Do police need a warrant to search your house?
Sometimes – but in many cases, police can barge right into your home and begin searching for contraband or evidence that they can later use against you. In fact, most searches occur without a warrant. Police can search your house without your consent if:
- You provide your consent
- Evidence is in “plain view”
- You are arrested
- Police worry that the time it would take to get a warrant would jeopardize public safety or result in the destruction of evidence
When Police Need a Warrant… And When They Don’t
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Consent to a Police Search
When a police officer knocks on your door and says, “Can I come in and have a quick look around?” your first […]
Burglary charges are serious – and the penalties are harsh if the court convicts you.
So what makes up the crime of burglary, and what are the consequences of a conviction?
Here’s what you need to know.
Burglary Charges and Penalties
The police can charge you with the crime of burglary under 720 ILCS 5/19-1. That law says a person is guilty if they knowingly enter a place without authority to do so while intending to commit a felony or theft inside.
Burglary itself is a felony, and there are multiple charges that can stem from one incident – including residential burglary and possession of burglary tools. Plain burglary is a Class 2 felony that comes with a penalty of 3 to 7 years in prison.
Residential burglary, which is a Class 1 felony that carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, is one of the more severe burglary charges. That one’s governed by 720 ILCS 5/19.3, and it requires that you enter a person’s residence (the law says “the dwelling place of another”) while intending to commit a felony or theft inside.
Possession of Burglary […]
Like adults, children have the right to an attorney’s defense – but sometimes parents aren’t aware of the scope of juvenile criminal defense available.
Juvenile Criminal Defense: What Parents Need to Know
When your child is accused of a crime, the first thing you do is start worrying. What if he’s convicted? What if she has to go to a juvenile detention facility? What do I do next?
The good news is that you can hire a juvenile defense attorney in Chicago or the suburbs to preserve your child’s rights and defend him or her in court.
What Does a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney Do?
A juvenile criminal defense lawyer will talk to you and your child about the incident that led up to his or her arrest. He’ll get all the facts in the case from you, and he’ll examine the evidence the prosecution has. At the same time, he’ll begin preparing a defense that gets your child the best possible outcome in court; sometimes this even involves negotiating with the prosecutor to get a better outcome.
Your child’s attorney will also be present when police question you and your child about the […]
If you’re like most people, you’ve heard the term white-collar crime – but what is it, and what types of crime does it cover?
White-Collar Crime: What You Need to Know
White-collar crime isn’t an actual criminal charge. It’s a term that describes a wide range of crimes that people commit for financial gain, typically in a business or professional setting.
Anyone can commit a white-collar crime, which is characterized by concealment, deceit or a violation of trust. The main motivation for these types of crime is financial gain (or to avoid losing money).
Some white-collar crime involves corporate fraud, which can include:
- Falsely accounting for money
- Falsification of net asset values
- Fraudulent trading
- Illicit transactions performed to avoid regulations
- Insider trading
- Misrepresenting a company’s financial condition
- Misuse of corporate property for personal gain
- Some market timing schemes
- Tax violations
There are other types of white-collar crimes, too, including:
- Financial institution fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Intellectual property theft or piracy
- Money laundering
What if You’re Charged With a White-Collar Crime?
Your best bet when you’re […]
If you’ve been accused of a crime in Chicago, Skokie or Rolling Meadows, it’s probably a good idea to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. Your lawyer will be there to explain your rights, talk to you about possible outcomes for your case, and help you make the right decisions if the prosecutor offers you a plea bargain.
But what is a plea bargain, and why would a prosecutor offer it?
What is a Plea Bargain?
Many cases are resolved through plea bargaining, but not all. There’s no way to predict whether the prosecutor (the prosecutor is the state’s attorney) will offer you one, but just in case, it pays to know what it is.
A plea bargain, which is sometimes called a plea agreement or plea deal, the defendant (you) agrees to plead guilty to one or more charges in exchange for a more lenient sentence. In many cases, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge than one that he or she could stand trial (for example, battery instead of aggravated battery) so the prosecutor still gets a conviction – […]
If you’ve been charged with robbery in Chicago, Skokie or Rolling Meadows, you may need tough legal representation from an aggressive Illinois criminal defense attorney – and here’s why.
Robbery Charges in Illinois
Robbery is the crime of taking property from someone else by force. There are three types: straight (or strong-arm) robbery, aggravated robbery, and armed robbery.
Robbery is different from theft, which occurs when you obtain or exert unauthorized control over someone else’s property, or deceive the owner or threaten the owner to get it.
Straight, Plain or Strong-Arm Robbery
Straight robbery, which is sometimes called plain robbery or strong-arm robbery, occurs when you force someone to give you his or her property. If you mug someone to steal a wallet or a purse, you have committed straight robbery.
Straight robbery is a Class 2 felony, unless the victim is 60 years of age or older; then it becomes a Class 1 felony. It’s also a Class 1 felony if it happens in a daycare center, a childcare facility, a place of worship or a school.
Aggravated robbery is larceny (stealing) that you commit by using a […]
If you’re found guilty of a sex crime, you’ll most likely have to include your name on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry – but what is that, and what kind of information does it include?
What is the Illinois Sex Offender Registry?
The Illinois Sex Offender Registry is an online database that people can search, and it includes a lot of identifying information, including the offender’s:
- Date of birth
- Alias dates of birth
- Address (or correctional institution, if the person is incarcerated)
- Whether the person is a sexual predator
- Crime committed
- County of conviction
- Photos of the person convicted, including a photo history if one is available
What Crimes Involve Registration on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry?
You can be ordered to register as a sex offender if you commit certain crimes, including:
- Child pornography
- Criminal sexual assault (rape)
- Criminal sexual abuse
- Sexual misconduct with a person with a disability
- Kidnapping or child abduction when the offense was sexually motivated
If you are required to register, you’ll have to let the Illinois Department of Corrections know each time you change addresses for more than three […]
If you’re like many people, you’re aware when you make a mistake – and you know that working with a Chicago criminal defense attorney is one way to get the best possible outcome in your case.
So what happens if you’ve committed a crime, admitted to police or investigators that you’re guilty without your lawyer present, and now you’re concerned about what’s going to happen to you?
What to Do if You’ve Already Admitted Guilt
First things first: Don’t panic if you’ve already told police or investigators you were guilty of committing a crime. Talk to your criminal defense lawyer about the situation and find out how serious the situation is. Your lawyer will probably ask you several questions, including:
- What were the circumstances leading up to your arrest?
- Why were you arrested?
- What did you tell police?
- How did police question you?
- Are there witnesses that the police may have spoken with about your case?
- Do the police have any evidence, other than your confession, that proves you committed the crime?
- Why did you admit guilt, and how did you admit guilt?
Your lawyer’s job is to preserve your rights […]
Credit card fraud is a serious crime in Illinois, and it’s one that carries serious penalties. If you’re charged with credit card fraud, here’s what you need to know.
What is Credit Card Fraud?
Credit card fraud is kind-of a blanket term that includes things like:
- Making false statements to get credit or debit cards
- Possessing someone else’s credit card or debit card (without that person’s consent) with the intent to use, transfer or sell it
- Using a credit or debit card to defraud another person
- Using a counterfeit, expired, revoked, unissued or forged card
- Using another person’s credit card as collateral for a debt
- Selling or buying a debit or credit card without the issuer’s permission
- Possession of a lost credit or debit card (provided that you know it’s lost) with the intent to use, transfer or sell it
What if You’re Accused of Credit Card Fraud?
If you’re accused of credit card fraud, you may want to talk to a Chicago, Skokie or Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. The penalties for a conviction are harsh (credit card fraud can be a Class 4 felony, Class 3 felony, or Class A misdemeanor, depending on the […]
If you’re arrested for driving under the influence, or DUI, in Chicago or the surrounding communities, don’t panic. Get in touch with a Chicago DUI lawyer right away – your attorney can help preserve your rights and, if possible, challenge evidence that the prosecution has against you.
What to Do if You’re Arrested for DUI in Chicago
Police have been known to set up sobriety checkpoints around Chicago, and during the holidays, they’re actively looking for drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The police are legally allowed to pull you over if they suspect that you’ve been drinking and driving (or that you’ve been using drugs and driving). They can ask you to step out of your car and take a field sobriety test or to take a breath test that’s supposed to measure the amount of alcohol in your system.
If police take you to jail, they’ll allow you to make a phone call. You should use that call to get in touch with a DUI attorney who will be able to give you case-specific legal advice about what to do next.
Don’t offer information or an explanation of your innocence until you’ve talked […]