Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I’VE BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF ABUSE UNDER THE ILLINOIS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT. WHAT CAN I DO?

You’ve just been served with notice that your former domestic partner or spouse is seeking an order of protection against you. You believe the charges against you are false and merely designed to harass you.

What can you do?

If you are falsely accused, an attorney may be able to cast doubt on the credibility of the accuser. Are the accusations designed to harass or intimidate you? Is he or she simply being vindictive? There may be other inconsistencies in the evidence. At times, it may be useful to hire a private investigator look into the accuser’s allegations.

If you have received notice of an order of protection, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not try to represent yourself. What you think is a reasonable explanation might convince the judge that you are a threat. The judge may rule against you based on what he or she perceives is a bad attitude or a failure to take responsibility. Be advised that an Order of Protection can have serious consequences as it can keep you out of many jobs, and you cannot get it removed from your record, so it is best to take the matter seriously.

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, June 11, 2018

WHAT IS “ABUSE” UNDER THE ILLINOIS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT?

You’ve just been served notice that your former partner or spouse is seeking an order of protection against you. They are claiming that you abused them.

How is abuse defined, and what are your options?

Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, abuse is defined as “physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation but does not include reasonable direction of a minor child by a parent or person in loco parentis.”

If you have been served with notice of hearing on an order of protection, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not try to represent yourself. What you think of as a legitimate explanation might convince the judge that your accuser has reason to be afraid. The judge may rule against you based on what he or she perceives is a bad attitude or a failure to take responsibility.

An experienced criminal law attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Were you acting in self defense? Can you show that your spouse or former partner was making things up? Do they suffer from a mental illness? Be advised that an Order of Protection can have serious consequences as it can keep you out of many jobs, and you cannot get it removed from your record, so it is best to take the matter seriously.

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, June 1, 2018

CAN THE POLICE USE EVERYTHING I TOLD THEM AGAINST ME?

When the police came after you, you said some foolish things that you wish you could take back. Is there a way?

The answer may turn on when you were legally under arrest.

Generally, you are under arrest if a reasonable person in your shoes would feel they were not free to leave. If you could have walked away but didn’t, your statements may be used against you. If a reasonable person would not feel free to leave but no Miranda warnings were given, an attorney may be able to ask the court to suppress your statements.

To determine when you are under arrest, Illinois courts look at the following factors: 1) the threatening presence of several officers; 2) an officer’s display of a weapon; 3) some physical touching of your person; and 4) the use of language or tone of voice indicating that you may be compelled to comply with the officer’s request. Additionally, Illinois courts look at: 1) the time, place, length, mood, and mode of the encounter between you and police; 2) the number of police officers present; 3) any indication of formal arrest or restraint, such as the use of handcuffs or drawing of guns; 4) the officers’ intent; 5) your subjective belief or understanding; 6) whether you were told you could refuse to accompany police; 7) whether you were transported in a police car; 8) whether you were told you were free to leave; 9) whether you were told you were under arrest; and (10) the language officers used.

For example, in People v Gutierrez, the court found that the defendant’s actual arrest occurred in defendant’s home rather than at the police station. The court reasoned that six to ten armed officers arrived at defendant’s home awakening him at 5 a.m. Officers searched defendant’s bedroom. Defendant was never told he was free to leave. Finally, defendant was handcuffed in the police car, but not for the safety of the officers or investigation. Therefore, a reasonable person would not have felt free to leave. Because defendant’s arrest had been illegal, his statements could not be used unless the prosecution could otherwise show that the statements did not stem from the illegal arrest.

If you have questions about a criminal case, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can evaluate your case for its best possible defense. If officers lacked probable cause to arrest you or did not read your Miranda warnings before your arrest, an attorney may be able to petition the court to throw out the evidence against you. Even if the officers acted legally and the evidence against 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.)