Tuesday, April 24, 2018

SCHOOL RESIDENCY FRAUD CAN BE CHARGED AS A FELONY

Understandably, you would like your child to get the best education in the best school district, but perhaps you can’t really afford to live there. You may be tempted to lie about your child’s real home in order to enroll them in that preferred school. But depending on the circumstances and the school district, you could end up charged with a felony.

In February, 2018, Orland School District 135 pressed felony charges against a mother who provided an allegedly fraudulent lease for a home in District 135. The home was actually a retail establishment. After questioning, the mother continued to provide allegedly fake documents, leading to her arrest for felony forgery. (See Woman Charged with Forgery after Giving School False Address).

Most school districts do not carry matters quite so far. They may simply disenroll your child and bill you several thousand dollars in tuition. However, the option of pressing criminal charges for at least a Class C Misdemeanor is always possible.

If you receive notice from your child’s school questioning their residency, contact an experienced school law attorney immediately. Many parents make the mistake of trying to handle the situation themselves, but they are often unprepared for what they are walking into. By the time, they call an attorney, the facts of the case have already been established and the attorney’s hands may be tied. Furthermore, once a school believes you are lying, it is very difficult to convince them otherwise. Your words are often twisted against you.

An attorney can review your situation to see if you have a genuine claim to residency. If so, the attorney can present evidence to the school accordingly. Even if your child is not a legal resident, an attorney may be able to negotiate an agreement that allows you to leave the school district without facing criminal charges or possibly paying tuition.

If you have questions about Illinois school residency, 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 12, 2018

CAN YOU USE SELF-DEFENSE AGAINST A POLICE OFFICER IN ILLINOIS?

You believe the police had no justifiable basis to stop you, and you may be right. Nevertheless, you must still obey police orders, and you cannot physically resist the arrest.

But what if the officer physically threatens you? Can you defend yourself?

Under Illinois law, an arresting officer may generally use any force reasonably necessary to arrest you. (See 720 ILCS 5/7-5(a)). You, on the other hand, may not use force to resist arrest by a known police officer, even if your arrest is unlawful. (See 720 ILCS 5/7-7). So, if the officer tells you to put your hands behind your back, you have to put your hands behind your back even if you know you are being targeted for no good reason.

However, once an officer uses excessive force, you may then have the legal right to forcibly resist arrest and defend yourself. (See 720 ILCS 5/7-1(a)). You are justified in using force against the officer to the extent that you reasonably believe force is necessary to defend yourself or a third person against the officer’s imminent use of unlawful force.

Whether you were justified in defending yourself is a very fact-specific question. Different judges may interpret your fact situation in different ways. That is why it is important that any attorney you select be familiar with the judges in your jurisdiction.

In one Illinois case, the defendant cooperated with police until an officer put his hands on the defendant’s girlfriend who was holding their baby. The defendant called the officer a name and told him not to touch his girlfriend. The officer then beat the defendant. The Court held that the defendant forcibly resisted arrest only after officers applied excessive force. (People v Sims, 374 Ill. App. 3d 427 (2007).

In People v. Brown, the defendant testified that he did not know the police who pulled up in front of him were officers. When the officers pulled weapons, the defendant tried to run. One officer tackled, punched and choked defendant. Defendant claimed he resisted arrest in response to such violence. Based on this testimony, the court held there was sufficient evidence of excessive force to send the issue to the jury.

If you have been charged with an Illinois offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Did you know you were dealing with police? Did the police use excessive force? If the police acted unlawfully, an attorney may be able to bring a motion to suppress evidence from your arrest.

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.)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

THE CRIME OF ABDUCTING YOUR OWN CHILD IN ILLINOIS

You think your child’s other parent is a horrible person. As a result, you want to protect him or her from that parent. Maybe you sent your child out of state or hid them when the other parent came to visit. Under these circumstances, however, you may be charged with child abduction—even though the child is your own.

The crime of child abduction by a parent is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. Child abduction can include intentionally violating a custody order by concealing or detaining the child or taking the child out of the court’s jurisdiction.

While married to the other parent, you may not knowingly hide, keep or remove the child with physical force or its threat. Nor can you do so because someone without legal custody has promised to pay you.

If you have been charged with child abduction or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Even under the above circumstances, there are certain defenses. Perhaps you had legal custody or visitation rights at the time of your violation or perhaps you were fleeing domestic violence.

At times, there may be circumstances beyond your control. If so, you must make reasonable attempts within 24 hours after visitation ends to notify the other parent about those circumstances as well as the child’s whereabouts and how the child can be contacted. You must also return the child as soon as possible.

In one Illinois case, the court overturned the putative father’s conviction because the state did not prove he had taken the child without the mother’s consent. (See People v Cole).

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. Source: Illinois Child Abduction Statute.

(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.)