Monday, February 15, 2016

CAN YOU REFUSE TO GIVE A DNA SAMPLE IN AN ILLINOIS CRIMINAL CASE?

Generally, the answer is yes.

Under Illinois case law, extracting your DNA is a search within the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, police must have either a warrant or probable cause before forcing you to submit it. Otherwise, you may voluntarily refuse to provide a sample. See People v Ealy.

Because your right to refuse to give a sample is constitutionally protected, the state may not use your refusal to show that you had consciousness of guilt at trial.

Once police have arrested you, they may take a cheek swab. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that such a swab is no more intrusive than taking fingerprints or mugshots and can be done as part of a booking procedure. See Marilyn v King.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case to help present the best possible defense. If police acted illegally, an attorney may be able to petition the court to have any illegally collected evidence dismissed. Even if police acted properly and 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.

(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.)

Friday, February 5, 2016

THEFT OF STOLEN PROPERTY IN ILLINOIS

In Illinois, you can be charged with theft of stolen property if you obtained control over stolen property knowing it to have been stolen, or under such circumstances as would reasonably induce you to believe that the property was stolen. (See 720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)(4), Illinois Theft Statute.)

As with most crimes, the state must prove you guilty of all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A recent Illinois appellate case overturned a defendant’s conviction because the state failed to do just that.

In People v Netisingha, undercover officers sold Target merchandise to the defendant. Although the defendant believed the merchandise was stolen, in fact, it was not. Thus, the state failed to prove the first element of the crime.

This does not mean that if you bought property from an undercover cop, you are in the clear. Another part of the theft statute deals with obtaining control over property that law enforcement represents or implies is stolen. In that case, the state must also prove that you meant to permanently deprive the owner of the property The penalties for theft range with the amount stolen. Theft of less than $500 is a Class A Misdemeanor while over $1 million is a Class X felony.

If you are charged with a crime, you should contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can evaluate the circumstances of your case to present the best possible defense. Even if the police handled your case by the book and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected at the court house may negotiate a better plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related 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.)