Friday, February 24, 2017

CAN I BE DEPORTED FOR A CRIMINAL OFFENSE?

The answer may depend on the type of offense, how long you have been in the country and whether your crime is considered one of moral turpitude.

Under current immigration law, you can be deported if you are convicted for cetain listed offenses or for a crime involving moral turpitude for which a sentence of more than one year could have been imposed. If you are here on a visa, you must have committed the crime within five years of entry. If you are a permanent resident, the crime must fall within ten years of entry. See Immigration and Nationality Act.

While the following list is not exhaustive, you may be deported for aggravated felony, high speed flight from an immigration checkpoint, failing to register as a sex offender, drug offenses, domestic violence, certain firearms offenses, terrorist activities and human trafficking or two or more crimes involving moral turpitude.

To determine whether your crime involves moral turpitude, the court may examine the elements of your state law offense. However, the court may instead look at the underlying facts of your case. For that reason, you must be careful before taking a plea agreement to insure that you are not inadvertently pleading to a crime of moral turpitude.

Furthermore, a sentence of supervision may be considered a conviction for purposes of deportation. Thus, it is important to consult an immigration attorney before you enter a guilty plea.

Bear in mind that this is a highly volatile area of the law which is subject to change. Therefore, it is essential to speak with a qualified attorney if you have any questions regarding your immigration status.

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your options to determine your best possible defense. For most criminal offenses, the state must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can look for weaknesses in the state’s case. If the police stopped or searched you illegally, an attorney may bring a motion to have the evidence against you suppressed. Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence againt 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 17, 2017

CAN PAST ACTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BE USED AS EVIDENCE IN ILLINOIS?

The state cannot generally use your past bad acts to prove that you have bad character and thus are more likely to commit a crime. Illinois law, however, specifically allows evidence of past domestic violence to be used under certain conditions.

Under Illinois law, evidence of past domestic violence can be used for any relevant purpose to prove charges of domestic violence or first or second degree murder involving domestic violence. (See Evidence in Domestic Violence Cases).

Even so, the court must weigh whether past crimes evidence will bias the jury against you more than it helps prove the case. To make that determination, the court considers: (1) the closeness in time between the past acts and the present crime; (2) the degree of factual similarity between the offenses; or (3) other relevant facts and circumstances.

In People v Jenk, the Illinois Appellate court upheld the use of three prior domestic violence incidents against the defendant, because they were 1) supported by corroborative evidence; 2) relevant to showing defendant’s motive, intent or absence of mistake; 3) were close in time and 4) had a high degree of factual similarity to the current crime. The trial court excluded three other incidents that were uncorroborated and thus might have prejudiced the jury beyond their evidentiary value.

If you have been charged with domestic violence or another crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not discuss your crime with the police or third parties. Any attempt to explain yourself might give the prosecution the evidence they need to convict you. An experienced 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 court house 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.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A LITTLE ROAD RAGE CAN LEAD TO BIG TROUBLE IN ILLINOIS

We’ve all been cut off or frustrated by other drivers. But no matter how hostile the other driver may be, it’s best to stay in your car, keep cool and if necessary, call the police.

A recent Illinois case illustrates the criminal charges that can result when two parties allow road rage to overwhelm their better judgment. In People v Yeoman, defendant was in a car behind the victim at a red light. Defendant honked his horn to let the other driver know the light had changed. The victim, a senior citizen named Frank Egas, then repeatedly gave defendant the finger, refused to let him pass and cut him off. Defendant’s wife and children were also in the car. Defendant and his wife left their car to confront Egas. After returning to their car, Egas got out and began to yell at them. Defendant punched Egas in the face. He then fell backward and later died.

The defendant was charged with two counts of second degree murder, aggravated battery on a public way, aggravated battery of a senior citizen and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. On appeal, defendant argued the evidence was insufficient to convict him of second degree murder since he could not know that hitting Egas with his bare fist would cause a strong probability of death. The court agreed but upheld his conviction for aggravated battery to a senior citizen, a Class 2 felony punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison. The court denied defendant’s claim of self defense in that Egas had done no more than yell at him.

If you have been charged with road rage or another crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. As with most criminal chages, the state must prove the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can look for weaknesses in the state’s evidence. If the victim acted aggressively beyond simply yelling, you might be able to claim self defense.

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.)