Saturday, August 22, 2020

CAN POLICE SEARCH MY MOUTH DURING A STOP?

According to Illinois law, the answer is probably not--especially if the police used force.

In People v. Augusta, defendant was stopped for failure to signal when turning. The officer asked defendant if he had something in his mouth, which defendant denied. The officer ordered defendant to open his mouth, but then began to choke him. Defendant had in fact been concealing bags of drugs.

The trial judge denied defendant’s motion to suppress the drug evidence, stating that the officer had probable cause to believe the contraband was in defendant’s mouth.

The appellate court disagreed. The court found that the officer’s actions violated a law barring a peace officer from using a chokehold, or any lesser contact with the throat or neck area of another, in order to prevent ingesting the evidence. (See Prohibited Use of Force by A Peace Officer). A chokehold is defined as any direct pressure intended to reduce or prevent the intake of air. The officer’s conduct met the definition of “lesser contact.”

The court further held that the drugs were not in plain view. An officer may seize an object without a warrant if it is in plain view as long as: (1) the officers are lawfully in a position from which they can view the object, (2) the incriminating character of the object is immediately apparent, and (3) the officers have a lawful right of access to the object. The court stated that the incriminating nature of the object was not immediately apparent as the officers only saw a piece of plastic and a bulge in defendant’s cheek. While plastic in the mouth is unusual, the court did not find it was inherently incriminating.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Was the police stop and search legal? If not, an attorney may be able to bring a motion asking the judge to suppress the evidence. Bear in mind that different judges weigh the facts quite differently. Therefore, an attorney who is familiar with the courthouse may best present your particular situation in its most favorable 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.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

ILLINOIS CRIMINALIZES ATTACKING MERCHANTS WHO ENFORCE COVID-RELATED SAFETY RULES

As of August 7, 2020, Illinois has made it a Class 3 felony to attack any merchant who attempts to enforce COVID-related safety guidelines.

The new law amends the aggravated battery statute. Section (720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(d)(12)) applies when you commit battery (other than with a firearm) against a merchant who is performing his or her duties, including relaying government or employer-related health/safety guidelines, during and for six months after a government-declared state of disaster due to a public health emergency.

If you are charged with aggravated battery or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. As with most criminal offenses, the state must still prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Under Illinois law, battery is defined as knowingly and without legal justification causing bodily harm or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature. Did you make physical contact or were you simply arguing? Was the merchant performing his or her duties? Even if you clearly went off the rails, 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, August 7, 2020

HOW WILL MY BAIL BE DETERMINED?

If you are arrested for a criminal offense, you may be released from the police station on personal recognizance, that is, without paying bail. If not, however, you may appear before a judge who will set bail and/or determine any other conditions of your release that are necessary to reasonably assure 1) your appearance, 2) the safety of the community, and 3) the likelihood of compliance with all conditions of bail.

Based on available information, the court looks at

  1. The nature and circumstances of the offense charged,
  2. Whether the offense involved the use or threats of violence,
  3. The likelihood the state will upgrade the charges against you,
  4. The likelihood of conviction,
  5. The potential sentence upon conviction,
  6. The weight of the evidence against you,
  7. Whether you have the motivation or ability to flee,
  8. Your past conduct,
  9. Whether the evidence shows that you engaged in significant possession, manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, either individually or with others, and
  10. Whether you were already on bond or pretrial release pending trial.

The court must use the least restrictive conditions of bond necessary to insure your appearance and protect the integrity of the judicial system from threats to third parties. Any conditions of release should be nonmonetary. The court must also consider your socio-economic circumstances.

Conditions can include electronic home monitoring, curfews, drug counseling, stay-away orders and in-person reporting.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney may be able to bring favorable information to the judge’s attention in hopes of reducing your bail.

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 725 ILCS 5/110-5.

(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.)