Evidence

Friday, October 17, 2014

Everything You Need to Know about Police Searches in Chicago

Illinois law can be pretty confusing when it comes to police searches. When are they allowed to search your home, your car or your other property? When can police search you? Can you refuse?

People often ask their criminal defense lawyers these questions, but usually they ask after it’s already happened. It’s a good idea to know when and what police are allowed to search before it happens.

When it’s Legal for Chicago Police to Search

There are times when police are legally allowed to search you or your property, including:

  • After you’re arrested. Police have to search you when they arrest you for their own safety. They’re making sure that you’re not carrying any weapons. If they find drugs or other things you shouldn’t have, those things can be used against you in court.
  • When they see something illegal in plain sight. If you’re pulled over and you have a marijuana roach in your cup holder, stolen property spilling out of your trunk or an illegal weapon sitting on your back seat, the police have the law on their side when it comes to searching your vehicle.
  • When they’re reasonably certain that you’re involved in the commission of a crime. If you speed away from a bank that’s just been robbed by someone matching your description, police may legally be able to search your vehicle.
  • When they have a warrant. If a judge feels that it’s necessary to search you or your property, he or she will issue a warrant. With that warrant, police have the legal right to search.
  • When you consent. If police say, “Do you mind if I have a look around?” they’re asking for your consent to search. When you say yes, you’ve given it. It’s the same if they say, “Would you mind popping your trunk for me?”
  • When it’s absolutely necessary. Police can search people or property if they feel it’s necessary to prevent immediate danger to life or to stop the destruction of evidence.

Keep in mind, though, that each of these types of searches has to follow the letter of the law. If you think you were illegally searched, or that your property was, talk to your Chicago criminal defense lawyer so he can examine your case.

When it’s Illegal for Chicago Police to Search

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that you’re safe from illegal searches. For that reason, police can’t just stop you and frisk you when you’re walking out of Starbucks. They can’t kick down your door and dump your underwear drawer searching for something that you may or may not have.

If a police officer asks if you’ll consent to a search, whether it’s of your person, your vehicle or your property, you don’t have to say yes. You have the right to demand that he or she produce a warrant. That is your constitutional right.

If you believe you’ve been searched illegally, make sure you call a Chicago criminal defense lawyer immediately. There may be a way your attorney can protect your rights if police have violated them.


Friday, September 19, 2014

What to Do if Police Interrogate Your Child

Police can be intimidating, particularly to children – and many kids don’t know that they have the same right to remain silent that adults do. So what should you do if you find out that police interrogated your child without you?

Before you do anything else, call to a Chicago criminal defense attorney. He’ll start to do damage control and ensure that your child’s rights were not violated.

Do Juveniles Have Rights?

Like adults, kids have the right to have an attorney present when they speak to police after an arrest. Often, investigators take advantage of their youthful ignorance and press for answers and lead kids to believe that talking will help their case. (And just like with adults, it’s usually better not to say anything at all.)

Unfortunately, kids can accidentally say something that can be used against them in court—even if they’re completely innocent—and once they’ve said something, they can’t take it back.

The worst part is that children may feel like they’re being detained even when they’re not. They don’t know to ask, which can actually lead to an arrest if they stick around and answer questions.

As a parent, you have the right to be notified if your child is taken into custody.

What to Do if Police Interrogate Your Child

When you talk to your Chicago criminal defense lawyer, make sure that you provide him with all the details you have. Your lawyer will probably want to speak with your child, as well. If possible, get a copy of the police report so that your attorney can look it over and determine whether your child was illegally detained or whether his or her rights were violated.

Talking to Your Kids about Police Interrogations

The best time to talk to your children about how to deal with police is before it ever happens. Make sure that your kids know they can ask police if they’re being detained – and that if they’re not being detained, they’re free to leave the area. Tell them that they don’t have to say anything until you arrive with a lawyer.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Self-Incrimination Through Social Media

It’s no secret that ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends are snooping on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles, but you might be surprised to discover that others are looking, too. From potential employers and landlords to law enforcement officers, anybody can see what you post on public profiles.

If you’re caught up in legal trouble and social media is somehow involved, call a Chicago criminal defense attorney right away. No matter what you’ve been accused of doing, working with a lawyer as soon as possible is usually your best bet.

When Social Media is Used for Spying

Public profiles are just that: public. Even if your profiles are not public and friends of friends can see the things that you post, they might as well be public. What it boils down to is that you voluntarily posted evidence that can (and probably will) be used against you in court.

It’s not uncommon for police, prosecutors and detectives to cruise social media sites to get the information they need. There have been numerous cases where Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts have been used as evidence and the accused were convicted as a result. Check out these instances of social media becoming the enemy:

These aren’t the only cases, either. A convicted felon in Florida was busted with weapons and charged with 142 separate felonies when a deputy found his Instagram page packed with pictures that were used as evidence.

The point is that you should never post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your grandma, your pastor or the police to see. If you have, and you’ve gotten into trouble, make sure you get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer who understands the impact those social media posts will have on your case.

By , Chicago criminal defense lawyer



Monday, June 11, 2012

Interrogations

Police will often call you before making an arrest and ask for a statement to explain your version of events.  It is imperative to have an attorney accompany you to the police department in order to protect your rights. Not doing so can give the police and prosecutors leverage down the road in court if a confession is used against you.  Matt Fakhoury, A Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, will accompany you to the police department to maintain your rights.  Start this difficult process out right by having the best defense on your side.  Contact us now for a free case review.


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