Monday, April 17, 2017

IF A GUN LAW IS UNCONSTIUTIONAL, CAN MY CONVICTION UNDER THAT LAW BE SET ASIDE?

A few years ago, you were convicted under an Illinois gun law that banned carrying a firearm outside the home. In 2013, the law was set aside. Is there anything you can do about your prior offense?

If you have been convicted under an Illinois gun or other law that was later declared unconstitutional, you may be able to ask the court to set your conviction aside. This is particularly important if your immigration status is at risk. Even if you are a citizen, your prior conviction may still be used to upgrade a future offense unless you act first.

In 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down parts of the Illinois Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon statute, stating that it was a flat ban on ready to use guns outside the home. (See People v Aguilar.) The affected parts said that a person commits aggravated unlawful use of a weapon when he or she knowingly carries an uncased, loaded and immediately accessible firearm on his or her person or in any vehicle except when on his or her land, home or place of business. Such an offense was a Class 4 felony.

Once a law is declared unconstitutional, it is considered unconstitutional from the beginning. But that doesn’t mean that your conviction disappears automatically. You must take action to clear your record. If you don’t, Illinois courts have held that the prior offense can be used to upgrade sentencing on a future offense.

In People v Smith, the defendant was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon based on his prior felony conviction under a gun statute that was later declared unconstitutional. The court held that because the defendant did not clear his felony status, his prior conviction could still be used as an element of the current offense.

If you were convicted under this or another unconstitutional statute, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can help you work through the court system to have your conviction vacated.

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.)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND THE FOURTH AMENDMENT

The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable police searches. The founding fathers, however, never imagined the modern computer era. Under current federal law, the police can obtain all kinds of information that you may have shared with third parties via your computer.

In People v Caira, the defendant had argued that his I.P. address should be private because it could reveal information about his physical location. The court, however, held that a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information that he or she “turns over to third parties even if the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence in the third party will not be betrayed.” The court held that police did not need a warrant because his I.P. address was shared with Microsoft whenever defendant checked his Hotmail inbox.

In prior decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that while the contents of your phone conversation might be private, the numbers that you dialed are not. Further, banking records were not private because they were shared with the bank.

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case to help determine your best possible defense. Maybe the search went beyond the information you shared with third parties. If so, an attorney can petition the court to have the results of any illegal search thrown out.

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.)