Domestic Violence Accusations Can Damage Your ReputationDomestic violence charges brought against you can be resolved with little or no legal consequences. Prosecutors may drop the case due to a lack of evidence or a court may find you not guilty of the charge. Unfortunately, accusations of domestic violence can be enough to damage your reputation. Some people will jump to conclusions about your character without knowing the facts of the case. Even if you are never convicted, they may decide that you must have been guilty of some wrongdoing because you were charged. Clear vindication from your domestic violence accusations is the best way to restore your reputation.

Lack of Privacy

It can be nearly impossible to keep knowledge of domestic violence charges against you private:

Illinois Lawmakers Consider Trying Young Adults in Juvenile CourtMembers of the Illinois House of Representatives have proposed legislation that would allow young adults to be tried in juvenile court. The bill would amend the Illinois Child and Family Services Act to change the definition of a delinquent minor:

  • Starting in 2019, a delinquent minor would include anyone who committed a misdemeanor before the age of 19; and
  • Starting in 2021, the age limit would expand to anyone who committed a misdemeanor before the age of 21.

Judges would be allowed to decide whether defendants ages 18 to 20 should appear before an adult or juvenile court. The goal of the legislation is to reduce the recidivism rate of younger offenders who may be legal adults but are still maturing mentally.


Recording Police Officers Is Allowed, With Some LimitsVideo recordings of arrests can shed light on instances of police misconduct. A recording may show that the police officer’s account of the arrest was inaccurate or that the officer was overly aggressive with the suspect. The evidence may be enough to dismiss or reduce criminal charges. Police officers sometimes wear body cameras or have dashboard cameras in their vehicles. However, prosecutors will try to suppress video evidence that may hurt their argument. The defense can petition to obtain the video or present its own recording from the defendant or a third party. Illinois allows the public to record interactions with police officers, though there are circumstances in which it may be illegal.

Eavesdropping Law

Before a 2014 Illinois Supreme Court ruling, it was illegal to record a police officer during an arrest without his or her consent. After the law was deemed unconstitutional, Illinois lawmakers amended the section of the criminal code regarding eavesdropping. From the public's perspective, the changes improved the eavesdropping law in a couple of ways:

Warrant Not Required When Hospital Initiates Toxicology TestA recent Illinois appellate court decision gained attention because it questioned the constitutionality of a state law that allows police to forcibly obtain a blood or urine sample after a person is arrested for driving under the influence. The court remanded a DUI conviction because police forced the defendant to provide samples without presenting a warrant, even though they had ample time to obtain one. The court stated that the Illinois law violates the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it allows police to conduct a warrantless search without needing to prove urgency. While it was a win for DUI defendants in the state, the decision applies only when specific circumstances occur. There are still scenarios where prosecutors can legally use results from blood or urine tests administered without a warrant.

Recent Example

In the case of People v. Sykes, the defendant was convicted on charges of driving under the influence of cannabis and child endangerment. The defendant had crashed her car into a wall after a day at the beach with her children. A responding police officer described her as smelling of alcohol and being disoriented. After she was taken to the hospital for examination, police arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The defendant refused a police request to submit to a blood or urine test, and two police officers waited outside her room while she received further treatment. A doctor asked a nurse to obtain a urine sample to determine whether the woman had any intoxicating substances in her system that would explain her disoriented state. The woman refused to give a sample, and the nurse used a catheter to obtain it. The nurse requested the help of several people to hold the woman down while inserting the catheter, including the two police officers. The urine sample showed the woman had cannabis and PCP in her system. Prosecutors obtained the test results months later, which they used to add the DUI cannabis charge.

New Illinois Law Allows Immediate Sealing After No ConvictionCriminal charges brought against you that are acquitted or dismissed can still hurt your reputation by showing up on your record when someone does a background check. You can prevent such embarrassment by requesting that the public record of your arrest and charges be sealed. The only entities that would be allowed to see the sealed records without a court order would be:

  • Law enforcement;
  • The Department of Child and Family Services; and
  • Employers that are required by law to conduct background checks for felony convictions.

Sealing your record is a legal process that requires court approval and the opportunity for the state to respond. A recently enacted Illinois law allows defendants whose cases end without a conviction to immediately request the record of the charges be sealed.

Immediate Sealing