Archive for May, 2016
May 25th, 2016 at 8:44 am
Juveniles are just children or teenagers; they make poor choices from time to time, and they make mistakes. When young people are involved in minor crime, and arrested for it, their detention by police can place a terrible burden on the juvenile and his or her family. For the juvenile’s family, there is a sense of uncertainty and worry until a judge reviews the juvenile’s case. For the juvenile, detention can mean being locked up for a long period of time away from people he or she knows and loves.
Children and teens need love and support when they are in trouble, and isolating them away to wait for the review of their case can be stressful. Moreover, detaining teens for extended periods of time can be detrimental to their well-being. It can cause them to panic, worry, and fret incessantly. Detention can trigger severe emotional and psychological reactions, especially if the juvenile is generally a good kid who made a silly mistake, or foolishly listened to the bad advice or goading of his or her friends, which landed him or her in juvenile detention. It is unfair and unjust to unnecessarily force juveniles to be detained any longer than is absolutely necessary. Juveniles should be rejoined with their families and loved ones as quickly as possible.
Current Illinois Law Concerning Juvenile Detention Hearings
Under current Illinois law, 705 ILCS 405/5-415, juveniles may be detained for up to 40 hours before they are granted a detention hearing. That 40-hour time frame does not include weekends or court-recognized holidays. So, in effect, a juvenile could be detained for up to five days, given that an arrest was made on a Friday, and the juvenile is detained over a holiday weekend. In such a case, the earliest a juvenile could be granted a detention hearing is on the next Tuesday morning. Over 1,000 juveniles are detained for suspected criminal activity each year in Illinois, and approximately 25 percent of these juvenile detentions occur over a weekend.
Fortunately, the Illinois Senate is considering a bill that would expedite detention hearings for juveniles who commit minor, nonviolent crimes. Under the proposed bill, HB5619, juveniles charged with minor offenses would receive a detention hearing within 24 hours of being charged. This time period for review of the juvenile’s case would include holidays and weekends so that juveniles would not possibly be detained over a weekend or holiday. The House of Representatives has already approved the bill.
When Juveniles Need Legal Representation
Individuals who face criminal charges, no matter how severe and no matter what their age is, should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The consequences of a conviction, even as a juvenile, can have serious long-term consequences. If you have a juvenile who is in need of legal representation, please do not hesitate to contact a compassionate Rolling Meadows juvenile defense lawyer at our office. We are happy to help you today.
May 23rd, 2016 at 7:50 am
Everyone can relate to the experience of borrowing something from someone else. You may have either borrowed something yourself, or have lent an item to someone else. Lenders often become upset when the property that they have lent does not get returned to them. Sometimes people find themselves facing theft charges when they merely borrowed something and forgot to return it. It could be an honest mistake—mistakes happen to the best of us. But what do you do when you are being charged with criminal theft because of a little mistake?
Theft in Illinois
Under Illinois law, in order to be convicted of theft, it must be shown that the criminal defendant:
- Knowingly obtained or exerted unauthorized control over property belonging to another;
- Never intended to return the property to the owner.
The good news is that theft requires an element of intent—a thief must have the specific intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property permanently. As a forgetful borrower, you lack the specific intent to commit theft.
But Intent Can Arise After You Borrow the Item
So long as you honestly mean to return the item you borrowed, you lack the specific intent to commit theft. However, it is possible for you to develop this specific intent at some point after you borrowed the item. For instance, if you borrow a sweater with the intention of returning it, but then wear it, decide you love it, and then decide you will not return the sweater you borrowed to its original owner, then you have manifested the specific intent to turn your borrowing into an actionable theft. If you bragged about how the sweater belonged to someone else, and that you borrowed it and never plan on returning it, then you have incriminated yourself by expressing your specific intent to deprive the rightful owner of his or her sweater.
Failure to Return a Rented Item
Some people rent items for a set period of time, with the intention of returning the item. Electronics, home appliances, furniture, and rental vehicles are all examples of property that is regularly rented and returned. Theft charges can be brought in situations where a borrower fails to return the property on time, or returns an item but fails to pay the rental rate for the whole time the item was in the borrower’s possession.
Failure to return rented items is a common problem that rental companies face, and they are very eager and quick to prosecute borrowers who do not return items on time or fail to pay for a full rental duration. This is because the rental companies have a legally binding contract with the borrower, and failure to return the item or pay for it is not only a criminal offense, but is also a breach of the rental contract.
Reach Out to Us for Help
Theft charges are scary, especially when you merely forgot to return something. Anyone who is facing theft charges needs to consult with an experienced and tough theft lawyer immediately. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney at our office for help. We can assist you throughout each step of your case.
May 18th, 2016 at 12:35 pm
In honor of National Work Zone Safety Week, law enforcement across Illinois put forth effort to raise awareness about exercising care when driving through active and inactive work and construction zones. National Work Zone Safety Week was the week of April 11th 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
Highway construction is a problem that is acutely experienced by drivers in Illinois, especially around big cities. However, road construction is a necessary part of maintaining our highways and byways. As such, it is important that drivers exercise care when driving through a work zones. Law enforcement takes traffic violations in work zones very seriously.
Work Zone Safety Stats
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were more than 4,300 accidents that occurred in construction zones in 2015. Of these accidents, 1,000 resulted in injuries to construction workers, drivers and passengers. There were also 46 fatalities resulting from work zone traffic accidents. More often than not, it is motorists who are passing through a work zone who are involved in traffic accidents. Inattentiveness, driving at too high of a rate of speed, and following too closely are some of the leading causes of work zone traffic accidents.
Work Zone Speeding Tickets
Speed limits are strictly enforced in work zones, and you can get a speeding ticket even if no workers are present when you are caught speeding. 625 ILCS 5/11-05.1 is the Illinois statute for speeding tickets issued for offenses committed while driving through a work zone. It does not matter whether the workers are present in the work site or not, and work zones are one of the few locations where law enforcement is permitted to use radar and lidar detection means to determine a driver’s speed as evidence that the driver was speeding in the work zone.
Work zones are clearly identified as they are required to have posted signage indicating where a work zone begins and terminates, as well as the posted maximum and minimum speed limit. Fines for a first offense can range from $250 to $750. A second-time offense within a period of two years can cost a driver his or her license. Court appearances are mandatory, and dealing with the courts for a traffic ticket can be difficult as there are very specific rules that must be followed. You should consider working with an experienced traffic offenses lawyer to fight your ticket.
Let Us Help With Your Ticket
Traffic tickets can happen to anyone, even the best drivers. When a traffic offense occurs in certain locations, such as in a school or work zone, the associated fines and penalties can be more severe. If you have been cited for a traffic violation, you should contact an experienced traffic offenses lawyer immediately. Please contact a Rolling Meadows traffic offense attorney at our firm for assistance. We will help you throughout each step of your case.
May 16th, 2016 at 7:58 am
The crime of theft can take many forms in Illinois. One way to commit theft is through the use of deception to obtain control over property belonging to another. Under 720 ILCS 5/16-1(2), theft by deception is illegal. Just like with ordinary theft and retail theft, the fines and punishments associated with the theft crime is tied to the value of the item that was stolen by the use of deception. The fine can range from $5,000 to up to $100,000. Additionally, penalties can be steeper if the victim was over the age of 60 years old or if the criminal defendant posed as a landlord in order to steal money or property from the victim. When you are facing criminal theft charges, a theft attorney can help you.
Just like normal theft, theft by deception involves the taking of property from another with the intent to deprive the owner of the property or his or her enjoyment of the property. The elements required to prove theft by deception include:
- That there was a victim who was induced to part with his or her money or property;
- That the victim’s transfer of the money or property to the criminal defendant was based upon deception on the part of the defendant;
- That the defendant intended to permanently deprive the victim of the property or money; and
- That the defendant acted with the specific intent to defraud the victim of his or her property or money.
These elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution in order to convict the criminal defendant. A theft conviction is a serious matter and will show up on the defendant’s criminal record.
Typical Examples of Theft By Deception
Theft by deception can occur in a number of ways. A few of the most common examples include situations where the criminal defendant:
- Pretends to be authorized to take the property, such as money or an item;
- Misleads someone into thinking that you are authorized to take the property;
- Misrepresents facts on a loan application;
- Tricks someone into thinking they are getting one thing in exchange for their property, but in reality they are getting another;
- Poses as someone else in order to extract money or property from another; or
- Fraudulently causes someone to enter into a contract through deception.
Since this form of theft involves deception, it is possible that a criminal defendant might also find him or herself facing fraud charges as well, depending on the facts and circumstances that are applicable to his or her specific case.
Reach Out to Us for Help Today
Regardless of whether the evidence you is sparse, or is a lock, you should contact an experienced theft attorney immediately. Your lawyer will fight to defend against the charges against you, or can negotiate the best possible plea agreement based on your specific circumstances. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows theft crimes defense attorney at our office for help with your case. We offer professional assistance to our clients in Illinois.
May 11th, 2016 at 10:29 am
Young people are often curious about alcohol, and sometimes their curiosity can land them into trouble. Rather than wait until they reach the legal age of 21 to buy, possess, and consume alcohol, juveniles find ways to gain access to alcohol, in violation of the law. Minors do not always understand the risks that they are taking, as well as the potential consequences of possessing, consuming, or trying to purchase alcohol when underage.
As a general rule, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol in Illinois. A minor who is caught violating the law can face being charged with a Class A misdemeanor along with the suspension of his or her driver’s license.
License suspensions can last for three months when a minor is issued court supervision, six months when the convicted minor is a first time offender, and up to a year for a second conviction. Any third or subsequent conviction for a minor in possession or consumption of alcohol will result in a revocation of the minor’s driver’s license.
Minor in Possession
Many teens and their concerned family members are sometimes surprised when a minor is charged with possession in Illinois—the minor may not have been physically holding or physically in possession of the alcohol in question. The alcohol might be in a backpack or car trunk, or might have even been sitting on a table near the minor when a party was broken up by the police. However, possession exists in two forms: actual possession and constructive possession.
Actual possession is what many people understand as physically holding the alcohol in your hand or on your person (i.e., a bottle of alcohol in your pocket). Actual possession makes sense to a lot of people—if you are holding an alcoholic beverage, you are clearly in possession of it. Yet, many people have trouble understanding constructive possession.
Constructive possession is based on the possessor’s intent to remain in control or possession of the alcohol, even if he or she is not physically in possession of it at the moment. A case of beer could be in your trunk, or you could have set down your alcoholic beverage nearby, but you would still be considered to have constructive possession of the alcohol.
Is There Any Scenario Where Minors Can Have Alcohol?
There are limited exceptions to the law when minors can have access to alcohol. These limited exceptions include the following:
- Minors can have alcohol if it is with their parent’s consent and supervision while in the privacy of their home;
- Minors can have access to alcohol if the alcohol is part of a religious ceremony; and
- Minors who are 18 years old or older, but are under the age of 21, can have access to alcohol if it is part of an educational course.
Let Us Represent Your Child
Underaged minors get into to trouble with alcohol all of the time, and it is unfortunate. The conviction of a minor in possession of alcohol could seriously impact your child’s future, and it is important to diligently fight the charges against you child. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately at our office. We will help your child throughout his or her case.
May 9th, 2016 at 8:35 am
Criminal defendants can end up facing drug charges as a result of detective work done by a drug sniffing dog. Drug sniffing dogs comprise one of Illinois law enforcement’s most useful resources when it comes to finding drugs. These dogs are highly trained to find all kinds of drugs, from marijuana to heroin. Illinois drug sniffing dogs have to go through a rigorous training program and must obtain certification and recertification every year.
The United States Supreme Court has consistently held that a dog sniff is not a search within the parameters of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, when a dog is deployed for a sniff at a person’s private home, the dog, and law enforcement, enter into Fourth Amendment territory. Hence, they must execute a search of a person’s home with a drug sniffing dog in accordance with the law.
Drug Sniffing Dogs and Traffic Stops
According to the United States Supreme Court ruling in Illinois v. Caballes, drug sniffing dogs can be used as part of a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, so long as the dog’s use will not prolong the length of the stop. If the dog is already at the traffic stop, then the dog can be used; however, police cannot indefinitely detain a stopped driver if the dog has to be called in to do a sniff. Police can walk a dog that is on-site around a legally stopped vehicle and if the dog signals the presences of drugs, then police have probable cause to conduct a search of the vehicle. Yet making you wait for a drug dog to show up to do a sniff can be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. The time that is “too long” to wait for a drug dog is approximately the length of time it takes to run your plates and driver’s license and issue you a ticket, according to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Rodriguez v. United States.
Drug Sniffing Dogs at Your Home
Law enforcement cannot use drug sniffing dogs around your home without having probable cause and a search warrant, or your consent under the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Florida v. Jardines. To say this another way, a drug dog cannot be used to detect the presence of drugs and thus create the probable cause necessary to get a search warrant to conduct a search of the property. The curtilage, or area that immediately surrounds a person’s home, is considered to be a part of the home itself. For Fourth Amendment purposes, the curtilage of a home is the same as the home.
In order for a drug dog to get a good sniff of a home, the dog would have to be close to the home—i.e., in the vicinity of the curtilage of the home. Conducting a sniff without probable cause or a warrant so close to the home is considered an illegal search of the home itself.
When You Need Guidance On Your Drug Charges
If you are facing drug charges, but are concerned that your rights were violated by law enforcement during a search or during your arrest, you should discuss your concerns with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Do not hesitate to reach out to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. We will provide you with exceptional representation throughout each step of your case.
May 4th, 2016 at 8:46 am
When you are facing burglary or residential burglary charges, the first thing that you should do is to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. There are several possible defenses to these criminal charges that a criminal defendant can raise, depending on specific circumstances surrounding the alleged crime. Your lawyer can figure out if any defenses apply to your case after discussing the specifics of your alleged crime with you.
Potential Defenses to Burglary Charges
There can be a number of possible defense to burglary and residential burglary charges. Some potential defenses to criminal burglary charges can include:
- Consent was given. In order to commit burglary, the defendant must enter or remain in a building, house trailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof without authority. If the defendant had permission from the property owner to enter or be in the property that was allegedly burglarized, then the defendant may have an affirmative defense to the burglary charges.
- Lack of intent. The defendant must have had the intent to commit a felony or theft in order to be convicted on burglary charges. If the defendant lacked the requisite intent, the defendant cannot be convicted of burglary. It is possible that the defendant committed a lesser crime, but not specifically burglary.
- The property that was allegedly burglarized is not a “building or structure” or a “dwelling.” Under 720 ILCS 5/19-1(a), the “building or structure” must be one of a building, house trailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, or railroad car. Under 720, ILCS 5/2-6, a “dwelling” must be a building, tent, vehicle, or other enclosed space where a person lives. If the location that was allegedly burglarized is something other than one of the buildings, structures, or a dwelling, as specified under the law, then the burglary charges could be dropped or reduced to a lesser offense.
- Mistaken identity. In a situation where a witness “identified” you as the alleged perpetrator of the burglary, you might be the unfortunate victim of a misidentification. If you are misidentified as the culprit, you may in fact be actually innocent of the alleged crime. If you have been misidentified, your criminal defense lawyer will work diligently to collect and present evidence to demonstrate your innocence.
Let Us Assist You with Your Case
If you are convicted on burglary charges, it can result in a felony conviction, which is a serious matter. Whatever the circumstances might be behind the allegations that you or a loved one committed burglary, it is important to talk with a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can help fight those burglary charges. Please do not hesitate to contact a compassionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately if you are facing burglary or residential burglary charges in Illinois. Our attorneys are eager to help you.
May 2nd, 2016 at 7:56 am
Across the country, there is a significant amount of variability as to when a teen is charged as a juvenile when he or she commits a crime. In some states, criminals are charged as adults as early as 15 years old. In other states, the juvenile boundary is set at 16 years old while several states set the limit at 17 or 18. Currently, in Illinois, the age for juvenile jurisdiction is 18 years old. However, the Illinois Legislature is considering a pair of proposed bills that would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to the age of 20.
The Illinois Bills Behind the Change in Age
A pair of bills could make this age change a reality in Illinois. Under HB6308, the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 would be amended such that people under the age of 21, i.e., those who are 20 years old and younger, who are charged with misdemeanor offenses would be treated as delinquent minors. Similarly, HB6191 would amend the Juvenile Court Act so that those under the age of 21 who are charged with felonies would be treated as delinquent minors by the courts.
Benefits of Raising the Juvenile Jurisdiction Age
Research has been conducted on young adults and has found that the young adult brain is still relatively immature compared to a mature adult brain, and a young adult’s brain is more akin to a teenager’s brain than to a mature adult’s brain. To say this another way, the brain of a young adult is still developing into an adult’s in his or her early and mid-twenties. Young adults in their late teens may still have difficulty managing certain emotions or exercising sound judgement. This makes young adults prone to make criminal mistakes and they are more likely to get into trouble with the law. Such enlightening research lends support to the idea that the age for juvenile jurisdiction should be increased to the age of 20.
The benefits of such a change to the law would allow for young adults who make criminal mistakes in their teens to be treated less harshly and would allow offenders to have a juvenile record, which is a criminal record that often does not follow the offender into adulthood, making it easier for the individual to obtain a job later in life.
While the proposed bills for raising the juvenile jurisdiction age to 20 are still in their early stages of review by the legislature, if they were to pass into law, more young people would be charged as juveniles. If you have a young person in your life who is facing juvenile criminal charges, his or her defense should be handled by a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in juvenile matters criminal defense.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
When a young person gets into trouble with the law, it can be scary for the young person as well as his or her family members. Juvenile offenses are just as serious as adult charges, and should be treated with immediacy and diligence. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for help with your case. We can provide you with a consultation to learn more about your options.