person over age 18 involved in a sex act or whose intimate parts are exposed where the image was obtained under circumstances in which a reasonable person would understand the image was to remain private and should know that the person in…
Defacing a firearm in Illinois is serious business. If you knowingly or intentionally changed, removed or obliterated the name of the importer’s or manufacturer’s serial number from any firearm, you can be charged with a Class 2 felony. Simply possessing a firearm where the serial number has been changed or removed is a Class 3 felony. See 720 ILC 5/24-5. To convict you for possession, the State need only prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed a firearm which was defaced. The state need not show that you knew the weapon was defaced. The law exempts people…
Two officers were chasing a suspect down an alley. The suspect happens to be your cousin. The officers asked you which way you he ran and you pointed them in the opposite direction. Can you be charged with a crime? The answer is yes. In Illinois, you can be charged with Obstructing Justice if you intend to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person (including yourself), and you knowingly: Destroy, alter, conceal or disguise physical evidence, plant false evidence, furnish false information; Induce a witness having knowledge material to the subject at issue to leave…
Your ex-spouse has an order of protection against you. You thought it was still okay to call her best friend, but now the police have arrested you for violating the order. What is the law? What can you do? You can be charged with violating an order of protection if you 1) knowingly commit an act prohibited by the order or fail to commit an act ordered by the order, and 2) you have been served notice or have actual knowledge of the contents of the order. To avoid trouble, you should read any order carefully and err widely on…
The police arrested you for a felony in Illinois. The prosecution wants to use your prior conviction in another state to upgrade your charges or increase your sentence. Can they do that? The answer depends on the specific law involved. An Illinois criminal or DUI statute may refer to whether you have been convicted under the laws of Illinois or any other jurisdiction. A court must look at your prior offense in the other state and compare it to the language of the charges against you. In People v. Schultz, the court examined whether a defendant’s two Michigan convictions…
The police arrested you for a felony in Illinois. The prosecution wants to use your prior conviction in another state to upgrade your charges or increase your sentence. Can they do that? The answer depends on the specific law involved. An Illinois criminal or DUI statute may refer to whether you have been convicted under the laws of Illinois or any other jurisdiction. A court must look at your prior offense in the other state and compare it to the language of the charges against you. In People v. Schultz, the court examined whether a defendant’s two Michigan convictions…
After a car accident, you and the other driver started argueing. You grabbed your cell phone, but the other driver told police you had a gun. You did have a gun in your glove compartment, but you never removed it. Now you are charged with unlawful use of a weapon. Is the other driver’s testimony enough to convict you? An Illinois court says not necessarily. In People v. McLaurin, an officer testified that she saw the defendant, a convicted felon, carrying what appeared to be a silver handgun when leaving an apartment building. The officer could not describe the…
In Illinois, a charge of criminal sexual abuse can be upgraded to a Class 2 felony if during the offense: You use a dangerous weapon or other object such that the victim reasonably believes you have a dangerous weapon; You cause the victim bodily harm;,/li> The victim is age 60 or older or has a physical disability or severe intellectual disability; You threaten or endanger the victim or some other person’s life; The sexual conduct is committed during the course of any other felony; You drugged the victim without their consent or by threat or deception; You committed a sex…
You are staying at a motel. You heard some people with a dog outside your room, but you thought nothing of it. A little while later, the police were at your door with a warrant. The dog you heard earlier was part of the canine unit, and now police want to search your room. Can they do that? What can you do? The Fourth Amendment of the constitution guarantees you the right to be free of unreasonable searches or seizures. The police need probable cause or a warrant to perform a search although there are some exceptions. When you are…
Illinois law prohibits several types of identity theft. Perhaps the most basic definition is where you knowingly used the personal identifying information or documents of another person to fraudulently obtain credit, money, goods, services or other property or to commit a felony. (See 720 ILCS 5/16-30). A key element to the offense is the word “knowingly.” To convict you, the state must prove that you actually knew the information or documents you used belonged to another person. For example, in People v. Fort, the defendant used a credit profile number (CPN) that he had purchased from a website.…
You were walking through a back alley when the police officer stopped you. In the police report, the officer claims that a packet of drugs or an illegal weapon simply fell out of your pocket. That simply didn’t happen, but this is still the basis for your arrest. Can the officer get away with that? The answer depends on how the court views the phenomena known as “dropsy” testimony. “Dropsy” cases are those where an officer falsely testifies that a defendant dropped contraband in plain view “to avoid the exclusion of evidence on fourth-amendment grounds.” In New York, the problem…
You picked a fight with the wrong guy–an off duty police officer who was moonlighting as a bouncer at your favorite bar. The charge would have been simple battery if the bouncer hadn’t been a cop, but instead you are charged with aggravated battery. Since the officer was off duty, can you still be convicted? The answer is yes, provided the officer was performing his official duties. A recent Illinois case has held that preventing a crime, even to himself, falls within an officer’s official duties even if the officer is off work at the time. In People v. Brewer
In these days of ready access to webcams, cell phones and live video streaming, Illinois law has laid down some limits. Ignoring those limits can cost you criminal charges. Under 720 ILCS 5/26-4, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony if you knowingly make a video or transmit live video of another person without that person’s consent in any of the following places: (a) In a restroom, tanning bed, tanning salon, locker room, changing room, or hotel bedroom. (It is also illegal to place or cause to be placed a video recording or transmitting device in any…
After getting in trouble at school, your minor child was questioned by police. You were not present, and your child was scared and started talking. What are your child’s rights? Under 705 ILCS 405/5-401.5, your child’s statement is presumed inadmissible as evidence if an officer or other public official takes your child’s statement during a custodial interrogation without first reading your child his or Miranda rights. The officer must then ask: (A) “Do you want to have a lawyer?” and (B) “Do you want to talk to me?” Further, any statement your minor child makes as a result of…
You must be fit to stand trial before you can be prosecuted. You must also be fit before sentencing or entering a plea agreement. Under Illinois law, you are not considered fit if you cannot assist in your defense or understand the nature and purposes of the proceedings against you because of your mental or physical condition. If your fitness is in question, your attorney must raise the issue before a plea is entered or before, during or after trial. In other words, you cannot claim you are unfit after you have entered a plea agreement or been sentenced. If…