Tuesday, August 24, 2021

WHAT IS SELF DEFENSE IN ILLINOIS?

Under Illinois law, you act in self defense if: (1) there is a threat of unlawful force against you; (2) you are not the aggressor; (3) the danger of harm was imminent; (4) your use of force was necessary; (5) you actually and subjectively believed there was a danger that required you to use that force; and (6) your belief was objectively reasonable. See 720 ILCS 5/7-1. Self defense can include defense of another.

To claim self defense, you cannot be the initial aggressor. Therefore, you cannot start a fight and then cry self defense because you were on the losing end. However, throwing the first punch does not necessarily make you the aggressor if the other party initially provoked the use of force.

For example, People v. Cruz involved a dispute that started on a Chicago Transit Authority bus. The defendant got on the bus without at first paying his fare and was yelling at the driver. The driver and another passenger named Perkins discussed the defendant’s difficult behavior. After some back and forth, Perkins grabbed defendant and threw the first punch. Defendant stabbed Perkins in the chest. Although Perkins threw the initial punch, defendant could not claim self defense because he had brandished a knife. The court held that brandishing a weapon is one way for a defendant to become the initial aggressor.

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. Do your actions qualify for self defense or another legal defense such as necessity? An attorney who is familiar with your particular judge may be able to present the facts of your case in their most persuasive 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.)

Saturday, August 7, 2021

WHAT IS AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE BASED ON “POSITION OF TRUST?”

Under one definition (720 ILCS 5/11-1.60(f)), you commit aggravated criminal sexual abuse if 1) you have sexual conduct with a victim who is aged 13 to 17, 2) you are at least age 17, and 3) you hold a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim.

In Illinois, “trust,” means the victim has confidence in your integrity, ability, character, and truth. For example, in People v. Miki, the defendant was a soccer coach, and the victim had been on his team starting in sixth grade. The criminal conduct occurred about a month after she had left the team when she was 17. In finding defendant held a position of trust, the court reasoned that the victim’s family allowed her to ride alone with him to games. Further, the defendant, the victim and their families attended the same church, where the victim’s father was a pastor. The victim at times sat with defendant during services. Therefore, the evidence was sufficient to uphold defendant’s conviction based on a position of trust.

If you have been charged with criminal sexual abuse or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Whether you occupy a “position of trust” can be a highly fact specific question, the answer to which may depend on your particular judge. An attorney who is familiar with the courthouse can best attempt to present the facts of your case in their most favorable light in the hopes of winning a not guilty verdict. Even if the evidence is overwhelming, the attorney 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.)