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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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?

An officer generally must have a warrant in order to search you or your property unless an exception to the warrant requirement exists. One exception is that you consented. But did you really? While this may seem like a straightforward yes or no question, the facts can be murky, and different judges may interpret the same facts very differently. To prove consent, the state must show you did so freely and without coercion. Consent cannot be extracted by implied threat or covert force. If your consent was nonverbal, the court will look at whether you intended to consent or were
Continue Reading DID YOU CONSENT TO A POLICE SEARCH?

In Illinois, endangering the life or health of a child is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for subsequent offenses. The offense includes knowingly allowing or causing the endangerment or permitting the child to be placed in an endangering situation. (See 720 ILCS 5/12C-5.) Under the law, if you leave a child age 6 or younger, unaccompanied by someone at least age 14 and out of your sight, the child may be considered unattended. Illinois courts have convicted parents for leaving a baby in a car for close to an hour and
Continue Reading WHAT IS THE OFFENSE OF CHILD ENDANGERMENT IN ILLINOIS?

A friend of a friend asked you to help them get some narcotics. You don’t do drugs yourself, but you don’t have a problem with other people using them. At first, you said you couldn’t help, but the person kept badgering you until finally you gave in. Turns out the person was a police officer and you are now charged with dealing. Is this entrapment? Quite possibly. To plead entrapment in your defense, you must present at least slight evidence that (1) the State induced you to commit the crime, and (2) you were not otherwise predisposed to do so.
Continue Reading CAN I PLEAD ENTRAPMENT AS A DEFENSE?

Under Illinois law, you act in self defense if: (1) there is a threat of unlawful force against you; (2) you are not the aggressor; (3) the danger of harm was imminent; (4) your use of force was necessary; (5) you actually and subjectively believed there was a danger that required you to use that force; and (6) your belief was objectively reasonable. See 720 ILCS 5/7-1. Self defense can include defense of another. To claim self defense, you cannot be the initial aggressor. Therefore, you cannot start a fight and then cry self defense because you were on
Continue Reading WHAT IS SELF DEFENSE IN ILLINOIS?

Under one definition (720 ILCS 5/11-1.60(f)), you commit aggravated criminal sexual abuse if 1) you have sexual conduct with a victim who is aged 13 to 17, 2) you are at least age 17, and 3) you hold a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim. In Illinois, “trust,” means the victim has confidence in your integrity, ability, character, and truth. For example, in People v. Miki, the defendant was a soccer coach, and the victim had been on his team starting in sixth grade. The criminal conduct occurred about a month after
Continue Reading WHAT IS AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE BASED ON “POSITION OF TRUST?”

The answer is yes, provided each offense contains at least one element that differs from your other offense(s). Under the one-act, one-crime rule, you may not be convicted of multiple offenses based on precisely the same single physical act. To determine if a one-act, one-crime violation has occurred, the court looks at 1) whether your conduct consisted of a single physical act or separate acts, and 2) whether any single act formed the basis for separate but lesser-included offenses. In People v. McCloud, the defendant abducted and sexually assaulted a woman off the street. The court found that within
Continue Reading CAN YOU BE CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE CRIMES BASED ON ONE ACT?

Police arrested you on charges that were pretty stiff, but you feel confident that the state can’t prove the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. That does not mean, however, that you are out of the woods. The court can convict you of a lesser-included offense even if you were not originally charged with that offense. Under Illinois law, you may be convicted of a lesser-included offense if it is within the offense for which you were charged and the evidence at trial supports conviction on the lesser offense and acquittal on the greater offense. For example, in People. v. VanHoose
Continue Reading WHEN CAN I BE CONVICTED OF A LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE?

As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once famously said about obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” If you are charged with child pornography, your case may likewise depend on how your particular judge sees it. Under 720 ILCS 5/11-20.1, the offense of child pornography includes knowingly possessing an image of a child that you should have reasonably known was under age 18 where the child is depicted in any pose or setting while lewdly exhibiting the child’s unclothed (or transparently clothed) genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or fully or partially developed breast (if female). In People v.
Continue Reading WHAT IS LEWD UNDER ILLINOIS CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LAW?