Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadows criminal attorney’ Category

What Happens if You Are Charged with the Wrong Crime?

March 13th, 2017 at 9:40 am

charged with the wrong crime-Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyerEvery so often, a criminal defendant will be charged with the wrong crime after being arrested. For instance, the police may arrest an individual for having what they believe to be cocaine in his or her possession. However, after a sample of the drug is sent to a drug lab for testing, the substance might be identified as something else.

Cocaine, heroin, powdered methamphetamine, powdered ecstasy and ketamine all can have the same appearance as a white powder and it is possible for police to make a mistake and charge someone with a crime that is different than the crime that was committed.

Do Not Incriminate Yourself

It is very unlikely for a criminal defendant to speak up and correct law enforcement about the inaccuracy of the charges. Doing so would be incriminating to oneself. Therefore, since you are not talking, the police will charge you with the crime that they think you committed, and the state prosecutor will be given the charges once your criminal drug case makes it to court.  

Prosecutors Can Amend Your Drug Charges

Just because law enforcement charged you with the incorrect crime does not mean that you will not be prosecuted.You might think that the state will never be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the drug crime that you are accused of because the drug was something other than what law enforcement believed it to be. However, this is incorrect.

Once law enforcement and state prosecutors are clear on what drug you had in your possession—there is scientific analysis of the drug compound and the drug has been chemically identified—the prosecution will be able to update the charges that are being levied against you.

Illinois takes drug offenses and all other crimes very seriously. Therefore it is possible for state prosecutors to amend the charges that are pending against you when evidence comes to light that the crime that has been charged is inappropriate for the circumstances.

Does it Make a Difference?

The consequences for possession of many types of controlled substances are often very similar. Hence, you might be wondering: does being charged with the correct crime matter? There are some variations in the law concerning the punishment associated with possession of certain quantities of drugs.

Penalties for drug possession are usually based on the amount of drug that is found by law enforcement and the drug type. As such, it could be possible that you are charged with a drug offense that carries a more serious penalty than if you were charged with the correct crime.  

Drug Charges Require the Help of a Criminal Defense Attorney

Being charged with possession of a controlled substance is a big deal and it is important that you hire an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney to help you with your defense strategy. The consequences for a drug conviction can be hefty and can mean years of jail time. Your freedom is in jeopardy, so do not delay in getting a lawyer.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1966&ChapterID=54&SeqStart=19800000&SeqEnd=20700000

What Crimes Are Most Commonly Committed In Illinois?

August 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am

What Crimes Are Most Commonly Committed In Illinois?Crime is a big issue in Illinois, especially in Chicago and the surrounding geographical areas. Hundreds of arrests are made every day, and convictions are made all the time. Across the state, the Illinois Department of Corrections is home to more than 45,000 inmates, who have been convicted of a number of different crimes. According to an article in the Huffington Post, the top 10 crimes that inmates have committed in Illinois include:

  1. Homicide. The number one crime committed by inmates in the Illinois prison system is homicide. The killing of another person accounts for more than 18 percent of the inmate population in Illinois.
  2. Offenses involving controlled substances. Possession, manufacturing, distribution, and trafficking of controlled substances and other drug violations of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act account for 17.5 percent of the Illinois state inmate population.
  3. Sexual assault. Just under 10 percent of the total Illinois inmate population is in jail for sexual assault offenses.
  4. Assault. Assault is the next most frequently committed offense by Illinois inmates, with approximately eight percent of inmates being in jail for assault offenses.
  5. Weapon offenses. Nearly six and a half percent of Illinois inmates are in jail for weapons-related offenses. This could include using weapons in conjunction with committing other crimes.
  6. Burglary. Breaking into a building and stealing something or committing a felony is a crime that many individuals get in trouble for. Just under six percent of inmates are doing time for a burglary conviction.
  7. Armed robbery. When robbery is committed with the threat or use of a weapon, it constitutes armed robbery. Over five and a half percent of Illinois state inmates are in jail for armed robbery.
  8. Residential burglary. Breaking into a house or dwelling of another without permission is a serious crime. Of the Illinois prison population, just under four and a half percent of inmates are in prison for committing residential burglary.
  9. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI is serious business, especially when someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of the DUI. Just under three and a half percent of inmates are in jail for a DUI offense.
  10. Robbery. Just over three percent of Illinois inmates are in jail for committing robbery.

These 10 crimes account for over 82 percent of the reason why inmates are in the state prison system. If you have been charged with drug crimes, burglary, shoplifting, theft, or other offenses, and are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Facing Jail Time? Let Us Help

If you are facing criminal charges and jail time, it is important to speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer as soon as you possibly can. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer to discuss your specific circumstances and the charges that you face. We can help fight the charges against you.

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/reboot-illinois/top-10-most-common-crimes_b_9202092.html

Understanding the Penalties of an Illinois Drug Possession Charge

August 10th, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Understanding the Penalties of an Illinois Drug Possession Charge, Being arrested on drug charges can have a lasting impact on your life. Besides the cost of the charge itself, your job or livelihood could be placed at risk, and you may even lose government funding if you are attending or planning on going to college. Understand how the state of Illinois processes these charges, and what you can best do to protect yourself from the adverse consequences.

Drug Scheduling in Illinois

In Illinois, the penalties of a drug charge depend on several factors, including the assigned “schedule” of the drug you allegedly had in your possession. Based on the drug’s potential for abuse and whether or not they are considered approved for medical use, this schedule is as follows:

  • Schedule I drugs: opiates and opium derivatives that have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use (heroin, LSD, ecstasy, etc.);
  • Schedule II drugs: some accepted medical use, a high potential for abuse, and the propensity to cause severe psychological or physical dependence (Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, etc.);
  • Schedule III drugs: a lower potential for abuse and a moderate to low risk of physical or psychological dependence (Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine, Suboxone, etc.);
  • Schedule IV drugs: a low potential for abuse compared to other higher schedule drugs (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, etc.);
  • Schedule V drugs: a low potential for abuse compared to other higher schedule drugs and primarily preparations that contain limited quantities of higher level narcotics (Robitussin AC, Codeine, Phenergan, etc.).

Other Factors Considered in Your Drug Possession Case

While the scheduling of the alleged drug is a major factor in determining the potential consequences of a drug charge, there are many other factors considered as well. Examples include the number of previous convictions and/or possession charges, the amount of the drug you were allegedly carrying, and your proximity to a school at the time of an arrest.

Possible Penalties of Drug Possession

Schedule I drugs often result in felony charges, which could lead to incarceration of anywhere from four to 50 years, depending on the amount you were allegedly carrying. However, there are exceptions. In contrast, lower schedule drugs are often considered misdemeanors, which typically results in a shorter sentence. Still, there are factors that could aggravate a lower schedule drug charge and increase your penalties.

Contact Our Illinois Criminal Law Attorneys

If you are facing a drug charge in Illinois, it is critical that you contact an attorney that understands how to defend your rights and mitigate your charges. Our Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys possess this knowledge, and we will take swift, aggressive action in your case. Get the representation you deserve. Contact us to schedule your confidential consultation today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=600000&SeqEnd=2600000

Police Stops Down, But Gun Violence Up

August 2nd, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Police Stops Down, But Gun Violence Up, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyIf you live in or around Chicago, you are well aware that crime in the city is rampant. There is no shortage of crime news in Chicago, and it seems like there is no end in sight. Looking at gun violence in the city specifically, shooting crimes, and crimes involving guns, are up 80 percent this year over last year. There were more than 650 shooting incidents in 2016 by March. Memorial Day weekend in Chicago this year saw 64 shooting victims, with six of those ending in fatalities, according to an article in The New York Times. Additionally, police have seized nearly 100 fewer guns this year than they did at this same time last year. These startling statistics indicate a serious problem. So why has there been an increase in gun crime this year?

What’s Causing the Spike in Gun Violence?

For a long time, Chicago law enforcement officers were very aggressive when it came to stopping and frisking subjects. While taking an aggressive approach to police stop and frisk is good for identifying crime and stopping it before something catastrophic occurs, it also risks ensnaring a significant amount of innocent people. There is also evidence that indicates that stop and frisks were conducted disproportionately on African Americans and other minority groups in Chicago.

After years of pushing stop and frisk reform, the American Civil Liberties Union finally got the change that they fought so hard for. At the start of 2016, a new state law concerning police stop and frisks took effect that prompted Chicago police to change the way that they conduct stops in the city. The criteria for making a stop became more strict, and the reporting process after a stop became longer. As a result of this change in procedure, the number of stop and frisks that law enforcement conducts have declined by more than 80 percent, according to DNAInfo. Last year 157,346 stop and frisks were recorded, while just under 30,000 had been made by March of this year. Fewer police stops mean more guns are staying on the streets of Chicago when these same guns used to be picked up during stop and frisk searches. More guns on the streets equate to more street violence.

Is a lack of police enforcement to blame for the dramatic increase in gun violence across Chicago? Some think this is the case and argue that law enforcement is not conducting stop and frisks because of fear of being sued.

Reach Out to Us for Professional Help

While law enforcement is making fewer stops, they are still making them and people are being arrested and charged with various offenses. If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Our attorneys are able to assist you today.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/06/04/us/chicago-shootings.html
https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160331/bronzeville/chicago-police-stops-down-by-90-percent-as-gun-violence-skyrockets

Diversion of Controlled Substances Is Two Crimes: Theft and A Drug Charge

August 1st, 2016 at 10:56 am

Diversion of Controlled Substances Is Two Crimes, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneysAll too frequently in the news the media reports on a nurse, pharmacist, or other hospital employee who steals controlled substances that are meant for patients. When this happens it is often referred to as diversion, or theft, of controlled substances, and it is a drug crime as well as a theft crime. Not only did the defendant steal the drugs, but if they are caught with the stolen drugs in their possession, they can be charged with possession of a controlled substance under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.

Controlled substances are often stolen by healthcare workers who have an addiction. Their addiction drives them to take the drugs and to cover their tracks. Less frequently, a healthcare worker will be motivated to steal controlled substances from their place of employment by the potential of financial gains – by selling the controlled substances for a profit.

Controlled Substances that Are Often Involved in Diversion

When a person has access to an entire pharmacy, it is like having uninhibited access. Every type of drug is readily available; even the most highly regulated and controlled medications and drugs are there. The worker might report that the drugs were properly administered to a patient, or are included in a drug count, when, in fact, some of the drugs are missing.

Some controlled substances that are typically the subject of diversion, or theft by hospital or pharmacy employees, include, but are not limited to:

  • Painkillers, which include Vicodin, Percocet, Percodan, and Oxycontin;
  • Narcotics, which includes opioids, such as morphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone;
  • Barbiturates, which include drugs like Valium and Librium; and
  • High-value or very costly drugs, such as expensive antiretroviral drugs, and performance enhancing drugs.

How Does The Theft Occur?

Diversion of drugs from healthcare facilities and pharmacies can take many forms. Sometimes workers will steal whole vials or pill packs. Some theft involves the removal of solution from a vial storage container and replacing the stolen solution with water. Other types of theft may involve swiping pills out of a patient’s pill vial, but reporting that all the pills were counted and are present. The theft could occur at a pharmacy, hospital, nursing home, senior care center, or any other healthcare facility that has access to controlled substances.

Do You Need Legal Representation?

Being addicted to controlled substances can be tough to live with. If you have been charged with theft or possession of controlled substance charges, you need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Let our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys assist you. Reach out to us for more information on how we can be of help.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941

Understanding Possession of Burglary Tools Criminal Charges

July 14th, 2016 at 10:47 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal law statutes, Illinois criminal lawyerSome criminal defendants find themselves facing possession of burglary tools, under 720 ILCS 5/19-2, perhaps in addition to burglary charges, and do not understand why they are being charged with this crime. Sometimes they may not have even committed a burglary, and yet they still will be charged with possession of burglary tools. This can be confusing and distressing for the defendant, since the defendant is facing felony criminal charges, with serious consequences, such as loss of their freedom, if they are convicted. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you fight burglary and possession of burglary tools charges.

A conviction for the crime of possession of burglary tools does not require that the prosecution show that the criminal defendant had the specific intent to break and enter into a building or dwelling. Rather, possession of burglary tools is a general intent crime, i.e., the mere possession of burglary tools implies that the defendant had a general intent to use the tools for their intended purpose, which is for breaking and entering a building. Possession of burglary tools merely requires that the criminal defendant knowingly possessed tools that are used for the purpose of committing burglary or breaking and entering.

What Are Some Examples of Burglary Tools?

There are a number of tools that could be considered burglary tools for the purposes of a possession of burglary tools charge. For instance, a few common tools that have been found to be burglary tools include:

  • Stolen keys;
  • Unauthorized copies of keys;
  • Keys that are designed for lock bumping;
  • Lock picking instruments;
  • Lock picking devices;
  • Glass cutting tools;
  • Explosives; and
  • Other tools suitable for breaking into a dwelling or building.

Are There Defenses to Possession of Burglary Tools Charges?

There are legitimate defenses to possession of burglary tools charges. For instance, certain people have a legitimate reason for possessing the kinds of tools, instruments, and devices that can be used to break into a home, safe or vehicle. For instance, there are a number of professionals who regularly need these types of tools to do their job.

  • Locksmiths. A locksmith’s entire job revolves around being able to open locks.
  • Security officers. Security officers often have in their possession tools that can be used for breaking and entering, in the event that staff loses their keys.
  • Law enforcement. Sometimes law enforcement officers need to break and enter into a building, vehicle or safe, presumably with a valid warrant, and thus law enforcement may have these types of tools in their possession.
  • Auto mechanics. Some auto mechanics that offer car unlocking services for vehicle owners who have locked their keys in the car may have tools that are used to break into locked cars.
  • Private detectives. Private detectives are often hired to investigate, and their investigation may involve an authorized breaking and entering (e.g., a wife might hire a private investigator to determine if her husband is cheating, and she might authorize the private detective to break into her husband’s locked desk in their shared home).

Reach Out to Us for Help

There are valid reasons why certain people may possess tools that are capable of being used for breaking and entering. If you are facing burglary or possession of burglary tools charges, please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as you can for professional assistance with your case.

Source:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=62600000&SeqEnd=63400000

Understanding Diversion Programs

July 5th, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Diversion ProgramsDiversion programs are alternative prosecution programs that are available to many first-time offenders who have committed nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors and are being prosecuted in Cook County. These programs are designed to help first-time offenders avoid criminal convictions and jail time by participating and completing diversion programming. Through participation in the program, those first-time offenders who otherwise would have become convicted criminals are given the opportunity to receive treatment and to contribute to their communities. Additionally, upon the successful completion of their diversion programming, the criminal defendant’s criminal charges will be dropped.

Eligibility for Diversion Programming In Cook County

The Assistant State’s Attorneys identify criminal cases where the defendant may be a good candidate for the diversion program. These defendants are notified and offered an opportunity to participate in the program. If the defendant is interested in participating in a diversion program then the Assistant State’s Attorneys will determine if the remaining eligibility criteria can be satisfied.

There are certain eligibility requirements for Cook County’s diversion programs. These requirements include:

  • The criminal defendant must be an adult charged in Cook County;
  • The criminal defendant must be a first time offender, meaning that he or she cannot have any previous felony or misdemeanor convictions for a crime involving violence.;
  • The charges pending against the criminal defendant must be nonviolent felony or misdemeanor charges. Eligible criminal charges include:
    • Retail theft;
    • Theft;
    • Fraud, credit card fraud, and ID fraud;
    • Forgery;
    • Counterfeiting;
    • Disorderly conduct;
    • Burglary; and
    • Drug possession;
  • The charges cannot be for:
    • DUI;
    • Weapons offenses; and
    • Domestic violence charges;
  • The victim of the crime must consent to the criminal defendant’s participation in a diversion program.

How Does the Program Work?

The Cook County diversion program places certain conditions and requirements on the criminal defendant based on their offense and their particular situation and the program lasts for 12 months. For instance, one participant in the program might have been a first-time drug possession offender. This criminal defendant’s diversion program might require that the defendant participate in and complete a drug rehabilitation program.

Some other examples of conditions of a diversion program include:

  • The requirement that the criminal defendant get a job;
  • The requirement that the criminal defendant earn a GED;
  • Participation in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program;
  • Restrictions on the criminal defendant’s possession of weapons, drugs, or firearms while participating in the program; and
  • Refraining from reoffending.

First Time Offenders Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are a first-time offender it is important that you pursue a diversion program if you are eligible. Participation and completion of a diversion program will result in your charges being dropped, meaning that you will not have a criminal record. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for diversion programming, can work through the pros and cons of applying for a diversion program, and can assist you with the application process.

Source:

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.nwsba.org/resource/resmgr/imported/
Cook%20County%20States%20Attorneys%20Office%20Deferred%20Prosecution%20Program.pdf

 

Methamphetamine Drug Charges in Illinois

June 22nd, 2016 at 11:34 am

Illinois methamphetamine drug charges, Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes AttorneyMethamphetamine is one of the most popular illegal drugs in Illinois. There are several reasons why people prefer to use methamphetamine as their illegal drug of choice and why it is so popular. Reasons include the following:

  • Methamphetamine gives the same high sensation as cocaine, but the high lasts longer with methamphetamines;
  • Methamphetamine is easy to make;
  • Methamphetamine is easy to take, being consumable through ingestion, inhalation and injection; and
  • Methamphetamine is less expensive than cocaine.

Methamphetamine is a Serious Illegal Drug

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug, and users can suffer injury or even death. Moreover, methamphetamine is an illegal substance, and you can therefore be charged with serious drug charges if you are caught in possession, manufacturing, or selling methamphetamine. The State of Illinois takes methamphetamine drug charges so seriously that methamphetamine has its own set of criminal laws: The Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act under 720 ILCS 646.

Individuals who are arrested and charged with methamphetamine drug charges need to seek legal consultation from an experienced and skilled drug criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Only a criminal defense lawyer with years of experience knows the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act provisions inside and out, and will fight to get you the fair treatment you are entitled to under the law. Depending on your particular charges and circumstances, it may be possible to get your charges reduced or even dropped altogether.

The Basics of Methamphetamine Criminal Charges

The basics of methamphetamine drug charges are straightforward and include:

  • Methamphetamine possession, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois;
  • Methamphetamine manufacturing, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois; and
  • Selling methamphetamine, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois.

There is a clear pattern here—drug charges associated with methamphetamine lead to felony level charges. Felony drug charges are nothing to laugh at as they can result in serious prison time, huge fines, mandatory attendance in a drug treatment program, and a criminal record that does not go away easily.

Sometimes a Plea Deal is a Good Idea

In some cases your guilt might be undeniable. A skilled lawyer will recognize the opportunity to try and work out a plea deal with the prosecution, which could result in a lesser sentence for you. Or, you may be able to avoid jail time altogether by agreeing to enter into a drug rehabilitation program. Consult with your lawyer about your options before deciding whether a plea deal is right for you.  

Facing Meth Charges? Get a Lawyer

Methamphetamine drug charges are serious. Therefore, a skilled drug crimes criminal defense lawyer can go a long way towards getting you the best possible outcome in light of your circumstances. Do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately. We can assist you today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2733

Domestic Battery Convictions Are Tough to Expunge From Your Illinois Criminal Record

June 15th, 2016 at 8:53 am

Illinois domestic battery convictions, Rolling Meadows Domestic Violence Defense LawyerThere are certain criminal convictions that just stick with you, and a conviction for an act of domestic violence is one of the crimes that cannot be easily expunged from a convicted individual’s record. Your criminal record is viewable by police officers, potential employers (in certain circumstances), the military, and potential landlords. If you have a criminal record, you may also be required to disclose it if you want to apply for professional school and to certain jobs. A conviction for domestic battery can also negatively impact your child custody or child visitation situation, if you have one.  

With such an extensive list of long-term consequences riding on your domestic battery conviction, it is important that you work closely with a skilled and diligent criminal defense lawyer to fight the charges that are pending against you.

Domestic Violence Convictions Can be Expunged

Domestic violence convictions can be expunged from your criminal record, but it takes a lot of work and time. There are certain criteria that must be satisfied in order to be eligible for expungement of a domestic violence conviction. These criteria include:

  • The domestic violence conviction must be the only conviction you have on your criminal record;
  • Your sentence must be served through court supervision, i.e., your sentence does not require you to spend time in jail; and
  • Your conviction must have been more than five years ago if you want to seek expungement of the conviction from your criminal record.

If you are eligible for expungement of your domestic battery conviction, you still have a long way to go before getting a clean record. There are forms to complete and file with the court, and you may possibly have to go to court and defend why your domestic battery conviction should be expunged. You may even have to fight for you expungement if the state’s attorney thinks that your expungement is unjust, and objects to it. An experienced expungement lawyer can be useful at a time like this so that you can present your strongest possible case in support of your criminal conviction for domestic battery being expunged.

Charges Dropped or Dismissed

Domestic violence charges that are dropped or dismissed do not result in a criminal conviction. As such, you will not generate a criminal record with a domestic battery conviction on it, so there is no need to expunge your record. It is often best to attempt to get the domestic violence charges you are facing either dropped or dismissed in the first place, since it can help you not have to go through a trial, conviction or sentencing.

Reach Out to an Attorney for Help

Getting a conviction for a domestic battery can have serious consequences on your life, especially since there is no chance that the conviction will be expunged from your criminal record. It is important to fight domestic battery charges so that they are dismissed or reduced. A Rolling Meadows domestic violence defense lawyer can help. Let us assist you today.

Source:

https://www.illinois.gov/osad/Expungement/Pages/default.aspx

Drug Sniffing Dog Laws in Illinois

May 9th, 2016 at 8:35 am

Illinois drug sniffing dog laws, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyCriminal defendants can end up facing drug charges as a result of detective work done by a drug sniffing dog. Drug sniffing dogs comprise one of Illinois law enforcement’s most useful resources when it comes to finding drugs. These dogs are highly trained to find all kinds of drugs, from marijuana to heroin. Illinois drug sniffing dogs have to go through a rigorous training program and must obtain certification and recertification every year.

The United States Supreme Court has consistently held that a dog sniff is not a search within the parameters of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, when a dog is deployed for a sniff at a person’s private home, the dog, and law enforcement, enter into Fourth Amendment territory. Hence, they must execute a search of a person’s home with a drug sniffing dog in accordance with the law.

Drug Sniffing Dogs and Traffic Stops

According to the United States Supreme Court ruling in Illinois v. Caballes, drug sniffing dogs can be used as part of a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, so long as the dog’s use will not prolong the length of the stop. If the dog is already at the traffic stop, then the dog can be used; however, police cannot indefinitely detain a stopped driver if the dog has to be called in to do a sniff. Police can walk a dog that is on-site around a legally stopped vehicle and if the dog signals the presences of drugs, then police have probable cause to conduct a search of the vehicle. Yet making you wait for a drug dog to show up to do a sniff can be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. The time that is “too long” to wait for a drug dog is approximately the length of time it takes to run your plates and driver’s license and issue you a ticket, according to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Rodriguez v. United States.

Drug Sniffing Dogs at Your Home

Law enforcement cannot use drug sniffing dogs around your home without having probable cause and a search warrant, or your consent under the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Florida v. Jardines. To say this another way, a drug dog cannot be used to detect the presence of drugs and thus create the probable cause necessary to get a search warrant to conduct a search of the property. The curtilage, or area that immediately surrounds a person’s home, is considered to be a part of the home itself. For Fourth Amendment purposes, the curtilage of a home is the same as the home.

In order for a drug dog to get a good sniff of a home, the dog would have to be close to the home—i.e., in the vicinity of the curtilage of the home. Conducting a sniff without probable cause or a warrant so close to the home is considered an illegal search of the home itself.

When You Need Guidance On Your Drug Charges

If you are facing drug charges, but are concerned that your rights were violated by law enforcement during a search or during your arrest, you should discuss your concerns with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Do not hesitate to reach out to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. We will provide you with exceptional representation throughout each step of your case.

Sources:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-923.ZO.html

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-9972_p8k0.pdf

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-564_5426.pdf