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Archive for May, 2013

Chicago Man Faces Charges for Hit-and-Run

May 31st, 2013 at 1:35 pm

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A 40-year-old man from Chicago was involved in a fatal hit-and-run on March 21 and has been charged with “leaving the scene of an injury/death accident, driving with a revoked license, not giving the right of way to a pedestrian and not having insurance,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Fernando Marin was driving down South Homan Avenue when a woman and her sister were crossing the street. Marin tried to turn left as the traffic lights were changing from green to yellow, but he did not  yield to the woman. Ida Quintanilla, 58, was fatally injured in the crash. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where she was pronounced dead. A 35-year-old woman was also injured in the crash. However, her injuries are not life-threatening. Marin continued driving after the crash and fled the scene of the crime without slowing down, according to court documents.

A witness managed to get the license plate number for the vehicle that was involved in the hit-and-run, and authorities were able to trace it to Marin. It turned out that the owner of the truck was the suspect’s girlfriend. There was blood on the car and its grill was cracked.

Marin’s bail was set at $250,000 in Cook County Bond Court. Furthermore, if Marin, who has been twice charged for DUI in the past, is released on bail he will be placed on electronic monitoring.

Traffic violations and DUIs are serious crimes that can, for example, result in heavy fines and community service, or even put you behind bars for a long time. If you have been charged with a traffic misdemeanor or felony, you need to talk to a lawyer. Contact a skilled traffic violations attorney in Chicago as soon as possible.

 

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Homicide, manslaughter, and murder: what’s the difference?

May 27th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

When watching shows like Law & Order or even the news, the terms manslaughter, homicide, and murder are used frequently and very rarely explained.  However, it can be helpful to be aware of the technical differences between the three terms.

In the state of Illinois, homicide is defined as the killing of one person by another.  Murder and manslaughter are different types of homicide.

Lara May 22Homicides can be classified as criminal, excusable, or justifiable.  Criminal homicides are classified as unjustifiable and lead to very severe consequences.  If the homicide is excusable or justifiable, there was no criminal intent to kill someone (for example self-defense, defending another person, etc.)

Murder in particular is defined as the unlawful killing of another human being with malice.  There are four different ways that malice can be shown, according to the state.  These ways include the intent to kill, the intent to inflict great bodily injury, reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life, and the intent to commit a felony.

Murder is subdivided further into the two categories of first-degree and second-degree.  First-degree murder in Illinois is classified as the killing of an individual without lawful justification.  The person committing the crime either intends and plans to kill or do great bodily harm to the individual or else knows their act has a high probability of leading to death or great bodily harm.

Second-degree murder, on the other hand, involves a killing that is not premeditated.  If you commit second-degree murder, you have intentionally killed somebody but were not planning to do so ahead of time.

And then there is manslaughter, which is the unlawful killing of another human being.  However, it is done without malice and includes two different types: voluntary and involuntary.  In voluntary manslaughter, a human being is killed after the offender had no intent to kill but merely acted in “the heat of passion.”  This refers to an intensely emotional state of mind induced by some sort of provocation.

Involuntary manslaughter involves unintentionally killing an individual without lawful justification.  In this category, the offender has also recklessly performed an action that was likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

While the differences between these terms are simple when explained, they are often hard to remember.  If you have the misfortune of being involved in a murder/homicide/manslaughter case or simply have any questions about the details of each term, contact an experienced Illinois criminal attorney.

 

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/Freedigitalphotos

What’s the difference between assault and battery?

May 23rd, 2013 at 12:04 pm

The term “assault and battery” is thrown around a lot: on the news, on TV, etc.  Although it may seem that the two words are interchangeable, there are some very important differences between them.

Lara May 22To begin, assault and battery are two distinct offenses. It is impossible for you to commit “assault and battery”; it’s one or the other.

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, there are two main categories of crime: “offenses directed against property,” and “offenses directed against the person.”  The later category includes homicide, kidnapping, sex offenses, and “bodily harm.”  Assault and battery are the two main “bodily harm” offenses.

The Illinois Criminal Code states that assault has occurred when somebody “engages in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.”  Essentially, assault is a threat, which could be real or simply implied, of a battery.

Battery, on the other hand, is when somebody “causes bodily harm to an individual,” or “makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual.”  In order for the act to be considered criminal, the person committing it must act “intentionally or knowingly without legal justification.”

So the key is, then, that intent is required for an offense to be considered battery.  It is also true that although it is technically considered as a “bodily harm” offense, just plain contact can be enough.  There is one case in the past that considered a finger poke in the chest as a battery.

Simple assault is considered a Class C misdemeanor in Illinois, which results in a maximum $500 fine and 30 days in jail.   Aggravated assault on the other hand, is considered a more serious misdemeanor or even a felony.  Some factors that cause an assault to be aggravated are assault committed with a firearm, while hooded or masked, against certain victims, or at certain locations.

Simple battery, however, is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which results in a maximum $1,000 fine and 6 months to 1 year in jail.  The battery is considered aggravated if there is “great bodily harm,” or includes one of the factors referred to with aggravated assault.  Any aggravated battery is considered a felony.

The difference between assault and battery is pretty simple, but sometimes it’s difficult to remember all of the intricate details.  If you have questions about the difference between the two for your own legal purposes or simply out of curiosity, contact a Cook County criminal attorney to assist you.

 

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The Right to an Attorney

May 19th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Although nowadays we take the right to an attorney in a criminal trial for granted, most people don’t know that this right is only about 50 years old. What’s more, the right might never have come into effect without one man: Clarence Earl Gideon. LeeviClarence Earl Gideon was a poor drifter who was accused in a Florida court of felony theft. He had stolen a measly amount of money and a few bottles of beer and soda from a beer joint. Gideon could not afford the assistance of a lawyer and the state of Florida would not provide him with one. Gideon had to represent himself at his own trial and he lost the case. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Gideon did not give up, however. He studied the US legal system and decided that his constitutional rights had been violated. The Sixth Amendment states that “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” Gideon wrote a petition to the Supreme Court of the United States which agreed to hear his appeal. Eventually, the Supreme Court decided that “a criminal defendant who cannot afford to hire a lawyer must be provided with a lawyer at no cost.” Gideon was later acquitted in another trial. In 1963, Robert F. Kennedy said that “If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in prison with a pencil and paper to write a letter to the Supreme Court; and if the Supreme Court had not taken the trouble to look at the merits in that one crude petition among all the bundles of mail it must receive every day, the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed.” If you are facing criminal charges, remember your rights. Contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in Chicago, Illinois today.

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White collar crimes

May 16th, 2013 at 8:37 am

Lucy 5-8White collar crimes are not specifically defined, however, they are most often considered to be a variety of nonviolent crimes that are based around dishonesty and/or cheating. Usually, these crimes are committed by entrepreneurs and other professionals in the business area that are under the cover of a legitimate business activity. White collar crimes also typically have a lesser punishment than other crimes because they are nonviolent. Although these crimes do not have severe punishments, they do usually involve very heavy fines, and can include jail time. There are very specific laws that prohibit white collar crime activities, but many of them are covered in less specific catch-all laws that prohibit dishonest behavior.

Embezzlement

If someone take another’s money or property by ways of an official job position of trust or through abuse, they have committed embezzlement. For example, an accountant with access to all personal financial information may falsify records to gain a profit from his or her client(s). Bank tellers, as well, have easy access to finances and may walk away each day with a small amount of money from a client instead of placing it in the client’s account as he or she should.

False Statements

Although the crime that is making a false statement is not only a white collar crime, it is also included within white collar crimes along with other types of crimes. This is one of many more broad laws that will catch white collar criminals in their wrong doings and allow for punishment. In order to convict someone of making a false statement, proof is required of the statement that contains false information and that statement must be made willingly and knowingly by the speaker.

If you have been accused of a white collar crime, contact a criminal attorney for assistance. Attorney Chris Cosley will help to fight for alleged white collar criminals in Rolling Meadows, Ill. today.

 

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Legal Rights During an Arrest

May 12th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

LucyDepending on the situation, have different requirements to fulfill before an arrest can be made.

Arrest and search
If an officer seizes or detains you in a way that indicates that their intention is to take you into custody under his or her control, then you are being arrested. Legally, when you are arrested, the immediate area in which you are arrested can be searched. If you are arrested at home, police also have the authority to search outside the immediate area of arrest for people.

Arrest warrants
A judge may write an arrest warrant which commands police to arrest the person named in the warrant. If you are arrested after a warrant has been written for you, the arresting officer has to state that he or she is “acting under the authority of the warrant” and allow you to see the warrant at the time of your arrest or soon after. If police officers attempt to arrest you at home, they must state their purpose and title to you, unless they believe that the notification will cause you to escape, harm them or destroy evidence.

Arrest without a warrant
If officers have a reason to believe that you have or will soon commit: “a felony whether or not in their presence, a misdemeanor in their presence or a misdemeanor not in their presence, or if they have reason to believe you may escape, cause injury to persons or property, or destroy evidence unless immediately arrested,” then you can be arrested without a warrant. Unless there are special circumstances, you cannot be arrested at home unless the officers have a warrant.

Traffic violations are also cause for arrest without a warrant, if the following are occurring  operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to stop or give information about an accident that caused death, injury or property damage, driving with a suspended license, trying to avoid police officers, or if the officer(s) believe that you will ignore a traffic citation.

If you have been arrested, contact a criminal attorney for assistance to get you out. Christopher M. Cosley from Rolling Meadows will help you with the police officers and courts today.

Illinois law enforcement hoping preschool funding will be restored

May 8th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

LucyIn the 2013 Illinois state budget, funding for children’s programs would be a major win for over 160 police chiefs, state’s attorneys, sheriffs, police officer organization leaders and crime survivors. These people signed a letter addressed to Gov. Pat Quinn in late February urging him to protect this funding.

Cook County Sheriff, Tim Dart, argued that these programs have helped, and will continue to help, reduce children’s chances of being involved in crimes. With less children involved in crime, taxpayers would have less to pay to clean up the crime, “and we would save lives…Cleaning up after crime is extremely expensive,” Dart said.

Letters similar to the one sent to the Governor were also sent to the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate President and the Senate Minority Leader.

These law enforcement officials are hoping that last year’s cuts to the preschool program will be restored in 2013, along with funding for after-school programs and home visiting programs to prevent child abuse to remain the same as last year. In the last three years, these programs have suffered major cuts, which worries law enforcement.

Granite Police Chief Rich Miller said, “Investing in kids pays off. Communities have less crime, kids get better outcomes in life, and taxpayers save money. There are some programs that are simply too valuable to cut any more than they already have been.”

Hire a criminal attorney if your son or daughter is in legal trouble. An attorney can help your family get a second chance and protect your rights.

Since 2009, Illinois’ preschool program has been cut 22 percent, causing tens of thousands of 3 and 4 year olds to lose places in preschool. A long-term study of Chicago Child Parent Centers, which is publicly funded, found that kids who were not in the program were about 27 percent more likely to have been arrested by the time they turned 28 than those children who were able to participate in the program. These centers save ten times more money in reduces crime and other costs for every dollar spent on the program.

If you were not lucky enough to participate in a similar program as a child and have now found yourself in legal trouble, contact Attorney Chris Cosley in Rolling Meadows, Ill. This criminal attorney will fight for you in court today.

Criminal Sentencing in Illinois

May 3rd, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Different crimes have different punishments. Below are some of the punishments for different types of criminal convictions related to theft.

Criminal Sentencing in IllinoisTheft
This includes previous theft, armed robbery, possession of a burglary tool, home invasion, residential burglary, burglary, forgery, and “certain motor vehicle felonies relating to the possession of a stolen or converted motor vehicle or section 8 of Credit Card and Debit Card Act.” This does not include theft from a person and nothing that is above $300. This will result in 1 to 3 years of jail time or up to 18 months of a discharge with conditions or 180 days in jail with probation. A fine may also be charged of up to $25,000.

Tampering with or Theft of Communication Services
This covers if a wired communication service or device has been tampered with or stolen, and the defendant has also been convicted of another theft type of theft as listed above, or of fraud, which includes any violations of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 in any federal or state jurisdiction. This crime will result in 1 to 3 years of jail or 18 months of discharge with conditions or 180 days in jail with probation. It may also include a fine of up to $25,000.

If the defendant has previously been convicted on at least two occasions for similar crimes, it can result in two to five years in jail, or up to 30 months of discharge with conditions, or 180 days in jail with probation and a fine of up to $25,000.

Retail Theft
If the value of the stolen merchandise is under $300 or $150 in motor fuel, but the thief has previously been convicted of theft, it may result in 1 to 3 years in jail or up to 18 months of discharge under conditions or 180 days in jail with probation and a fine of up to $25,000.

If the thief escaped by an emergency exit, but the merchandise still does not exceed $300 and the thief has been convicted of a previous theft, the person could face a fine of up to $25,000 along with 1 to 3 years of jail time, or 180 days of jail with probation or up to 18 months of restrictive discharge.

If you have been accused of a crime, contact a Rolling Meadows criminal attorney before proceeding any further. Christopher M. Cosley can help you avoid criminal charges.

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