Archive for November, 2015
November 26th, 2015 at 4:06 pm
Criminal defendants have some of the highest constitutional protections in the criminal justice system. The reason for these rights and protections is because the stakes are so high. If someone is convicted of a crime, they may not only lose their freedom, but also a host of other rights. One of the most important constitutional protections is the right to see the evidence against you. But, even this right has its limits.
Right to Exculpatory Evidence
The most basic right in a criminal trial is the right to see any exculpatory evidence. This means you have a right to see anything the prosecution has possession of, or knows about, that may show you are not guilty of the crime for which you are being charged. This right was laid out in the U.S. Supreme Court case called Brady V. Maryland.
Other Evidence Rights
You also have a constitutional right to confront any witnesses. This limits the use of out of court statements by the prosecution during your trial. You have the right to cross-examine witnesses. You also have a right to see what evidence the prosecution plans on presenting against you in most instances.
You have a right to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. For example, if the prosecution is going to have an expert testify about hair samples left at the scene, you can present your own expert witness or argue that the prosecution’s evidence is flawed.
What Defendants Do Not Have a Right to See
There are some things that as a criminal defendant you do not have a right to see before trial, or perhaps even at all. There may be some national security issues that limit your access to evidence.
More commonly, evidence called impeachment evidence does not have to be disclosed before trial. This is evidence that would show a witness was not telling the truth.
In some cases the identity of confidential informants may be protected and you will not have access to some information about these often key parts to the prosecution’s case.
Criminal charges are always a serious matter. If you have been accused or charged with a crime, you need to consult with a knowledgeable, tough, and experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer right away. Do not to talk to anyone about your case before you have talked to a lawyer. Your freedom could depend on it. Call to schedule a consultation today.
November 24th, 2015 at 3:46 pm
Under the criminal justice system there is a limit to when prosecutors can bring criminal charges. The time limit is called the statute of limitations. After a statute of limitations has passed a prosecutor cannot bring criminal charges. However, there have been more than a few cases where someone confessed to a crime, thinking the statute of limitations had expired, but were wrong and ended up getting convicted.
Under Illinois law the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is 18 months. Even if new evidence surfaces after 18 months, a prosecution cannot be brought. There are certain factors that can stop the statute from running. If you have been legally charged, but fail to show up for court, the statute of limitations is tolled, or put on pause. When you are eventually found, even if it is years later, the case will continue.
The statute of limitations for most felonies in Illinois is three years after the commission of the crime. There are several important exceptions to this rule, however, for most felonies, after three years – if charges have been filed or you have not been indicted – the prosecution cannot start the process.
Cases involving murder have no statute of limitations in Illinois. The list of crimes related to murder for which there is no statute of limitations include:
- First degree murder;
- Attempt to commit first degree murder;
- Second degree murder;
- Involuntary manslaughter;
- Reckless homicide;
- Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving death or personal injuries; and
- Concealment of a homicide.
It does not matter when any of these crimes were committed, you can always be prosecuted for them.
There are many other cases besides one that deal with murder that either have no statute of limitations or have an extended statute of limitations.
Other crimes that have no statute of limitations are:
- Aggravated arson;
- Child pornography; and
- Aggravated child pornography.
Crimes that deal with the abuse or sexual exploitation of a minor in some way have extended statutes of limitations. The statute is extended for one year after the minor victim turns 18, but the statute will always be at least three years.
For example, if someone commits the crime of exploitation of a minor and the victim is 13 at the time of the crime, the statute of limitation will not expire until the victim turns 19, making the statute in this case approximately six years. If the victim were 17 at the time of the crime, the statute would not expire when the victim turned 18 or 19. The statute would expire three years after the commission of the crime.
Criminal statutes of limitations can be complex. If you have been charged or accused of a crime, you need to get help fast. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer before you talk to anyone else about your case. Call today to schedule a consultation. Your freedom could be at risk.
November 19th, 2015 at 3:27 pm
One of the most exciting things about becoming a young adult is that teens can obtain driving privileges. Starting as early as age 15, teens can apply for a driver’s permit, and can work their way up through the graduated driver’s license program offered by the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles. After the permit phase is complete, or when a teen reaches the age of 16, teens aged 16-17 can enter the initial licensing phase, and once a teen turns 18, he or she can enter the full licensing phase. So long as teens comply with the rules set forth concerning the permit phase and/or the initial licensing phase, they can keep happily driving wherever they want to go.
Traffic Violations Impact Teens’ Ability to Drive
However, receiving a citation for a driving offense can impact or endanger a teen’s driving privileges. Juvenile traffic offenses, such as the following, may endanger the privilege of driving:
- Receiving a moving violation conviction while in the permit phase of the graduated license program means that a teen driver will have to wait an extra nine months before he or she can apply for the initial licensing phase.
- Similarly, getting caught driving without a permit will leave a teen ineligible for a driver’s license until the age of 18.
- Permit holder teens driving in violation of the nighttime driving restrictions, codified by 625 ILCS 5/6-107(b), can result in a suspension of a teen’s driving privileges.
- While a driver is under the age of 21, if the young driver gets two driving offense convictions within a 24 month period then under 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(36) the young driver will end up with a suspension of his or her driver’s license.
- Any young driver whose driver’s license is suspended will have to pay a reinstatement fee of $70.
- When a teen goes to get his or her driver’s license, if there are any unresolved traffic citations, a driver’s license will not be issued.
Driving without a License
Driving without a license can land a teen in a lot of trouble. A teen is not permitted to drive without a valid license in Illinois, which means that if the teen does not have one, or it is suspended or revoked, he or she is not supposed to operate a vehicle. Even if the teen has a valid license, but he or she just does not have it with him or her at the time the teen is pulled over by law enforcement, he or she can be cited for driving without a driver’s license.
If a teen is caught driving without a license, if he or she is not able to prove that he or she does in fact hold a valid license, the teen will be subject to a license suspension. What this means is that the teen’s ability to apply for a driver’s license in the future is suspended for a period of time. Even if the teen has never held a driver’s license to begin with, his or her ability to apply for one would be suspended. Driving without a license can result in a Class B misdemeanor, while driving with a suspended or revoked license is a Class A misdemeanor.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are a teen or have a teen who has gotten a traffic violation which could impact his or her driving privileges, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile matters lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.
November 17th, 2015 at 2:48 pm
One of the consequences of being convicted for driving under the influence is that your driver’s license will be revoked. Under the current laws of Illinois, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. Upon conviction, a person will lose their driver’s license; more specifically, the Secretary of State will revoke their driving privileges.
The revocation period depends on the number of prior offenses:
- For a first offense, license revocation is for a period of one year, and for those under the age of 21, revocation is for two years;
- For a second offense committed in a period of 20 years, license revocation is for a period of and years;
- For a third offense, license revocation is for a period of 10 years; and
- For a fourth any subsequent offenses, license revocation is for life.
Needless to say, being convicted of a DUI seriously impacts a person’s life by taking away their ability to drive.
New Law Changes Driver’s License Revocation for Fourth DUI Offense
A new state law, referred to as House Bill 1446 or Public Act 099-0290, will be taking effect on January 1, 2016 and will allow individuals in Illinois who have been convicted of four DUIs to be able to apply for a restricted driving permit after completing five years of their revocation period.
In order to be eligible for the restricted driving permit under the new law, the applicant must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence:
- That he or she has experienced a minimum of three years of uninterrupted sobriety from drugs, alcohol, or both; and
- That he or she has successfully completed a rehabilitative program or activity recommended by a licensed service provider.
While it is always a good legal strategy to fight a DUI charge that is pending against you so that you are not convicted of the DUI, if you ultimately are convicted, it is also important that you pursue the options available to you to get your driver’s license reinstated as soon as possible.
Under the new law, four-time DUI convictions can become eligible for an administrative hearing to request reinstatement of their driving privileges from the Illinois Secretary of State. In the alternative, these individuals can seek to obtain a restricted driving permit, which can be obtained for the purpose of transporting either yourself or a family member for certain reasons or purposes, including getting to and from work, school, substance abuse rehabilitative services or programs, for obtaining medical care and attending doctor’s appointments, or for getting children to daycare.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Getting a first, second, third or subsequent DUI is a matter that can not be taken lightly. Your rights and your freedom are at stake. Consult with an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney about what options are available to you and whether you can get your driving privileges reinstated sooner rather than later. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for assistance.
November 12th, 2015 at 2:34 pm
Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, codified as 410 ILCS 130 et seq., is a temporary test program that will run until the end of 2017, which allows Illinois residents with qualifying medical conditions and diseases to have access to medical marijuana as part of their treatment or pain management regimen. Patients who are eligible under the Act must have a debilitating medical condition as defined in the Act, which includes 39 different conditions, including:
- Hepatitis C;
- Spinal cord disease or a spinal cord injury;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Muscular dystrophy;
- Traumatic brain injuries or post-concussion syndrome;
- Rheumatoid arthritis;
- Fibrous dysplasia;
- Wasting syndrome;
- Seizures; or
- A handful of other rare and painful conditions.
Eight New Conditions for Inclusion in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
At the beginning of October, the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board provided a recommendation that an additional eight health conditions be added to the list of health conditions that are eligible for access to medical marijuana, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
- Chronic pain syndrome;
- Pain due to trauma;
- Chronic postoperative pain;
- Intractable pain; and
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
These eight health conditions are not yet officially included as part of the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. The Illinois Department of Public Health must first approve these eight conditions, and then develop administrative rules concerning medical marijuana use for these conditions, before they can officially be included as eligible.
The Basics of the Compassionate Use Act
Under the Act, a qualified and registered patient may use and possess a quantity of marijuana within the confines of the Act. Similarly, the qualified and registered patient’s registered and designated caregiver may also possess a quantity of medical marijuana on behalf of the patient.
However, there are restrictions on the use and possession of medical marijuana under the Act. For instance, it is still illegal to have or use medical marijuana in a school bus, on the grounds of a school, or at any home that also serves as a child care facility. Medical marijuana can only be transported in a vehicle so long as it is in closed and sealed packaging and can never be used while operating a motor vehicle. Medical marijuana cannot be used in a public place, or in the presence of anyone under the age of 18 years old.
So even if you are someone who is eligible to participate in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, and even if you have registered for the program and have obtained the appropriate identification card, the Compassionate Use Act is not a free pass to do whatever you like when it comes to your medical marijuana. The laws regulating the use of medical marijuana are strict, and if you violate them, you will be prosecuted.
Medical marijuana is still relatively new in Illinois, and people who are authorized under the Compassionate Use Act may inadvertently end up in trouble with the law: either for improper possession, transportation or use of the drug. If this happens to you, you will need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are permitted to possess and use marijuana for medical purposes, but have been charge with a drug offense, please contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for immediate assistance.
November 10th, 2015 at 2:20 pm
If your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, it can make commuting a challenging process. You have to rely on public transportation, your friends and family members, or walking or biking to get around. Life may become particularly difficult if you need a car to get to work or school. One solution to the problem, albeit ill-advised, is to risk getting caught and drive without a valid driver’s license. And many people choose to do this, despite the consequences.
A driver’s license is required in order to operate a motor vehicle in Illinois, under 625 ILCS 5/6-101. You cannot drive in Illinois if you have never obtained a driver’s license, or if your license is expired or cancelled. Additionally, driving when your driver’s license is suspended or revoked is prohibited under 625 ILCS 5/6-303. As a general rule:
- A first offense for driving without a license, or while your licenses is revoked or suspended, is a Class A misdemeanor; and
- A second or subsequent offense for driving when your license is suspended or revoked is a Class 4 felony; however, offenses can be upgraded in certain circumstances.
Loss of Driving Privileges Compounded
When your driver’s license is suspended or revoked for a first offense, and you violate another law that warrants an additional period of license revocation or suspension, the duration of the suspensions or revocations will be tacked on to one another. To say this differently, if your first license suspension is for six months, and during that six months you commit some other offense that carries the punishment of loss of license for one year, the one-year loss of license will be added to the end of your six-month punishment, for a total of 18 months without driving privileges.
When you are caught driving without a driver’s license because your license has been suspended or revoked, the duration of your license suspension or revocation will be doubled by the Secretary of State, in accordance with 625 ILCS 5/6-303(b-1).
Caught Driving without a License, but Have One
If you are were caught driving without a license, but you do in fact hold a valid license (perhaps you forgot it at home or it fell out of your pocket, etc.), you may receive a citation or a warning from the law enforcement officer that pulled you over, but you will have the opportunity to provide proof of your valid license at a later point in time. It is sometimes possible to have the consequences for driving without your license reduced, or even dismissed, if you can provide proof that you held a valid driver’s license at the time of your citation. An attorney with experience handling traffic offenses can help you.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you have been charged with driving without a license, you need to hire an experienced traffic offenses lawyer immediately. Please contact a Rolling Meadows traffic offense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer.
November 5th, 2015 at 8:49 pm
Many people do not realize that the crime of retail theft takes multiple different forms. For instance, retail theft under 720 ILCS 5/16-25 occurs whenever someone in Illinois knowingly:
- Takes something from a retailer without paying. The most typical form of retail theft involves taking an item from a retail establishment where the item was for sale, with the intent to keep the item, and thus deprive the store of the item, without paying for it.
- Changes or removes the price tag. Altering the price tag or labeling of an item so that it appears that the item costs less than it actually does, and then taking advantage of the misrepresentation to obtain the item for less than it costs, is a form of retail theft.
- Swaps Packaging. Taking one item out of its packaging, and placing it in the packaging of another, cheaper item, in order to pay the lower price, is a form of retail theft because the seller loses out on the full retail value of that mispackaged item.
- Under-rings an item. Some retailers allow customers to ring up their own items at checkout. If a person falsely rings up an item for a lower price than the retail value, it is a form of retail theft.
- Misrepresents that an item is his or her own property. If a person is confronted by store management or security for suspected shoplifting, and if the person misrepresents to their confronter that the item is actually theirs, when it is not, it is a form of retail theft. This includes misrepresentations such as returning an item for store credit that was never paid for in the first place.
- Removes an anti-theft device from an item, or uses a theft detection shielding device. It is impermissible to remove an anti-theft device or use a shielding device in order to remove an item from a retailer’s property without paying for it.
- Steals a shopping cart. Shopping carts belong to the retailer, and people are permitted to use them so long as they are not taken from the property.
- Takes possession of leased property but does not pay the rental value/full retail value for it. When you rent a place to live, the living space is often furnished with appliances, such as refrigerators, microwaves, etc. Taking these items upon move out, without paying for them is a form of retail theft because the rental property is a business.
Defending against Retail Theft Charges
What is important to note about retail theft crimes is that the person must commit the theft knowingly. There are a number of instances where a person might not know or realize that they are taking the property of another, or from a retailer. For instance, an item might accidentally fall into an open purse, or a child might playfully hide an item in a purse or jacket, not realizing or understanding that the item might not get paid for. There are instances where an item is placed in a compartment under the shopping cart and that item is forgotten during checkout. A person could also mistakenly ring up an item incorrectly by mistakenly entering a UPC code or bar code.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you stand accused of retail theft and have been formally charged, you should contact an experienced theft attorney immediately. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for assistance.
November 3rd, 2015 at 8:35 pm
Falsifying financial documents can take many forms: falsifying tax returns, bank statements, financial records, accounting documents, earnings reports, securities information, income statements, signatures, and checks are all actions that are meant to deceive the recipient of the falsified document into believing one thing, when the truth is another. These types of white collar crimes constitute deception-based crimes, which take advantage of someone else for personal financial gain.
Under 720 ILCS 5/17-3, a person is guilty of committing forgery if he or she knowingly makes a false document or alters a document to make it false with the intent to defraud someone such that the forged document is capable of defrauding another. Forgery can including knowingly giving someone a forged document, with the intent to defraud the recipient, or simply being found in possession of a forged document with the intent to deliver the forged document to someone, with the intent to defraud.
Forgery is generally a Class 3 felony; however, if the forgery is of a coin or an academic degree, it is a Class A misdemeanor, but if the forgery is of a Universal Price Code Label, it is a Class 4 felony.
Tax fraud is another common white collar crime that often involves the falsifying of financial documents in an effort to decrease the amount of state or federal taxes that are owed to the government. While no one ever wants to pay more in taxes than they have to, every person has a legally imposed tax obligation that they are required to pay. Of course there are a number of deductions, tax credits, and tax breaks that eligible individuals may take advantage of, and when these benefits are calculated and accounted properly there is no problem.
However, some people might under-represent their earnings, fail to include or document a large transaction, or might forget about a large monetary “gift” they received during the year, and fail to report it for tax purposes. For example, knowingly evading the payment of any sales tax owed to the State of Illinois is a felony crime under 35 ILCS 120/13(b), and the seriousness of the penalties for this offense depend upon the total amount of sales tax that was not paid. These types of actions are fraud if the person who does them does so with the intention of defrauding the tax authorities.
But that is not to say that making a mistake on your taxes is the same thing as tax fraud. Filing your taxes is complicated and requires filling out a lot of different forms and schedules, and people are bound to make mistakes. A mistake could be a valid defense to tax fraud criminal charges if there is proof that an error was made.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, such as forgery or tax fraud, it is important that you need to get into contact with a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately in order to preserve and protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for help today.