Criminal Defense Archives - Chicago Criminal Defense Blog
Picture this: on one hand, you have a champion chess player, who has played in a thousand matches. She knows every single trick in the book, because she wrote the book. On the other hand, you have a regular person. They may know the rules, but their understanding of chess strategy is rough.
When you’re talking to the police, you are the regular person, and they are the chess champion. You may make a mistake and not even realize it is a mistake. Police-induced false confessions are one of the largest causes of wrongful convictions, according to Cornell University.
Police know how to extract confessions from people. There is no good way to predict what information the police might use. Remember, they have done this many times before. While some officers do want to uphold justice, some simply want convictions to make themselves look better.
As part of our dedication to you, we want you to understand what you should not say to police.
“Yeah, you can search my car.”
Police need a warrant to search you, your home, or your backpack. In order to search your car, they must establish probable cause. This means that the police should have a reason to believe that you have committed, are committing, or will commit a crime. If they have not established probable cause, you should not let them search your car.
People might not understand that the things they have in their car could lead to legal trouble. If you were speeding and have an empty wine bottle in the trunk, an officer may try to pin a DUI charge on you. You may not think much of the joint you have in your glove box, but a police officer might. They will look for items that you might not consider a big deal.
Police can search whatever you give them consent to. Anything they find can and will be used against you. This applies to cars, homes, apartments, bags, anything.
“See, what happened was…”
When police are talking to you, they want information. Law enforcement might not have enough information to detain or arrest you, and you should not give them this info. Even if it seems like a friendly conversation, the police will be examining your story very closely, looking for any small detail or hole.
When you are being questioned by police, you have a right to speak with a lawyer. In a vast majority of situations, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. They know the games the police are playing, and how to beat them.
“How much would it take to make this go away?”
In the state of Illinois, bribery is a Class 2 Felony. It does not matter if you are at a regular traffic stop, are being interviewed by the police, or are in front of a judge.
Do not talk about, joke about, or mention bribes in any way. Even implying that you will give them money in exchange for legal favors will land you in hot water.
“Just so you know, I have a weapon.”
While we will not debate the merits of these cases, you should know that implying you have a weapon could be taken as a threat. Even in cases where the weapon is legal, knowing you have a gun will put police on edge.
“No, I am not going to take that breathalyzer test.”
People often think they can easily beat a DUI charge if they refuse to take the breath test. While the prosecution may have a more difficult time proving a DUI without it, they may still be able to lay out the proper evidence to convict you. Each case is different.
After you have been arrested for DUI, you will be officially requested to submit to blood, breath, and/or urine tests. When a driver is in custody and does not agree to the tests, he or she may have their license suspended for up to three years.
According to law however, you may refuse to take a preliminary breathalyzer test without consequence. There are also other tests, such as the “walk & turn test” and “horizontal gaze nystagmus test” which are known as “field sobriety tests” and can be refused without consequence as well.
When you are in legal trouble, call Mitchell Sexner. He is an experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, and can help you out today. Call us, day or night, at (800) 996-4824.
While it may be fun to imagine, the rules of the board game Monopoly do NOT actually extend into the real world. That includes the use of Chance and Community Chest cards. But in particular, the “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
This card is just no substitute for having a knowledgeable, experienced, criminal defense attorney by your side during police questioning or court proceedings. If you are arrested and charged with any criminal offense in Chicago, the first thing you should do is call a defense lawyer to represent you. Read the rest »
According to a judge in Ohio: yes, they can.
A man was charged with aggravated arson and insurance fraud, but claimed that he made an effort to save some possessions and flee his burning home. A cardiologist reviewed the man’s pacemaker device and concluded that what he described doing was improbable. While the man’s defense attorney argued the data should be thrown out, the judge allowed it. This may not set a precedent for Chicago, but advancements in medical technology will make similar situations and questions of law more common. Read the rest »
In this modern Internet age, many people looking for love rely on websites to find dating partners. A man looking for love on Craigslist learned the hard way why it is sometimes a mistake to do so. Having found a woman who was looking for “dating,” the pair then checked into a motel room. It was inside the room where the date took an almost fatal turn.
The woman asked the man several times along the way if he was a serial killer, and after he assured her that he wasn’t, she is alleged to have said, “Well, I am a serial killer.” The man said that she then sat on top of him, grabbed a pocket knife, and stabbed him once in the chest. He managed to break free, and called 911 from the motel office. Read the rest »
Psilocybins, aka “magic mushrooms” are toxic mushrooms that can often be found growing out of manure in many a cow pasture. The toxins contained in the mushrooms have hallucinatory properties very similar to those of LSD or peyote. Aside from the impairment to all the body’s senses that one may experience, the drug also has a profound effect upon one’s behavior: many of the mental checks that the mind places on itself to prevent “acting like a complete idiot” go by the wayside.
Recently, two brothers in Indiana—and the unlucky residents of an apartment complex—discovered just how heavy-duty a drug psilocybin is. The two went on a rampage while under the influence of the hallucinogenic mushrooms. According to reports of witnesses, the two ran around buck naked, attacked people, threatened the life of the apartment complex’s property manager (who was warning other residents to stay away from the tripping twosome), damaged property, broke into parked cars (leaving blood in the interiors), and, at one point, were seen passionately kissing each other near a garbage dumpster. So, as a result of these events, the lads are charged with 17 criminal counts, including public nudity, battery, and resisting arrest.
Read the rest »
As criminal defense attorneys, we know that sometimes, police uncover crimes in all kinds of unusual circumstances. Recently in Ohio, police discovered evidence that led to the arrest of an alleged drug dealer after the man called 911 for assistance after he accidentally locked his keys in his car. Normally, this would be no big deal, as police often will assist a motorist by unlocking a door with a “slim jim” tool. This time, however, was different.
Immediately upon opening the door, the officers were greeted by the strong odor of cannabis (also known as marijuana, weed, pot, etc.) emanating from the passenger’s side of the car. At first, the man attempted to blame it on a cigar he had smoked earlier, but the officers weren’t buying that story. The man allegedly admitted that there were two bags of pot in the car. During the search, police uncovered a grinder, a scale, and boxes of sandwich bags with the brand name “Good Sense” (which was something the alleged dealer apparently did not have much of).
The Rise of the Bodycam
In the wake of years of allegations of police misconduct across the country, a movement has taken place insisting officers in the field wear audio/video recording equipment, known as a “body-worn cameras” or “bodycams” to monitor and record their official (and unofficial) activities while on duty. The original intent of these devices was to create an audiovisual record to corroborate an officer’s version of events surrounding any confrontations, investigations, or arrests made, and to defeat any false claims of police misconduct.
Of course, these recordings are also available to contradict an officer’s version of events in a given case where an officer’s version is “less than truthful.” Recently, a bodycam video was used to prove a police officer guilty of obstructing justice and filing false reports and perjury, in connection with his conduct in a drug arrest. Apparently, these bodycams not only capture an officer’s actual conduct in arrests, but also can pick up evidence of an officer actually breaking a law.
The U.S. Department of Justice recently concluded a 13 month long investigation into allegations of police misconduct and brutality in the Chicago Police Department. Their conclusion, according to U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, is that the Chicago Police Department has been engaged in an illegal pattern of excessive force, especially when it came to minorities. Among the abuses committed, police shot at fleeing suspects that presented no immediate threat, shot at vehicles when there was no immediate threat, used tasers or other non-lethal force on suspects that presented no threat, used excessive force against juveniles, and used force to retaliate against, or punish people, in situations when it was not justified.
You were arrested, charged, or cited with a criminal offense, whether it was a felony or misdemeanor, in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois. You appeared in court, and the charges were either dismissed, you were found not guilty after a trial, or perhaps you received a sentence of court supervision, or some expungable form of probation (such as under Section 410 of the Controlled Substances Act, for example). You want to file a petition to expunge the record of your arrest and any court proceedings, but you were previously told that you were unable to do so, due to a prior criminal conviction or convictions on other criminal matters. Up until January 1, 2017, that would have been correct. However, effective January 1, 2017, thanks to an amendment to the Illinois Expungement statute, Chapter 20, Illinois Compiled Statutes, Section 2630/5.2, it is now possible to seek an order expunging an arrest record, despite having previous criminal convictions on your rap sheet.
Recently, a man in Oklahoma was arrested at a do-it-yourself car wash and charged with two counts of animal cruelty. It seems his two dogs were in need of a bath, so he took them to a nearby car wash, the type with those industrial strength power sprayers, and turned it on his dogs, who were in a cage on the back of his pick-up truck. Someone called the police, and when they arrived, he was still at it. The police ordered him to stop, and he just kept spraying, as close as one foot away from the helpless animals, who were soaked and terrified.