Archive for May, 2015

Criminal Defenses of Compulsion, Entrapment, and Necessity

May 27th, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statutes,Sometimes the job of a criminal defense attorney is to convince a prosecutor, judge, or jury that the defendant did not do what he or she is accused of doing. In other cases, however, the defendant may have committed a crime, but he or she had a good, legally recognized reason for doing it. Three of these possible criminal defenses are compulsion, entrapment, and necessity.

Compulsion

Compulsion is a legally recognized defense in Illinois. In Illinois a person is not guilty of a crime if he or she believes that death or great bodily harm will be inflicted upon him or her, his or her spouse, or his or her child if the person does not do the acts that would otherwise be criminal. The person must be committing the acts that would otherwise be criminal under the threat or menace of imminent infliction of death or great bodily harm in order for this defense to apply. Historically some courts held that wives were entitled to a presumption of compulsion if their husbands were present when they committed what would seem to be criminal acts, but that is no longer the law in Illinois.

Entrapment

The entrapment defense means that a person is not guilty of an offense if his or her otherwise illegal conduct was incited by a public official or employee or agent for the purpose of obtaining evidence for the prosecution of that person. But this is not always a defense. Think, for a moment, of the cases where an undercover cop poses as a drug dealer or prostitute in order to catch people in the market for these illegal goods and services. The reason these cases usually do not involve entrapment defenses is that a person cannot claim entrapment if he or she was “predisposed” to commit the offense and the public agent, official, or employee merely affords them the opportunity to do so.

Necessity

Necessity is the defense that covers those situations where committing a crime is the lesser of two evils. If a person commits a crime, he or she is legally justified in doing so if he or she reasonably believed his or her conduct was necessary in order to avoid a public or private injury greater than the injury that might reasonably result from his or her own conduct. This defense only applies if the defendant is blameless in creating the situation to begin with.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Are you being accused of a crime? Do any of the defense above sound like they might apply to your situation? Then you need the help of a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney like Christopher Cosley. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200 and we can schedule a meeting to discuss your situation and what defenses, if any, may apply to you.

Illinois Considering Decriminalizing Certain Amounts of Marijuana Possession

May 25th, 2015 at 6:20 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, drug crimes, Illinios drug laws,Drug possession is one of the most prosecuted crimes in the American criminal justice system. Far too many people spend serious time in our jails and prisons for simply possessing a personal use quantity of a controlled substance. In fact, many of the people who are prosecuted possessed only marijuana. Fortunately, some states are taking steps to lessen or eliminate the penalties for marijuana possession. While Illinois has not yet taken steps to legalize marijuana possession, it is taking steps to decriminalize the substance.

Senate Committee Passed Important Marijuana Bill

The State Journal-Register reports that a state senate committee has passed a bill that would treat marijuana possession like a speeding ticket. The bill is called House Bill 218. If the current version of this bill were to become law it would make possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana punishable by a fine of up to $125. People who received one of these tickets would be eligible to have their records expunged after six months. To put this into perspective, 15 grams is roughly a half-ounce of marijuana, or enough to make between 20 and 30 joints. This bill already passed in the House by a vote of 62-53. The next step is for the full Senate to vote on the bill. If it passes there, it would go to the governor. Governor Bruce Rauner has not made any public statements about his position on the law, but he has made public statements supporting the idea of reducing our state’s incarcerated population. Supporting this bill would certainly accomplish that goal.

Bill Would Also Change DUI Standards

House Bill 218 would also change the standards for driving under the influence of marijuana charges. Currently Illinois law is out of touch with science. Under the current law, finding any amount of any marijuana metabolite in a person’s urine is enough for a DUI conviction. This is horribly unscientific because these metabolites can show up for weeks after a person uses marijuana while marijuana only affects a person for a few hours. If the new law were to pass, the standards for a DUI would require certain amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in either the blood or another bodily substance. Facts do not exist to support that these standards would actually prove intoxication from a scientific perspective, but they are at least less oppressive than the standards under the current law.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana or any other drug you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Don’t hesitate to call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley. We regularly handle drug cases so we understand both the legal and personal issues involved in these cases. We will steer you in the right direction given your personal circumstances. Call us today at (847)394-3200.

Air Rifles and Illinois Law

May 20th, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, air guns, paint guns, When it comes to gun crimes, Illinois has some of the strictest and harshest laws in the country. While these strict laws apply to firearms, there are special laws that apply to air guns in our state. There are strict rules as to who may possess them and where they may be used. Ignoring these regulations can result in being charged with a petty offense.

What is an Air Rifle?

For legal purposes, Illinois statute defines what an air rifle is. This definition includes any air gun, air pistol, spring gun, spring pistol, BB gun, paintball gun, pellet gun, or non-firearm that shoots paintballs or pellets with a force that reasonably is expected to cause bodily harm.

What State Laws Apply to Air Rifles?

A few different state laws apply to air rifles. Violation of any of these laws is considered a petty offense. First, a dealer cannot sell, rent or transfer air rifles to someone under the age of 13 if the dealer knows or has cause to believe the person is under the age of 13. It is also illegal to give an air rifle to a child under the age of 13 unless you are the child’s parent, guardian, or adult instructor. It is illegal for a person under age 13 to carry a loaded air rifle on the public streets or public lands of the state. It is also illegal for one of these children to discharge an air rifle on the public streets, sidewalks, or land. The one exception to this rule is if the child is using the air rifle at a safely constructed target range.

Rolling Meadows Air Rifle Ordinance

The state laws on air rifles specifically say that local municipalities can craft their own ordinances regarding the use and possession of air rifles and that those ordinances can be more strict. Rolling Meadows has such an ordinance. Rolling Meadows has a general weapons law that says it is unlawful for any person to shoot or discharge a BB gun, air gun or spring gun outside any completely enclosed premises. This ordinance does not apply to the premises of duly licensed shooting galleries, gun clubs or rifle clubs. This ordinance shows why it is particularly important for parents in a large metropolitan area to be familiar not only with state laws, but also with the laws of the individual municipalities in which they reside and spend substantial time.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are charged with a criminal offense you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Please call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley. We have built our practice on criminal defense and we are willing to fight for you. Call us today at (847)394-3200.

What is Official Misconduct?

May 18th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statutes, Often times politicians and government employees frustrate the taxpayer. Most of the time this is just a matter of political disagreement, and while it can lead to heated disagreements, the criminal justice system does not get involved. However, sometimes things go a bit further and there are actual accusations of criminal wrongdoing. In many situations government employees and public officials have protections from being prosecuted for doing their jobs, but there are lines that they can be accused of crossing. One crime of which they may be accused is known as official misconduct.

What is Official Misconduct?

Official misconduct is divided into two types. One type is official misconduct by a public officer or employee or special government agent, while the other is official misconduct by an employee of a law enforcement agency. The first type of official misconduct occurs when any of the covered individuals does any of the following when acting in his or her official capacity or capacity as a special government agent:

  • Fails to perform his or her mandatory duties;
  • Conducts an act that he or she knows he or she is legally prohibited from performing;
  • Performs an act in excess of his or her lawful authority intending on obtaining a personal benefit for him or herself or another; or
  • Solicits or accepts a fee or reward which he or she knows is not authorized by law for performing an act.

Committing any of these acts can result in the official or employee losing his or her job and being charged with a Class 3 felony. Official misconduct by a law enforcement agency employee happens when he or she uses information obtained through his or her employment with the intention of interfering with the investigation, apprehension, or prosecution of a crime. The official misconduct statute is not the only one that applies to police officers. They are also governed by a gang-activity statute.

Police Prohibited from Gang Activity

It may seem obvious that police are not allowed to be gang members, but there is actually a statute that deals specifically with gang activity by police officers. It is against the law for a police officer or a corrections officer (prison guard) to knowingly commit an act that furthers gang-related activity unless the officer is doing it to further an undercover law enforcement investigation. Violating this law is a Class 3 felony, meaning it can carry prison time.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are a public official who has been charged with a crime related to your public duties, you will need the help of a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley now at (847)394-3200. We will schedule an appointment at your convenience to discuss your case and figure out how we can help.

Different DUI Standards for Medical Marijuana Patients

May 13th, 2015 at 11:56 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, drug crimes, Illinios drug laws, Illinois is slowly limping into the age of medical marijuana. While getting the system up and running is taking some time, there are some very good things in the state’s medical marijuana laws. One of those good things has to do with how medical marijuana patients will be treated when it comes to DUI charges.

Illinois DUI Marijuana Charges for Non-Medical Marijuana Users

People who choose to use marijuana in Illinois without the protections that are afforded to medical marijuana users run serious risks if they are ever pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. Under Illinois statute, a person can be found guilty of DUI if he or she drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in his or her blood, breath, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis. Now, as most marijuana users are aware, certain metabolites of marijuana can remain in a person’s system for days or even weeks after the drug has been used and the effects of the drug have worn off. This means that technically a person who uses non-medical marijuana in Illinois and then drives two or three weeks later can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs, even though all of the science indicates that the marijuana would be having no effect on the person’s driving at that time.

Illinois DUI Marijuana Charges for Medical Marijuana Patients

Fortunately, medical marijuana patients will be treated differently. The Illinois law that deals with this particular type of DUI specifically exempts people who are patients licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. This does not mean, however, that medical marijuana patients will be allowed to drive while high. A different part of the DUI statute makes it a crime to drive while under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs to a degree that the person is rendered incapable of safe driving. So a urine test showing marijuana metabolites will not be enough to convict a person of DUI, but evidence of marijuana intoxication at the time of driving will suffice. One way the State may try to prove intoxication in these cases is through the use of drug recognition experts, or DREs. You may be aware of the standard field sobriety tests that cops perform on suspected drunk drivers. DREs are law enforcement officers who have been trained to administer a longer battery of tests that allegedly indicate whether someone has been using a drug other than alcohol, and if so, what type of drug they have been using.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Christopher Cosley has spent his career defending the rights of people like you. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M . Cosley at (847)394-3200.

Unlike Television, First Degree Murder Does Not Require Premeditation

May 11th, 2015 at 8:51 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, lawful justification,Many people base most of their knowledge of the criminal justice system on what they see on television. Some of the information on television is accurate, particularly when it comes to news reporting on police misconduct and other related issues. But many people’s beliefs about criminal justice come from fictional crime procedural shows, and often the information provided by these shows is inaccurate. People do not realize that their understanding is mistaken until they find themselves in need of the help of a criminal defense attorney. One such common misconception regards what constitutes first degree murder.

The Misconception: First Degree Murder Requires Premeditation

Television shows, books, and conventional wisdom leave many Americans with a mistaken belief regarding first degree murder. Most people believe that in order to be convicted of first degree murder the prosecutor must prove that the murder was premeditated — that the defendant planned it out or thought it out ahead of time. A perfect example of a premeditated murder would be one where a person hired an assassin to commit a murder for profit. This sort of premeditation is absolutely not required in order for someone to be convicted of first degree murder in Illinois. Premeditation may very well be required in some states, but each and every state has its own criminal code and its own definition for each crime.

What is Actually Required for First Degree Murder in Illinois?

Like other crimes, first degree murder is defined in Illinois by statute. There are actually three separate ways that a person can commit first degree murder in our state. All three of them require that the accused kill an individual without lawful justification. Lawful justification means a legal defense, like self defense or defense of others. Those justifications are not simple common sense justifications. Instead they are each defined very specifically by other statutes. The three types of unjustified killings that constitute first degree murder in Illinois are:

  1. Killings where, in performing the acts which caused the other person’s death the defended either intends to kill or do great bodily harm or knows that his or her acts will cause death to that individual or another;
  2. Killings where the defendant knows that his or her actions create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another; and
  3. Killings where the defendant is attempting or committing a forcible felony (other than second degree murder).

Notice that none of these type of murder require premeditation. In fact, some of them don’t even require that the state prove that the defendant even intended to kill the deceased.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a crime, you will need the help of a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. When you call we can schedule an appointment to go over the details of your situation and figure out how we can best be of help.

Criminal Sexual Assault and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

May 6th, 2015 at 7:01 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, rape,Sex offenses are some of the most difficult types of crimes to defend. While juries and the public are willing to consider most criminal defendants to be innocent until proven guilty, and while they are supposed to do this in sex cases, often they are unable to do so. This is particularly true when the alleged victim of the offense is a child, as most people do not understand the reality that children can be easily led to make false or inaccurate allegations. That is why it is so important that when you are facing charges for a sex offense that you obtain the help of a criminal defense attorney who is experienced with defending this type of offense. There are many different types of sex offenses one can be charged with in Illinois, so it is important for you to understand exactly what it is you are being accused of having done.

Criminal Sexual Assault

Criminal sexual assault is a felony sex offense in Illinois. A person commits this offense if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration and one of the following four statements is true:

  • He or she used force or the threat of force;
  • He or she knew that the alleged victim was unable to understand the nature of the sexual act or was unable to give knowing consent;
  • He or she is a family member of the alleged victim and the alleged victim is under the age of 18; or
  • He or she is 17 years old or older, the alleged victim is between the ages of 13 and 18, and the accused holds some sort of position of power or authority over the alleged victim.

 Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

Aggravated criminal sexual assault is another more serious felony sex offense in Illinois. This crime requires that the accused commit criminal sexual assault and that one of a list of aggravating factors is present. This aggravating factors include:

  1. That the accused displayed, used, or threatened to use a dangerous weapon other than a firearm, or that the accused displayed, used, or threatened to use some other object that would lead the alleged victim to reasonably believe that it was a dangerous weapon;
  2. That the accused caused great bodily harm to the alleged victim.
  3. That the accused acted in some way that threatened or endangered either the life of the alleged victim or the life of some other person;
  4. That the accused committed the assault while committing or trying to commit some other felony;
  5. That the alleged victim of the sexual assault is age 60 or older;
  6. That the alleged victim of the sexual assault is a physically disabled person;
  7. That the accused drugged the alleged victim without the alleged victim’s consent or by threat or deception;
  8. That the accused was armed with a firearm;
  9. That the accused personally fired a firearm during the commission of the assault; or
  10. That the accused personally fired a firearm during the assault and that the firing of the firearm caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death.

There are two other ways to commit aggravated sexual assault. The first happens where the accused is under 17 years old and he or she commits an act of sexual penetration with a person under nine years old or uses force or the threat of force to engage in an act of sexual penetration with a child between the ages of nine and 13. The other type of aggravated sexual assault happens where a person commits an act of sexual penetration with an alleged victim who is severely or profoundly intellectually disabled.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a sex offense, you need the assistance of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200 for a consultation on your case.

Juvenile Drug Court: An Option for Some Teens

May 4th, 2015 at 5:42 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinios juvenile crime attorney,Part of being a teenager is testing boundaries and experimenting with new experiences. Unfortunately, some teenagers choose to push the boundaries of the law and experiment with illegal substances. For some of these young people the only real consequences are the consequences of getting caught, but others find themselves with serious drug problems. There are legal steps that can be taken in order to help these juveniles get the drug treatment they need.

The Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Act

The legislature found that a substantial portion of the resources of Illinois’ juvenile justice system went to young people who were using and abusing drugs. In response, it passed the Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Act. Drug courts in the adult system are special court programs designed to get drug offenders the treatment and life skills they need instead of using taxpayer funds just to lock them up for a short period of time and then release them with their drug addiction still in full force. In the adult system these programs are typically run on the local level. They involve drug treatment, programs to help adult drug offenders find employment, and often involve community service aspects. They are usually much more intensive than many other outpatient treatment options. Drug courts can also, when appropriate, order offenders to do inpatient treatment. Often when offenders successfully complete these programs they receive some benefit when it comes to their criminal charges such as a lessened punishment or even in some cases a complete dismissal. The idea of the Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Act was to create a similar sort of program for young people who are having their cases heard in juvenile court and thus normally would not be eligible for adult drug court programs.

What Minors Can Get into Drug Courts?

The important thing about drug court is that neither side can be forced into it. Both the minor charged with a crime and the prosecutor involved must agree to drug court, and the court must approve it as well. Certain juvenile offenders automatically cannot be considered for drug court under Illinois law. These include:

  • Juveniles who are charged with crimes of violence, which include but are not limited to: first or second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, criminal sexual assault, armed robbery, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability, stalking, aggravated stalking, or any offense involving the discharged of a firearm;
  • Juveniles who deny their use or addiction to drugs;
  • Juveniles who do not demonstrate a willingness to participate in treatment; and
  • Juveniles who have been found delinquent at any point in the last 10 years because of one of the crimes of violence listed above.

What Happens if a Minor Successfully Completes Drug Court

If a minor is admitted into a drug court program and then he or she successfully completes the program, this can benefit his or her juvenile charges. One possible result can be a dismissal of charges. If the juvenile enters the drug court after admitting to the charges and being sentenced, finishing drug court can count as a successful completion of the sentence and the juvenile can be discharged from any further proceedings in the court.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley Today

When your child is facing drug charges, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense attorney. There are programs for juveniles that can be used to get them the help that they need rather than focusing on punishment alone. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200.