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Archive for October, 2015

Reckless Homicide Charges in Motor Vehicle Accidents

October 28th, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois homicide statutes, Illiois criminal attorney,Accidentally killing another person with a vehicle is a tough thing to live with, and while the defendant never meant to take a life, he or she will likely be prosecuted if there is evidence to suggest that the driver acted negligently in some way, and that the negligence led to the death. Frequently, defendants in these types of situations find themselves facing criminal charges, and based on the facts surround the fatal accident, additional charges can be brought against the defendant as well that carry more severe penalties.

Reckless Homicide, Plus Other Charges

The exact details of the accident can have an impact on what charges can be brought against the defendant. As an initial matter, when a motor vehicle accident results in a fatality, an allegedly negligent driver is usually charged with reckless homicide under 720 ILCS 5/9-3, which is a Class 3 felony that carries a jail sentence of between two and five years. But other negligent actions can add to the charges.

For example, the penalties for a driving under the influence conviction are severe enough on their own, but when a death occurs, prosecutors charge defendants with everything in their arsenal. When a fatal accident results from someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the defendant can be charged with aggravated DUI under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(F) in addition to the reckless homicide.

Where the fatal accident takes place can serve as evidence of negligence, this can result in enhanced penalties and additional charges. For instance:

  • Work zone. Under  720 ILCS 5/9-3(e-7), a fatal accident occurring in a work zone  (i.e., a construction zone or maintenance zone), is a Class 2 felony that carries a jail sentence of three for 14 years. If multiple people are killed as a result of the accident, the sentence minimum and maximum double to six to 28 years under 720 ILCS 5/9-3(e-8).
  • Under Officer’s Orders. Also under 720 ILCS 5/9-3(e-7), if a driver fails to obey a law enforcement officer’s orders and causes a fatal accident, the driver will be charged with a Class 2 felony carrying a jail sentence of three to 14 years.  If multiple people are killed as a result of the accident, the sentence minimum and maximum double to six to 28 years under 720 ILCS 5/9-3(e-8).
  • School zone. Under 720 ILCS 5/9-3(e-2), a fatal accident occurring on a public thoroughfare where either school children or a crossing guard are present is a Class 2 felony, which can carry up to three to 14 years of jail time. If multiple people are killed as a result of the accident, the sentence minimum and maximum double to six to 28 years under 720 ILCS 5/9-3(e-3).

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Simply because you accidentally killed another does not necessarily mean that you or someone you love was negligent. Fight the charges. Please contact an experienced Rolling Meadows aggravated DUI lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K9-3

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

The Crime of Drag Racing

October 26th, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois driving laws, Illinois criminal attorney,Drag racing, sometimes also referred to as street racing, involves at least two vehicles competing in a speed race against one another. Drag racing can be a straight shot, meaning that the racers maintain a straight path, or could be a race along a designated course that comprises public streets, roadways and highways. The object of drag racing is for one driver to arrive at a destination first, and within a short amount of time. However, sometimes the point of street racing is to prevent another vehicle from passing, or is to test the physical limitations and stamina of drivers over the course of a long driving route.

Street racing has been highly popularized over the last decade or so due to its appearance in a number of movies and high profile celebrity deaths. However, drag racing and any other form of racing is illegal on the roads and highways of Illinois under 625 ILCS 5/11-506, and the consequences of being caught participating in street racing activities are severe criminal charges with lasting effects.

Penalties for a Driver Who Was Racing

Punishment for a drag racing driver is based on whether the driver is a repeat offender, and whether anyone was hurt as a result of the racing.

  • As a first offense, street racing is a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a minimum fine of $250;
  • As a second or subsequent offense, street racing is upgraded to a Class 4 felony and carries a minimum fine of $500;
  • If the drag racing results in a motor vehicle accident that causes great bodily harm, dismemberment, or disfigurement to someone, the driver will be charged with aggravated street racing under 625 ILCS 5/11-506(d)(3). Aggravated street racing is a Class 4 felony and is punishable by a jail sentence lasting from a minimum of one year to up to 12 years; and
  • In all instances of street racing, the driver will have his or her driver’s license revoked. License revocations are for an indefinite amount of time, and the only way to get driving privileges back is to appear before the Secretary of State for an administrative hearing and request reinstatement, which takes time, money and often the help of a driver’s license reinstatement lawyer.

You Do Not Even Have to Be a Driver

Not only is it illegal for a driver to engage in street racing, but it is also illegal to be a vehicle owner and knowingly allow another to use your vehicle for street racing purposes under 625 ILCS 5/11-506(b). A conviction for knowingly permitting another to use your vehicle for racing can land you a Class B misdemeanor for a first time offense, and a Class A misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Maybe you were charged with speed racing when in reality you were just speeding, or maybe someone used your car for racing and you had no knowledge that the racing was going to occur. Either way, it is important to fight the charges against you. Contact a skilled Rolling Meadows traffic offenses lawyer immediately at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.

 

Source:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-506

Weapons in Schools: When Children Exercise Poor Judgement

October 21st, 2015 at 7:43 am

Illinois juvenile crimes attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal lawyer, Weapons in schools is an issue that teachers, professors, principals, and school districts do not take lightly, and often any student who brings a weapon into the classroom faces severe consequences for this juvenile offense. A school can be any place of learning, which includes public and private educational institutions ranging from elementary level to college or university.

Severity of Punishment Tied to the Type of Weapon

Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/24-1(c) specifically addresses how no one may bring weapons into a school, carry weapons on a school bus, or even have a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school. The punishments associated with these crimes vary depending on the threat or potential danger associated with the weapon.

  • Guns, rifles and bombs. Under the statute, if a person brings a weapon into a school, such as a gun, rifle, or a bomb, that person will be charged with a Class 2 felony, and faces between three and seven years of jail time;
  • Pistols, revolvers, stun guns and tasers. When the weapon that is brought into a school is a pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser (and some ballistic knives), the offense results in a Class 3 felony; and
  • Hand-held type weapons. Bringing hand-held type weapons, such as bludgeons, brass knuckles, throwing stars, knives, stilettos, razors, dangerous pieces of glass, switch blades, and any spring-loaded, or cannister-powered projectile weapons, into a school results in a Class 4 felony.

What Other Items Have Been Considered to Be A “Weapon”?

While there are the more traditional things we think of to be weapons, such as knives, guns, etc. there are some less obvious things that have also been considered to be weapons according to teachers, school administrators, and the courts. For example, tools, such as pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers and box cutters were considered to be “weapons” according to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division in Douglas Bartlett v. City of Chicago School District #299 et al., (Case No. 1:13-cv-02862 (Ill. N. D. 2014)). However, it should be noted that in the Bartlett case, the person who brought the alleged “weapons” to school was a teacher, and not a student.

While state law does specifically define certain types of weapons that are not permitted in schools, case law in the state indicates that there are many other items that, if brought to school, could be construed as a weapon.

When Children Face Weapons Charges

With all of the scary media coverage of school shootings, it is frightful to think that kids would take weapons to school. But only a relatively small number of cases where students bring weapons to school result in the student using the weapon to hurt others. More often, a student will bring a weapon to school to show their friends, or might do it on a dare, without the intention of hurting anyone. Sometimes a student will take a weapon to school because they think they need it for self-defense against a bully. Children do not necessarily understand the full impact that taking a weapon into a school has.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If your child exercised poor judgement and brought a weapon to school, or if your child brought something that he or she felt was harmless to the school and is now facing weapons accusations from the school, please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for help today

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K24-1

https://www.rutherford.org/files_images/general/04-17-2014_Dow-Opinion.pdf

The Basics about Criminal Record Expungement in Illinois

October 19th, 2015 at 7:13 am

Illinois criminal statutes, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer,A person’s criminal record is available to and viewable by the public and many people who have a criminal record in their history find that the existence of that criminal record causes a lot of problems. A criminal record might prevent someone from getting a job opportunity, or a scholarship. It can even cause a person problems if they are trying to get into professional school. For those individuals with a criminal record, there is the possibility that your criminal record can be expunged.

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is a legal process for which eligible candidates can petition the court of their sentencing county, and, if successful, an expungement effectively erases past crimes, court supervisions, and certain probations from the individual’s criminal record. This means that your criminal record is cleared of any evidence of those particular convictions, supervisions, or probations. To think of this another way, expunged records are destroyed.

You can go through the expungement petitions process with or without an attorney, but many people find determining their eligibility to be difficult and the petition process to be taxing and complex. An experienced expungement attorney can help you quickly and effectively navigate the expungement process.

Eligibility

Under Section 5.2 of the Criminal Identification Act, 20 ILCS 2630/5.2, certain qualifying arrests, supervisions, and probations made in Illinois may be expunged. The only individuals who are eligible for expungement are those who have never been convicted of a felony criminal offense, a misdemeanor criminal offense, or a violation of a municipal ordinance – with an exception for some honorably discharged veterans who have been convicted of certain Class 3 and Class 4 felonies.

There may be a time limit that must pass before you can seek to have your record expunged. Typically, the wait is five years, but some court supervisions can be expunged from your record after just two years. Some juvenile records may also be eligible for expungement as well, but they are handled differently than adult criminal records.

All or Nothing

If you have multiple convictions in your criminal record, or only some of your past offenses are eligible for expungement, but not others, you may find yourself in a tough spot. Expungement is an “all or nothing” game – either your whole record is expunged in one shot, or none of it gets expunged at all.

After Expungement

If you have your criminal record expunged, as a general rule you are under no obligation to ever tell anyone about the expunged convictions, supervisions, or probations. However, there is a limited exception when it comes to apply to certain types of jobs, which requires the disclosure of any and all criminal history – including expunged records.

Upon a successful conclusion to your expungement proceedings, the court will destroy the records relating to your expunged record, and will remove your information from any and all indexes and public records. You will be provided the only copy of your record, which you should hold onto in a safe place.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you believe that your criminal record is eligible for expungement, please do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 to discuss your case.

 

Source:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=350&ChapterID=5

False Allegations of Domestic Violence

October 14th, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, domestic abuse laws, Domestic violence is not always physical abuse. Sometimes domestic violence takes the form of emotional abuse, which is executed by the use of threats. Threats can take the form of words or gestures, and under Illinois law, the use of threats against a family or household member is illegal and victims can be protected from it. Threats are considered a form of harassment, because threats, such as threats of physical violence and threats confinement or restraint, are used to cause the victim emotional distress.

Orders of Protection

Victims of domestic violence can seek a protection order from the courts, which prohibit the alleged abuser from abusing them. In the case of alleged threats, the protection order will force the person making the threats to stop doing so.

But sometimes victims claim they are being threatened, when really no such thing happened. False allegations of domestic violence can be made when a “victim” feels threatened, but has ulterior motives for making the false or inflated allegation. There are a number of reasons a “victim” might make a false allegation of domestic violence, such as:

  • An attempt to make the alleged abuser look bad so that the victim can get custody of children in the custody situation or during a divorce;
  • In some cases, a victim of domestic violence can get out of a lease agreement, or can take steps to change their locks to keep an abuser out of their home under the Safe Homes Act.  A victim might make false domestic violence allegations in order to kick the alleged abuser out of his or her home; or
  • A victim might purposely be trying to make trouble for the alleged abuser by asserting false allegations of domestic abuse.

Defending against Domestic Violence Allegations

False allegations of domestic violence and threats unfortunately happen quite frequently in Illinois. A number of domestic violence cases involve instances where the alleged victim later recants their accusations, but by that time, it is too late for the alleged abuser – the alleged abuser is already facing domestic violence charges.

There are a number of techniques that can be used to help fight false allegations of domestic violence. For instance, it is important to convey the alleged abuser’s side of the story. Inconsistencies might arise that give doubt that the alleged victim’s claims are based on the truth. It is also critical to have available any and all documentary evidence that tends to show that the allegations of domestic violence are false. Any tape recordings, text messages, pictures or phone records that can be used to show that no threat occurred can be useful in defeating a protective order action.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you stand falsely accused of domestic violence, such as making threats against someone you have or had a romantic relationship with, you need to aggressively fight the charges against pending against you. Please contact an experienced Rolling Meadows domestic violence defense lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 to discuss your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2100&ChapterID=59

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2817&ChapterID=62

Bullying and School Violence

October 12th, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Illinios juvenile crimes, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Bullying in schools is a serious issue that many schools across the country are dealing with and is an issue that is under scrutiny by the public right now. On the one hand, it is important for children to be able to go to school and feel safe, but on the other hand, there is a concern that some children are overly sensitive and that overprotecting children might be doing them more harm than good.

Every school in Illinois is required by law to have a bullying prevention policy in place so that children have a place to learn where they feel safe. Schools not only are launching their own initiatives, but there is also government funding available for schools that make efforts to combat school bullying and other acts of violence in schools.

Where Are Students Protected from Bullying?

Illinois has laws directed to preventing bullying in schools, codified as 105 ILCS 5/23.7, which protects students from being subjected to bullying while a student is:

  1. In class;
  2. In a school-sponsored or school-sanctioned activity, event or educational program;
  3. On the school bus or other school vehicle;
  4. Waiting at a school bus stop for the bus;
  5. On school property; and
  6. Using school computers, networks or other similar electronic equipment belonging to the school.

What Constitutes Bullying under the Law?

Under 105 ILCS 5/23.7(b), “bullying” means any severe or pervasive act or conduct, which can be physical or verbal in nature, that is directed towards another student that could reasonably produce anyone of the following effects:

  • The student is placed in a state of reasonable fear concerning harm to him or herself or his or her property;
  • The student’s physical or mental health is detrimentally affected;
  • The student’s academic performance suffers; or
  • The student’s ability to participate in school is affected.

Bullying may take the form of threats, harassment, intimidation, physical violence, stalking, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property and retaliatory-type actions. Bullying also includes cyber bullying, meaning anything that is written on a computer or electronic device or is communicated to another student through a computer or electronic device.

Accusations of Bullying

Your child might be facing allegations of school bullying by another student, or the school might be taking disciplinary action against your child for an alleged violation of the school’s bullying prevention policy. Not only could your child be facing disciplinary action from the school, such as suspension or expulsion, but if the allegations rise to the level of a criminal juvenile offense, your child could be facing serious criminal charges. This could be a huge injustice if the accusations against your child are false or inflated.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If your child gets in trouble at school for fighting or bullying, it is important that you take action immediately to preserve and protect your child’s rights. Please do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 to learn how we can be of assistance.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=010500050K27-23.7

Improper Lane Usage Traffic Offenses

October 7th, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois traffic offense lawyer, Illionis criminal lawyer,A host of Illinois residents have certainly received traffic tickets over their lives, but many people do not realize that improper lane usage is a ticketable offense until they are involved in an automobile accident or are pulled over for weaving between lanes. While improper traffic lane usage is only a petty offense, a citation can have a significant impact on your driving privileges and could result in an increase to your insurance. Furthermore, this traffic offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to two years of court supervision.

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-709, vehicles driving along Illinois highways and roadways that are divided into multiple lanes that are going the same direction must stay in their own lane as best as possible. A driver can deviate from their chosen lane of traffic only once the driver has deemed it safe to do so. Lane changes are allowed in order to pass another driver who is moving in the same direction as you, but may only be performed once the passing lane is clear and you have a safe distance in which to pass the slower-moving vehicle.

Changing lanes safely means that:

  • You have plenty of room to safely change lanes;
  • You have properly used your turn signal to indicate to the other drivers located around you your intentions to switch lanes; and
  • You have checked all of your mirrors and your blind spots to make sure that you can make the lane change safely.

Improper Lane Usage and Accidents

Law enforcement officers responding to the scene of an automobile accident often determine fault for the accident and award a citation for improper lane usage to the party that they believe is responsible or at fault. But the officers’ assessment of the situation might be incorrect. You might not have been at fault and, as such, may have been improperly ticketed. You will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you fight the citation that was issued against you.

Improper Lane Usage and Suspected DUI

Another common scenario is that law enforcement will use improper lane usage as a pretense for pulling over a driver suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any lane changing could be misconstrued by an officer as being an indication of alcohol impaired driving, and even if you do not show any signs of impairment upon being pulled over, the officer might still issue you the citation for improper lane usage. If your lane changes were conducted safely, then there is no reason why you should be cited for improper lane usage. Fight the citation by hiring a skilled traffic offense lawyer.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have received a citation for improper traffic lane usage after being pulled over or after being involved in an automobile accident, you need to fight your ticket. Please contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.

 

Source:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K11-709.htm

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign in Full Swing in Illinois

October 5th, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Illinois dui attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney,As fall arrives, Illinois law enforcement, through the partnership efforts of the Illinois Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, have been actively and aggressively implementing the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over traffic safety campaign, a campaign designed to improve awareness and crack down on drunk and drugged driving on Illinois roadways, according to one report. The central theme of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is that drunk driving is preventable, and as such one of the main objectives of the campaign is to raise awareness of this fact.

During the time period between August 24th and Labor Day on September 7th, Illinois law enforcement was out in force, with more officers patrolling the roadways and exercising a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drunk or drugged drivers on the road. There was also an increase in the number of traffic safety checks and officers focused on issuing tickets for seat belt law violators without exception under the Click It or Ticket campaign.

Drunk Driving Is Illegal, and a Moment of Poor Judgement Can Be Trouble

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, a person is considered too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or higher. Yet many Illinois drivers still drink and drive. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Some people are normally prudent and safe drivers, but exercise momentary poor judgement during festivities;
  • Some people do not normally drink, but have a few alcoholic beverages during a celebration with friends, and it is too much for them and it impairs their driving more than they expected; and/or
  • Some people drive themselves to a party or barbecue, have a few drinks not realizing how intoxicated they are, and do not have a designated driver to take them home afterwards.

Many people who are pulled over and charged with a DUI are first-time offenders. They are normally great drivers, but have exercised poor judgment and got caught behind the wheel when they were too impaired to drive. Sometimes they were driving because they completely believed that they were sober enough to drive. Even if you are operating your vehicle in a safe and responsible way, if you get caught and your chemical test results show that you are over the legal limit, you will face DUI charges.

It is important to fight the DUI charges that are pending against you. A DUI conviction means that you will be facing time in court, jail time, hefty fines, loss of driver’s license, alcohol and drug educational classes, and a criminal record.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

With Illinois law enforcement so aggressively looking for drunk drivers, there will be an increase in the number of people who are charged with DUI. If you are facing DUI charges, please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for a consultation on your case.

 

Sources:

http://patch.com/illinois/naperville/naperville-police-ramping-efforts-nab-drunk-drivers-0

http://www.buckleupillinois.org/default.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

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