Monday, February 21, 2022

DO ILLINOIS POLICE HAVE TO ARREST ME IF THEY SUSPECT I COMMITTED DOMESTIC BATTERY?

Although some states require an officer to make an arrest, Illinois does not.

Under Illinois law, whenever an officer has reason to believe that you have abused, neglected, or exploited a family or household member, the officer shall immediately use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse, neglect, or exploitation. (See 750 ILCS 60/304.) While the officer has discretion over whether to arrest you, he or she can also assist the victim in other ways, such as by: 1) preserving evidence, 2) providing transportation, 3) referring the victim to social services, 4) advising them to seek medical attention, 5) informing them about procedures and 6) accompanying them to pick up personal possessions.

If the officer has probable cause to believe a weapon was involved, the officer may confiscate that weapon subject to constitutional limitations.

If you have been charged with domestic battery or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not try to talk your way out of the situation. What seems like a reasonable excuse to you could end up providing a state’s attorney with the evidence they need to convict you. An experienced attorney can review your situation for your best possible defense. Were you acting in self defense or to protect a third party? Is the victim in fact a household or family member? As with most criminal offenses, the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

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.)

Monday, February 14, 2022

CAN I BE CONVICTED OF DOMESTIC BATTERY BECAISE A THIRD PARTY WAS OFFENDED BY MY CONDUCT?

Not necessarily. A recent Illinois case has clarified that your physical contact must be insulting or provoking to the victim, not a third party.

Under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2, you commit domestic battery if you knowingly without legal justification by any means: (1) cause bodily harm to any family or household member; or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member.

In People v. Ward, the defendant pushed his wife aside and told her to “shut up” while arguing with police at an accident scene involving defendant’s son. The witness who had been rear-ended by defendant’s son was offended, but not defendant’s wife. While a victim need not testify and may even deny being insulted, the state had to present some evidence that the victim was offended. For example the state can show testimony as to how the wife reacted immediately after the push. As a result defendant’s conviction was reversed.

If you have been charged with domestic battery, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not try to talk yourself out of this offense. You may only dig yourself in deeper. Different judges may view the evidence against you very differently. An experienced attorney who is familiar with the courthouse may be able to present your defense 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.)