Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2015 UPDATES TO ILLINOIS CONCEALED CARRY LAW

Illinois has tweaked its Concealed Carry law for the first time since its passage in 2013.

Under the revised law, if you are carrying a firearm in an auto, police or emergency personnel may secure the weapon if they deem it necessary for the safety of any person present. (See 430 ILCS 66/10(h)(1).) If the officer or emergency personnel determine you are not a threat and that you are mentally and physically capable of possessing the gun, they may return it before releasing you from the scene. If you are turned over for treatment to another facility, your weapon must be turned over to a peace officer who will then issue a receipt.

The 2013 law allows a licensee to carry a concealed firearm in the immediate area surrounding his or her vehicle within a prohibited parking lot only for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving the weapon within the vehicle’s trunk. (See 430 ILCS 66/65(b).) Under the new law, you need not insure that the weapon is unloaded before it leaves your car.

The prior law required a physician, clinical psychologist or qualified examiner to notify the Department of State Police upon determining that someone is developmentally disabled. The new law applies to persons over age 14 and defines development disability as comparable to an indefinite intellectual disability that arose before age 18. The disability must cause significant functional limits in the individual’s ability to perform at least three of the following life functions: 1) self care, 2) receptive and expressive language, 3) mobility, 4) learning or 5) self direction. (See 405 ILCS 5/6-103.2.)

If you are charged with a weapons offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. 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.

Source Amendments to Concealed Carry 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, September 7, 2015

THE OFFICER WAS WRONG ABOUT ILLINOIS LAW! CAN HE STILL ARREST ME?

The police are charged with enforcing the law. But what if they misunderstand that law? What if the officer stops you based on his or her mistaken belief about what the law really means? Will a judge allow the evidence resulting from that mistake to stand?

Before he or she can stop you, an officer must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion of wrongdoing. Such a stop or search may be valid even if the officer misunderstood the law as long as that misunderstanding is reasonable. Laws can be complicated and ambiguous. A court will generally not penalize the officer over a complex law. However, if the officer’s mistake is unreasonable, you may be able to get the evidence against you dismissed.

In People v Flores, an officer stopped a defendant because he believed the defendant’s license plate frame violated Illinois’s plate-display law. In a subsequent search, the officer found heroin in defendant’s car. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Mr. Flores’s car dealer-type license plate frame did not violate the law. Nor was it reasonable for the officer to think that it did. As a result, the court overturned the defendant’s conviction.

In contrast, the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a traffic stop where the officer mistakenly understood a North Carolina law to require two working brake lights. However, in that case, the law was subject to varying interpretations. Furthermore, the Court said its decision in favor of the officer only applied to reasonable mistakes of law. See Helen v North Carolina.

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.)