Archive for March, 2012

Sentences for Juvenile Offenders at Issue in Upcoming Supreme Court Hearings

March 30th, 2012 at 11:41 pm

There are currently at least 100 Illinois inmates who were sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole for crimes they committed while under the age of 18. The issue of life sentences for juvenile offenders is a controversial one nationwide, and the United States Supreme Court will soon hear two cases involving 14-year-old offenders that hinge on the issue of whether or not it’s right for those convicted of some juvenile crimes to face life in prison without parole.

A recent Chicago Tribune article points to the case of a man named Adolfo Davis. At the age of 14, Davis accompanied fellow gang members on what he expected to be a robbery, but that ended up with two men dead. Although Davis never fired a shot, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In fact, Illinois law allows for youth as young as age 13 to receive a life sentence for murder, and those age 15 or older can be sentenced to life in prison with no parole for murders for which they only drove the getaway car or acted as a lookout.

Although the Supreme Court has already mandated that only murders committed by juveniles can result in this sentence (and has ruled out the death penalty for juvenile offenders,) advocates say that this harsh sentence isn’t fair for someone so young, and that juvenile offenders are actually among the most likely to rehabilitate if given the proper treatment.

Even less serious juvenile crimes such as theft or drug charges can have devastating consequences. If you or someone you love has been charged with a juvenile offense in Illinois, you’ll need the services of a skilled and experienced Cook County juvenile crime lawyer.

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Former Chicago White Sox Player Facing Drunk Driving Charges

March 29th, 2012 at 4:42 am

Even celebrities and professional athletes can make the mistake of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to the Chicago Tribune, the latest athlete that has landed in this predicament is the former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks. Jenks, who signed with the Boston Red Sox following the 2010 season, was charged with a DUI on March 23, 2012 in Fort Myers, Florida, where the Red Sox are currently training.

dui lawyer rolling meadows illinois

Bobby Jenks (photo courtesy of Keith Allison via Flickr)

A police officer pulled Jenks over after observing his vehicle weaving through traffic. Jenks failed field sobriety tests, admitted that he had taken too many muscle relaxers, and also stated that he had hit another vehicle earlier at a Fort Meyers strip club. He now faces five misdemeanor charges, including driving under the influence, property damage, and leaving the scene of an accident.

Jenks has already made the classic mistake of attempting to explain his behavior to police by blaming his intoxicated state on muscle relaxers. In doing so, Jenks only made it more likely that he will face convictions on these charges. By giving voluntary statements about his behavior to the police, without the presence of a qualified DUI attorney, Jenks is giving the prosecution more evidence of his alleged crimes.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Chicago, you have a constitutional right to contact an attorney and to refrain from speaking with law enforcement officers about the incident. Do not hesitate to exercise your rights and contact a Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer at once for assistance with any DUI or related criminal charges that you may be facing.

“Walk and Turn Test” Used to Detect Chicago DUI Suspects

March 26th, 2012 at 6:50 pm

The so-called “Walk and Turn Test” is a common field sobriety test that Chicago law enforcement officers routinely use to detect whether a suspected drunk driver is intoxicated. This is a standardized test that the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration has approved for such use. Depending on the results of the test, a driver could be charged with a DUI.

The first part of the walk and turn test requires the driver to stand heel-to-toe while listening to instructions from the officer regarding the rest of the test. The driver must balance in an awkward position while still listening to detailed instructions. Next, the driver must take nine steps forward on a real or imaginary line, and then nine steps back to the original position. The driver must take the steps heel-to-toe, and then turn by pivoting on one foot. Additionally, the driver must keep his or her hands at his or her side and count the steps out loud.

This sobriety test gives police officers certain clues showing whether someone is driving drunk. If a driver cannot keep his or her balance while listening to the instructions, stops or cannot keep his or her balance while walking, starts walking before the instructions are finished, or takes the incorrect number of steps, the officer will assign one point to each action taken by the driver during the test. Likewise, if the driver cannot walk heel-to-toe, uses his or her arms for balance, steps off the line, or simply cannot do the test, the officer can assign a point to the driver. If officer who pulled the driver over for suspected drunk driving assigns the driver two or more points to the driver as a result of his test performance, then the driver has failed the test and will likely be arrested on DUI charges.

If you have failed a walk and turn test, or other field sobriety tests in the Chicago area , and, as a result, have been arrested for DUI, you will need an experienced Elk Grove DUI lawyer to assist you. A top Elk Grove, Illinois, DUI defense attorney today may be able to get your DUI charges dropped, or, if that’s not possible, work to get you the least sentence possible for your drunk driving arrest.

Chicago White Sox Will Not Partake in Alcohol Ban

March 24th, 2012 at 5:04 am

While alcohol has long played a role in professional sports – both for the players and the fans – some Major League Baseball (MLB) teams have made the decision to ban alcohol from the players clubhouse. However, Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura recently reported to ESPN Chicago that the team will not be joining teams such as the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies, and Chicago Cubs in prohibiting players from drinking in the clubhouse. Ventura simply stated that he doesn’t have a reason to change the White Sox policy that allows alcohol, but that he would change the policy if “it needs to change.”

The alcohol ban may stem in part from multiple drunk driving accidents involving professional athletes. In 1999, Carolina Hurricanes star Steven Chiasson was killed while in a drunk driving crash after leaving the clubhouse with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than three times the legal limit. Similarly, four years ago, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was also killed in an alcohol-related accident after leaving Busch Stadium following a game.

It’s not just professional athletes who make the decision to drink and drive. Many sports fans, whether at the game or in a sports bar, tend to drink to excess, which can result in dangerous situations and serious legal consequences. If you or a loved one is accused of driving under the influence (DUI) or causing an accident while under the influence of alcohol in Illinois, you should not hesitate to contact a top Naperville DUI defense lawyer right away. It’s important to immediately take the appropriate steps to safeguard your legal rights and minimize the legal penalties you could face for a potential drunk driving conviction in Illinois.

Court Supervision in Illinois DUI Cases

March 16th, 2012 at 3:45 am

According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, first-time DUI offenders in Illinois are often required to complete a period of court supervision. If a court sentences you to complete court supervision, you will be required to comply with court-ordered terms for a specified period of time. While the terms of court supervision can vary from one case to the next, and may also differ depending on which Illinois state court is handling your DUI case, most court supervision orders share some common aspects.

illinois court supervisionFirst, court supervision often requires you to complete an alcohol evaluation and follow any treatment recommendations. For instance, you could be required to attend counseling or drug and alcohol education meetings, or take part in a program like Alcoholics Anonymous. It is also likely that the court will order you to pay a fine, and possibly other costs related to your DUI charge. The judge hearing your case also has the option of ordering you to complete a specified number of community service hours, especially if your blood alcohol content was well above the legal limit of .08 at the time of your DUI. Finally, a court supervision order could require you to participate in other types of alcohol education events, for example, a victim impact panel.

In addition to court supervision, a first DUI conviction can also result in serious consequences, including a criminal record that you could be required to be disclosed to future employers. If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Chicago, you will need the assistance of a top Rolling Meadows, Illinois DUI defense lawyer. With the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI attorney, you may be able to minimize or avoid the potentially negative consequences of your DUI charge

Chicago Stores Report Increase in Laundry Detergent Thefts

March 14th, 2012 at 5:27 am

It’s not particularly unusual to see certain products under lock and key at grocery stores and pharmacies, as retailers regularly restrict access to higher-value items in order to prevent shoplifting. But you may soon notice a new addition to the expensive face creams and medications behind those glass doors – laundry detergent.

Drug stores report laundry soap thefts

Stores across Chicago are reporting a rash of laundry detergent thefts, and some, such as CVS, have resorted to keeping laundry detergent locked up. According to CBS Chicago, laundry detergent – in particular Tide – has become a big seller on the black market, and some believe that drug dealers may even be accepting laundry detergent as payment for drugs. Authorities point to the fact that laundry detergent is both expensive, and a necessity, as reason behind the surge in thefts.

In Illinois, shoplifting – also known as retail theft – is taken very seriously. Even misdemeanor theft charges (where the item that was stolen has a value of less than $150) can result in jail time, and those convicted of shoplifting in Illinois could also face a fine of up to $2,500. Additionally, Illinois theft convictions can stay on your criminal record for many years and have long-term negative consequences relating to things like future employment and housing options. If you are facing shoplifting charges in Illinois, it’s essential that you hire an experienced Elk Grove criminal defense attorney who can aggressively advocate for your rights. Contact Elk Grove defense lawyer Christopher M. Cosley for a free consultation regarding your shoplifting charges.

Chicago Man Charged with Forgery

March 12th, 2012 at 2:45 am

Forgery is just one of illegal actions known as white-collar crimes. In general, white collar crimes are based upon deceit (versus force or violence) and are usually conducted by professionals, businesspeople, government officials, and others not typically thought of as criminals.

Illinois law provides a detailed definition of forgery, but ultimately, the term describes an instance where someone unlawfully uses another person’s signature, or marks or alters a document (or knowingly delivers or possesses the document) with the intent to defraud. A forgery conviction in Illinois requires proof not only that the document was marked, altered, or signed by the individual in question, but that that person acted knowingly and with intent to defraud. Note that an individual can still be charged with forgery in Illinois if they intended to conduct a fraudulent act, regardless of whether or not the fraudulent act was successfully completed.

One Chicago man was recently charged with forgery after police say he wrote several forged checks in both Iowa and Illinois, apparently drawn from his dead uncle’s bank account. According to thehawkeye.com, District Court Judge Michael Schilling suspended a five-year prison sentence and instead placed the 22-year-old on probation. He was also ordered to pay a fine of more than $1,000.

Chicago forgeryAlthough they may not get the same level of publicity as violent crimes, forgery and other white collar crimes are taken very seriously in Illinois. Forgery is a Class 3 Felony in Illinois, and those convicted of forgery could face up to 7 years in prison. If you’re currently subject to a forgery investigation in Illinois, or if you’ve already been charged with a white collar crime, contact a top Chicago white collar crime defense attorney right away. Cook County white collar crime lawyer Christopher M. Cosley offers a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.

Illinois Juvenile Offenders Expensive to House; Facilities to Close

March 6th, 2012 at 7:18 pm

A recent Canton Daily Ledger article out of the provides that one Illinois county (Fulton) spent over $406,000 housing juvenile offenders outside of their own county. The article mentions one treatment facility that costs close to $9,000 per month per person. Yet another news piece tells of Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to close ten Illinois detention centers, including two juvenile facilities – despite the fact that the number of juvenile crimes in Illinois is increasing.

In the words of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA,) “incarceration is used too often as a solution for children with problems.” The fact is that Illinois spends over $100 million each year to incarcerate nearly 1,400 juveniles – including around 2,000 that haven’t even been convicted of a crime and are simply awillinois juvenile offenderaiting trial.

In Illinois, a juvenile crime is one that is committed by someone age 17 or under. Most often, juvenile offenders are children who made poor choices, and classifying and sentencing them the same way as adult criminals is both unfair and unreasonable. If your minor family member has been accused of a crime, it’s important to hire a Chicago lawyer who is experienced in juvenile crime defense. A skilled Cook County, Illinois juvenile crime attorney understands the prosecution and Illinois’ juvenile crime laws, and may be able to prevent your underage family member from ending up with a permanent criminal record or being sentenced to time in a detention facility. Click here to arrange a free consultation with Rolling Meadows juvenile defense lawyer Christopher M. Cosley.

Chicago Police Officer Unsuccessfully Attempts to Avoid DUI Charge

March 3rd, 2012 at 1:53 am

In the United States, drunk driving is a crime that crosses all boundaries such as sex, race, and socioeconomic levels. In fact, even police officers who are sworn to follow the law may have a habit of drinking too much on occasion. Unfortunately, law enforcement officials don’t always act honestly or appropriately when suspected of drinking and driving. For instance, according to The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago police officer Sean Patrick Dailey currently faces disorderly conduct charges for allegedly attempting to get out of a DUI charge.

Chicago police vehicleApparently, In 2010, a Niles police officer stopped Dailey for speeding and failing to stop at a stoplight, after he left a Niles bar.  According to reports, Dailey admitted that he had been drinking, and after telling the Niles officer that he was a Chicago police officer, asked to leave the vehicle and make arrangements to get a ride home via cell phone. Almost immediately thereafter, the Niles officer left Dailey at the scene when he was dispatched to respond to a large bar fight at another local bar, which later proved to be fictional. Dailey wasn’t charged with DUI – that time.

An investigation by the Niles Police eventually showed that the 911 telephone call resulting in the Niles officer being dispatched to Cheers was in fact made by Dailey, who claimed that he had witnessed the fight. Dailey, who incidentally, later ended up in jail for another DUI in Niles, now must contend with a much more serious charge – disorderly conduct, on which he is being held with a $10,000 bond.

This ultimately failed attempt to avoid getting a DUI should serve as a warning – if you’re facing DUI charges in Chicago, don’t take questionable actions in trying to get out of a DUI on your own. Instead, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows, Illinios DUI defense lawyer for assistance in resolving a DUI charge.