Skokie Criminal Lawyer

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

Blog Authors

Latest from Skokie Criminal Lawyer

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

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?

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?

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 current or former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, others related by blood or marriage, persons who shared a common dwelling, dating partners or people with whom you share a child. The definition extends to the disabled and their caregivers. However, a casual acquaintanceship or the ordinary social or business mixing is not a domestic
Continue Reading WHAT IS AGGRAVATED DOMESTIC BATTERY IN ILLINOIS?

The answer is yes, if you knew the deceased had been murdered and you did something to conceal the death beyond simply withholding information. Under 720 ILCS 5/9-3.4, you commit concealment of homicidal death when you knowingly conceal a death and you knew that the person died by homicidal means. To conceal the death, you must perform an act for the purpose of preventing or delaying discovery of the murder. Death by “homicidal means” includes any legal or illegal act that causes the death. If the evidence warrants, the state may also be able to charge you with the
Continue Reading CAN YOU GET IN TROUBLE FOR CONCEALING A HOMICIDAL DEATH IN ILLINOIS?

The answer is yes, provided the state can show the messages are genuine.

The state may prove you were the source of an email, text or other social media message through circumstantial evidence, including the message’s appearance, contents, and substance. The message’s reliability may be established when a witness testifies as to the message’s distinctive characteristics.

For example in People v. Brand, the State was able to show that certain Facebook Messenger messages from “Masetti Meech,” came from the defendant. The victim testified that while they were dating, defendant messaged her via Facebook messenger multiple times under that username.
Continue Reading CAN MY SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES BE USED AGAINST ME IN COURT?

In Illinois, felony murder is a type of first degree murder. You commit felony murder when you, by yourself or with another, commit or try to commit a forcible felony (such as armed robbery but not second degree murder) and in the course of your crime or attempted escape, you or your accomplice cause a death. See 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3). Felony murder does not require an intent to kill. If there is an intent to kill, you could be charged with another type of murder. Felony murder merely requires a death in the course of committing a forcible felony.
Continue Reading WHAT IS FELONY MURDER IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, you may use force against someone if you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to stop or end someone’s unlawful entry or attack on your home. (See 720 ILCS 5/7-2.) Further, you may use deadly force to defend your home only if you reasonably believe such force is necessary 1) to prevent a felony, or 2) to prevent violence to yourself or another and the intruder’s entry was violent or riotous. Contrary to all those stories about burglars suing homeowners, Illinois law does not permit an aggressor to sue you if your use of force was
Continue Reading WHAT IS DEFENSE OF A DWELLING IN ILLINOIS?

Although some states require an officer to make an arrest, Illinois does not. Under Illinois law, whenever an officer has reason to believe that you have abused, neglected, or exploited a family or household member, the officer shall immediately use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse, neglect, or exploitation. (See 750 ILCS 60/304.) While the officer has discretion over whether to arrest you, he or she can also assist the victim in other ways, such as by: 1) preserving evidence, 2) providing transportation, 3) referring the victim to social services, 4) advising them to seek medical attention, 5)
Continue Reading DO ILLINOIS POLICE HAVE TO ARREST ME IF THEY SUSPECT I COMMITTED DOMESTIC BATTERY?

Not necessarily. A recent Illinois case has clarified that your physical contact must be insulting or provoking to the victim, not a third party.

Under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2, you commit domestic battery if you knowingly without legal justification by any means: (1) cause bodily harm to any family or household member; or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member.

In People v. Ward, the defendant pushed his wife aside and told her to “shut up” while arguing with police at an accident scene involving defendant’s son. The witness who
Continue Reading CAN I BE CONVICTED OF DOMESTIC BATTERY BECAUSE A THIRD PARTY WAS OFFENDED BY MY CONDUCT?

Under Illinois law, the answer is yes “if the court finds prima facie evidence that a crime involving domestic violence, a sexual offense or stalking has been committed.” (See 725 ILCS 5/112A-11.5.) Prima facie evidence can include the complaint against you or a protective order in a separate civil case brought by the same petitioner. You may, however, present evidence that you had a valid defense in which case the court may decide not to issue the order. If you are facing a possible protective order due to a criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can
Continue Reading CAN A COURT ISSUE A PROTECTIVE ORDER BEFORE YOU ARE CONVICTED?

In Illinois, you commit battery if you knowingly, without legal justification, physically hurt another person or cause contact of an offensive nature, such as by grabbing them. But that battery can be upgraded to an aggravated offense depending on the type of injury, victim or place of the offense. See 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05.)

Types of injury can include if you knowingly strangled someone or caused great bodily harm, disfigurement or severe and permanent disability. That includes injury from a bomb, flammable gas, poison or throwing a caustic substance such as lye at someone.

Even if the injury was not
Continue Reading WHAT IS AGGRAVATED BATTERY IN ILLINOIS?

Social media presents kids with ever varied opportunities for trouble. As if online sexting and bullying weren’t bad enough, now it’s “devious licks,” a challenge where students post videos of themselves vandalizing or stealing school property. If your child has taken the challenge, he or she could face both criminal charges and school discipline. Unfortunately, by posting video of themselves in the act, your child may have provided the evidence necessary for a conviction and possible school expulsion. But all is not lost. If your child is charged with a crime, an experienced criminal law attorney can review his or
Continue Reading ONLINE CHALLENGE CAN LEAD TO CRIMINAL CHARGES AND SCHOOL EXPULSION

You met with a possible “match” on one of the many dating apps. The meeting very quickly led to hookup sex. You thought you were both enjoying yourselves, and that the other party had asked you to choke them. But now the police have arrested you. What are the possible charges? What can you do? Under Illinois law, choking or strangling someone is defined as intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the victim’s blood by applying pressure on their throat or neck or by blocking their nose or mouth. The charges depend on whether the other person is
Continue Reading WHAT IS A CHOKING OFFENSE UNDER ILLINOIS LAW?