February 22nd, 2017 at 7:00 am
Every so often traffic laws are changed, and new laws are enacted by the state legislature to better address problems that are being experienced on the roads across Illinois. The year, 2017, is no exception.
A handful of traffic laws have been changed and Illinois drivers need to be aware of these alterations. A violation of these new laws can lead to a traffic citation, even if you did not know that you were breaking the law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse or defense to making a violation of the law. The laws have been changed to help improve driver safety in Illinois.
Scott’s Law Has Been Expanded
Illinois retains a law known as Scott’s law, which requires drivers to move over to the opposite side of the road when they are passing emergency vehicles and law enforcement vehicles that are on the side of the road. The purpose of law is to give law enforcement and emergency personnel the space that they need to safely render aid or do their job while on the side of the road.
In 2017, Scott’s law has been expanded. Now, in addition to moving over for emergency vehicles and law enforcement on the side of the road, Illinois drivers are also required to slow down and move over to the opposite side of the road when there is a vehicle parked on the side of the road with its hazard lights flashing.
Have You Been Caught a Second Time Driving Without Insurance? Now Your Car Will Be Towed
Driving without valid and up-to-date automobile insurance is a problem in Illinois. Another change to Illinois traffic laws in 2017 authorizes law enforcement to tow the vehicle of anyone who is stopped on the side of the road and is found to be driving without automobile insurance after already having a conviction on the books for driving without insurance. This new law only applies to drivers who are caught driving without insurance for the second time in a 12-month period after their earlier conviction.
While 2017 is not a significant year for changes in traffic law, the few changes that have been made will be strictly enforced by the police in Illinois. Therefore, it is important for drivers to be aware of these new changes. If you are issued a traffic citation for a violation of these laws or any other traffic law violation, you need to get in touch with an experienced traffic citation lawyer as soon as possible. Traffic citations need to be dealt with, and you can fight the charges that are being pressed against you by challenging them in traffic court.
Let Us Help You Today
When it comes to handling your traffic violation, you need a strong defense and a tenacious lawyer to fight the charges against you. Please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for help with your case.
February 20th, 2017 at 8:37 am
Some of the most commonly committed drug offenses in Illinois involve narcotic drugs. Criminal defendants across Illinois are arrested and charged with possession, sale, distribution, or manufacturing of narcotics, but do not fully understand what those charges mean.
Often, people are unclear on what a narcotic drug is, and instead merely know drugs by their street names—heroin, cocaine, opium. For clarification, under Illinois law, narcotic drugs include:
- Opium and opiates, such as:
- Methadone; and
- Cocaine; and
- Ecgonine (a cocaine-like substance).
Illinois is tough on drug offenses involving narcotic drugs because of their highly addictive nature, and people who use these drugs often form physical and psychological dependencies on these drugs. There is also a risk that a person taking these drugs could overdose.
More Information About the Illinois Controlled Substances Act
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act lays out the law concerning the possession, manufacture and distribution of controlled substances in Illinois. Substances that are considered controlled substances are broken down into five groups, or schedules. The schedules are arranged in descending order concerning risk of potential abuse and whether the substance has practical medical applications.
Schedule I substances have a high risk of abuse, and no accepted medical use. Schedule V substances, on the other hand, have a low risk of potential abuse, and have a high level of medical applicability. Opiates are generally classed as Schedule I substances, while cocaine and cocaine-like substances are classified as Schedule II substances.
If you have been charged with a narcotics offense, an experienced defense lawyer can help you identify the exact charges you are facing and what the possible consequences can be if you are convicted. Your lawyer will review your charging document to properly identify the controlled substance offense with which you are charged. Based on the Schedule of the narcotic your lawyer can identify the portion of the Controlled Substances Act that applies to your offense.
Being caught in possession of a narcotic drug substance is a felony, and the degree of felony depends on how much of the substance is found in your possession. The sale or distribution of a narcotic in Illinois is a felony as well. Similarly, the manufacture of narcotics is also a felony level offense. A felony conviction can have a serious and long-lasting impact on your life. You will need an experienced drug offenses lawyer to help you fight the charges against you.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Criminal charges for possession of a controlled substance, distribution, or manufacturing are serious and they carry significant penalties if you are convicted. It is important for you to work with a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who has experience handling drug cases like yours.
February 15th, 2017 at 9:01 am
All too many people find themselves ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois, and these drivers fail to understand that leaving the scene of an accident is not just a traffic violation—it is a criminal offense. As such, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois. A skilled lawyer will be able to identify any potential defenses you have and will work hard to fight the charges that are pending against you.
There are several reasons why someone might leave the scene of an accident. For instance, you might panic because you do not know what to do. Or, you might leave because you think that there is nothing for you to do about the situation, such as when you accidentally hit a parked car and have no way to leave contact information and have no way to reach the driver of the vehicle you hit.
Sometimes drivers flee the scene of an accident because they are worried about facing other criminal charges in addition to the accident if police show up at the scene, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or reckless driving charges.
What Are Your Obligations if You Are Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-402, leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois is illegal. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you are supposed to stop immediately and remain at the scene until you can provide contact information (including providing your name address vehicle registration number and the name of the owner of the vehicle if it does not belong to you) to the affected parties, and/or until you render the appropriate aid for the given situation. In some situations, this could mean having to remain at the scene until law enforcement and/or emergency personnel arrive at the scene. You are also required to report the motor vehicle accident to the appropriate authorities under 625 ILCS 5/11-403 and you have 10 days to report the accident to the Illinois Secretary of State.
What Are the Consequences of Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
A conviction for leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor, which can leave you with a criminal record, jail time, a fine, and a lengthy probation period. Additionally, a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident can result in long-term consequences as well. For instance, your driving privileges could be suspended or revoked and having a leaving the scene of an accident conviction on your record could prevent you from getting certain types of jobs in the future, especially if those jobs involve driving.
Consult With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Now
You should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois. The potential consequences of a conviction are numerous, and you need to do everything that you can to help protect yourself and your rights. Working with a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who has years of experience handling these types of cases would be to your benefit.
February 13th, 2017 at 9:39 am
One of the most detrimental aspects of a juvenile getting in trouble with the law for committing a criminal offense is that the incident will create a law enforcement and juvenile court record for the minor. Parents and affected juveniles can try to obtain an expungement, which means that they obtain a court order that hides the criminal record from the view of the public. However, a few select entities, such as the government, may still have access to expunged records.
Expunging the record means that the criminal record would not appear in a background check conducted by most individuals, and the affected individual would not have to disclose his or her expunged criminal history.
New Changes to the Law Concerning How Juveniles Can Seek Expungements
The trouble with obtaining a criminal record expungement in the past for a juvenile in Illinois was that there were many restrictions on how and when a juvenile could seek an expungement. However, in 2017 there will be several changes made to Illinois’ criminal justice laws. One change that has particular relevance to minors is how juveniles can seek expungement of their criminal records.
The new law provides that a person who is under the age of 18 years old can petition the court at any time to have his or her criminal record and juvenile court record expunged, or once the juvenile court proceedings against them related to the offense have concluded. The old law limited seeking expungement to juveniles who were 17 years old or older. Eligibility for the ability to petition the juvenile court for expungement is available to:
- Juveniles who were arrested, but no petition for delinquency was filed with the clerk of court against them, i.e., if the charges were dropped against the juvenile;
- Juveniles who were charged with an offense and a petition for delinquency was filed with the clerk of court, but the petition(s) were dismissed by the court without a finding that the juvenile was delinquent; i.e., the judge dismissed the case against the juvenile;
- Juveniles who were arrested and charged, but were not found to be delinquent by the juvenile court, i.e., the juvenile was found not guilty;
- Juveniles who are placed under supervision of the court, and the juvenile’s period of supervision has been successfully completed; and
- Juveniles who are adjudicated for a low-level offense, such as a Class B misdemeanor, Class C misdemeanor, or petty or business offense.
It is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer fighting the juvenile charges against you so that you will be able to have the charges dropped or dismissed. Once your defense is won, you can seek an expungement of your juvenile criminal record.
Juveniles With Criminal Records Need Help With Expungement
A criminal record may prevent you from getting a job or getting into school. If you want to do something about getting your record expunged, you should contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for immediate assistance.
February 8th, 2017 at 9:06 am
When it comes to traffic violations in Illinois, there are two different categories of offenses: moving violations and non-moving violations. A moving violation occurs when a vehicle is in motion, such as while you are driving or while you are backing up. A non-moving violation occurs when a vehicle is not in motion or is parked. The vehicle could be running and not moving when you get a non-moving violation.
Examples of Moving and Non-Moving Violations
Examples of moving violations include speeding, reckless or dangerous driving, drag racing, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, following too closely, not using turn signals, disobeying posted traffic signs or lights, and texting while driving. Examples of non-moving violations include parking violations, stopping in a no-stop zone, or having an unregistered vehicle or an expired vehicle registration.
Does the Distinction Between a Moving Violation and a Non-Moving Violation Matter?
Whether a violation occurred while the vehicle is in motion has a lot of bearing on the seriousness of the offense. After all, if the vehicle is in motion when a driver commits a traffic violation, such as speeding or failing to use proper turn signals, then there is a chance that other people could get hurt as a result, whether they are other drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists who share the roadway. A non-moving violation poses substantially less threat of harm to others since the vehicle is not in motion when the violation occurs.
Other Differences Between Moving Violations and Non-Moving Violations
- The cost of the fine. A majority of traffic offenses are minor infractions of the law, and are punishable by a fine. Citations for non-moving violations tend to be slightly less expensive than citations for moving violations.
- Whether the violation is reported to your auto insurance provider. Non-moving traffic violations are typically not reported to your automobile insurance provider , while moving violations are reported. Insurance providers use moving violations as a justification to raise insurance premiums.
- Moving violations result in points being added to your driver’s license. If you are convicted of a moving violation, i.e., you pay the fine associated with your citation, then points will be added to your driver’s license by the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles. If you accumulate too many points on your driver’s license in too short a period of time, then your driving privileges can be suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State.
Strict Liability Violations
Certain types of traffic violations are considered strict liability offenses, meaning that by the driver simply committing the act, the driver is guilty of the traffic violation. There are several different strict liability traffic offenses under Illinois law, and include but are not limited to the following:
- Not using turn signals when making a turn;
- Disobeying traffic signs or traffic lights;
- Parking in a handicap space without the proper authorization; and
- Other parking violations.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
It is important to challenge moving violations if you believe that the ticketing police officer improperly cited you. Consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows traffic violations lawyer to learn more about fighting your moving violation traffic ticket.
February 6th, 2017 at 8:37 am
One type of controlled substance that is particularly popular with young people is a drug known as MDMA. Its scientific name is 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, and it belongs to the family of drugs more commonly known as methamphetamines.
MDMA, which is more commonly referred to by young people as Ecstasy or Molly, is a synthetic drug, which is taken in order to affect a person’s mood. The drug causes a sense of euphoria and pleasure, which can last for many hours. It is a drug often taken while at parties and dance clubs, but use of MDMA can happen anywhere.
Possession of MDMA is Illegal in Illinois
MDMA was linked to many drug-induced deaths in Illinois in the early 2000s, which prompted Illinois lawmakers to take a firm stance against the drug, imposing very strict consequences for possession, sale, and distribution of drugs like MDMA. It is a felony offense to be found in possession of even a single tablet of MDMA under the Possession of a Controlled Substance laws in Illinois. Possession of MDMA with no other evidence to suggest you intended to commit further illegal activity is known as simple possession.
Alternatively, if there is evidence to suggest other criminal activity, such as a scale or small baggies that indicate an intent to sell or distribute the MDMA in your possession, you could be charged with possession with intent to deliver. Depending on how much MDMA is found in a person’s possession determines how much potential jail time they could face. In any case, being found in possession of MDMA means that you are looking at years of jail time.
You Need a Lawyer if You Are Facing MDMA Possession Charges
Being charged with a drug offense can be stressful and intimidating, especially if this is your first major encounter with the law. Anyone who is facing criminal drug charges needs to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help prepare and present his or her defense to the court. Since MDMA possession charges are at the felony level, fighting the charges pending against you is all the more important. You will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record of success defending against drug charges like MDMA possession.
One of the key elements that must be proven in a drug possession case is that you knew you were in possession of the drug. You could have a viable defense if you had no knowledge about the drug that was found in your possession. There could also be possible defenses to your charges if law enforcement conducted an illegal search and seizure, or if your arrest was illegal.
With any criminal drug case, your goal is always to have your charges dismissed because you have a good defense to the charges pending against you. However, sometimes a dismissal is simply impossible due to the circumstances surrounding your offense. In such cases, it is best to try and obtain reduced charges. A skilled lawyer will know how best to advise you concerning your criminal drug charges.
Contacting a Rolling Meadows Drug Offenses Lawyer
If you are facing MDMA possession charges, please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. We are available to assist you immediately.
February 1st, 2017 at 9:37 am
Many drivers have traveled slightly too fast while behind the wheel at some point in their driving career. It certainly is not very difficult to exceed the posted speed limit, especially when everyone around you on the road is speeding as well. Drivers can get caught up in the flow of traffic and keep pace with the other vehicles around them. They do not realize that they have exceeded the speed limit until it is too late and a law enforcement officer stops them and issues them a ticket for speeding.
Speeding is often treated as a minor traffic violation. However, if you receive a speeding ticket for driving more than 26 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, it can result in a misdemeanor charge under 625 ILCS 5/11-601.5. A less serious situation may arise when you get a speeding ticket for driving less than 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, which results in a citation where the penalty is the payment of a civil fine.
Most people who are issued a ticket for speeding simply pay their fine and go on their way. But by paying a fine for your speeding ticket you are admitting your guilt or that you plead no contest to the speeding charges that have been lodged against you.
Simply paying the fine associated with your speeding ticket can have a lot of unintended consequences of which you may not be aware. For instance, points will be added to your driver’s license, and if you accrue too many points, your license could be suspended. Additionally, too many points on your driver’s license will likely end up costing you more in terms of your auto insurance premiums.
Some Speeding Tickets Are More Serious Than Others
Certain speeding tickets are more serious than others in Illinois, meaning that some speeding offenses carry more severe punishment because of special considerations involving where the speeding took place. For instance:
- School zone speeding violations. Speeding offenses committed near school zones during the day when children are at the school are considered special speeding violations.
- Work zone speeding violations. Speeding violations that are committed in a work zone or on an area of highway that is under construction are also special speeding violations. Drivers must drive through construction areas and work zones at the posted speed regardless of whether workers are present or not.
Can You Get a Ticket for Driving Too Slowly in Illinois?
Under Illinois law it is possible for drivers to be given a ticket for driving too slowly. Drivers are not permitted to drive so slowly that they obstruct the normal flow of traffic. There are many situations that warrant drivers slowing down well below the posted speed limit, such as when there is an accident, traffic, or emergency vehicles on the side of the road. But when the regular flow of traffic is obstructed, there are minimum speed regulations with which the drivers are required to comply.
Got a Speeding Ticket? Talk to Us
If you have been issued a speeding ticket, a traffic violations lawyer will know how to fight your speeding ticket. You should consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows traffic violations lawyer about fighting your speeding ticket and for professional help with your case.
January 25th, 2017 at 9:12 am
Theft is one of the most commonly committed crimes in Illinois. Theft in the broadest sense involves someone knowingly taking property that belongs to another without permission and with no intention of giving the stolen property back to its proper owner. There are a number of criminal offenses that stem from theft, including:
- Petty theft. Petty theft is also known as misdemeanor theft. Petty theft occurs when the item that was stolen has a value of $500 or less.
- Shoplifting or retail theft. Shoplifting occurs when a person knowingly takes an item from a merchant without paying full price for the stolen item.
- Receipt of stolen property. Receipt of stolen property occurs when someone knowingly accepts property that he or she knows to be stolen.
- Stealing a motor vehicle. Stealing a motor vehicle arises when a person takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission.
- Robbery. Robbery occurs when a person takes property belonging to someone else by the use of force. Robbery can become aggravated robbery if a weapon was used as the threat of force.
- Burglary. Burglary occurs when a person knowingly breaks into a building belonging to another without permission to be there with the intention of committing theft of some other felony offense.
In many theft scenarios, law enforcement arrests whomever stands accused of committing the theft crime, and then the state prosecutor presses charges against the accused. Oftentimes, the state prosecutor will look at the evidence surrounding the alleged crime and will bring charges for every crime that might have been committed. To be sure, criminal defendants often face multiple charges for a single alleged crime.
Each theft-related crime has its own unique elements that must be proven by the prosecution in order to obtain a conviction. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney will demand that the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the theft crime with which he or she has been charged.
You deserve fair treatment under the law and fair trial, and your criminal defense attorney should fight for your rights and on your behalf.
Knowledge and Intent Are Key Elements of Theft Crimes
A common thread shared by all theft-related crimes is that knowledge and intent are key elements to establish that the crime was committed.
- Knowledge means that the person who allegedly committed the crime knowingly did so.
- Intent means that the person who allegedly committed the crime has no intention of returning the property that he or she has taken from the rightful owner without permission.
The elements of knowledge and intent are often the prosecution’s weakest arguments, and a seasoned criminal defense attorney knows this. Many criminal cases turn on whether the criminal defendant had knowledge that he or she was stealing or whether the criminal defendant had no intention of returning the property that he or she had taken.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Anyone who is facing theft-related criminal charges needs to consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows theft attorney immediately. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today for professional help with your case.
January 23rd, 2017 at 11:01 am
Admittedly, no one enjoys getting a traffic or speeding ticket in Illinois. Getting a ticket can be inconvenient, costly, and time-consuming. Many people find the whole process of being issued a ticket, and then having to deal with the aftermath of the ticket, to be immensely frustrating. Indeed, that is why so many people simply go to the courthouse or go online to pay the fine associated with their traffic citation. Still, what a lot of people do not realize is that by simply paying the fine associated with your traffic citation, you are effectively pleading guilty or no contest to the alleged traffic offense.
By pleading not guilty or no contest the alleged traffic offense, there are many additional consequences that go along with the payment of your traffic citation fine. For instance, it could also result in:
- Points being added to your driving record;
- The loss of your driver’s license;
- Increased automobile insurance premium; and
- Attendance at a mandatory driver’s education program.
Needless to say, the consequences associated with pleading guilty or no contest to a traffic violation are many and serious. That is why it is so critically important that you fight your traffic ticket if you do not believe that you have broken the law. By working with an experienced traffic citation defense lawyer, you can fight against the charges pending against you and get your traffic offense dropped, dismissed, or reduced. You need to protect your rights and you should receive fair treatment under the law if you have been issued a traffic ticket. An experienced traffic offenses attorney can help you fight your traffic citation.
What Does it Mean to Fight a Traffic Ticket?
In Illinois it is not very difficult to indicate to the traffic court that you would like to fight your traffic ticket, although the rules regarding traffic court do vary from county to county. As a general rule, the way that you would initiate your fight is by pleading not guilty to the alleged traffic offense. You will need to make sure that you plead to the appropriate traffic court, i.e., the court that is designated on your traffic citation, and in the appropriate manner. Once you have pled not guilty, you will be scheduled to appear in traffic court where you will present to the judge your case as to why you are not guilty.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
It is to your benefit to retain the services of an experienced traffic violations defense lawyer when fighting your traffic citation. A traffic violations lawyer will know the specifics of the traffic court, can help you build your case, and can represent you in court. If you believe that you were issued a traffic ticket in error, then you should consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows traffic violations lawyer about fighting your ticket.
January 18th, 2017 at 8:30 am
One interesting scenario that people often ask about is whether you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol when you are in the vehicle, but not actually driving the vehicle. The logic is simple: If you are not driving the vehicle while intoxicated, how can you be considered to be “driving under the influence?”
Countless criminal defendants have been arrested by Illinois law enforcement for DUI when they were not actually engaged in driving the vehicle. In fact, an arrest can take place after law enforcement finds an intoxicated driver stopped at the scene of an accident, or after an officer finds a driver passed out behind the wheel of a stopped, or even parked, vehicle.
Driving or in Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, a person shall not drive or be in actual control of a vehicle in Illinois while intoxicated to the point of being incapable of driving safely. The part of the law that confuses many is the “in actual control of a vehicle” language of the statute.
“In actual control of a vehicle” is purposely broad in scope, as it is meant to make intoxicated driving as broad a crime as possible. Many scenarios fall within the scope of “in actual control of a vehicle” while under the influence, such as:
- Being found by law enforcement in a condition where you are too drunk to drive, but you were just sitting in your car for a while until you felt sober enough to drive. If you have the keys, you are in actual control of the vehicle and can be charged with a DUI;
- Being found passed out in your parked vehicle with the engine off due to intoxication. If you have the keys and you are drunk, you can be charged with a DUI. Circumstances might be different if you are sleeping it off responsibly in the back seat of your car, with no keys in your possession; and
- Sitting in your vehicle while the engine is off after being involved in an accident. It does not matter if the accident was a single vehicle accident or a multi-vehicle accident; if you are intoxicated and behind the wheel at an accident, you may be charged with a DUI.
The main takeaway is that if you are intoxicated in your vehicle, it is critically important that you do not have your keys. Possession or easy access to your keys while you are intoxicated in your vehicle is a significant factor when the courts consider if you were in actual control of the vehicle while you were intoxicated for the purposes of DUI charges.
If you are facing a DUI charge because law enforcement found you in your vehicle while in an intoxicated state, even though you were not driving and the motor was not running, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to fight your DUI charges.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing DUI charges, an experienced DUI lawyer will know how best to proceed with your case. Please do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately for assistance with your case.