scared girlThis is the next post in my discussion on dealing with Peoria, Illinois child endangerment charges. My last article described how child endangerment convictions impact child custody in our state. It is important to understand that the Court’s sole concern in any custody case will be for the best interests of the child. It goes without saying that a parent, who is arrested for child endangerment, is failing to act in the best interest of the youth. If you are involved in a child custody dispute then it is important that you speak with an attorney. In this article I will be discussing how search and seizure issues can impact such charges. If you believe that the police have violated your rights then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Illinois child endangerment charges may be dismissed due to search and seizure issues

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects Illinois residents against unreasonable searches or seizures by law enforcement. It is considered “unreasonable” for law enforcement to stop a person unless they possess reasonable suspicion of illegal conduct. If officers stop someone, without this requisite suspicion, then any evidence they may obtain may possibly be excluded from the Court’s proceedings. If such an exclusion leaves the prosecution without the evidence they need to prove their case, then the charges may be dismissed. It must be remembered that whether the Court will exclude evidence in a given case will depend on the specific facts of the situation.

Consider the following example. An officer observes a woman driving five miles an hour under the speed limit. There are no other cars on the road and the officer pulls the woman over. He believes it is suspicious to be driving under the speed limit while there are no other cars on the road. The woman’s small child is sitting in the backseat. The youth is not wearing a seatbelt or any other safety device. Upon speaking to the woman, the officer observes that she is clearly slurring her words and the officer arrests her for DUI. Under this scenario, the woman may be able to claim that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity which justified the stop; it is not illegal to drive one’s car under the speed limit nor is it illegal to be the only car on the road. Based on these facts, if the Court were to rule that the stop was not justified then the charges may be dismissed.

Excluding illegally seized evidence from an Illinois child endangerment trial begins by filing a Motion

The first step in excluding illegally seized evidence from a child endangerment trial is to file a Motion with the Court. This is a formal document in which your attorney will state the facts of the case, the law supporting exclusion of the evidence, etc. The Court may choose to hold an evidentiary hearing on the Motion. The arresting officers, and any other relevant witnesses will testify at this hearing. The testimony elicited at this hearing will relate to the means through which law enforcement obtained the evidence at question; guilt or innocence of the defendant will not be addressed. After the hearing, the Court will issue a ruling stating whether or not the evidence is to be excluded. If the evidence is excluded, and there is no other evidence supporting a conviction, then the case will likely be dismissed. While this process may sound straightforward, it must be understood that the Fourth Amendment involves legal issues which are quite complicated. Retaining an experienced attorney can be essential.

If you believe that the police have violated your rights then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria criminal defense lawyer. I am a former prosecutor who is familiar with the workings of our court system. I understand that this is a serious time in your life and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial appointment. I also service the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.