Monday, June 29, 2015

THE INTOXICATION DEFENSE IN ILLINOIS

Under limited circumstances, being drunk or drugged can be a defense to a crime in Illinois.

Intoxication is only a defense when 1) it was involuntarily produced and 2) it deprived you of the substantial capacity to either appreciate the criminality of your conduct or conform your conduct to the law.

Intoxication may be involuntary where it is produced by fraud, artifice or deceit. If someone slipped drugs into your punch, you might not be responsible for what happens next. Intoxication also includes the unexpected or unwarned side effects of prescribed medication. For example, a doctor prescribes an antidepressant without warning you that it can cause sleep walking. In one Illinois case, the court held a defendant was entitled to have his intoxication defense reviewed by the jury where he had killed his wife and her lover after having taken Zoloft. People v Hari. But even when involuntary, your intoxication must deprive you of all reason. You can’t use intoxication as a defense if you otherwise knew what you were doing.

Legal intoxication should not be confused with diminished capacity, a defense no longer available in Illinois. The fact you committed the crime when you voluntarily became too drunk or drugged to think straight will not excuse your conduct.

Because the defendant has the burden of proving the intoxication defense, it is critical to present the most compelling evidence possible. A criminal law attorney can review your case to determine if the defense applies and how best to prove it.

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.

(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, June 15, 2015

THE ILLINOIS LAW ON THEFT BY DECEPTION

In Illinois, theft by deception means obtaining control of another’s property through deception. For example, you pretended you were authorized to collect money on behalf of a creditor or charity.

Theft by deception can include making false statements to obtain a car loan or induce others to invest in a nonexistent venture. In one Illinois case, the defendant pretended to be an attorney, collected legal fees and bond money but never bonded the “client” out of jail.

To convict you, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the victim was induced to part with money; (2) the transfer of the money was based upon deception; (3) you intended to permanently deprive the victim of the money; and (4) you acted with the specific intent to defraud the victim. (See People v. Reich.)

The degree of your offense may depends on how much you took, where, what and from whom. For example, less than $500 is a Class A misdemeanor. Between $500 and $10,000 is a Class 3 felony, $10,000 to $100,000 is a Class 2 felony and $100,000 to $500,000 is a Class 1 felony. However, if the theft was at a school or place or worship or involved governmental property, your charges can be kicked up a notch so that the misdemeanor would now be a Class 4 felony and the Class 1 felony would be a Class X.

There are also increased charges if your victim was at least 60 years of age or you pretended to represent a landlord.

If you are charged with this or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not talk about your situation to the police or a third party. Any attempts to explain yourself may give the state the evidence they need to win a conviction.

An experienced attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Perhaps the state cannot prove all the elements of the crime, for example, that you deceived or specifically intended to defraud the alleged victim. Maybe the charges result from a misunderstanding about the work you had agreed to undertake. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in 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.

Source: Illinois Theft by Deception law.

(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, June 1, 2015

THE LAW ON CONCEALED CARRY IN ILLINOIS

In 2013, Illinois was the last state to enact a Concealed Carry law. But that doesn’t mean you can bring your gun just anywhere, even with a Concealed Carry license.

Under the Concealed Carry Act 430 ILCS 66/65: Prohibited Areas, you may not bring your firearm into the following places:

1) The building, real property or parking area for an elementary or secondary school, preschool or child care facility.

2) Any facilities under the control of a public or private community college, college or university.

3) Any buildings or parking areas under the government control including the legislative, executive and judicial branches as well as local government facilities, juvenile detention centers, prisons, jails and courthouses.

4) Any public or private hospital, mental health facility or nursing home.

5) Any bus, train or other form of public transportation as well as any facilities under control of that public transportation entity, for example, a train station or parking area.

6) Any place serving alcohol if more than 50% of gross receipts over the past three months is from the sale of alcohol.

7) Any public gathering requiring a governmental permit such as a parade.or any gathering which required a Special Event Retailer’s License.

8) Public park or athletic facility except on a bike path if only part of the path goes through the public park. You also may have a gun in a designated hunting area or on a bike path or trail in an area owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

9) Play areas or playgrounds.

10) Cook County Forest Preserve property

11) Gaming facilities, sports stadiums or arenas.

12) Where firearms are barred by federal law.

13) Libraries, airports, amusement parks, zoos, museums or nuclear energy facilities.

14) Private property owners may prohibit firearms but must clearly and conspicuously post a standardized sign.

If you violate the concealed carry law, you may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. For later offenses, you can be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year and a $2,500 fine. If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the penalties increase to a Class A Misdemeanor for the first two offenses and a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison, for later offenses.

If you are charged with this or another offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Did the police have probable cause to stop you? Did the owner of the private business post the required sign? Did the place serving alcohol get less than 50% of its gross receipts from alcohol sales? Were you in the process of properly stowing your gun into a locked container within your car as permitted under the law?

Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you can 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.

(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.)