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What Does it Mean to Plead “No Contest?”

March 20th, 2018 at 6:29 am

charged with a crime, guilty plea, plead no contest, pleading guilty, Rolling Meadows defense attorneyIf you have been charged with a crime, you must enter a plea to the court. Generally, people think of “guilty” or “not guilty.” However, there are other options, such as “no contest.”

Under Illinois law, a defendant is brought into open court and read the charges against him or her. The defendant then makes a plea pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/113-4, by either pleading guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or not guilty. The statute does not specifically point to the plea of no contest. Because no contest is not stated in the statute, a defendant does not have the right to plead no contest in every criminal case. However, a judge can allow the defendant to make the no contest plea.

What is “No Contest”

No contest comes from the phrase “nolo contendere,” which means “I will not contest.” A no contest plea is very similar to a plea of guilty. In a no contest plea, the defendant does not disagree with the facts of the case, or his or her role in the crime. The defendant is, however, not admitting guilt. When a defendant pleads guilty, he or she is admitting their guilt in the crime. The plea of no contest is essentially the defendant accepting the penalties for the crime, but without admitting guilt.

Consequences of “No Contest”

While it appears that a guilty plea and a no contest plea are the same, there is one substantial difference. A guilty plea will follow a defendant to other cases. A defendant who pleads guilty can have that conviction be used as evidence in future trial, crimes, or proceedings. A no contest plea cannot be used against a defendant in later proceedings.

For example, if an individual caused an injury while driving under the influence of alcohol, a plea of no contest could protect him or her from additional civil proceedings.  If a defendant pleads guilty to the DUI and injuries, the injured party could use that admission of guilt in a civil suit. A plea of no contest would not allow the injured party, or the injured party’s representatives, to use the plea in a future lawsuit. Since the defendant did not admit guilt through the no contest plea, it cannot be used against him or her in the future.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

Figuring out what plea to enter in a crime is tricky. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorney who knows how to help. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley will inform you of your options and help you decide what the best course of action is. Our legal team wants to advocate for your rights and provide the best possible defense. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.


Illinois Automobile Insurance

March 16th, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Illinois automobile insurance, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, types of auto insurance, property insurance, bodily injury insuranceIf you are pulled over, one of the first questions a police officer will ask is to see your license, registration, and proof of insurance. It is essential to carry all three of these items with you in your vehicle. However, what happens if you forget to bring your insurance? Or, what if you do not have automobile insurance?

What Insurance Does Illinois Require?

There are three types of auto insurance required in Illinois. A driver must have both property and liability/bodily injury insurance. Additionally, a driver must carry uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance. The property insurance component of auto insurance is for covering the cost in case you damage another’s property in your vehicle. Most often, this is to cover the damages to another vehicle. Occasionally, however, other property can be damaged. Your insurance policy must cover at least $20,000 of property insurance.

The liability/bodily injury auto insurance is to cover the costs that will arise if you injure or kill someone in an accident. If you have caused a crash where someone is injured or killed, it is almost certain that a claim against your insurance to be compensated for sustained injuries will be filed. Compensation could be for medical bills, doctors visits, treatments, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. Even passengers in your own vehicle can file claim to your insurance for their injuries in a crash. You must purchase at least $25,000 of liability insurance for the injury or death of one person and at least $50,000 for the death of more than one individual per accident. Aside from the minimums, there is also the possibility of buying more coverage.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance is insurance to protect you if you are involved in a crash with another vehicle that does not have insurance You are required to have $25,000 in coverage for one person in the accident and at least $50,000 for two or more individuals in an accident.

What if I Do Not Have Insurance?

If you are unable to provide proof of insurance to a law enforcement officer when asked, then you are breaking the law. You will receive a ticket for driving without insurance. If you are convicted or plead guilty, you will receive a minimum fine of $500 and your license plates will be suspended until you comply with the law on your first offense. Subsequent offenses result in harsher penalties.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have been charged with driving without insurance, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can defend you. There are defenses available to driving without insurance. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has years of experience and will investigate and explore every defense that might be available to you. Contact us for a free consultation today.


What is an Aggravated DUI?

March 12th, 2018 at 3:39 pm

aggravated DUI, DUI charge, felony DUI, Illinois automobile insurance, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneysIn Illinois, the more a person is charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the harsher the penalties get. The different types of DUI charges that are possible in Illinois are outlined in 625 ILCS 5/11-501.

A DUI can be classified as both a felony and misdemeanor. An aggravated DUI is a felony DUI. You can be charged with a felony DUI, even if it is your first DUI arrest or charge.

Proving an aggravated DUI is the same as proving a misdemeanor. The prosecutor must show that the defendant broke a law in some way, most often driving with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 percent.

In addition to proving a violation of law, there are 11 circumstances that can elevate a misdemeanor DUI to an aggravated DUI. The following are the circumstances that make a DUI a felony:

  • The charge is the 3rd or subsequent DUI charge. A DUI arrest will always be a felony if you have two or more prior DUI convictions;
  • Driving a school bus with children under the age of 18 on board;
  • Driving under the influence that results in a car accident with a victim who suffers permanent disability to great bodily harm. This injury must be caused because you were driving under the influence;
  • Having a reckless homicide conviction on your record because of intoxication or impairment;
  • Having an accident in a school zone where another person suffered bodily harm;
  • The DUI being the proximate cause of death of another;
  • Being arrested for a DUI while having a suspended or revoked license. The suspended or revoked license must be the result of a prior DUI, statutory suspension, or reckless homicide.
  • Not having a valid license at the time of the DUI offense;
  • Driving a car that you know is not insured;
  • Being the proximate cause of bodily harm to a child; and
  • Committing a DUI with a passenger that is under the age of 16 and you already have another DUI.

How Serious is an Aggravated DUI?

Any kind of DUI conviction can be detrimental to you and your family, but an aggravated DUI can create many more problems. A misdemeanor DUI has a maximum sentence of less than one year. A felony offense can carry a much higher jail or prison sentence. A felony DUI carries a prison sentence of one year or more. In addition, there is a maximum fine of $25,000.

Reach Out to an Attorney for Help

If you are facing criminal charges, you should contact an attorney immediately. Choose an attorney with the experience and skill to represent you. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can defend you zealously in an aggravated DUI case. Our Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can provide an effective defense. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Do I Need to Participate in a Field Sobriety Test?

March 9th, 2018 at 7:18 am

drunk driving, DUI charge, field sobriety test, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, DUI attorneyRed, white, and blue represent freedom in the United States, but those take on a completely different meaning when you see them flashing in the rearview mirror of your car. Being pulled over can be scary and you might not be sure what to expect. If a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, a simple traffic stop turns into much more.

Illinois Field Sobriety Tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study to determine what sobriety tests are the most effective in determining if a suspect is driving under the influence. Illinois uses “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” on individuals to determine their intoxication. It is imperative that individuals understand what these tests are so that they are better equipped should a situation arise when they are faced with the question of participating in them.

  • Walk and Turn: This is a test that officers use to judge your balance and if you stagger while you walk. This test requires that you walk in a straight line, heel to toe, for nine paces and then turn around and walk back to the start. Arms are kept at your side, and the officer may instruct you to count the steps (one through nine) out loud.
  • One Leg Stand: This test also judges your balance and ability to follow directions. You will stand with your legs together and then the officer will instruct you to lift one leg off of the ground and stand there. Usually, the officer will instruct you to lift your foot six inches off the ground for up to 30 seconds.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: This is a more “complex” test and it produces the most reliable results of the field sobriety tests. The officer will look for involuntary jerking of your eyes that is linked to alcohol consumption. The officer will move his finger, or a pen, from side to side and instruct you to follow it with your eyes.

Participation Requirements

Illinois law does not require you to participate in field sobriety tests. You are allowed to refuse any field sobriety test that the officer wants to conduct. There are no penalties for refusing the sobriety test. This is different than other states that will use this refusal to participate in a field sobriety test against you in further charges. Again, it is likely that you will be arrested after refusing a field sobriety test, but there are no further penalties associated with the refusal.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI, or submitted to field sobriety tests, but wish you had not, contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we will explore every option and defense that is available to you. Reach out to a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office today for immediate help with your case.


White Collar Crime: An Overview

March 5th, 2018 at 7:41 am

Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, white collar crime, check fraudX embezzelment, insurance fraudMany people in Illinois have heard the term “white collar crime,” although they are unsure of its true definition. In this case, some think of investment bankers embezzling millions from their corporate office. Or, others may think of someone forging a document. Ultimately, white collar crime includes a wide variety of crimes. Due to the severity of the penalties, it is imperative that you reach out to an attorney immediately for help if you are facing white collar crime charges.

What is white collar crime?

The FBI characterizes white collar crime by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust. There is no need for there to be a threat of physical force or violence. White collar crime usually involves theft or retrieval of financial assets with the intent of personal gain. This includes the theft or retrieval of data, too, not just monetary assets.

Technically, white collar crime is not a formal category in the law, but an assignment to a group of crimes that share similar characteristics. White collar crime is usually attributed to professionals who commit a crime in a business setting. Examples of white collar crime include the following:

  • Theft, including identity theft;
  • Bribery;
  • Check fraud;
  • Counterfeiting;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Tax evasion; and
  • Insurance fraud.

There are more crimes that fall under the umbrella of white collar crime, but the above are a few of the more commonly committed crimes.

Penalties for Committing White Collar Crimes

Just like other crimes, there are varying degrees of severity in white collar crime. The bigger the crime, the bigger the punishment. Common punishments include probation, fines, community service, restitution, property forfeiture, and imprisonment.  Courts have sentencing guidelines for each crime to give a guide of what the proper punishment should be, with the ultimate goal of having a consistent sentencing policy for the same crime.

Defense to White Collar Criminal Charges

There is a wide range of defenses available, depending on the crime. Common defenses like insanity, duress, incapacity, or intoxication are available. One of the most common defenses is entrapment. Entrapment is when a government actor presents an individual with the opportunity to commit a criminal act. This criminal act would not have otherwise been committed had the opportunity not arose.

725 ILCS 5/7-12 states that a person is not guilty of a crime if their conduct is incited or induced by a public officer, or their agent, for the purpose of obtaining evidence against them.

Speak with an Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Illinois Today

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, you need the support of a legal team that is dedicated to you. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we have the experience and skill to defend you. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley will provide you with an excellent defense. Contact us today for more information.


Assault and Battery Defined

March 2nd, 2018 at 1:48 pm

aggravated battery, assault and battery, battery convictions, Class C misdemeanor, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyWhen people hear the term “assault and battery,” they often think of one crime. Assault and battery, however, are two separate crimes under Illinois law. They are related, but still different.

Assault differs from battery in that it is psychological. It usually happens in anticipation of  battery. Assault refers to a threat that can be verbal or physical in nature. For example, if you threaten to kill someone, that can be considered assault. If you swing a bat at someone to scare him or her, but do not make contact,  you can then be accused of assault, but not battery.

Battery involves some form of physical contact. It is a broad term that can mean anything from an unwanted hug to a punch in the face. It can also involve getting hit by an object or getting harmed by a firearm. Determining whether or not an incident should be considered battery can be confusing, though. The actual physical contact must be intentional, but the harmful nature does not have to be. Even poisoning someone’s food or blowing smoke in someone’s face can be considered battery.

Assault and battery do not have to co-exist. There can be assault without battery, and likewise, there can be battery without assault. However, to convict a person of battery, the prosecutor must prove that the person caused bodily harm to the victim or that he or she engaged in provocative or unwanted physical contact.

Assault and Battery Penalties

Under Illinois law, assault is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties include a fine of $1,500 and 30 days in jail. Community service may also be ordered.

When the assault results in severe bodily injury, disfigurement, disability, or death, the charge is elevated to aggravated assault. This can result in a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by 1-3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Battery is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by a $2,500 fine and one year in prison. Aggravated battery can result in 2-5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Most misdemeanor assault and battery convictions are punished by probation rather than imprisonment. Probation typically is not an option for felony charges, however.

Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer for Assistance

While assault and battery charges are often misdemeanors, you could face felony charges in extreme cases. A felony can result in fines and prison time, and can additionallyaffect you for the rest of your life.

If you are facing assault and battery charges, seek legal help right away. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can defend your case. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley will do what it takes to help you avoid a conviction.


The Consequences of Speeding in a Construction Zone

February 23rd, 2018 at 8:22 am

Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, speeding, traffic offenses, construction zone speeding, traffic violationsSpeeding in any area is an offense punishable by hefty fines. This is especially true in construction zones. Workers are in these areas performing road maintenance and it is important to slow down and watch for them. Plus, heavy equipment is often in use and these vehicles can cause serious damage to you and your vehicle.

Statistics show, however, the motorists are more likely to be injured or killed in construction zone accidents than workers. Between 2010 and 2014, there were an average of 27 fatalities each year. Only an average of  two of those involved workers.

Traffic violations in construction zones are no laughing matter. While most violations involve speeding, using your cell phone, or failing to yield can also get you a ticket. The speed limit in a construction zone is 45 mph. If you are given a ticket for exceeding this speed limit, you will face a $375 fine and be ordered to appear in court. The penalties get much steeper on subsequent offenses. If you are caught a second time, the fine goes up to $1,000 and you will have your license suspended for 90 days.

If you pay the ticket, you will be convicted of the crime. The conviction will go on your driving record. You will be assessed points, which will make your car insurance premiums go up. If you have too many points on your driving record, your license could be suspended.

As you can see, something as simple as going too fast in a construction zone can wreak havoc on your driving record, and your wallet. That is why it’s important to know the laws and find out what you can do if you are given a ticket.

What the Law Says

Under Illinois Law 625 ILCS 5/11-605.1, a motorist may not exceed the speed limit in a construction zone (45 mph), whether or not workers are present. Electronic speed-detecting devices may be used in construction zones.

Construction zones are defined as areas in which a government agency has posted signage advising motorists that they are approaching a construction or maintenance speed zone and that a special speed limit sign must be posted because the preexisting established speed limit is considered unsafe. The signs must be of a pre-approved design, but no flashing lights are required. The signs must adequately warn drivers that they are approaching a construction zone. They must also indicate the maximum speed limit as well as the amount of the minimum fine if the speed limit is violated.

Contact Us Today for Help

Sometimes motorists are not aware of speed limits in special areas. Maybe a construction zone is not properly marked. Perhaps no workers were present and the driver assumed that the speed limit did not apply.

Speed limit laws can be confusing. If you have received a ticket for speeding in a construction zone, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley can help provide an effective defense. Reach out to us today for more information.


What to Know About Retail Theft

February 19th, 2018 at 11:41 am

retail theft, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, shoplifting, stolen merchandise, employee theftShoplifting is considered theft of an item for sale at a place of business. It is a major problem for retailers across the United States. Seemingly minor shoplifting habits, such as taking a candy bar or a pack of gum from a store without paying, can result in major legal trouble. Moreover, depending on the value of the stolen items, felony charges could result.

In 2016, loss of inventory cost U.S. retailers nearly $49 billion. It is not just outsiders stealing goods. Employee theft accounted for 30 percent of inventory loss.

Retail theft can occur in many ways. Even ringing up an item at a lower price is considered theft.  The laws and penalties vary from state to state. Therefore, it is important to understand the laws that apply should you ever be charged with retail theft in Illinois.

Illinois Retail Theft Laws

Under 720 ILCS 5/16-25, shoplifting occurs when a person does the following:

  • Takes possession of an item for sale in a store without paying for it;
  • Alters or removes a price tag or label from an item to avoid paying for it;
  • Transfers an item from one container into another to avoid paying the full retail price;
  • Intentionally under-rings the item to avoid paying the full price;
  • Removes a theft detection device from an item using a device remover for shielding device;
  • Steals the item and then attempts to return it for cash or merchandise credit; and
  • Permanently removes a shopping cart from the premises of the retail establishment in an effort to deprive the shop owner.

Criminal charges depend on the value of the stolen item. When the value of the stolen items is under $300, the person is typically charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This is the most serious type of misdemeanor, and is just one step below a felony. It is punishable by a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail.

When the value of the merchandise exceeds $300, the charge is elevated to a Class 3 felony. The penalties are much harsher than a misdemeanor. The person can face 2-5 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. If a person has prior retail theft charges on his or her criminal record, the penalties are often enhanced further.

Let Us Assist You with Your Case

While theft is typically not a violent crime, it is still punished severely. You could face fines, prison time, and other penalties.

If you are facing theft charges, you need solid legal defense. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has defended many criminal cases in the area and may be able to assist you as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for help.


Disorderly Conduct in Illinois

February 16th, 2018 at 6:55 pm

criminal charges, Disorderly Conduct, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, misdemeanor charge, felony chargeWhen people think of disorderly conduct, they may envision someone who is drunk and acting out in public. While this is a form of disorderly conduct, it is not the only one that can cause a person to face criminal charges.

Disorderly conduct refers to an act that disturbs the peace. In some states, such acts result in a mere fine. In Illinois, however, these acts are charged as misdemeanors most of the time. In some instances, they are even charged as felonies.

This means that a disorderly conduct charge can affect your life in many ways. Avoid getting in trouble with the law by understanding what types of acts can get you a criminal record in Illinois.

What Illinois Law Says

Under 720 ILCS 5/26-1, disorderly conduct consists of the following:

  • Acting in an unreasonable manner to alarm or disturb someone;
  • Sending a false alarm related to a fire, bomb, or dangerous chemical;
  • Threatening to destroy a school building, property, or cause injury or death to school officials or those at a school function; 
  • Transmitting a false report to a public safety agency;
  • Calling 911 for the sole purpose of transmitting a false alarm;
  • Transmitting a false report of child abuse;
  • Posing as a debt collector in order to harass an individual; or
  • Entering a property or looking through a window for a lewd purpose.

Types of Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct may include making an obscene gesture or using abusive or vulgar language toward another person in order to incite a fight. Making unreasonably loud noises or using chemicals to create a foul odor are also forms of disorderly conduct. Using a firearm or displaying one’s anus or genitals is also disorderly conduct.

Disorderly Conduct Penalties

Most cases of disorderly conduct are charged as misdemeanors. The penalties include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Some cases are severe enough to be charged as felonies. When a person makes false reports and calls to government agencies, this wastes public resources and causes fear to community members. These incidents are charged as Class 3 or Class 4 felonies. A person can face up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

Disorderly conduct is not always a minor crime. It can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. Regardless of the act, you do not want to have such a charge on your record, so act quickly to reduce your penalties.

If you are facing disorderly conduct charges, you need solid legal defense to avoid fines and jail time. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has helped many clients reduce their charges. Do not hesitate to contact us today for help.


Aggravated Speeding: What You Need to Know

February 12th, 2018 at 9:21 am

aggravated speeding, aggravated speeding conviction, Illinois traffic offenses, speeding charges, Class A misdemeanorMany people drive a little fast every now and then. For instance, the car in front of you may be going too fast and you simply keep up with the flow of traffic. Or, perhaps you are running late for work and you need to speed up to get there on time. Perhaps you have a sports car and enjoy going fast.

Drivers can be pulled over for going 10, 15 and 20 mph over the speed limit. In these cases, the only punishment is a speeding ticket. You will have to pay the fine as well as take traffic school if you want to avoid insurance premium increases.

However, if you are caught going 26 mph or more above the speed limit, you will face hefty penalties. Going a few miles above the speed limit is one thing, but driving at an excessive speed is considered reckless. This is called aggravated speeding.

What is Aggravated Speeding?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-601.5, aggravated speeding occurs when a person drives a vehicle at a speed that exceeds the speed limit by 26 mph or more. A person who drives 26-34 mph above the speed limit will face a Class B misdemeanor, while a person exceeding the speed limit by 35 mph or more will face a Class A misdemeanor. This is the most serious type of misdemeanor, and it is one step away from a felony.

Penalties for Aggravated Speeding

A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by six months in jail and a $1,500 fine. A Class A misdemeanor means up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. The penalties increase when the speeding occurs in a school or construction zone.

An aggravated speeding conviction stays on your record for seven years. Unless you have your record sealed, such a charge will stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life.

Court supervision may be an option for those facing aggravated speeding charges. If you have never faced such a charge previously, you may be able to complete court supervision and keep the charge from appearing on your driving record. The terms of your supervision may include fines, community service, and traffic school.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

Speeding is typically an infraction that involves a ticket, fines, and traffic school. However, excessive speeding can result in a criminal record. Do not let a single speeding incident affect your life.

If you are facing misdemeanor charges for a speeding ticket, you need solid legal defense to avoid fines and jail time. Get help from the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has helped many clients who have been accused of driving at a speed exceeding the speed limit by 26 mph or more. Contact us today for professional help.


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