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Category Archives: Criminal Law

DuPage County criminal defense lawyer, smart technology in court, Fourth Amendment rights, Fifth Amendment rights, criminal investigatorsAs technology advances, our lives seemingly become easier. We track our movements and sleep habits with products like Fitbit. We run searches, order new bedding, and schedule appointments by the sound of our voice using Siri and Alexa. Even hearts have technological assistance from pacemakers. Yet while these devices simplify our daily activities, they also simplify investigations for police officers. Your smart technology can and will be used against you in a criminal case.


As one man discovered in 2016, the ever-present “Big Brother” has a location inside of pacemakers as well. According to the man, he was asleep when his Ohio home caught on fire. He quickly packed a suitcase with clothes, several other bags with various items, his computer, and a charger for his medical device. He then used his cane to break a window, toss out the belongings, and flee the burning home. The police became suspicious of the man when his story changed details. Additionally, both he and his house smelled of gasoline, and the fire had multiple starting points, which is highly unusual. Police retrieved data from the suspect’s pacemaker which, after medical analysis, did not match up with the man's version of what happened. The case is still awaiting trial.

Fitness Trackers

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DuPage County defense attorney, warrantless entry,  unreasonable searches and seizures, expectation of privacy, Fourth AmendmentThe proverbial expression, “a man’s home is his castle” refers to the rights of individual privacy within one’s own home. Like the ruler of a domain, residents determine who may enter and who must stay outside. You have rights granted by the Fourth Amendment that protect your home against unreasonable searches and seizures. However, if exigent circumstances exist, officers may still legally enter.

What Does the Law Say?

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects citizens’ expectations of the right to privacy by preventing the government from entering homes, searching belongings, or taking items without following proper protocol. This protocol standard does not protect information available to the public, however, because there is no expectation of privacy. The police do not need to ignore what they see when it is available to everyone’s view and thus gives them reasonable suspicion and allows them to stop and frisk a suspect or search an area.

For example, if an officer pulls over a driver and sees a weapon and a bag of marijuana in plain view, then there is no expectation of privacy. However, an officer must have a warrant when exploring a domicile or other private sector, and a warrant is only issued by a judge after the presentation of probable cause—there are facts available that would be suspicious to any reasonable person.

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Battered Woman Syndrome, PTSD,  domestic violence, repeated domestic abuseVictims who endure prolonged, severe and numerous episodes of domestic violence frequently have physical, mental, or emotional damages. In many cases, the psychological trauma lasts longer than the physical symptoms.

Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and depression are all commonly observed in domestic violence survivors. Another consequence stemming from the trauma is Battered Woman Syndrome, which can either make the injured party endure the abuse without retaliation or defend themselves, so the violence ends indefinitely.

The Stages of Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS)

Battered Woman Syndrome is now regarded as a form of PTSD and is accepted legally as a psychological disorder. Over time, the sufferer becomes so depressed and defeated that he or she begins to believe he or she alone is the cause of the abuse and there is no way to escape it. This learned helplessness can convince a victim to stay an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes, the individual remains because he or she hopes his or her abuser will change. This belief originates from the conditioning from “honeymoon phase” of the abuse cycle, which is:

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obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, Wheaton criminal defense attorney,  obstructing arrest, Illinois criminal recordMaintaining one's composure is often the best way to handle an interaction with an on-duty police officer. Although an individual does not have to be so kind as to give an officer incriminating evidence about himself or herself, treating an officer with a fair amount of courtesy is always advisable. When interactions remain amicable, officers are more inclined to reciprocate.

However, police officers have bad days just like like anyone else. In some cases, emotions can rise and result in anger, hostility, and an argument. If you argue with an officer making an arrest, can you face charges of resisting arrest or obstruction of justice?

Resisting or Obstructing Arrest

State statutes regarding resisting or obstructing arrests are incredibly vague. The ambiguity is intentional by lawmakers, and thus allows for the inclusion of a broader range of behaviors.

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Wheaton criminal defense attorney, surveillance footage, criminal cases, video evidence, criminal accusationsThey say, “seeing is believing,” when obtaining the truth in many situations. The same idea holds true in a criminal investigation and trial. For decades, attorneys have used chalkboard markings, flip charts, x-rays, maps, diagrams, 3D models and photographs to help the jurors determine the truth behind the story. Advancements in technology in more recent years have catapulted us away from the use of chalkboards and stick figures to digital videography of an incident as it occurs. Today, a surveillance tape video can show multiple angles and enhance audio sound recordings. However, video surveillance is still not a “foolproof” method to prove any case.

Someone is Always Watching

Video surveillance systems sales have skyrocketed recently. Marketing executives everywhere continuously push the debatable argument that these cameras reduce crime and protect the purchasers. The goal of most buyers is to provide evidence should an alleged criminal event arise. However, many of these recordings are not admissible as evidence. Most business owners and homeowners do not spend the necessary money to have a quality surveillance system.

A few common problems with video evidence include:

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Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
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