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Do I Need an Attorney During the Pre-Arrest Stage of an Illinois Criminal Case?

Under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Section 10 of the Illinois Bill of Rights, you cannot be ordered to provide evidence against yourself in a criminal case. Your right to remain silent prevents police from forcing you to answer questions or make statements that incriminate you. However, the situation is different before you are arrested for criminal charges, when law enforcement may be investigating you to gather evidence. You still have constitutional rights, and it is essential to protect them even in pre-arrest stages of a criminal case. With the help of an Illinois investigation assistance attorney, you can get a head start on your defense and gain the advantage before you have even been arrested.

Pre-Arrest Questioning by Police

Officers are trained in getting you to answer their questions during interrogation, even though they know you are under no duty to answer. Anything you say can be used against you in court, whether you are under arrest or not. If you have an attorney representing you during an interview, police will not be as bold because they know their actions are being scrutinized. They are also aware that your lawyer will fight to have improperly obtained statements thrown out of court.

Addressing Police Reports

Law enforcement officers produce a police report during all encounters, even routine traffic stops. This paperwork may become evidence at your trial if you are arrested. These reports are often biased and one-sided. Officers are motivated to get convictions based upon their arrests, so they may include any information that helps them achieve that goal. An attorney can review police reports and challenge any false or misleading details. It is possible to get a correction or retraction before you are charged with a crime.

Getting a Head Start on Arrest and Arraignment

By retaining a defense lawyer during the pre-arrest phase of a criminal matter, you can begin developing a defense strategy even before police charge you. Witnesses may be more willing to participate in the case and their recollections are fresh.

Trust an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney to Safeguard Your Rights

Working with a defense lawyer is just as essential during pre-arrest investigations as it is after you are charged with a criminal offense. Police will be pushy and aggressive, so your constitutional rights are at risk unless you have solid legal representation on your side. If you suspect or know that you are being investigated, please contact Glasgow & Olsson to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Our criminal defense attorneys will fight to ensure a fair process throughout all stages of criminal proceedings. You can reach our firm by calling 847-577-8700 or requesting an appointment online.

(image courtesy of Nicolas Barbier Garreau)

Overview of Self-Defense Under Illinois Criminal Law

You may read about self-defense laws in high-profile cases, but the news does not always paint a complete picture of these complex laws. When you are forced to claim self-defense in an Illinois criminal case, it is usually because you stand accused of a violent crime. For this reason, it is critical to understand how self-defense laws work and to have a skilled criminal defense attorney representing you. The following are some common questions we receive regarding self-defense laws.

What is self defense?

Illinois law allows a person to protect him or herself or another person when someone’s unlawful use of force could cause them harm. In other words, if you are attacked, you can legally fight back. Your use of force in self-defense has to be reasonable and in proportion to the threat being made against you, however. In essence, you may use a shove to repel a shove, but you may not shoot someone for shoving you. Deadly force may only be used if the other individual’s actions threaten you or someone else with death or great bodily harm. In addition, you can use reasonable force against a trespasser who has illegally entered your home.

When is it reasonable to use self-defense?

You can only use deadly force in self-defense when you reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent an aggressor from causing imminent death or great bodily harm, either to yourself or someone else. Whether or not your belief is reasonable is a question for the jury. Generally, the reasonableness standard is what another individual in your position, under the same circumstances, would believe.

Self-defense in a scenario involving a dwelling is reasonable when you believe your use of force is necessary to prevent or terminate someone’s unlawful entry while you are inside your place of residence.

How much force may I use in self-defense?

According to the statute, you can only claim self-defense when you are justified in your use of force. This means that you must believe that your actions are necessary to protect yourself or someone else. Justifiable force is basically using the same amount of force as the other person is threatening. For instance, you may not be successful in claiming self-defense when you use a firearm to stop an attacker who is threatening you with fists.

What is the process for claiming self-defense in a criminal case?

Self-defense is an affirmative defense, which is a complex legal concept. In essence, this is not a who done it. In order to assert self defense, you have to admit that you engaged in a crime, but because you acted in self-defense, you should be excused from guilt. If you are unable to prove self-defense, you have basically admitted the allegations against you. The jury may find that you are guilty under such circumstances.

Do I need an attorney to represent me when claiming self-defense?

Retaining an attorney is essential in any matter involving self-defense. Illinois laws on use of force are extremely complex, and there are strict procedural rules for how you bring the issue before the court. In addition, it is likely that you are facing a lengthy jail sentence if you are convicted in a case where you claim self-defense.

For more information on how self-defense works in Illinois, please call the criminal defense lawyers at Glasgow & Olsson. You can reach our office by calling 847-577-8700 or via our website. We represent clients throughout Cook, Lake, DuPage, and McHenry Counties, and we can help you, too.

(image courtesy of Simon Migaj)

What Benefits Will I Have in Filing for Divorce Before the End of 2018?

Few spouses actually look forward to going through the Illinois divorce process, but there are reasons you may want to get started as soon as possible. There are a number of advantages to getting divorced before the end of 2018, but you can only reap the benefits if you file for divorce and conclude the case by December 31, 2018. An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can tell you how these benefits may apply to your situation, but an overview may be helpful.

  • Implications for Spousal Support: If you finalize your divorce and enter the appropriate orders in court by the end of the year, alimony will remain tax deductible for the duration of the agreement. You may experience significant savings on your income tax return. This change to the tax law also means that the recipient must claim payments received. However, please take notice that if you settle your case before December 31, 2018, any year end bonuses paid out to your spouse may be considered non marital assets.
  • Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements: The tax law also has implications for pre-nuptial agreements in Illinois. If you have included certain terms and conditions, the tax statute that kicks in on January 1, 2018 may render some of them moot. For instance, you may have made arrangements for payment of alimony under the assumption that it would be deductible for the payor and taxable for the recipient. You may want to make adjustments now that this no longer applies.
  • Effects on Your Family Home: The same tax law reduces the deductibility of property taxes and mortgage interest on your family home. The end result is that it will be more costly to own a home, starting in January 2019. Therefore, you can receive up to $500,000 without being taxed on it if you are married. As a single person, the amount is $250,000. It may make more sense to go through the divorce process and sell your home before December 31.
  • Claiming Children: Under the new tax code, you will no longer be able to claim a personal exemption for 2018 through 2025. This means that you will not receive the advantage of the multiplier that applies to children on your income tax return. As you are going through divorce and trying to finalize by the end of 2018, you may want to enter into an agreement with your spouse on how will claim the children. One parent may receive the benefit of child tax credits, which are advantageous under the new law.

Consult with a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney About Your Case

At Glasgow & Olsson, our divorce lawyers know that the process can be confusing. At the same time, you could be going through emotions that make it difficult to understand your rights and options. We are here to shoulder the legal burdens, so you can look forward to a bright future. If you would like to know more about the benefits of getting started with a divorce case right away, please call 847-577-8700 to set up a consultation. You can also go online to learn more about our legal services for Illinois residents in Cook, Lake, DuPage, and McHenry Counties.

(image courtesy of Estefania Solveyra)