Monday, September 29, 2014

ILLINOIS TOUGHENS LAW ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENDERS

Starting January 1, 2015, Illinois law gives the Court new tools to discourage offenders from violating an order of protection.

Known as “Diane’s Law,” the new law enables the court to keep tabs on an offender’s whereabouts through electronic or GPS surveillance as a condition of bail. The court may also order the defendant to obtain a risk assessment and may require the offender to pay the cost of both the surveillance and the assessment.

The law is named for Diane Kephart who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend three days after renewing an order of protection.

The law protects intimate partners defined as a spouse or current or former partner in cohabitation or in a dating relationship. The law applies to defendants beyond those who have violated an order of protection including those charged with attempted first degree murder as well as both regular or aggravated forms of domestic battery, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, and stalking.

The fact you stalked or harassed someone from your computer is no defense. The law also covers cyberstalking and harassment through telephone or electronic means.

If someone is seeking an order of protection against you or you have been charged with one of the above crimes, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not speak to the police or third parties about your situation. What sounds like a reasonable explanation to you might give the prosecution the evidence they need to convict you.

An experienced attorney can review your case to determine your best possible defense. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected at the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See: 725 ILCS 5/110-5(f).

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

CAN POLICE SEARCH YOUR GARBAGE WITHOUT A WARRANT?

Whether police need a search warrant for something like a garbage can generally depends on whether you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place or thing being searched.

When it comes to garbage, your expectation of privacy can depend on where the trash is located. If your garbage is awaiting pick up in the alley, police will likely have a right to investigate. If your garbage was still within “the curtilage” of your home, however, police may first need a warrant.

Generally, police cannot enter a private residence unless they have emergency or exigent circumstances, consent or a warrant. The curtilage of your home is included in this Fourth Amendment protection. The curtilage is defined as the land immediately surrounding and associated with your home. The scope of the curtilage is generally determined by whether you reasonably expect the area to be treated like your home. For example, the area within your fenced-in yard would be a curtilage. The case law in this area is complex and depends a great deal on the specific facts of each situation.

Therefore, if your garbage was still in your garage or next to your back door, the police may require a warrant before they can poke through it. (However, if the police are otherwise lawfully within the curtilage of your home and happen to see something in plain view, they can investigate the object.)

This protection in garbage applies even if you are a guest in someone’s home. Therefore, if you are staying at a friend’s and you threw contraband in their garbage, you have a privacy expectation until about the point the garbage is set outside for pick up.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See People v Kofron.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)