Friday, September 24, 2021

WHAT IS THE OFFENSE OF CHILD ENDANGERMENT IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, endangering the life or health of a child is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for subsequent offenses. The offense includes knowingly allowing or causing the endangerment or permitting the child to be placed in an endangering situation. (See 720 ILCS 5/12C-5.)

Under the law, if you leave a child age 6 or younger, unaccompanied by someone at least age 14 and out of your sight, the child may be considered unattended. Illinois courts have convicted parents for leaving a baby in a car for close to an hour and leaving a loaded gun within reach of a child. p>If you are convicted of child endangerment, a judge may defer judgment of your guilt by placing you on probation and requiring you to cooperate with the Department of Child and Family Services. If you successfully complete these terms, the case against you may be dismissed. (See 720 ILCS 5/12C-15).

If you have been charged with endangering a child or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. As with most criminal offenses, the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Can the state prove that you were the person who endangered the child or that you did it knowingly? 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 10, 2021

CAN I PLEAD ENTRAPMENT AS A DEFENSE?

(UPDATE: The Lewis case below was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Lewis on June 24, 2022).

A friend of a friend asked you to help them get some narcotics. You don’t do drugs yourself, but you don’t have a problem with other people using them. At first, you said you couldn’t help, but the person kept badgering you until finally you gave in. Turns out the person was a police officer and you are now charged with dealing.

Is this entrapment?

Quite possibly. To plead entrapment in your defense, you must present at least slight evidence that (1) the State induced you to commit the crime, and (2) you were not otherwise predisposed to do so. Once the trial court accepts your slight evidence, the State must then prove beyond a reasonable doubt why the entrapment defense does not apply. Your predisposition can be shown by proof that you were ready and willing to commit the crime without persuasion and before your initial exposure to government agents.

For example, in People v. Lewis, the defendant was accused of various sex offenses stemming from an online relationship with a child. The defendant, however, presented evidence that he had no predisposition to a sexual interest in children and that an officer was the first person to bring up the possibility of sex with minors and persisted in pursuing that option even after defendant showed he was not interested.

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. Were you pushed into the crime? Even if you weren’t, 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.)