Friday, September 27, 2019

CAN I BE CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED BATTERY IF THE OFFICER IS OFF DUTY?

You picked a fight with the wrong guy--an off duty police officer who was moonlighting as a bouncer at your favorite bar. The charge would have been simple battery if the bouncer hadn’t been a cop, but instead you are charged with aggravated battery. Since the officer was off duty, can you still be convicted?

The answer is yes, provided the officer was performing his official duties. A recent Illinois case has held that preventing a crime, even to himself, falls within an officer’s official duties even if the officer is off work at the time.

In People v. Brewer, the defendant was convicted of first degree murder based on killing an officer in the course of his official duties. In this case, the state sought a higher sentence based on the victim’s status as an officer rather than asking for increased charges. The defendant argued that the officer was merely trying to defend himself as a crime victim and was not acting in the course of his official duties. The court disagreed.

The court held that any action taken by an officer to prevent a crime, including a crime against himself, was taken in the performance of official duties. An officer has the duty to maintain public order wherever he or she may be. The officer’s duties are not limited to a specific time and place. The defendant’s actions toward the officer was the crime which the officer had a duty to prevent.

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. Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if 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.)

Friday, September 20, 2019

THE CRIME OF UNAUTHORIZED VIDEO RECORDING IN ILLINOIS

In these days of ready access to webcams, cell phones and live video streaming, Illinois law has laid down some limits. Ignoring those limits can cost you criminal charges.

Under 720 ILCS 5/26-4, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony if you knowingly make a video or transmit live video of another person without that person’s consent in any of the following places:

(a) In a restroom, tanning bed, tanning salon, locker room, changing room, or hotel bedroom. (It is also illegal to place or cause to be placed a video recording or transmitting device in any of those places. Note that the definition of restroom is not limited to public facilities but includes restrooms in a person’s home).

(b) In another person’s residence without that person’s consent. (The definition of residence includes a rental dwelling but does not include areas to which the general public has access such as halls or stairways. Again, placing a video device in such an area is illegal. In People v. Maillet, the court held that the law applied where defendant recorded another resident in defendant’s own home).

(c) Outside the other person’s residence through use of an audio or video device that records or transmits from a remote location.

(d) Under or through clothing worn by the other person in order to view their body or undergarments.

You may also be charged if you knowingly disseminated or allowed such a video to be disseminated if you knew the video was made in violation of the law.

The law does exempt law enforcement officers, correctional officers and news reporters in certain situations such as where an officer pursues a criminal investigation or a news reporter covers a sports event from the locker room.

If you have been charged with a unauthorized video recording or other offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Do the police have probable cause to arrest you? Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if the police acted lawfully 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.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

WHAT ARE YOUR CHILD’S RIGHTS WHEN QUESTIONED BY POLICE?

After getting in trouble at school, your minor child was questioned by police. You were not present, and your child was scared and started talking.

What are your child’s rights?

Under 705 ILCS 405/5-401.5, your child’s statement is presumed inadmissible as evidence if an officer or other public official takes your child’s statement during a custodial interrogation without first reading your child his or Miranda rights. The officer must then ask: (A) “Do you want to have a lawyer?” and (B) “Do you want to talk to me?”

Further, any statement your minor child makes as a result of custodial interrogation conducted at a police station or other place of detention is presumed inadmissible as evidence unless the custodial interrogation is electronically recorded, and the recording is substantially accurate and not intentionally altered. Recording is only required for certain offenses such as felonies and misdemeanor sex offenses. An unrecorded statement may still be admitted under certain circumstances, such as when 1) electronic recording was not feasible, 2) your child spontaneously says something that wasn’t responding to a question, or 3) your child asks to talk without being recorded.

A statement made without the above safeguards may become admissible if the state can show by a preponderance of the evidence that the statement was voluntarily given and is reliable based on the totality of the circumstances.

Whether the above safeguards apply may depend on if your child is considered to be “in custody.” The above law defines “in custody” as “any interrogation (i) during which a reasonable person in the subject’s position would consider himself or herself to be in custody and (ii) during which a question is asked that is reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.”

If your child has been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your child’s case for its best possible defense. Was your child in custody? Did the police follow proper procedures? Can the state prove all the elements of your child’s offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if your child’s confession is admissible, an attorney can help protect his or her rights going forward and may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your child’s behalf.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See also In re Jose A.

(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.)