Friday, April 19, 2019

ILLINOIS BATTERY TO A CHILD: WHEN DOES SPANKING GO TOO FAR?

At what point does a parent’s right to discipline his or her child turn into a felony?

Under Illinois law, parents who believe in corporal punishment may use it to discipline their children as long as such punishment is necessary and reasonable. Beyond that, you could be charged with domestic or aggravated battery.

So how do you know if you’ve crossed that line?

In Illinois, courts look at the following: (1) the degree of physical injury inflicted upon the child, (2) the likelihood of future punishment that may be more injurious, (3) the fact that any injury resulted from the discipline, (4) the psychological effects on the child, and (5) the circumstances surrounding the discipline, including whether the parent was calmly attempting to discipline the child or whether the parent was lashing out in anger.

In People v. Parrott, the court held that a parent’s discipline was not reasonable or necessary where the parent hit a six-year-old child several times with a belt for eating a biscuit, and the child had welts on his legs.

In People v. Royster, the defendant was the fiancĂ© of the child’s mother and had permission to discipline her two-year-old. After the child threw a tantrum at a doctor’s office, the defendant repeatedly struck the child until office workers intervened. A jury convicted the defendant for aggravated battery.

If you are charged with battery to a child, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not try to talk your way out of the situation because you could end up giving the state the evidence they need to convict you. While the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, the parent has the burden of showing that any discipline was in fact reasonable and necessary. Because the determination of reasonable and necessary is so fact specific, an attorney can help you present your situation in its best possible light.

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, April 12, 2019

THE CRIME OF FORGERY IN ILLINOIS

You altered a check made payable to your girlfriend, or you used her digital signature to get at her funds. Or maybe you used counterfeit money to pay for an expensive TV. Now you are charged with forgery. What is forgery? What can you do? In Illinois, you commit forgery when, you knowingly with intent to defraud:

(1) make a false document or alter any document to make it false and that document is apparently capable of defrauding another; or

(2) issue or deliver the knowingly false document; or

(3) possess, with intent to issue or deliver the false document; or

(4) unlawfully use the digital signature of another; or

(5) unlawfully use another’s signature device to create their electronic signature.

To convict you, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted knowingly and that you specifically intended to deceive someone in order to cause financial loss to another or financial gain to yourself. You need not actually defraud or deceive the other person. The court may infer your intent to deceive from all the facts surrounding your transaction

For most offenses, forgery is a Class 3 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison. Forgery is a Class 4 felony (1 to 4 years) if only one Universal Price Code Label is forged, and a Class A misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail) if a coin or academic degree or coin is forged unless the academic degree is explicitly marked "for novelty purposes only.”

If you have been charged with forgery or a similar crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Because proving intent is so fact-specific, an attorney can help present your fact situation in its most favorable light. Can the state prove that your use of the digital signature was unlawful or that you knew the money you used was counterfeit?

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: People v Johnson.

(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, April 5, 2019

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR DISORDERLY CONDUCT IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, some types of disorderly conduct are more serious than others. Disorderly conduct can mean creating a public disturbance or peeping in windows, but it can also mean filing a false police report as was charged in the recent Jussie Smolett case.

The most familiar definition of disorderly conduct is also the least serious. If you acted unreasonably so as to alarm or disturb others, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. Your conduct must have provoked a breach of the peace. For example, you yelled threats to beat someone up in an alley.

If you peep in windows, the charges are stiffer. It is a Class A misdemeanor if you enter another’s property and deliberately look into their dwelling for a lewd or unlawful purpose.

If you made a false report, the severity of your offense depends on to whom you made the report. Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor if you made false reports to the Department of Public Health under certain statutes. But your offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor if you made the false report to a public safety agency without the reasonable belief the report was necessary.

A false report made without reasonable grounds to the police, emergency services, the fire department or the Department of Children and Family Services upgrades your offense to a Class 4 felony.

Transmitting threats of destruction to school property or violence or death against persons at school is also a Class 4 felony. But the most serious disorderly conduct is transmitting a false bomb scare when you had no reasonable grounds for believing such a threat exists. Doing so is a Class 3 felony.

If you are accused of disorderly conduct, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. As with most crimes, the state must prove all the elements of the offense against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Perhaps you had reasonable grounds to believe the report you made was true. Or perhaps you were not deliberately looking into anyone’s windows, and the victim mistook the angle of your view.

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 Disorderly Conduct 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.)