Generally speaking, before undercover police can record their dealings with you, they must persuade a judge to issue a warrant. But a new Illinois law just made that process a little faster and easier. For certain crimes, police need only get an OK from the prosecutor.

Effective January 1, 2013, the new law only applies to the recording of drug crimes or felonies using force committed during a drug crime.

From the viewpoint of criminal defense attorneys, this change could make it much harder to protect the rights of clients. A judge is traditionally required to sign a warrant in order to ensure that an objective party has reviewed the facts and finds sufficient reason to intrude on your privacy. The new law removes that safeguard in favor of a prosecutor who values being tough on crime above all other interests.

On the other hand, recordings can at times help the defense. In numerous DUI cases, for example, the police videos of field sobriety tests may show a client speaking clearly and performing better than the officer reported. Extensive recordings may tend to raise doubts about the guilt of a client.

If you are charged with a drug crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case to see whether police violated your rights and to formulate the best strategy for your defense.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(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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