Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WHAT IS AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, you can be charged with identity theft if you knowingly use another’s personal identifying information to fraudulently obtain credit, money, goods, services or other property. If that person is over the age of 60, your charge can be upgraded to aggravated identity theft. (See Illinois Identity Theft statute.) Aggravated identity theft also includes using another’s identity to further an organized gang’s activities.

Identity theft is also classified according to the amount of money involved. The classes range from a Class 4 felony for less than $300 to a Class X felony where more than $100,000 is involved.

As with most crimes, the state must prove all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. A recent Illinois case looked at the definition of “another person.” In People v Bensen, the defendant served as a secretary for an 80-year old man, who had given her a credit card for company expenses. Defendant then charged thousands of dollars for personal expenses which the employer unwittingly paid. Defendant was convicted of aggravated identity theft. On appeal, she argued that she did not use the personal identifying information of “another person” since the company card was in her name. The court agreed. Because defendant did not represent herself as someone else, her conviction was reversed.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Does the state have the evidence they need to prove your offense? 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.)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

CAN THE POLICE LIE TO GET YOUR CONSENT TO A SEARCH?

Under the Fourth Amendment, police may only search your home if they have a warrant. However, there are exceptions to this requirement. One exception is that you consented to the search. But what if your consent was based on an officer’s lie?

The Illinois Appellate Court held that the end does not justify the means where an officer told a defendant that he would go to jail unless he agreed to a search. Consent to a search must be voluntary. To determine if your consent was voluntary, the court looks at all the circumstances. Important factors can include if you initially refused the consent and if the officer lied.

In People v Wall, the officer induced the defendant to return home from work by saying he was investigating a possible break-in. Once home, the defendant asked if the officer had a search warrant, which the court interpreted as refusing consent. The officer then told defendant he would go to jail if he did not consent to the search, but if he consented, he would not go to jail. All statements were false. Therefore, the court suppressed the results of the search.

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. If the police acted illegally, an attorney may petition the court to throw out the results of any improper police conduct.

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.)