This is the next post in my series on the handling of embezzlement cases in Peoria, Illinois. My last article explained Illinois’ penalties for an embezzlement conviction. It is important for defendants to realize that the penalties which they face will depend on the nature of the offense, the characterization of the victim, as well as whether they have a prior criminal history. It is important that you take the charges seriously and contact an attorney immediately. In this article I will discuss an important topic – how search and seizure issues impact such matters. If you believe that your rights were violated then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Embezzlement charges are typically based on a “paper trail” of illegal financial conduct. This trail can be made up of actual paper or, as is more often the case, electronic data stored on a computer, a smartphone, or in “the cloud.” Law enforcement officers will typically need a search warrant, which has been signed by a Judge, in order to search an individual’s home, personal computers, or personal smartphones. If a warrant is not obtained, and evidence is acquired from such sources, then it may be possible to have such evidence excluded from the Court’s proceedings. Depending on the nature of the charges, such an exclusion may lead to a dismissal of the case.
The foregoing concepts are best explained by way of example. Suppose an individual is alleged to have sold their company’s inventory and pocketed the money. Now suppose that they facilitated the sale through text messages on their phone and accepted cash. Under Riley v. California, law enforcement would need a search warrant before they could inspect the defendant’s smartphone. If, during an interview, officers inspected the phone without consent then any evidence of the text messages could possibly be excluded from trial. If there is no other evidence linking the defendant to embezzlement then it may be possible to have the charges dismissed. I cannot stress enough, however, that how the Court is going to rule in any given situation will always depend on the specific facts of the case.
The first step in challenging the conduct of law enforcement is to file a Motion with the Court. The Judge will schedule an evidentiary hearing at which the arresting officers, and any other witnesses relevant to the seizure of evidence, will testify. The prosecutor will file an Opposition brief and the hearing will be held shortly thereafter. You representative will have the ability to examine the officers and the Court will issue its ruling shortly after the hearing is completed.
Search and seizure issues raise complicated issues of both fact and law. If you or a loved one have been arrested then it is vital that you retain a Peoria embezzlement lawyer who is experienced in handling such matters. Counsel can help you to understand whether you have options, beyond going to trial, for fighting the charges. As a former prosecutor, I am experienced in such matters. Contact my office today to speak with an attorney. We also service the cities of Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. We also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Additional areas where we handle federal cases include Benton, Chicago, East St. Louis, Springfield, and Urbana.