Archive for February, 2016
February 25th, 2016 at 7:50 am
It is all too common for criminal defendants to be arrested because they are in possession of drug paraphernalia. Even if you have absolutely no drugs on you at the time the arrest is made, law enforcement can still bust you for having the tools necessary to use drugs under 720 ILCS 600, also referred to as the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Act. When a person knowingly has the drug paraphernalia in their possession, it is difficult to refute the charges.
Drug Paraphernalia That Can Get You Arrested in Illinois
There are several types of drug paraphernalia that can get you into trouble with law enforcement. A few common examples include:
- Marijuana bongs and pipes;
- Crack pipes;
- Syringes, when the person in possession of the syringes lacks a medical condition that would justify him or her having syringes;
- Cocaine spoons or cocaine vials;
- Lab equipment for use in manufacturing methamphetamines;
- Drug baggies or balloons;
- Measuring scales; and
- Roach clips.
- However, Illinois drug paraphernalia law also cover the equipment, chemicals and tools required to cultivate, or grow marijuana as well.
Regardless of the type of drug paraphernalia that is found in your possession, all drug paraphernalia charges are treated the same. A person who is found with a bong in his or her possession is treated just the same as a person who is found with a cocaine vial in his or her possession, or someone who is found with heroin needles.
But What About Headshops? They Sell Bongs
There are countless shops and stores that legally sell smoking apparati to customers. These establishments are permitted to sell these pipes and devices because these devices can also be used to smoke legal substances. In order to be charged under the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Act, the drug paraphernalia must be sold or in your possession with the intent to use the paraphernalia to use illegal drugs.
What Are Some Defenses to Drug Paraphernalia Charges?
There are a number of defenses that can be raised against drug paraphernalia charges, and which ones are applicable depend on the specific circumstances a criminal defendant is facing. For instance:
- Someone who has a medical reason to be in possession of hypodermic needles may lack the intent to use the needles to do illegal drugs;
- Someone who does not know that the drug paraphernalia is in his or her possession might have a defense against the charges; and
- If the drug paraphernalia was found during a search, was the search conducted by law enforcement proper? Was a warrant necessary? Did the law enforcement have one? Was there reasonable suspicion to conduct a search?
Reach Out to Us for Assistance
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious criminal charge, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you identify your legal options and can help prepare your strongest possible defense. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We are happy to help you today.
February 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am
While you may think you have a pretty good handle on the rules of the road, do you know what your rights are when you are pulled over and given a traffic citation?
Not many people actually know what their rights are when they are pulled over. Therefore, it is important that you understand the rights you have when law enforcement pulls you over to issue you a citation for a traffic violation.
- You Can Wait to Stop at a Safe Location. Where you are being pulled over might not be a terribly safe place to stop. It might be dark, there might be no lighting, or there may be no shoulder for you to pull over into. You can continue to travel a reasonable distance before stopping at a safe place, but you should indicate to the officer who is pulling you over of your intention. This could be done by slowing down, turning on your blinker to indicate that you are pulling over, and then informing the officer of why you did not pull over sooner once you do finally stop and the officer approaches the vehicle.
- You Do Not Have to Answer Questions. You may decline to answer questions asked by the officer that pulled you over. Be polite, but know that you do not have to answer. Officers try to get more information out of you than they really need, and this can lead to additional tickets if you are not careful. This also applies to when the officer asks if you know why you are being pulled over. You have no obligation to incriminate yourself. Even if you were speeding, you do not have to say so.
- You Can Ask Questions. You have the right to ask why you have been pulled over. Most law enforcement officers will inform you of what their probable cause was for pulling you over as soon as they approach your vehicle. However, if they do not come right out and say why they pulled you over, you may ask.
- You Can Ask to Speak With Your Lawyer. If the situation goes beyond the standard ticket issuance, and the police want to search your car or something similar, you have the right to request that you speak to your lawyer. You may then answer questions that the officer has in light of your lawyer’s advice. You also do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle without a warrant.
- You Have the Right to Refuse a Breathalyzer Test. While there are consequences under the law for refusing a breathalyzer test, such as the automatic suspension of your driver’s license, you are well within your rights to refuse to submit to one at the officer’s request.
Contact Us for Professional Representation
Traffic tickets are a serious matter, and an experienced traffic violation lawyer can help you defend against your traffic citation. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows traffic offenses attorney immediately. Let our attorneys provide you with exceptional representation in your case.
February 18th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Surprising as it may seem, if you are busted for selling fake drugs, you can be charged with a felony. While the substance that you are peddling may not in fact be the illegal substance you are advertising it to be, if it looks like the drug you allege it to be, and you are trying to sell it as the real stuff, that is a crime. Illinois law enforcement is just as serious about look-alike drugs as they are about real drugs. Police will arrest you, and you will be charged, just like you would if you had committed a crime with real drugs.
What is a Look-Alike Drug?
Just as the name implies, a look-alike drug is a substance that looks like the real thing. The alleged drug could be marijuana, crack, heroin, pills, etc. that is designed to look legitimate. The substance could have the correct coloring, appearance, smell, consistency, size, branding, packaging, and flavor as the real stuff and yet be counterfeit. If the fake drug could deceive a reasonable person into thinking the fake is the real drug, it is a look-alike drug.
How Do People Get Caught Selling Look-Alikes?
Under 720 ILCS 570/404, it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, advertise, or possess look-alike drugs or controlled substances in Illinois. Most often when criminal defendants get caught with fake drugs it is because the defendant is trying to sell them. The defendant might be advertising that what he or she is selling are legitimate, real drugs. The defendant might even offer “samples” of real drugs, only to swap out fake drugs after a sale has been made. Defendants often get caught selling fake drugs to undercover law enforcement officers, or are reported to police by anonymous tips left by jilted customers.
When facing drug charges, it is important to evaluate every possible defense available to the criminal defendant. While it may not be much of a consolation, the defendant must have knowledge that the drug is fake in order to be convicted on look-alike charges.
Another potential defense lies in how the look-alike drugs were found. If the look-alikes were found as part of a search, was the search properly conducted by law enforcement? Was there reasonable suspicion? Was there probable cause? Was a warrant necessary? Did the police have the warrant they needed to conduct a legal search? Your criminal defense lawyer should consider every possible angle of your criminal defense.
Let Us Assist You With Your Case
Selling imitation drugs can get you into just as much trouble as selling the real stuff. If you are facing criminal charges for selling real or fake drugs, please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately. The attorneys at our office are happy to help you.
February 16th, 2016 at 7:00 am
When formally charged, a criminal defendant may be surprised to learn just how many different charges are filed against him or her for a single alleged crime. Someone who is arrested for driving under the influence might face DUI charges and reckless driving charges. Someone who gets into a physical altercation with law enforcement might be charged with aggravated battery of a peace officer and obstructing a peace officer.
Illinois employs what is referred to as the one-act, one-crime doctrine. Under this doctrine, for any one physical act or crime committed by a criminal defendant, he or she can only be convicted of one crime. However, that does not mean that the criminal defendant will not face a number of charges. Criminal defense lawyers work to either get charges dropped completely, or reduced to lesser crimes, which carry less severe consequences.
You May Face a Number of Criminal Charges
Many have heard the expression of ‘throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.’ Prosecutors often take this approach when pressing charges against criminal defendants. This is because under Illinois law, a defendant can only be convicted of an offense with which he or she has been charged. As such, prosecutors will charge a criminal defendant with as many crimes as fit the particular circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. For instance, it is not uncommon for criminal defendants who are arrested for driving under the influence to be charged with both DUI charges, under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, and reckless driving, under 625 ILCS 5/11-503. The DUI charges are the more serious offense, while reckless driving is a lesser offense.
Prosecutors often also charge criminal defendants with lesser included offenses. Lesser included offenses refers to situations where each of the elements required for establishing liability for a minor, or lesser, crime are necessarily required to establish liability for a more serious crime. Armed robbery, under 720 ILCS 18-2, is an example of a serious crime, and robbery, under 720 ILCS 18-1, is a lesser included charge commonly charged in conjunction with armed robbery. Armed robbery is the greater crime, while robbery is the lesser crime in this example.
In order to establish liability for armed robbery, the prosecution would necessarily have to establish liability for robbery. While not all the elements might exist to convict a criminal defendant of armed robbery, the elements for robbery may exist, and the criminal defendant can be convicted on the charge of robbery.
You Will Only Be Convicted of One Charge
Despite being charged with multiple crimes, a criminal defendant will only be convicted of one crime per physical act or crime. For example, while you can be charged with both robbery and armed robbery, you cannot be convicted of both armed robbery and robbery. Instead, you will only be convicted of one crime or the other, if you are convicted at all.
We Can Provide You with Exceptional Representation
Being charged with a crime is scary and daunting. Please do not hesitate to contact a skilled and compassionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office immediately if you are facing criminal charges. We will fight to get your charges dismissed or reduced if possible. Call us today at 847-394-3200.
February 11th, 2016 at 7:00 am
There are so many employees who have taken things from their place of business, and think nothing of it. According to Fortune, retail workers in particular have a tendency to take things from their place of employment without permission. Similarly, thousands of office workers have taken office supplies home on an occasion or two—maybe some ink pens, printer paper, or ink cartridges. These are all forms of employee theft, and an employer could choose to press theft charges against the employee who stole items from work.
Why Do Employees Take Steal From Work?
There are a number of different reasons why workers steal from their job. Some workers feel mistreated by their bosses or management. They might feel like they deserved a promotion or raise and did not receive one when they should have. They might feel undercompensated for the work that they do, and thus feel entitled to a little something extra. They might take office supplies home for personal use, damaged merchandise that should be considered a loss, or products that could otherwise be sold to paying customers. Employees could also steal from the cash register—but this is a more blatant form of theft and the employee is more likely to get caught than if the employee steals other items that are less easily accounted. Shrinkage, or the mysterious disappearance of merchandise due to theft and damage, happens in every business, making it easier for workers to hide their theft.
When Employee Theft Occurs in Retail, It is a Form of Shoplifting
When retail employees steal merchandise from their place of employment, it is a form of shoplifting, or retail theft, for which they can be held accountable. Employees are well-equipped to commit such crimes since they know in detail the layout of the storefront, where security cameras are, how to circumvent security devices, etc. This knowledge makes it more difficult to catch the employee in the act, or to gather evidence that the theft has occurred and which employee did it.
However, employees do not necessarily just steal merchandise from their job for themselves. Some employees work in cahoots with a friend, partner, or colleague to commit retail theft. The employee could assist the partner in committing retail theft by:
- Informing the partner about how to avoid detection, i.e., where security cameras are, when security takes a break, how to remove a security device, etc.;
- Removing security tags on a particular piece of merchandise and hiding it in the store, so that the partner can steal the item;
- Ringing up an item for less than its retail value;
- Entering a fake price for an item; or
- Providing a refund that is not valid, or for an item that the store does not carry.
Employers work hard to identify sources of theft and fraud in their business, and when employees are responsible, employers will terminate the employee and likely press charges.
Let Us Assist You
Employees are just as likely as customers to be accused of retail theft. If you are facing shoplifting charges from your employer, or former employer, you need the help of an experienced retail theft lawyer. Please contact a Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney immediately. Our attorneys are happy to help you today.
February 9th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Sometimes party guests find themselves facing criminal trespass charges when things get out of hand at the party. Maybe a guest becomes intoxicated and becomes belligerent, upsetting other guests, or even the host or hostess. The police are likely to be called.
Once a guest is asked to leave, if he or she remains on the property, he or she could be charged with criminal trespass. While the guest was initially invited to the property, as a guest, if he or she is later asked to leave and refuses to do so, it can constitute criminal trespass according to 720 ILCS 5/21-3.
Permission/Consent to be on the Property
The crime of trespassing largely revolves around whether the person who is committing the trespass has permission to be on the property in question. In the case of a guest who has outstayed his or her welcome, the guest may have started the party with the property owner’s (i.e., host or hostess) permission to be on the property, but that authorization was revoked during the guest’s stay on the property.
Having the owner’s consent to be on the property can be a defense to criminal trespass charges. Consent can be either expressly given, meaning the owner made it clear verbally or in writing that someone else may be on the property.
- Verbal express consent could include the following phrase: “Hey I am having a party at my house. You are invited to join!”
- Written express consent could include a letter or email asking, “Could you come over to my house and check the heating unit? I think it’s broken.”
All of these examples expressly consent to the recipient to gain access to the property of the owner.
Houseguests vs. Tenants or Co-Owner of the Property
Sometimes a domestic dispute gets out of hand and one partner in the relationship calls the police to report a criminal trespass against the other partner. However, if a person is a tenant or co-owner of the property, he or she may not technically be trespassing on the property. For instance, if a boyfriend and girlfriend are having a fight, and the girlfriend calls the police to report that the boyfriend is trespassing, without some other reason to remove the boyfriend (i.e., accusations of assault and battery, existing protection order, etc.), the boyfriend cannot be removed from the property if he is a tenant or co-owner of the property.
Contact Us for Assistance
Guests get booted from parties that they were invited to all the time, and sometimes the authorities are called and charges are pressed against a guest who is reluctant to leave when asked. If you are facing criminal trespass to real property charges, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. We are available to assist you today.
February 4th, 2016 at 8:33 am
Many people who are facing criminal charges are focused on how their charges could affect their life. A criminal conviction could mean going to jail, paying a large fine, rehabilitation, losing a job, creating a criminal record, etc. However, when the criminal defendant is a parent, the outcome of their case could have a significant impact on their child in addition to themselves. Not only are there short-term consequences, such as being unable to be there and provide for the child due to incarceration, but there are also unforeseen long-term consequences as well.
A Criminal Record is Not Just Hard On You
When you have kids, they rely on you for more than meets the eye. Not only do children financially depend on their parents, but they also rely on their parents as a source of love, affection, attention, guidance and support. When even just one parent is not around, for instance because the parent is in jail, it can be exceptionally hard on a child.
The Center for American Progress recently issued a report that focused on the various impacts that criminal charges, even merely misdemeanor charges, can have on children and families. The report explores the consequences a criminal record can have on two generations: the parent who has the criminal record and his or her children. Little attention is given to how the challenges that the parent faces due to his or her criminal record trickle down to the child as the child grows up. Barriers that the parent faces because of the criminal record are also faced by the child, as well
The report noted that approximately 300,000 children in Illinois are adversely impacted by their parent’s criminal record, and across the country nearly half of all American children have at least one parent with a criminal record. Criminal background checks are performed by colleges, employers and landlord, all of which are important to gaining upward mobility and increasing one’s chances to obtain a better living. Because parents are not able to overcome certain barriers due to their criminal record, their children are negatively impacted.
A criminal record can make life challenging. Not only can a criminal record prevent a parent from getting a job, it can also prevent the parent from getting a better job, or moving up economically. A criminal record can prevent a parent from getting an education, or participating in training programs that could lead to better job prospects in the future. Poor job prospects in turn impacts the family’s income potential, which also affects the family’s ability to save money or to spend money on things that could enrich a child’s life. When a family has difficulty obtaining income, it forces the family to make sacrifices and endure hardships.
Call Our Office for Help
A criminal record affects more than just you and your life, it can also have a significant impact on your family and your children. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges you are facing. Please contact us today for more information on how we can assist you throughout your case.
February 2nd, 2016 at 11:36 am
There are instances where drug charges are made against a criminal defendant, yet some sort of foul play or mistake was made by law enforcement during the search, seizure or arrest. At times, it can be a matter of error. For instance, a police officer may not follow protocol appropriately during a search and seizure or may fail to properly perform an arrest. Additionally, an officer may forget to read a defendant his or her rights upon arrest.
When errors occur, it can render certain evidence inadmissible at trial, or the charges could be dropped completely, because the criminal defendant’s rights were violated. Other times, an arrest could be made due to foul play by an officer. It is not often that law enforcement deliberately and intentionally acts in a corrupt or unethical way; however, it can happen.
Being Framed with Drugs
Nothing is as unfair or as unjust as being framed for a crime that you did not commit. There have been instances where criminal defendants in Illinois have successfully beaten drug charges or had their criminal convictions reversed in cases where they were framed by law enforcement. Being framed for drug charges can take many forms. Examples can include but are not limited to the following:
- Drugs were planted by law enforcement on the defendant or in the defendant’s personal property or home;
- The criminal defendant was entrapped by law enforcement into committing a crime that he or she would not normally have been inclined to commit without the encouragement of law enforcement;
- Charges were fabricated by the arresting officer; or
- Police gave false statements or created false reports in order to obtain a conviction or protect one another.
Many people do not realize that there are laws in place to protect the people from police corruption and misconduct. Police conduct is governed by two sets of statutes:
- 720 ILCS 5/33-3, which is directed to official misconduct, whereby law enforcement is not permitted to break the law; and
- 720 ILCS 5/33-4, which prohibits police officers from engaging in activities similar to that of gang members.
Proving that a defendant was framed for a drug crime is very difficult. Moreover, accusations that law enforcement acted unethically is a serious matter. Police officers are tasked with serving and protecting, and the court gives the testimony made by police officers hefty weight. A judge and jury inherently wants to trust law enforcement, and police officers swear an oath to serve and protect, of which it is presumed that they abide.
Let Us Assist You Today
You should not be charged or convicted of a crime you did not commit. Therefore, having an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you and fighting for your rights is essential. If you are facing drug charges, please contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately. A skilled attorney at our office can assist you today.