Search
Facebook Twitter Google Our Blog
The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
24 HOUR ANSWERING | 847-394-3200
SERVICE

1855 Rohlwing Road, Suite D, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

24 HOUR ANSWERING SERVICE

Archive for April, 2015

Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child and Criminal Sexual Abuse

April 28th, 2015 at 5:21 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, crimes against children,When you are charged with a sex offense you need the help of a criminal defense attorney who is experienced with defending this type of offense. Because of the unique types of evidence that are often used in cases involving allegations of sex crimes, these cases often require specialized knowledge. Additionally, these cases often hinge on the testimony of the victim more than any other type of case, meaning you need an attorney who knows how to handle victims in court. There are a whole host of different sex crimes charges in Illinois, and each of them has slightly different requirements in order for one to be found guilty. One such charge is predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, a serious allegation that carries significant penalties upon conviction.

Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child

A person can be found guilty of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child if he or she is age 17 or older and has does one of the following with a person who is less than 13 years old:

  • Commits an act of contact between the sex organ or anus of one person and a body part of another person for sexual purposes; or
  • Commits an act of sexual penetration.

The punishment for this offense is more severe if the accused was armed with a firearm, personally discharged a firearm during the offense, caused great bodily harm to the victim resulting in permanent disability or a threat to his or her life, or drugged the victim.

Criminal Sex Abuse

There are three main ways a person can commit the crime of criminal sex abuse.The first involves the accused either committing an act of sexual conduct by the use of force or threat of force, or committing an act of sexual conduct when he or she knows that the alleged victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or give knowing consent. So what is “sexual conduct?” It is any knowing touching or fondling, either directly or through clothes, of the sex organs, anus or breast. It can also involve the fondling of any part of the body of a child under 13 years old, or the transfer of semen onto any part of the alleged victim’s body. In order to be “sexual conduct” the purpose of the conduct must be sexual gratification or arousal.

The second kind of criminal sexual abuse involves a person under the age of 17 years old committing an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a person who is between the ages of nine and 17. The third type of criminal sexual abuse involves a person committing an act of ssexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who is at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age, where the accused is less than five years older than the alleged victim.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a sex offense you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200. When you call we can schedule a time to visit with you and determine how we can be of help.

Assault in Illinois

April 23rd, 2015 at 5:00 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statutesWhat exactly is assault? Because different states have different standards, there can often be confusion about what counts as assault, what counts as battery, and whether they are the same thing. For example, our neighbor to the southwest, Missouri, does not recognize a crime of battery and considers all offenses that involve striking another person to be “assaults.” Here in Illinois, however, we have multiple types of assault and multiple types of battery.

Simple Assault in Illinois

The first assault crime in Illinois is known as either “assault” or sometimes as “simple assault.” A person commits this crime when he or she, without lawful authority, knowingly does something that places another person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. So the immediate follow up question has to be: what is considered a battery in Illinois? Illinois defines battery where one person knowingly, without legal justification, either (1) causes bodily harm to an individual, or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. Basically, one commits an assault when one makes another reasonably afraid that they are either about to suffer bodily harm or be touched in some sort of insulting or provoking way. Simple assault, on its own, is a relatively minor offense in Illinois. It is only a Class C misdemeanor. There is a special sentencing provision that requires that anyone convicted of assault perform between 30 and 120 hours of community service if such community service is available in the community where the assault was committed, unless the person is sentenced to actual incarceration.

Aggravated Assault in Illinois

Aggravated assault is like simple assault, but the facts of the case are somehow worse than a simple assault; thus, aggravated assaults are punished more harshly. There are three main times of aggravated assault in Illinois:

  • Assaults aggravated based on location of the conduct;
  • Assaults aggravated based on the status of the alleged victim; and
  • Assaults aggravated based on the use of a firearm, device, or motor vehicle.

Aggravated assault based on location or conduct comes in a few forms. This includes assaults that are committed against a person who is on or about a public way, assaults that take place on public property, assaults that occur at a place of accommodation or amusement, and assaults that occur at sports venues. This kind of aggravated assault is a Class A misdemeanor.

Aggravated Assault Based on Victim Status

Aggravated assault based on the status of the alleged victim is the most sweeping part of the aggravated assault law. Alleged victims who have special protections under this statute include:

  1. Physically handicapped people and people aged 60 or older;
  2. Teachers and school employees on school grounds, grounds adjacent to the school, or in any part of a building used for school purposes;
  3. Park district employees on park grounds, grounds adjacent to park grounds, or in any part of any building used for park purposes;
  4. Peace officers, community policing volunteers, firefighters, private security officers, emergency management workers, EMTs, or utility workers under certain circumstances;
  5. Correctional officers or probation officers who are performing their official duties;
  6. Employees of jails, prisons, and juvenile detention centers or treatment centers for sexually dangerous or sexually violent persons who are doing their official duties;
  7. State or local employees and officials doing their official duties;
  8. Transit employees performing their duties and transit passengers;
  9. Sports officials or coaches who are involved in any level of athletic competition; and
  10. Process servers who are engaged in their official duties.

The severity of each type of offense based on victim status depends upon the exact victim status in question. Most of them are Class A misdemeanors, but some of them are class 4 felonies.

Aggravated Assault Based on Use of a Firearm, Device, or Motor Vehicle

There are nine types of aggravated assault that fit into this category. It includes assaults where the assailant is:

  1. Using a deadly weapon, air rifle, or item that looks like a firearm;
  2. Discharging a firearm other than from a motor vehicle;
  3. Discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle;
  4. Wearing a hood, robe, or mask to conceal the assailant’s identity;
  5. Flashing a laser sight near a person;
  6. Using a firearm but not discharging it when the victim is some sort of law enforcement or first responder doing their job;
  7. Operating a motor vehicle in a manner where someone would reasonably fear they could be hit;
  8. Operating a motor vehicle in a manner where a law enforcement-type or first responder would reasonably fear being hit; or
  9. Recording the assault with the intent of disseminating the recording.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with assault, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney on your side. Christopher Cosley has represented many people in your very position and he wants to fight for you. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M . Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

The Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause

April 21st, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, your rights,While just about every child has to learn the bill of rights at some point during their education, as adults only a few of the amendments get a whole lot of media coverage. Most people know that the First Amendment covers things like free speech and freedom of religion, and that the Second Amendment deals with the right to bear arms. But beyond that, for many people, memories get a bit fuzzy. The thing is, when a person is charged with a crime, those other amendments in the Bill of Rights may make a real difference in the case. One important constitutional amendment for anyone facing a criminal charge to understand is the Sixth Amendment, specifically its confrontation clause.

What Does the Sixth Amendment Say?

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution touches on a few key rights for criminal defendants. The amendment itself says:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

There are many important rights combined into this one small amendment. They include your right to a speedy and public jury trial, your rights to only be charged with crimes that already exist and to know what crime you are charged with, your right to confront the witnesses against you, your right to use tools like subpoenas to force witnesses to testify for you, and your right to have an attorney.

What is the Confrontation Clause?

The confrontation clause is the part of the Sixth Amendment that says you have a right to confront the witnesses against you. But what does that mean? The main United States Supreme Court decision that deals with the confrontation clause is Crawford v. Washington. In this extremely important case the Court decided that the confrontation clause requires that, in order for a prosecutor to be allowed to admit prior testimonial statements against you in court, you must have had the chance to cross-examine them. Additionally, your right to cross-examine this witness is typically a right to cross-examine them face to face, although courts have allowed certain exceptions when it comes to very young children who are witnesses.

So what is an example of where the confrontation clause might come into play? Imagine a battery case where the alleged victim originally claimed that the accused hit them, but the alleged victim had decided not to pursue the matter and does not show up for trial. Assuming the trial goes ahead without the alleged victim, the prosecutor cannot introduce the victim’s prior statements claiming that the accused hit them unless the defendant has had a previous opportunity to cross-examine the victim.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love is ever charged with a crime you will want the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Christopher Cosley has spent his career helping people. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.

Juvenile Justice System: Some Juveniles Are Tried as Adults in Illinois

April 16th, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinios juvenile crime attorney, We have two different systems in Illinois that deal with criminal justice: one for adults and one for juveniles under the age of 18. Cook County was one of the first places in the country to do this, realizing that children, by their very nature, are capable of changing their nature. Their brains, including their ability to control their impulses, are not fully developed, so they are not as culpable for their bad actions as their older counterparts. Unfortunately, some of these young people in Illinois are treated as adults despite the fact that this treatment is not supported by science.

The Juvenile Justice System in Illinois

The treatment of juveniles accused of crimes is covered in Illinois by the Juvenile Court Act. One of the goals of the act is supposed to be to provide individualized assessments and adjudications in juvenile cases with the goal of rehabilitation and preventing future delinquent behavior by juveniles. This can involve detention in some circumstances, but also involves diversion programs. In other words, unlike criminal prosecutions that are based almost exclusively on the ideas of punishment, revenge, and isolation of offenders from society, the juvenile system exists so as to change childhood bad behavior so that young people may improve their behavior and work well in society. The children found responsible for crimes under the juvenile system face a different punishment system from their adult counterparts, and they have stronger privacy rights including the ability to have their records shielded from public view.

Some Juvenile Offenders are Forced into the Adult System

Unfortunately, some of the most troubled juvenile offenders do not receive the benefit of the juvenile system. A portion of the Juvenile Court Act excludes certain minors from the protections of the law. Minors aged 15, 16, or 17 may not be judged in the juvenile system if they are accused of certain crimes. These crimes include first degree murder, aggravated sexual assault, certain types of aggravated battery with a firearm, armed robbery committed with a firearm, and aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm. In all fairness, these crimes are some of the most serious violent crimes on the books. But, while the crimes may be more serious, this does not indicate in anyway that the minors committing them are somehow more mature and developed than their peers who are committing less serious felonies like burglary or selling drugs. If anything, committing these sorts of crimes may demonstrate that a particular young person is not fully matured and does not yet have the impulse control of an adult.

Particularly troubling, however, is the sentencing for these crimes. If a young person charged with his or her first burglary were charged as adult, which cannot happen, the worst case scenario would involve the minor spending a few years in confinement. But when a 15-year-old is prosecuted as an adult for one of the serious charges mentioned in the previous paragraph, he or she faces sentences that are often so long that they act as de facto life sentences.

As a society we need to reconsider allowing juveniles to be tried as adults in criminal court. But in the meantime both juveniles and their parents need to understand the serious adult consequences they could face if charged with certain crimes.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If your child has been charged with a crime, you will need an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense attorney. This is especially true if your child is charged as an adult. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

Criminal Intent: All about a State of Mind

April 14th, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Illinois defense attorney, mens rea, Illinois criminal lawyer, Many crimes are made up of two parts: an action and a mental state. One example is where one person kills another. Depending on the person’s mental state when he or she kills the other person, he or she could be guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, or maybe no crime at all. When it comes to certain crimes, much of what a criminal defense attorney winds up doing at trial is showing a judge or jury that the defendant did not have the required mental state to commit the crime. Each of these mental states has a specific legal definition set out by state statute.

Acting Intentionally

One mental state is “intent” or “acting intentionally.” For a person to be found guilty of a crime that requires that he or she have intent or act intentionally, he or she must have the conscious objective or purpose of accomplishing the result of that crime or engaging in the conduct of that crime.

Acting Knowingly

Acting knowingly or knowing something is a slightly less overt mental state than acting intentionally. A person acts knowingly if one of two possible scenarios apply to him or her. These scenarios are:

  • A person acts knowingly or with knowledge of the nature or attendant circumstances of his or her conduct when he or she is consciously aware that his or her conduct of that nature or that those circumstances exist.
  • A person acts knowingly or with knowledge of the result of his or her conduct if he or she is consciously aware that the result is practically certain to be caused by his or her conduct.

It is important to note that if a statute requires a “knowing” state of mind but the evidence establishes the defendant acted “intentionally,” then that is good enough. If someone has acted intentionally they have also acted knowingly under the law.

Recklessness

Legally speaking, a person is reckless if he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances will exist or a result will follow and that disregard is a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in that situation. In other words, a person is reckless if he or she consciously ignores a major obvious risk and in doing so does not exercise the same level of care that a normal person could be expected to under the circumstances.

Negligence

If a person fails to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or a result will follow and that failure constitutes a substantial deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise, then that person has acted negligently.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love is being investigated for or has been charged with a crime, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200. Christopher Cosley has spent his career fighting for people like you.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

April 7th, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal law,When the news reports on crimes that happened a long time ago, they often say that a person cannot be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations. However most people do not not actually know what a statute of limitations is, why it exists, or when it applies. They can actually be quite complicated so if you find yourself charged with a crime that is alleged to have happened years ago, you will need the specific advice of a criminal defense attorney.

What is a Statute of Limitations and Why Does it Exist?

A statute of limitations is a statute that limits the time frame in which a certain cause of action can be brought. A cause of action could be something like a slip and fall lawsuit or a sexual harassment complaint, or it could be a criminal charge. Every state has different statutes of limitations and most states, including Illinois, have different statutes of limitations for different crimes. The purpose of these laws is two-fold. First of all, a statute of limitations prevents people from having to live in fear their entire lives of being sued or criminally charged for something that happened years or even decades earlier. Second, and most importantly, it protects everyone’s right to have a fair trial on the matter. Having a trial soon after an alleged wrong, when witnesses are still alive, available, and have clear memories, is vastly preferable when compared to the alternative. Charging a person with a crime decades after it was committed nearly guarantees that he or she will not be able to establish an alibi or find other witnesses even if he or she is absolutely innocent.

What is Illinois’ Criminal Statute of Limitations?

The criminal statute of limitations in Illinois depends upon the crime to be charged. If a person is charged with certain crimes that result in the death of another, concealment of homicidal death, treason, various types of arson, forgery, certain child pornography charges or certain sexual offenses, there is no statute of limitations. There are prolonged and complicated statutes of limitations that apply to many offenses that involve child victims, particularly offenses that are sexual in nature. Some crimes have their own specific statute of limitations. As a general rule though, if none of these circumstances apply, the statute of limitations usually mandates that felony prosecutions must be commenced within three years of the date the crime was committed, and misdemeanor prosecutions must be commenced within one year and six months.

One thing that is important to note is that while these are the current statutes of limitations, the laws on this matter change. In particular the laws have changed regarding the statute of limitation for certain sex offenses. So if a crime occurred decades ago and the statutory time limit ran out before the statute of limitations was changed to make it longer or non-existent, then a person may have a statute of limitations defense if a prosecutor were to try to charge the person for that crime now.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are being investigated for a crime or have been arrested, you need help. You need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200. We will fight for the best possible result in your situation.

Miranda Warning: You Have the Right to Remain Silent. You Should Use It.

April 2nd, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, your rightsAnyone who has watched television in the last 40 years has heard it: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed before any questioning.” Even though we have heard these rights over and over again, most people do not understand what they mean, as well as the importance of asserting these rights. When you are a suspect in a crime, regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent, using these rights may be the most important thing you do to protect yourself.

Where Do These Rights Come From?

Even though the exact words we hear on TV and that people hear again when they are interrogated by police are not found within it, they exist because of the United States Constitution. Specifically, it is the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution that requires police to inform you of these rights before interrogating you. They have had to do this ever since the United States Supreme Court determined it is required in the case Miranda v. Arizona. This is why the rights are often called your “Miranda Rights.” The Fifth Amendment is the one that, among other things, protects you from being required to be a witness against yourself. In Miranda, the United States Supreme Court decided that it is extremely important for people being interrogated by the police to understand that they do not have to answer questions and that they have the right to an attorney.

The Miranda Warnings Leave Out an Extremely Important Part

Remember the part of the warnings where the officers say, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”? What they do not tell you is an equally important and true piece of information: Anything you say cannot and will not be used to help you in a court of law. Countless criminal suspects, both innocent and guilty, waive their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney and talk to police thinking that what they say will help them. But in most cases, it will not. This is because of a rule against “self-serving hearsay.” When you find yourself at trial months or years after your interrogation, you cannot introduce your early denials into evidence to help your case. The law does not allow it. It only allows the prosecution to introduce your statements against you, not the other way around. Also, what many people do not realize is that police do not make charging decisions; prosecutors do. And prosecutors are trying to prosecute you, not look out for your best interests. That is why it is extremely important for you to assert your rights so that you can have an attorney in the room who is on your side.

A Note about Extreme Police Misconduct

Unfortunately there are some police officers who do not play by the rules. In the Chicago area we have even historically had some police who have subjected suspects to torture to force them to confess to crimes. Obviously any person can only withstand so much, and if this sort of thing should ever happen to you then you can only do your best. In these cases it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as you can in order to take steps to obtain any evidence that remains of what happened to you.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When police try to interrogate you, they often take many steps to dissuade you from exercising your rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present for questioning. Do not let them get away with it. Call an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney like Christopher M. Cosley who can protect your rights. The phone number for the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley is (847)394-3200.

Back to Top Back to Top Back to Top