Archive for August, 2015

Consequences of Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License

August 26th, 2015 at 7:43 am

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois criminal law,When your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, it can become a significant inconvenience for you. You cannot drive yourself places and may have to rely on others for help.

Some people think that they can drive on a suspended or revoked license, just so long as they do not get caught. However, doing so could, in fact, lead to significant penalties and lasting repercussions on the driver’s life.

Being Caught Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License

Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/6-303 prohibits an Illinois driver from operating a motor vehicle while  his or her driver’s license is suspended or revoked. As such, drivers face a number of consequences when they are caught driving on a suspended or revoked license, and penalties for doing so vary based on why the driver’s license was suspended or revoked in the first place, and whether this is a first, second, third or subsequent offense.

As an initial matter, the length of the suspension/revocation is as follows:

  • License suspension: The Illinois Secretary of State will extend the suspension of the driver’s license by an additional and equal period of suspension, i.e., the suspension will be doubled in total length; or
  • License revocation: The Illinois Secretary of State will extend the period of revocation by one year from the date of conviction.

License Was Suspended or Revoked for a Moving Violation, Non-Aggravating Circumstance, or Non-Payment of a Fine

When license revocation or suspension is due to a moving violation, a non-aggravating circumstance, or non-payment of a fine, the driver will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for a first, second, or subsequent offense, and may receive up to one year in jail. Second, third and subsequent offenses also require the driver to complete a community service requirement.

License Was Suspended or Revoked for Leaving the Scene of an Accident or a DUI

When license revocation or suspension is due to leaving the scene of an accident, or for a DUI, the driver will be charged with the following:

  • First offense: Driver will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, and if convicted, the driver will receive either a 10-day minimum jail sentence or 30 days of community service;
  • Second offense: Driver will be charged with a Class 4 felony, and if convicted, the driver will receive either a 30-day minimum jail sentence or 300 hours of community service;
  • Third offense: Driver will be charged with a Class 4 felony, and if convicted, the driver will receive a 30-day minimum jail sentence; or
  • Subsequent offense: Driver will be charged with a Class 4 felony, and if convicted, the driver will receive a 180-day minimum jail sentence.

Reach Out to the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you should do whatever is necessary to get it back as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 to discuss your case.

Criminal Sentencing: How Much Time Does One Serve?

August 24th, 2015 at 7:04 am

Illinois criminal justice system, mandatory sentencing, Illinois criminal attorney,When a person is facing criminal charges one of the primary concerns he or she has is how much prison time is possible. Every crime has a set punishment or range of possible punishments, but in our society that really does not tell us much. Each state is different and has its own complicated systems. Some states have parole; some states do not have parole. Some decrease sentences for good behavior, while others may not. Some have conditional release while others do not. This makes it extremely unlikely that someone who has not gone through the criminal process in a particular state will understand exactly how much time he or she is facing.

Illinois Does Not Have Parole

As a general rule, Illinois does not have a system of parole. Parole is a system where an inmate serves part of his or her sentence and then goes before a board who decides whether he or she should stay in prison or be granted an early release. A person granted parole faces restrictions similar to those on probation until his or her entire sentence is served either in prison or on parole. Illinois used to have a parole system; however, in the 1970s the legislature did away with it. What this means is that there are a few people who were convicted of crimes decades ago that still have a right to parole hearings and who may possibly be granted parole. And, if you commit a crime in Illinois now and you are convicted, you will not be eligible for parole. In addition, crimes in Illinois do often come with a term of supervised release. This is similar to parole, in that it is a period of supervision that comes after incarceration, but it is for a set term of years and does not result in early release.

Most Illinois Inmates Serve Half Their Sentences

Although Illinois does not have parole, that does not necessarily mean that one will serve every day of his or her sentence. Most Illinois inmates are required to serve one half of their sentences before being released. There are exceptions to this rule though. In the 1990s the legislature passed “truth in sentencing” laws. Under these laws, people convicted of certain serious crimes are required to serve larger portions of their sentence. People convicted of first-degree murder must serve 100 percent of their murder sentences. People convicted of other violent offenses must serve 85 percent of their sentences. There are also laws relating to specific offenses that require that some sentences be served consecutive to other sentences. This is why it is extremely important to discuss sentencing possibilities and the actual time you may serve with an attorney.

Call Christopher M. Cosley

If you are charged with a crime in Rolling Meadows, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. You should contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. We will fight for you. During an initial consultation we will discuss your objectives with you and work to obtain the best possible outcome given your priorities.

What is Conditional Discharge?

August 19th, 2015 at 6:55 am

jail time, Illinois criminal justice system, Illinois defense attorney,Nearly everyone has heard of imprisonment as a possible sentence for a crime, and most people have heard of probation. But there is one unique resolution to criminal charges in Illinois that is unfamiliar to many throughout the state: “conditional discharge.” In addition to this, Illinois allows for another type of punishment, as well, known as “court supervision.”

What is Conditional Discharge?

Conditional discharge is a sentence that a judge can impose if they believe that neither a sentence of imprisonment nor one of periodic imprisonment or probation supervision is appropriate. Conditional discharge is similar to probation in that there are certain conditions you must comply with in order to keep your freedom, but it is different in that you do not have to report to or be supervised by a probation officer. The monitoring is done by the court instead of by a probation officer. Conditional discharge results in a conviction on your record. If you violate the terms of your conditional discharge and you get caught then the prosecutor can file a motion to revoke your conditional discharge. They do not have to prove you violated your conditional discharge beyond a reasonable doubt in the way they would have to prove a criminal charge. Instead, they must only prove it by a preponderance of the evidence. If the prosecution is successful, you could wind up with additional terms being added to your conditional discharge, or you could wind up in jail.

What is Court Supervision?

Court supervision is similar to probation. In this program, you are supervised by someone, you must comply with certain requirements over a period of time (like performing community service or taking certain classes), and if you get in trouble or do not comply with the terms of your supervision you may be put in jail. Supervision is different from probation, however, in that if you successfully complete court supervision, you will not have a conviction on your record. While you may still have to report the supervision to certain authorities in some situations, for the most part you will not face the consequences that those with convictions face. Supervision is typically not available for felonies, sex offenses, or some other offenses including some traffic offenses.

Call Christopher M. Cosley

If you are charged facing criminal charges in Rolling Meadows, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. You should contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. We will explain all of the possible outcomes in your case and will answer any questions you have about options like conditional discharges. Then we will fight for the best outcome in your case.

Perjury in Illinois

August 17th, 2015 at 8:41 am

Illinois criminal statutes, Ililnois defense lawyer, Illinois crminal attorney, When a person is facing criminal charges, the temptation and incentive to lie can be overwhelming. Very few people want to go to prison or want to be on probation, so many people try their hardest to talk their way out of trouble. Sometimes that talking involves lying. That lying, depending on the circumstances, can result in serious criminal charges, including perjury charges.

What Is Perjury?

If you have been involved in a trial or ever seen a court show on television, you have seen the process of swearing in, during which the witness is asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” The witness always responds with “I do,” or “yes,” or some other affirmative answer. With the possible exception of some witnesses who are asserting their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, witnesses rarely respond “No.” Yet, some witnesses lie. When a witness swears to tell the truth and then fails to do so, the question becomes whether he or she has committed the very serious offense of perjury.

Under Illinois law, a person commits perjury when he or she, while under oath or affirmation in a proceeding where this is required, makes a false statement that is material to the issue or point in question and he or she knows the statement is false. The important thing to remember is that in order for the statement to be perjury, the person making it must know that the statement is false. Imagine, then, a case that relies on an eyewitness identification. If the eyewitness identifies the wrong person as the person who committed the crime, but he or she believes she has the right person, he or she is not committing perjury. But if he or she knows he or she has the wrong person but makes the identification anyway, then he or she is committing perjury. Perjury is a class 3 felony.

Sometimes people have questions about oaths versus affirmations. Some people’s religious or personal beliefs prevent them from swearing oaths. When these people have to testify they are given the option of affirming that what they are saying is true, and that they understand that they can be charged with the crime of perjury if they do not tell the truth. An affirmation is like an oath without the potentially religious connotations.

Call Christopher M. Cosley

If you are accused of or being investigated for a crime in Rolling Meadows, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. You should contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. We pride ourselves on providing full-service representation that is specific to your goals and the details of your case. We will fight for you.

Interference with a Penal Institution

August 12th, 2015 at 8:32 am

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, prison crimes, When a person is convicted of a crime it can be hard for his or her entire family. While one family member is in jail or prison, the other members of the family have to make their way over many hurdles to spend time with the incarcerated person. Sometimes the incarcerated person may put pressure on his or her family members to break some of the rules, and even sneak in some forbidden items. Doing this and getting caught can result in severe consequences for everyone involved.

Bringing Contraband into a Penal Institution

It is a crime to bring contraband into a penal institution. What constitutes contraband? Contraband includes items such as alcohol, drugs, syringes or needles, weapons, firearms, ammunition, explosives, tools to defeat security mechanisms, cutting tools, and electronic contraband like cell phones and recording devices. Penal institutions include prisons, jails, halfway houses, and other similar institutions. A person can be found guilty of bringing contraband into a penal institution if the prosecutor can prove that a person:

  • Brings contraband into a penal institution;
  • Causes another to bring contraband into a penal institution; or
  • Puts contraband close enough to a prison or jail so that an inmate can gain access.

Possessing Contraband in a Penal Institution

A person can be found guilty of the possession of such items in a penal institution if he or she knowingly has possession of contraband, regardless of his or her intent.

Sentences for Contraband Offenses

The sentences for contraband offenses vary depending on the nature of the contraband. If the contraband is alcohol, the offense is a class 4 felony. If the contraband is cannabis the offense is a class 3 felony. If the substance is some other controlled substance the offense will be a class 1 or class 2 felony, depending on what the substance is. If the contraband is a syringe, weapon, tool, or electronic contraband then the offense will be a class 1 felony. If the contraband is a firearm, ammunition, or explosives, then the offense will be a class X felony.

It is important to note that there are some affirmative defenses to these charges. One of the most important ones involves cases where the person who brings the contraband into the facility does so because he or she was just arrested, he or she possessed the contraband when he or she was arrested, and he or she brought the contraband into the facility as a direct result of the arrest.

Call Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Rolling Meadows, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. You should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. We will tailor our representation to your goals and priorities and will fight for the best outcome possible. You do not just deserve effective representation–it is your right. Call us and we will be on your side.

What Is a White Collar Crime?

August 10th, 2015 at 8:10 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statutes, Some types of crimes are motivated purely by financial gain, and these types of crimes are called “white collar” crimes, referring to the non-violent and money-centric nature of these crimes. White collar crimes often involve fraud in some form, dishonest behavior, or the inappropriate handling of funds or money that belongs to someone else. White collar crimes are often characterized by a highly complicated scheme devised to improperly make or steal money without anyone either noticing that money is missing or being able to easily identify the source of the theft. When white collar crimes happen, many people are affected and victimized.

Most Common White Collar Crimes

There are a number of white collar crimes that result in criminal charges. Fraud is the most common white collar offense, and it takes many forms. Wire, mail and internet fraud; business, business investment, and business opportunity fraud; bank, insurance and mortgage fraud; medicare-medicaid fraud; and securities fraud are some of the most highly popularized and widely reported white collar crimes in the media. For example, failed Ponzi schemes and insider trading are two white collar crimes that many people have heard about in the news due to the high profile individuals that have been involved in these crimes.

Misrepresentation is another common basis upon which white collar crimes are perpetrated. Misrepresentation is the underlying action behind criminal charges for crimes such as falsifying financial documents, falsifying tax documents, and forgery. Tax evasion, corruption, embezzlement and money laundering are all common white collar crimes that are also based on dishonest behavior and the improper handling of money.

Investigation for a White Collar Crime

When law enforcement suspects someone of being involved in a financially motivated crime, they will often openly inform the suspect that they are conducting an investigation. Due to the convoluted nature of the crime, it may take police a significant amount of time to sort out the specifics of the case.

However, in some white collar cases, innocent people get swept up in the mess. It can be difficult to determine ultimate liability, since the whole scheme may be orchestrated so that many unsuspecting people are involved, thereby depleting liability by spreading out accountability to many other people. Sometimes an employee was simply following orders, and had no idea that their actions contributed to something criminal. Whatever the case might be, if you are notified that you are under investigation for the commission of a white collar crime, you need to seek the help and guidance of an experienced white collar criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with one of these white collar crimes, or have been informed that you are being investigated, you need to get into contact with a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.

Steps for Getting Your Driving Privileges Reinstated

August 5th, 2015 at 7:37 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois DUI lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, When driving privileges are taken away in Illinois, they may be taken away in one of three manners:

  • Driver’s License Suspension. When your driver’s license is suspended, your driving privileges have temporarily been withdrawn. You will get your driving privileges back so long as you do not do anything to make your situation worse. A suspension only lasts for a designated amount of time, or until you pay or reach an agreement concerning payment for money that you owe, such as for outstanding child support or unpaid court fines.
  • Driver’s License Revocation. When your driver’s license is revoked, your driving privileges have been taken away indefinitely, and there is no guarantee that you will ever get them reinstated.
  • Driver’s License Cancellation. When your driver’s license is canceled, you have no driving privileges in Illinois.

Reinstatement Of Your Driver’s License

Getting your driver’s license reinstated takes work. The Illinois Secretary of State has offered guidance on what you must do to get your license back. Below are the steps you need to take in order to get your driver’s license reinstated.

  1. Must be eligible. You must be eligible for reinstatement, meaning that you have reached your eligibility date for reinstatement of your driver’s license.
  2. Schedule and attend a consultation with a hearing officer. Consult with an informal hearing officer about your driving record and why your license was suspended or revoked. The officer will provide guidance concerning your requirements for getting your license reinstated.
  3. Complete the relevant alcohol and/or drug requirements. If applicable, you will need to complete an alcohol and/or drug evaluation, which must be performed by a licensed Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse provider, within the six months leading up to your reinstatement hearing. You will be classified into one of three categories by the evaluator, and your classification determines the additional requirements you must satisfy to get your license back.
    • Low risk. Low risk individuals must complete an alcohol and/or drug remedial education program.
    • Moderate to significant risk. These individuals must also complete the same alcohol and/or drug remedial education program as discussed above. Further, moderate risk individuals must provide proof that they have completed an early intervention, while significant risk individuals must provide proof that they have completed a recommended alcohol/drug treatment program with periodic updates about their status thereafter.
    • High risk. High risk individuals must provide proof that they have completed a recommended alcohol/drug treatment program with periodic updates about their status thereafter.
      • If the high risk individual is not dependent on drugs or alcohol, proof of abstinence or non-problematic use must be provided, as well as a clinical explanation that the person is not dependent upon drugs or alcohol.
      • If the high risk individual is dependent on drugs or alcohol, three independent sources must vouch for the individual’s abstinence from drugs or alcohol in writing, and three members of the individual’s support or recovery group must vouch for the individual’s participation in these programs in writing.
  4. Attend your hearing. Formal hearings must be requested in writing, with payment of a filing fee, and are for serious offenses, such as accidents involving a death or repeat DUI offenses. Informal hearings are for less serious offenses or first-time alcohol or drug related offenses.
  5. Provide proof of financial responsibility. You must next file proof that you have minimum liability insurance with the Secretary of State’s office, which must be maintained for a period of three years. Submissions must be of a certified insurance policy, surety bond or cash deposit, and must be made on an SR-22 certificate.
  6. Pay reinstatement fee. Finally, you must pay the fee associated with your specific type of reinstatement.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, it can make getting around a challenge. Get your license reinstated as soon as possible. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.

The Victims’ Rights Clause Confuses the Civil and Criminal Systems

August 3rd, 2015 at 10:44 am

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois civil court system, Both the United States and Illinois have two different justice systems: the criminal justice system and the civil justice system. When you are charged with a criminal offense your case is supposed to be handled in the criminal justice system. However, over time some of the important distinctions between the two have become blurred. This is particularly clear when it comes to so-called victims’ rights provisions, like those found in the Illinois Constitution.

The Traditional Difference between the Criminal and Civil Justice Systems

The criminal and civil justice systems are different. The civil justice system is wherein civil lawsuits are filed by ordinary individuals. This system exists to address grievances that exist between private people, between a private person and a company, or between two companies. In contrast, the criminal justice system is meant to have nothing to do with private wrongs. Within the criminal justice system, a person may be accused of committing a crime against the state. That is why these cases are prosecuted by a “state’s attorney” rather than some private attorney hired by the accuser or his or her family. Each system has its own burden of proof and its own mechanism of justice. While in the criminal system, imprisonment is available if a person is found guilty, in the civil system the liable person is held responsible by being ordered to pay money to the injured person.

A Convolution of the Systems: The Victims’ Rights Provisions

Serious crimes can have long-term or even permanent effects on crime victims and their families. No one denies that, and that is part of why the civil justice system exists: for those people to get a day in court and to potentially obtain justice where it is appropriate. However, the criminal justice system in Illinois has become victim-centric as well. Well-meaning voters and legislatures have enacted laws and constitutional provisions that protect “victims’ rights.” These provisions have given accusers rights to impact the freedom of the defendant before he or she has even been found guilty of a crime. These provisions commonly act as a reason to keep the accused (and presumed innocent) defendant locked up before a trial has even been held or guilt determined. This does not only hurt the defendant, however. It also leads to jail overcrowding that is expensive for taxpayers and dangerous for the men and women who work in our prison systems. It also encourages people to plead guilty who may not be guilty, as a guilty plea can all too often lead to a faster release than a not guilty verdict due to bail policies designed to make crime victims feel satisfied rather than to serve the purpose of bail; that is, to insure the defendant’s appearance in court. Accusers are not parties in criminal cases, so giving them so much control in these cases is inappropriate and detrimental.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney like Christopher M. Cosley. Call us today at (847)394-3200.  We will advocate for you and fight for a positive outcome in your case. The prosecution has the power of the entire state on its side; you deserve to have an experienced advocate on yours.