Friday, January 28, 2022

CAN A COURT ISSUE A PROTECTIVE ORDER BEFORE YOU ARE CONVICTED?

Under Illinois law, the answer is yes “if the court finds prima facie evidence that a crime involving domestic violence, a sexual offense or stalking has been committed.” (See 725 ILCS 5/112A-11.5.) Prima facie evidence can include the complaint against you or a protective order in a separate civil case brought by the same petitioner. You may, however, present evidence that you had a valid defense in which case the court may decide not to issue the order.

If you are facing a possible protective order due to a criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can help present your most favorable evidence in hopes of defeating the protective order. An attorney can also review your case for its best possible defense. Can the state prove all the elements of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt? Do you have a defense such as necessity or self defense?

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.)

Sunday, January 9, 2022

WHAT IS AGGRAVATED BATTERY IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, you commit battery if you knowingly, without legal justification, physically hurt another person or cause contact of an offensive nature, such as by grabbing them. But that battery can be upgraded to an aggravated offense depending on the type of injury, victim or place of the offense. See 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05.)

Types of injury can include if you knowingly strangled someone or caused great bodily harm, disfigurement or severe and permanent disability. That includes injury from a bomb, flammable gas, poison or throwing a caustic substance such as lye at someone.

Even if the injury was not severe, aggravation can be based on who your victim is. It is aggravated battery to harm a child under 13, a profoundly intellectually disabled person, pregnant woman, senior citizen over age 60 or a teacher. The charge is also enhanced if you harm a State of Illinois or school district official, police officer, firefighter, community policing volunteer, prison official or security guard when they are performing their duties or if you are retaliating against them because of those duties.

Special victims also include nurses and taxi drivers, and because of the pandemic, merchants relaying safety directions due to a public health emergency. In other words, it is aggravated battery to hit a store worker who is telling you to mask up.

You can be charged with aggravated battery if the offense occurred in a public place, church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship, sports venue or domestic violence shelter.

If you are charged with aggravated battery or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law immediately. Do not try to explain or talk your way out of the situation. What sounds like a reasonable explanation to you might only dig you in deeper with police. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Did you have legal justification for the battery? Were you defending yourself or a third party? Was the contact truly offensive? Did you commit the battery knowingly? Perhaps you struck out not expecting that anyone was near you.

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, January 1, 2022

HOW YOUR BAR FIGHT CAN BECOME A FELONY IN ILLINOIS

You were out with friends at a bar. Some guy overheard something you said that he didn’t like. He came over and insulted you. You were not about to let that stand, so you punched him. You knew you lost control, but you were not expecting to be charged with a felony on a first offense. Why is it a felony? What can you do? Under Illinois law, you commit battery, if you knowingly without legal justification by any means (1) cause bodily harm or (2) make physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature. While battery is a misdemeanor, it can be upgraded to aggravated battery, a felony, for a variety of reasons including the location of your fight.

Under Illinois law, such locations include “a public way, public property, a public place of accommodation or amusement, a sports venue, or a domestic violence shelter, or in a church, synagogue, mosque, or other building, structure, or place used for religious worship.” A court looks at whether the offense occurred in an area that was accessible to the public. If so, your offense becomes a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison. Some bars, however, are exclusive and private. If the bar was exclusive and private, your charges would not be upgraded on that basis.

If you have been charged with a battery or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can probe for weaknesses in the states’ evidence. As with most crimes, the prosecution must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Was the bar public or private? Did you have legal >justification such as by acting in self defense? Was the physical contact really insulting or provoking? 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 bargain 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.

See Illinois Battery and Illinois Aggravated Batterystatutes. See also People v. Crawford.

(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.)