Friday, February 23, 2018

YOUR SPOUSE CAN’T TESTIFY AGAINST YOU EXCEPT IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

You’ve undoubtedly seen TV or movies where the criminal marries so their husband or wife can’t spill the beans. To a certain extent, Illinois evidence rules do recognize a marital privilege. Your spouse cannot be forced to testify against you, but there are exceptions.

Under Illinois law, a husband and wife may testify for or against the other in a criminal case, but they may not testify as to any conversation or admission made by one to the other during their marriage. The marital privilege, however, is suspended when either spouse is charged with a crime against the other’s person or property or where one spouse has abandoned the other. More importantly, a spouse may testify when the interests of their own or another’s children under their care are involved. Furthermore, a spouse may testify when either is charged with an offense involving sexual assault or abuse of any minor child under their care. (See 725 ILCS 5/115-16).

In one Illinois appellate case, the court allowed a husband to tesify about a conversation prior to their daughter’s murder where he had told his wife their marriage was over. The court reasoned that the interests of the couple’s child were directly at stake despite the wife’s argument that the conversation was not directly related to the child’s death and thus should be excluded. (See People v Garner).

The rules of evidence can be tricky and difficult to understand. If you are charged with a criminal case, contact an experienced attorney immediately to help guide you through the judicial process.

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.)

Monday, February 12, 2018

SEARCH INCIDENT TO ARREST: HOW FAR CAN IT GO?

When police arrest you, they are permitted to make a search incident to the arrest. But the search must still be within certain limits.

How far a search may go is fact specific, and different judges may see the circumstances differently. Generally, subject to certain exceptions, an officer may search for weapons in the area within a defendant’s reach to ensure the officer’s safety. The officer may also search the defendant’s person to prevent destruction of the evidence. A warrantless search incident to arrest may be performed even if the defendant is in handcuffs.

Illinois cases have permitted a search under a bed or in a pile of clothes within the defendant’s immediate control. However, the Illinois Appellate Court struck down a search above a bathroom’s ceiling tiles where the defendant was arrested in a separate room and the bathroom was not within his immediate reach, even though it looked like there might have been tampering with the tiles. See People v Franklin.

If you have been arrested, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. If the officer exceeded his or her authority during the search, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the results of the search.

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 2, 2018

WHAT IS A DATING RELATIONSHIP UNDER ILLINOIS DOMESTIC BATTERY LAW

You recently got into a fistfight with your ex-significant other. The police arrived and now you have been charged with domestic battery.

But your relationship ended some time ago. Is it still domestic battery?

The answer is yes. A recent Illinois Supreme Court decision held that the domestic battery law places no time limit on a dating relationship. (See People v Gray.

In Illinois, a person commits domestic battery if he or she knowingly, without legal justification and by any means, causes bodily harm to or makes insulting or provoking physical contact with any family or household member. A family or household member includes persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship. This definition does not include a casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization between two people in a business or social context. But it can include your ex-partner from several years ago.

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. Perhaps you never you were just friends with the alleged victim, or you acted in self 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.

See also: Illinois Domestic Battery 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.)