Archive for March, 2016
March 25th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Many criminal defendants are unaware that there is such a thing as criminal trespass to a vehicle until they are facing criminal charges for it. A typical scenario of how these charges arise involves a teenager who “borrows” a car or some other motor vehicle not belonging to him without permission and then takes the vehicle for a joyride. However, when the teen returns with the vehicle, he often finds himself under arrest and facing criminal charges for trespass to a vehicle.
Anyone who is facing criminal trespassing charges needs to seek out the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
What is Criminal Trespass to a Vehicle in Illinois?
Under 720 ILCS 5/21-2, a person who knowingly and without authority or permission enters or operates a vehicle of another can be found to have committed criminal trespass to a vehicle.
Vehicles for the purpose of the criminal trespass statute can include:
- A car, truck or motorcycle;
- Watercraft, such as boats; and
- Recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles or all terrain vehicles.
Overstaying your welcome in a vehicle could also constitute a criminal trespass to a vehicle. If the vehicle owner says “get out,” then remaining in the vehicle could amount to an unauthorized occupation of the vehicle.
Charges for criminal trespass to a vehicle are based on whether the defendant had the intent to deprive the owner of the vehicle of his or her car indefinitely. If the defendant only had the intention to use the vehicle for a short period of time, or to occupy the vehicle only temporarily, then the defendant might be guilty of criminal trespass if no good defenses to his or her actions exist.
How is Criminal Trespass to a Vehicle Different from Theft of an Automobile?
Vehicle theft in Illinois is governed by the Illinois general theft provisions of the law. Vehicle theft occurs when a person, knowingly and without permission, takes possession of a vehicle that is not his, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the use of the vehicle. Taking possession of the vehicle can be the byproduct of use of force, deception, threats, or by knowingly receiving the stolen vehicle.
Theft requires that the person who took the vehicle intended to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. Criminal trespass to a vehicle, on the other hand, does not. Joyriding is the most typical cause of trespass to a vehicle charges because by taking a vehicle for a joyride, the trespasser only intends to occupy the vehicle for the duration of the ride, and no longer. The joyrider has the intention of returning the vehicle at the outset.
Let Our Attorneys Assist You
Criminal trespassing charges are serious and if you are facing trespass to a vehicle charges, you need to consult with a criminal defense lawyer right away. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your case and to learn how we can assist you throughout each step of the way if you are facing criminal charges in Illinois.
March 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am
Disrupting the peace or posing a threat to public safety is often the grounds for a disorderly conduct arrest under 720 ILCS 5/26-1. However, there are plenty of good reasons why you might have acted or behaved the way that you did—actions which may serve as a defense to disorderly conduct charges.
If you are facing disorderly conduct charges, but believe that you have a defense that justifies your actions, you should discuss your particular case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Potential Defenses to Disorderly Conduct Charges in Illinois
There are four main defenses to disorderly conduct criminal charges. These defenses include:
- Exercising Your First Amendment Right to Free Speech. Some people who are very passionate about speaking out on an issue that is important to them have been charged with disorderly conduct, when the truth of the matter is that the defendant was merely exercising his or her First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Not all topics that are discussed openly in public are accepted by everyone. Yet nonetheless, people have the right to talk about controversial topics in public.
- You Acted in Self-Defense. Various criminal defendants find themselves facing disorderly conduct charges after getting into a fight or altercation in public. However, the reason for fighting may be a good one, such as acting in self-defense. All too often, people get into brawls while out at a bar or while socializing. A fight can get out of hand, and can pose danger to others who are nearby. Additionally, police are often called. Self-defense is a very specific defense and the criminal defendant’s actions must correspond to the legal requirements for a self-defense claim.
- You Acted in the Defense of Another. In certain situations, acting out in the defense of another is a good defense to disorderly conduct charges. However, for this defense to work, there are very specific legal requirements that must be satisfied by the facts. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can inform you as to when defense of another is a good defense to disorderly conduct charges.
- You Were the Victim of Outrageous Police Conduct or Entrapment. Very infrequently, a criminal defendant might stand falsely accused of disorderly conduct, due to the actions of law enforcement. Perhaps the law enforcement officer making the arrest exaggerated his or her accusations about your conduct, or maybe you were acting in accordance to instructions you received from law enforcement, and then you find yourself charged with disorderly conduct. Going up against the police is a tough fight, but if it is the truth then it is a good defense to disorderly conduct charges.
Contact Us for Help
There are plenty of good and valid defenses to disorderly conduct charges. If you are facing disorderly conduct charges, an experienced disorderly conduct lawyer should be able to help you identify any possible defenses you might have. Please do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. Our attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf immediately.
March 18th, 2016 at 7:03 am
There are more than 300 red-light cameras in Chicago, and in many cases tickets that have been issued from these cameras may be void because the issuance of the tickets violates due process laws. According to a recently issued news report by the Chicago Sun-Times, Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy issued a ruling, potentially worth millions of dollars, against the city of Chicago to reimburse fines and penalties collected on red-light and speed-cam tickets that were issued without due process.
How Was Due Process Violated?
Due process is your right as an individual to be respected by the state or other governmental entity when it comes to your legal rights. When you are charged with a crime, you are granted certain due process rights, meaning that law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors must treat you in accordance with the law before finding that you are liable for a crime.
When it came to tickets issued based on information captured by the red-light and speed-cams located all over the city, the city was found by the Circuit Court to have violated the due process rights of those motorists who stood accused of speeding or running red lights, by:
- Failing to provide a second notice of the alleged traffic violation to the accused motorist, which is a violation of the Municipal Code of Chicago Section 9-100-045(b)(2);
- Failing to provide the specific make of the vehicle that was issued the ticket, which is a violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code; and
- Indicating that late penalties on the issued tickets would begin to accrue within 21 days of the issuance of the ticket, which is a violation of the Municipal Code of Chicago Section 9-100-050(c) and provides that motorists have a 25-day grace period from the determination of liability in which to pay the ticket without incurring penalties.
Each of the above are violations of motorists’ due process rights, and in effect, the city was not following the law when it made liability determinations without giving accused motorists the chance to contest their charges. The city has collected millions upon millions of dollars on these types of tickets going back as far as 2003, and along the way, some Chicagoans have had their due process rights violated.
The judge held that tickets that were issued and paid by motorists when the motorist’s due process rights were violated are void, and that these motorists can bring collateral actions against the city to recoup their lost fines and penalties. Those motorists who may be affected need to contact an experienced traffic offenses lawyer, and should keep an eye out for a class action suit against the city.
Contact Our Office for Help
Many people are issued traffic tickets by automated detection systems in Chicago. However, even when a ticket is automated, you still have rights, such as the right to contest the charges that are against you. Please do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows traffic offenses attorney right away. Our legal professionals are ready to help you today.
March 16th, 2016 at 6:55 am
Most Illinois drivers have encountered a law enforcement imposed roadblock during their time. Law enforcement use roadblocks to conduct DUI checks, while also completing license checks and tags and registration checks on the drivers and their vehicles that pass through the roadblock. However, drivers may not understand their rights when it comes to roadblocks. In the event you encounter a roadblock, it is important to understand your rights.
Avoiding a Roadblock Before You Get to It
Many people can tell when they are approaching a roadblock. Traffic backs up, flashing lights are seen in the distance, and some vehicles may turn around to find an alternative route. As a driver, you may not be interested in waiting in order to proceed through the roadblock. You may be in a hurry to get home after work, may know a shortcut around the roadblock, or may simply lack the patience required to answer probing questions from law enforcement. Whatever your driving motivation is, you might decide to try and avoid the roadblock.
While the Third District Court of Illinois has held that it is legal for a driver to avoid a roadblock, be careful if you do. Sometimes law enforcement uses a roadblock for dual purposes: to check the drivers who voluntarily go through the checkpoint and to carefully watch those drivers who turn away for any reasonable suspicion to warrant pulling over the driver that turned away from a roadblock.
It is a logical line of thinking that a driver who is avoiding a roadblock is trying to hide something. Yet it is also a prejudiced line of thinking. Hence, that is why law enforcement must be able to articulate facts and reasoning for pulling over a driver who has avoided a roadblock; still, the reason for the stop must be for something other than avoiding the roadblock.
Turning away from the roadblock in and of itself may not be illegal, but police might carefully scrutinize drivers who turn away for any other reason to make a traffic stop. For instance, if the driver commits a traffic violation when avoiding the roadblock (i.e., makes an illegal turn or speeds away), if the passenger and the driver switch places, or if the driver who is avoiding the roadblock acts suspiciously, this could be enough to create a reasonable suspicion that the driver is up to no good. If law enforcement can articulate facts as to why the traffic stop was warranted after a driver avoided a road, then the stop was most likely legal and justified.
Can We Assist You?
When you are arrested either at a roadblock or because of other circumstances when you tried to avoid a roadblock, you have rights. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will work hard to fight for you. Please do not hesitated to contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows traffic offenses lawyer at our office. We are eager to help you today.
March 11th, 2016 at 8:44 am
Individuals who find themselves facing burglary charges may encounter serious consequences if convicted. Burglary charges come in two varieties: burglary and residential burglary. Burglary is a lesser included charge of residential burglary—all of the elements of the crime of burglary are included as elements of the crime of residential burglary. However, in either case, burglary charges are serious—both burglary and residential burglary are felony charges.
What Constitutes Burglary in Illinois?
In Illinois, under 720 ILCS 5/19-1(a), a person commits a burglary when he or she knowingly enters or remains without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft in a:
- Motor vehicle;
- Aircraft; or
- Railroad car.
Burglary committed in a school, daycare, or place of worship carries harsher consequences than burglary of any other building. You can also get into trouble if you are caught in possession or for selling burglary tools, such as keys, instruments, or other devices that can be used to break into any of the places identified above.
What Constitutes Residential Burglary in Illinois?
Residential burglary is outlined in 720 ILCS 5/19.3, and specifically addresses when a person commits a burglary of a dwelling of another. But the statute covering residential burglary does not specifically lay out what constitutes a “dwelling.” The definition of a dwelling is found in 720 ILCS 5/2-6, which indicates that the following places are considered to be dwellings for the purposes of residential burglary:
- A building, such as a house or an apartment;
- A mobile residence, such as a trailer or a mobile home; and
- Any other living quarters.
What if the “Dwelling” Was Not Occupied?
What happens if the place that was burglarized was not occupied at the time of the alleged burglary? Would the home still be considered a “dwelling” under Illinois law? When no one is specifically living in the dwelling, then it is quite possible that the dwelling does not meet the criteria of being a dwelling. Illinois case law requires that the home or dwelling needs to be inhabited by someone in order to be considered a dwelling for the purposes of residential burglary.
Often times, criminal defendants are charged with residential burglary and burglary, even though the place that was allegedly burglarized was not a “dwelling.” Proving that the place that was burglarized was not a dwelling can get the charges reduced from residential burglary to burglary. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help determine and argue whether the place that was burglarized constituted a dwelling under the law.
Let Us Assist You
Burglary charges are felony charges, and you should make every effort to have your charges reduced or dropped. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately if you are facing burglary or residential burglary charges in Illinois. We are here to help.
March 9th, 2016 at 8:23 am
Illinois law takes a firm stance on protecting a person’s home and property from the unwanted intrusion of others. Indeed, Illinois has a number of laws intended to protect people from others. Specifically, Illinois law provides for criminal charges for trespassing, home invasion, and residential burglary. The consequences associated with each of the above crimes are serious, and criminal defendants who are facing these charges need to have a thorough understanding of what the differences are between these crimes.
Trespassing occurs when a person knowingly enters the property of another without permission. When someone enters or remains in another’s home, it is considered criminal trespassing to a residence, under 720 ILCS 5/19-4. Trespassing can occur by entering another’s yard or property, and residential trespassing could occur if someone entered the home of another or overstayed his or her welcome as a guest.
A home invasion, under 720 ILCS 5/19-6, occurs when someone enters or remains in an inhabited dwelling without permission and causes injury or threatens to cause injury to the inhabitants. It can be considered home invasion if the invader has a gun or other weapon that he or she uses to threaten the inhabitants of the home. It can also be considered home invasion if the invader commits a sexual crime against an inhabitant of the home.
The inhabitants of the dwelling must be home at the time of the crime in order for it to be a home invasion. If the inhabitants are not home, the charges could be different if the person is caught, based on what he or she does in the home upon entry. If he or she simply leaves after learning that no one is home, the charges could be reduced to trespassing. However, if he or she intends to commit a felony or to steal something, then the person could be charged with residential burglary.
Residential burglary, under 720 ILCS 5/19.3, occurs when a person knowingly and without permission enters a dwelling of another with the intention of committing a theft or a felony. Breaking into a home where people are living in order to steal something rises to the level of a residential burglary. But a residential burglary can quickly turn into a home invasion if the burglary goes awry and one of the inhabitants of the dwelling is in the home at the time of the burglary. If the inhabitant confronts the burglar and the burglar causes injury or threatens the inhabitant, the crime can quickly change from a residential burglary to a home invasion.
Contact Us for Assistance
Trespassing, home invasion, and residential burglary are all serious criminal charges, and it is important that you fight any criminal charges that you are facing. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your case. Our dedicated attorneys are happy to help you today.
March 4th, 2016 at 8:00 am
There are a number of reasons why an individual might find him or herself facing criminal trespassing charges under 720 ILCS 5/21-3. The defendant might have overstayed a invitation to be on the property, the defendant might have knowingly been trespassing on the property of another, or the defendant might have been forced into committing the trespass. Whatever the case may be, criminal trespassing charges are serious, and if you are facing criminal trespassing charges in Rolling Meadows, it is important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
Your criminal defense lawyer will be able to analyze your case and identify any potential defenses that you might have to the charges that you are up against. The three main defenses to criminal trespassing charges in Illinois include:
- You had consent to be on the property. Your alleged trespassing might not be trespassing at all if you had consent to be on the property of another, or if you had permission to use a piece of property, such as a car. If you have permission, then you cannot legally be trespassing. Consent can take many forms, including spoken words, writing, actions or gestures. In some cases, silence or inaction on the part of the property owner can qualify as consent as well, depending on the facts of the situation. Consent must be legal, meaning that the person who gives consent must legally be able to give it. Children, intoxicated persons, and incompetent individuals are incapable of giving consent. Additionally, consent must be rightfully obtained—consent cannot be obtained through fraud or deception, trickery or lies.
- You were trespassing but to reclaim your own property. If someone took your property and you go to get it back, then your actions cannot be trespassing. The property is rightfully yours. This defense works best when your property has been stolen or taken, or there is a dispute as to who owns the property. The property is usually a thing, such as a car or an item (for example, your car was stolen by your nephew, or your patio table umbrella is blown into your neighbor’s yard during a storm and you entered your neighbor’s property to get your umbrella), and is not usually real property.
- You were trespassing out of necessity. Sometimes circumstance forces your to trespass on the property of another. Necessity as a defense to criminal trespass exists in two forms.
- Public necessity exists when people are facing immediate danger and someone must commit a trespass in order to keep the public safe. The trespass must be committed in good faith. When many people must commit a trespass to stay safe, the property owner is unlikely to recover any damages from the people who trespassed.
- Private necessity exists when a person commits a trespass in order to stay safe. When a person must commit a trespass to stay safe, the trespasser may not be held criminally liable for the trespass, but may be held civilly liable for any damage that he or she may have caused to the property.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing criminal trespassing charges, please do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Reach out to our office today and let us provide you with assistance.
March 2nd, 2016 at 10:59 am
If you are facing drug charges, you are in a difficult spot. However, if your alleged crimes were committed in the wrong place or involved the wrong person, you could be in even worse shape.
Illinois law provides for aggravating factors when it comes to drug crimes, which can make criminal drug charges considerably more serious. When aggravating factors are present in a drug case, penalties become increasingly severe, and sentences can become substantially hefty.
What Are the Worst Aggravating Factors in Illinois?
The aggravating factors for drug charges in Illinois can be broken down into three main groups: to whom you sold drugs, where the drugs were sold, and repeat offenses. Illinois law is very specific regarding what constitutes an aggravating factor in a drug crime.
Who is Involved: Selling drugs to minors is the most common aggravating factor in drug crimes. Selling drugs to a person who is under the age of 18 can lead to double the maximum sentence under 720 ILCS 570/407. Similarly, having minors sell drugs for you is another aggravating factor under 720 ILCS 570/407.01 and can lead to triple the maximum sentence. Also, knowingly selling drugs to pregnant women is an aggravating factor in drug cases, under 720 ILCS 570/407.02, which can lead to double the maximum sentence.
Where the Sale Took Place: Where the sale of drugs took place can matter when it comes to sentencing for drug crimes. For example, under 720 ILCS 570/407 it is an aggravating factor to sell drugs at or near public schools, public parks, property owned by a public housing agency, places of worship, and places where senior citizens can be found—nursing homes, assisted living facilities and senior centers. This results in a Class X felony, increased jail time, and increased fines. Similarly, under 720 ILCS 570/407 it is an aggravating factor to sell drugs at or near a truck stop or safety rest area.
Repeat Offenses: When you are busted for selling drugs a second, third, or any other subsequent time, the fact that you are a repeat offender is an aggravating factor under 720 ILCS 570/408. Repeat offenders face up to double the maximum sentence for their subsequent drug offenses.
Aggravating factors mean that you, as the criminal defendant, are likely to face harsher punishment for your alleged crimes—longer jail times, steeper fines, and more severe penalties. You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side fighting to get your charges reduced or dropped.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Drug charges are serious, and drug charges that involve aggravating factors are considerably more serious. If you are facing drug charges with aggravating factors, then you need to speak with a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 for assistance with your case.