Category Archives: Criminal Defense

Naperville criminal defense attorney

If you are arrested on suspicion of a crime, police officers will likely want to perform a search and seize any evidence which could be used against you. However, they must follow the laws when doing so. If you believe your rights have been violated by an illegal search and seizure, you should seek legal counsel immediately. The laws can be complicated, and there is often a fine line between what police can and cannot do when it comes to searching and/or taking your property. Even if the police found and seized drugs or other illegal contraband from your property or person, you may be able to have that evidence suppressed if it was not legally obtained. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures, and an experienced attorney can determine whether your rights have been violated.

What Is Search and Seizure?

A “search” is a means through which government officials (usually police officers) go through a person’s house, vehicle, documents, and more, looking for evidence of illegal activity. In general, police will need a warrant to search a home or a car, but they can sometimes get around this if they have “probable cause.”

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St. Charles Defense Attorney

When you are arrested because you are accused of a crime, it can be a frightening experience. There is the uncertainty of what will happen to you, but also a feeling that you have no control of the situation. It is important to remember you do have rights as an arrested citizen. The United States Constitution gives each and every U.S. citizen certain rights when they face criminal allegations.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

In criminal trials, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff or prosecutor to prove the defendant is guilty, rather than the defendant having to prove they are innocent. It is presumed all defendants are innocent until they are proven to be guilty of the alleged crime. Guilt must also be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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St. Charles criminal defense lawyer rightsExcept for in certain cases where there is probable cause to believe you committed a crime, you cannot be arrested until the police have a valid warrant for your arrest. This does not mean you will not interact with law enforcement before being arrested – you likely will. And during these interactions, there will be numerous opportunities for you to incriminate yourself. Successful criminal defense depends largely on avoiding self-incrimination. Keep the following tips in mind during your law enforcement interactions to avoid incriminating yourself.

Do Not Speak with Law Enforcement

If you remember nothing else about avoiding incrimination during your initial interaction with law enforcement, remember this: you have the right to remain silent. There are a few circumstances under which you are required to identify yourself to police. They are:

  • If you are stopped while driving a car, you must show your driver’s license; and
  • If you are in a public space, and law enforcement has reason to believe you were involved in a crime, they may ask you to identify yourself. If the officers have identified themselves as police officers in this circumstance, you must comply with their request.

Beyond identifying yourself, you are not required to answer any questions.

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St. Charles child abuse defense attorneyAs a parent, one of the worst things you can face is an accusation of shaking your baby or other forms of child abuse. When you are accused of this type of offense, a lot is on the line, including substantial and possibly permanent changes to your parenting plan, potentially losing your parental rights to your child, and criminal penalties if you are convicted of child abuse. When you are facing this kind of accusation, it is best to be proactive and start working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to clear your name and ensure that you can keep your relationship with your child.

Get Legal Representation as Soon as Possible

Do not discuss the case with anybody without first securing legal representation, and do not take any legal action without working with your lawyer. Working with the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) can be complicated, so it is best to enlist an experienced lawyer to help you navigate its system.

Comply With All Court Orders

To protect your child, the court may temporarily remove him or her from your care. If this happens, follow the court’s orders. It can be painful and feel unfair to have your child removed based on an accusation, but refusing to cooperate with the court will only hurt your case.

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Naperville wrongful imprisonment attorneyThe criminal justice system in the United States is not perfect. Even with competent criminal defense counsel, innocent individuals are sometimes wrongfully convicted of crimes and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. The 2015 Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer brought this issue to many viewers’ attention.

When DNA testing became sophisticated enough to use in criminal investigations, it became an important tool used to prove the innocence of many convicted individuals. Since the first DNA exoneration in 1989, 321 people in the United States have been exonerated based on DNA evidence. In total, 1,467 people have been exonerated in the United States.

How Are Innocent Individuals Exonerated?

As discussed above, DNA evidence from a crime scene can be used to prove that the individual convicted of the crime is innocent. When new evidence or other facts related to a case arise, the case may be re-tried. Throwing out certain evidence, using newly discovered evidence, and working with new details – like a truthful testimony after determining a witness in the first trial lied or the realization that a defendant made a false confession– can change how the court rules on a case, ultimately finding the defendant innocent.

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