Friday, February 5, 2021

WHAT IS THE NECESSITY DEFENSE UNDER ILLINOIS LAW?

Under Illinois law, you may be able to plead necessity as a defense if you did not cause the situation and you reasonably believed your actions were necessary to avoid a greater harm than the injury which might reasonably result from your own conduct. See 720 ILCS 5/7-13.

To prove necessity, you must show a "specific and immediate threat.” For example in People v. Gullens, the defendant took a gun which a third party had stolen in order to return it. As a result, defendant, who was serving a term of conditional discharge, was violated for being a felon in possession of a weapon. The court, however, upheld defendant’s necessity defense. Defendant had not caused the situation involving a stolen firearm and had only taken the gun in order to return it to its rightful owner since he feared it might otherwise be sold and used in a crime.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Did the police have probable cause to stop you? Was the search legal? Can the state prove all the elements of your offense? Do you have legal justification for your actions such as necessity or self defense? 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.)

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