WHAT IS THE OFFENSE OF CHILD PHOTOGRAPHY BY A SEX OFFENDER IN ILLINOIS?

            Under Illinois law, you may not knowingly take photos or videos of a child without their parent’s consent if you are a child sex offender.  (See 720 ILCS 5/11-24.) You also may not operate any type of business in which you take photos of children or direct anyone else to do so.

A violation of this law is a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison.  If you photographed children at a playground, school, daycare, park, forest preserve or other facility providing programs for children under age 17, your charges can be upgraded to a Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison. Note that freedom of speech is not a defense. (See People v. Rollins.)

If you have been charged with child photography or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  As with most crimes, the state must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  Do you meet the law’s definition of child sex offender?  Did you take the photos knowingly?  Did you have the parent’s consent?  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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THREATENING  SCHOOLS OR PUBLIC OFFICIALS IN ILLINOIS

Calling in a false bomb or shooting threat is not a harmless prank in Illinois.  For example, a Des Plaines man faces several felony and misdemeanor charges even though the DeKalb County Sheriff determined there were no credible threats. (See Des Plaines man accused of threatening schools, judges.)

Under 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(3), you commit disorderly conduct when you transmit a false bomb threat. You threaten a public official under 720 ILCS 5/12-9(a)(1) when you knowingly, directly or indirectly, placing them or their immediate family in reasonable fear of  harm to themselves or their property.  The threat must be conveyed because the official’s performance or nonperformance of their public duty, because you are hostile toward public officials, or because of any other factor related to the official’s public existence.

Under 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(3.5), you threaten a school when you threaten to destroy school property, or threaten violence, death or bodily harm against people at school whether or not school is in session.

Under 720 ILCS 5/26-2(a)(2), you commit telephone harassment when you use the phone intending to threaten another person.

If you are charged with making threats or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Did you knowingly make a threat? Perhaps it was just a bad joke. 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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CAN THE COURT REVOKE MY PRETRIAL RELEASE IN ILLINOIS?

            You were charged with a relatively minor felony. The state did not ask the court to hold you in jail before trial, and you have been out on pre-trial release.  But you got into trouble again, and this time, the state wants you behind bars.

Can they revoke your freedom? The answer is yes, under certain conditions.

Under 725 ILCS 5/110-6, your pretrial release may be revoked after a hearing if you are charged with a felony or Class A misdemeanor that allegedly occurred during your release.  Your release may also be revoked if you violate a protective order or were previously convicted of violating a protective order and the subject of that order is the same person as the victim in the current underlying matter. The State must file a verified petition seeking to revoke your release.

    You may be held in custody while waiting to be transferred to the court where the previous offense is pending.  You must be transferred without unnecessary delay and the hearing must occur within 72 hours from filing the State’s petition or the court’s motion to revoke release.

    Your hearing must be in person unless you waive the right to be physically present, the court determines that the physical health and safety of any person necessary to the proceedings would be endangered, or there are operational challenges to an in person hearing, which the chief judge has documented and approved.

    You also have the right to an attorney and the opportunity to be heard. The court must consider all relevant circumstances, including the nature and seriousness of your crime. The state must show by clear and convincing evidence, that no combination of conditions of release would reasonably ensure your appearance for later hearings or prevent you from committing another crime.

    If the case causing your revocation is dismissed, you are found not guilty or you complete sentencing on it, the court shall, without unnecessary delay, hold a hearing and release you with or without changing your conditions of release.

    If you were previously granted release on charges below a Class A Misdemeanor but you are later charged with a Class A misdemeanor or felony, the court may not revoke your pretrial release but may impose sanctions.

If you are facing a detention hearing, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney, who is familiar with your courthouse, can help you present your case for pretrial release before your specific judge 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.)

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WHEN IS A THREAT PUNISHABLE AS A CRIME?

The First Amendment does not protect threats of violence. However, a threat is not a crime unless the state can show that you consciously disregarded a substantial risk that your statements would be viewed as threatening violence.  The state must show that you were reckless.

The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the prior standard of proof: Did your communication seem threatening to the recipient?  Instead, the judge or jury should focus on your state of mind: Were you aware of your statement’s threatening character?

A number of Illinois laws punish threats of violence including harassment and stalking offenses.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense.  As with most crimes, the state must prove all the elements beyond a reasonable doubt.  Can the state prove you were aware that your messages were threatening? Even if the state’s evidence is airtight, 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.

Reference: Counterman v. Colorado

(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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DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY AT MY ILLINOIS BOND HEARING?

Now, more than ever, it is critical to have an experienced attorney assist you when the court considers releasing you before trial 

As of September 18, 2023, the SAFE-T Act eliminated cash bond.  Therefore, you can no longer guarantee your pretrial release by simply paying.  The state may ask the court to hold you in jail. To do so, the state must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that: (1) the proof is evident or the presumption great that you committed a qualifying offense, (2) your release poses a real and present threat to safety or you are a flight risk, and (3) less restrictive conditions would not avoid such a threat.

Further, the court may deny your release if the judge considers you dangerous.  The court looks at:  (1) the nature and circumstances of your offense and whether it is a violent crime, (2) whether your prior history indicates violent behavior, (3) whether you possess or have access to weapons, (4) the weight of evidence against you, and (5) the nature and seriousness of the threat your release would pose to the community. No one factor is dispositive.

The terms of your pretrial release can be very fact specific, facts that different judges may see very differently.  An experienced attorney, who is familiar with your courthouse, can best argue for your release before your specific judge.  Did the state present enough evidence that you committed a qualifying offense? Can the state show you are a threat to the community or flight risk?  Are there less restrictive conditions that can protect the community while allowing you to remain free?

 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.

References: People v. Davis and People v. Rodriguez

(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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DOES A MATCH ON A DNA DATABASE GIVE POLICE PROBABLE CAUSE?

            The answer is yes.  Even a preliminary match with a federal or state DNA database may give police the probable cause they need to get a search warrant for a separate DNA sample from you. This sample may come from your blood or saliva. 

Furthermore, it does not matter that your DNA sample may have ended up in the database by mistake.  Your later arrest or conviction based on that sample is still valid.

For example, in People v. Cummings, police were investigating the rape of a minor.  Based on sperm from the minor’s oral swab, police got an “association” in a DNA database matching defendant. Defendant argued that probable cause to obtain his DNA did not exist because the database sample came from his prior case with unsubstantiated claims that had not been charged. However, Illinois law specifically states that mistake does not invalidate a database match. What matters is the match between the victim and the offender named in the database.

If you have been charged with a DUI or criminal-related offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense.  As with most crimes, the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Even if the state’s evidence is airtight, 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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CAN I BE ARRESTED WHEN POLICE EXECUTE A SEARCH WARRANT ON ANOTHER PERSON?

            The answer depends on the circumstances.  If you just happened to be on the premises, the police may not search or detain you.  But if you are sufficiently connected to the warrant’s subject, threatening to attack the officer or trying to conceal something named in the warrant, then the police are within their rights.

            To determine if you have a sufficient connection, a court may look at your status, where you live, your conduct and the purpose of your presence. If the warrant doesn’t include you, the police must have independent probable cause. 

For example, in People v. Duffie, the defendant was sleeping unclothed in a room when police executed the warrant.  An officer handed defendant his pants but first searched the pockets and uncovered crack cocaine.  The defendant was convicted of possession, but the appellate court vacated the conviction. The officer lacked independent probable cause to search defendant’s pocket.  Defendant had no resemblance to the warrant’s subject, nor was he acting suspiciously or threateningly to officers. 

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  If the criminal charges against you flow from an unlawful police search,  then an attorney can petition the court to suppress the evidence resulting from the search. In some cases, the judge may even dismiss your charges.

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 725 ILCS 5/108-9.        

(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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CAN YOU USE AN EXPERT ON EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY IN ILLINOIS?

You are charged with a violent crime that took place late at night in your neighborhood. At the time, you were home alone watching TV.  But somehow, two eyewitnesses have picked you out of a photo line up. Can an expert witness challenge their testimony at trial?

Since 2016, Illinois courts have said yes, at the judge’s discretion.  Expert opinion regarding the reliability of eyewitness testimony has become widely accepted. DNA testing has confirmed that eyewitness misidentification is responsible for more wrongful convictions than all other causes combined.

In People v. Lerma,  the Illinois Supreme Court held that the defendant was denied a fair trial when the judge refused to allow an expert on the reliability of eyewitness identification.  In that case, the victim was shot to death while sitting with a friend on his front steps.  The victim (before his death) and the friend identified the defendant as the shooter.  The defendant sought to use an expert to explain common misperceptions about eyewitness testimony.  For example, a witness’s level of confidence in their identification does not equal reliability. 

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense.  As with most crimes, the state must prove all the elements beyond a reasonable doubt.  Did the eyewitnesses really see what they thought they saw?  Even if the state’s evidence is airtight, 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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DOES ARGUING WITH POLICE EQUAL RESISTING ARREST?

            The answer is not necessarily.

            In Illinois, you resist arrest if you knowingly resist or obstruct someone that you know is an officer, firefighter or correctional institution worker in performing any authorized act within their official capacity. See 720 ILCS 5/31-1.

            But what does “resist ” or “obstruct” mean?  The answer depends on your particular facts, which different judges may view very differently. 

Resisting means more than simply talking back to police or arguing your rights, even if your language is abusive. You must commit a physical act that impedes, hinders, interrupts, prevents or delays the performance of the officer’s duties. Examples include going limp, forcefully resisting arrest or physically helping another avoid arrest. To be convicted, you must physically exert yourself in a way that materially opposes an officer’s attempt to perform a lawful act.

For example, in People v. Sadder-Bey, the defendant was polite, but argumentative and  refused multiple commands to exit his car.  The state argued that this refusal equalled resistance. The court disagreed.  Failing to act on an officer’s orders may be resisting. To reach a criminal level, however, this refusal must usually be combined with other opposition, such as defiantly grabbing the steering wheel when an officer says to get out of the car.

If you are charged with resisting arrest, contact an experienced criminal attorney.  An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  “Resisting” may mean different things to different judges. Therefore, it is best to hire an attorney familiar with your courthouse who can present your case 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.)

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ILLINOIS’S NEW LAW ENDING CASH BAIL

The SAFE-T Act went into effect September 18, 2023.  The Act eliminated cash bond but allows a judge to keep you in jail if the state can meet certain criteria. Because a new law is bound to cause confusion, there has been a flurry of appellate court cases under the Act.  Here are some takeaways from those cases:

*The fact you committed a violent offense by itself is not enough to deny pretrial release.  The state must still show by clear and convincing proof that lesser conditions of release would not protect the community. See People v. Stock.

*The state can appeal if you are allowed out before trial.  The appellate court reversed allowing the defendant out on electronic home monitoring and permitting him to remain as a farm supervisor as long as he stayed 500 feet away from minor children.  The defendant was charged with sexually assaulting and abusing minors. The court said there was no way to enforce the 500-foot restriction.  See People v. Willenborg.

*The state needs to give you copies of your criminal history before the hearing. See People v. Mezo.

*A judge cannot revoke your pretrial release because you missed a court date.  However, the court can revoke it if you commit a felony or Class A misdemeanor or violate an order of protection.   People v. Barner

* If you challenge the conditions of pretrial release which were set before September 18, 2023, you reopen those conditions under the SAFE-T Act.  The only way a money bond can remain as a condition is if the you elect to stand on the original terms of your bond. If the you ask the court to reconsider, the court can either order your release with nonmonetary conditions or you’re your release altogether.  See People v. Davidson.

*If you are a threat to one person, that is enough to satisfy the Acts requirement that you are a threat to the community. See People v. Battle.

*Look carefully at whether your offense fits the definition of detainable. In People v. Grandberry, the defendant was originally detained based on aggravated battery, however, aggravated battery is only detainable if it causes great bodily harm or disfigurement. Defendant’s charge was aggravated because the victims were a police officer and a nurse and the state did not allege great bodily harm.  Therefore, the court said defendant should be released.     

If you or your loved one have been charged with a DUI or criminal-related offense, consider hiring an attorney for your detention hearing.  An attorney can look for weaknesses in the state’s petition to keep you in jail.  Did you commit a detainable offense?  Did the state follow procedures?  Even if the reasons for detaining you are strong, an attorney can argue you to release you on less restrictive conditions such as electronic home monitoring.

 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 our related web page at New Rules on Bond.

(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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