Police car at nightThis is the first post in a series discussing the rights of Illinois citizens during encounters with the police in Peoria or other cities. I feel it is necessary to write on this topic as many defendants feel that their constitutional rights may have been violated but are unsure as to how they should proceed. The goal of my coming articles is to provide information which will help people to better understand their situation. It is also my goal to provide information which people will find useful when they are selecting a criminal defense attorney. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

I will be addressing multiple topics over my coming articles. Issues which I will analyze include:

  • When the police may stop and search a person on the street
  • When the police may stop and search a vehicle
  • When a defendant has the right to remain silent
  • Challenging the validity of a search warrant
  • Challenging the use of confidential informants

There are several reasons why it is important to discuss these topics. First, the police may not stop and detain a person on the street simply because they want to. Under Terry v. Ohio, an individual may only be stopped if the police have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is engaging in criminal activity. Second, the requirement of reasonable suspicion applies to stopping a vehicle but law enforcement will have more leeway in terms of searching a vehicle after legitimately stopping it. Third, one does not have to actually have been placed under arrest in order to have the right to remain silent. Fourth, it is possible to challenge the admission of evidence obtained through a search warrant if it can be shown that the warrant was not properly obtained. Finally, law enforcement often relies on confidential informants. If they obtain a warrant based on information from an informant then it may be possible to challenge the warrant’s validity.

One point I cannot stress enough is that you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you have been arrested. Too many people make the mistake of thinking that there “is nothing they can do” after the police have found incriminating evidence. The truth, however, is that such evidence can be excluded from Court proceedings if it is shown that law enforcement officials violated your rights. As a defense attorney and former prosecutor I am familiar with handling such matters. Contact my office today.

In addition to Peoria, I service the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. I also handle federal cases in Urbana.