Archive for July, 2016
July 27th, 2016 at 3:46 pm
If the television show “Breaking Bad” taught us anything, it is that the manufacturing of methamphetamine can be a highly lucrative endeavor. Methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories that are well hidden can be hard for law enforcement to detect, and so individuals who operate a methamphetamine lab might be operational for quite a while, even possibly years, before getting caught by the police.
However, the possession, sale, distribution, and manufacture of methamphetamine is illegal under the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. Regardless of whether the operation involves making a tiny batch of methamphetamine, or pounds of it, those who are caught will be charged with a felony.
Methamphetamine Manufacturing Conviction
Anyone who is charged with methamphetamine manufacturing faces a felony conviction, which most likely means years of jail time, in addition to the payment of hefty fines. A conviction also means that the criminal defendant’s name will be placed on the Convicted Methamphetamine Manufacturer Registry, which is maintained by the Illinois State Police. This registry is made available to the public and lists the convicted felon’s name, date of birth, the offense(s) that landed them on the registry, their conviction date, and the county where they were found to be manufacturing methamphetamine.
Aggravated Methamphetamine Manufacturing
Making methamphetamine is dangerous. There is risk of explosion, toxic fumes, fire, chemical burns, etc. When an individual manufactures methamphetamine in a place where he or she can hurt other people if something goes wrong, it is considered aggravated methamphetamine manufacturing, and this charge carries more serious consequences than methamphetamine manufacturing. Methamphetamine manufacturing can be aggravated if:
- The methamphetamine manufacturing occurred in a multi-unit dwelling;
- The methamphetamine manufacturing occurred somewhere where a minor, disabled person, a person over 60 years old, or pregnant woman was present;
- The methamphetamine manufacturing occurred in a location that is protected by guns, explosions, booby traps, alarm systems, guard dogs, surveillance, or dangerous animals;
- The methamphetamine manufacturing occurred in a location that is within 1,000 feet of a place of worship or school;
- The methamphetamine manufacturing causes someone to:
- Be killed;
- Suffer serious bodily injury;
- Become disabled; or
- Become disfigured.
- The methamphetamine manufacturing causes a fire or explosion that damages property.
Are You Facing Methamphetamine Charges?
Do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney if you are facing methamphetamine manufacturing charges. A conviction for methamphetamine manufacturing is a felony and is not something to take lightly. Reach out to us today for help.
July 22nd, 2016 at 7:34 am
Many Illinois families and couples find themselves in disagreements. They might yell at each other, act aggressively, or maybe behave in a crazy manner. Sometimes things get out of control and the police are called. One of the people involved in the fight might make the call, or a concerned neighbor could do it. When the police are called to investigate an alleged domestic dispute, they can make an arrest if they believe that a crime, such as domestic abuse, has been committed. Because the situation is often tense when the police show up, and those involved in the fight are often emotional, things are said, exaggerations might be made, and the police might haul off one party, even though his or her actions during the fight did not really rise to the level of domestic violence.
False allegations of domestic violence are made all too frequently, and it can be a major inconvenience, and even a problem, for the accused abuser. As a criminal defendant charged with domestic violence, you are facing serious consequences if you are convicted. That is why it is so important to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands domestic violence defense to fight the charges that have been levied against you.
Acts That Constitutes Domestic Violence
It is likely an act of domestic violence if the aggression takes the form of:
- Hitting, punching, pushing, kicking or otherwise striking;
- Choking or strangling;
- Threatening to harm or kill;
- Forced sex; and/or
- Preventing the other person from leaving, calling the police, or otherwise interfering with their personal liberty.
Other acts toe the line when it comes to whether or not they rise to the level of domestic violence. For instance, yelling – in its own right – would not necessarily be enough for domestic violence charges to stick, unless the yelling involves threats. Throwing or slamming objects in the home might not rise to the level of domestic violence unless the item is thrown at a victim, or if the throwing or slamming is done is a threatening way.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Allegations
There are a limited number of defenses that make sense in a domestic violence case, but any one of them can be raised against false accusations of domestic violence. Some of the most common defenses include:
- The victim is lying or exaggerating. There are plenty of instances where an alleged victim might lie or exaggerate what happened, which can prompt police to make an arrest for domestic violence.
- The physical harm suffered by the victim was the result of an accident. Sometimes an act of domestic violence is the result of an accident (e.g., the couple was fighting, she threw a plate, and when it shattered, fragments got into his eyes).
- The alleged abuser was acting in self-defense. The victim might have started the domestic dispute, and the alleged abuser might have struck the victim as a means of self-defense.
Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are faced with false allegations of domestic violence, contact a Rolling Meadows domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible. We can help you throughout each step of your case.
July 20th, 2016 at 6:00 am
Drug possession is one of the most common drug charges that criminal defendants face. When it comes to drug possession, whether it’s marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, prescription pills or other controlled substances, it is important to understand that there are two types of drug possession: actual possession and constructive possession.
What Is Actual Possession of Drugs?
Actual possession arises when you are caught with the drugs on your person. This might mean that the drugs were found by law enforcement who are conducting a search, in your pocket, or tucked away in some other article of your clothing. Actual possession can also be established if you are found with drugs in your purse or backpack that you are carrying with you when you are searched.
Drug charges based on actual possession are tough to defend against since you are basically caught red-handed. But just because drugs were found on your person does not necessarily mean that you had knowledge that you were carrying drugs (someone else could have slipped the drugs in your purse or pocket), or that the drugs are yours. Furthermore, the drugs can only be entered as evidence against you if the stop conducted by the police officers, the search, and the seizure were all done legally.
What Is Constructive Possession of Drugs?
Constructive possession arises when drugs are found somewhere that can be associated with your control. For instance, if drugs are found in your bedroom, in your house or apartment, in your car or trunk, in your shed, in your field, in your locker, etc., you can be considered as having constructive possession of the drugs since these places are linked to your ownership or control.
Drug charges based on constructive possession are easier to fight since there may be a lot of opportunities for other people to have intervened and placed the drugs in or on property that can be associated with you. While it is tough to argue that drugs found in a secret box stashed under your bed were put there by someone else, it is possible that drugs could have been left in your home or car by a friend, for example. It is also possible that someone else was trespassing on your property and planted marijuana plants in your field. When other people have access to these areas, it becomes increasingly more difficult to demonstrate your possession.
How Can a Drug Possession Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you fight the drug possession charges that you are facing by chipping away at the prosecution’s case against you. Your lawyer will determine whether you are accused of having actual or constructive possession of the drugs, and will identify any and all possible defenses that you could raise. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately.
July 19th, 2016 at 11:46 am
Some crimes in Illinois are referred to as “specific intent” crimes. These crimes require that the criminal defendant have the specific intent, or a particular state of mind, to do something in order to make a conviction of a criminal defendant for the crime. To think of this another way, the criminal defendant must have had a specific state of mind, or purpose, that was the reason behind committing the crime. The specific requisite intent is often defined in the criminal statute that governs over any particular specific intent crime that a defendant is charged with.
The good thing about specific intent crimes is that the prosecution has the burden of showing that the criminal defendant had the requisite state of mind that is needed to commit the alleged crime. Proving the necessary specific intent for a crime is often the prosecution’s weakest link in their case against the criminal defendant, as it is difficult to prove a person’s state of mind. Sometimes the prosecution’s whole case will turn on proving the requisite intent element of a crime, and the prosecution may only have circumstantial evidence to support its position. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can fight the prosecutors by attacking the weakest aspects of their case.
What Are Some of the Specific Intent Crimes in Illinois?
There are several specific intent crimes under Illinois law. Indeed, these types of crimes include:
- Theft: In order to obtain a theft conviction, the criminal defendant must have the specific intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property of possession or use of the item that is stolen.
- Theft by deception: The criminal defendant must have the intent to defraud or steal from the victim through an act of deception.
- Burglary: For a burglary conviction, the criminal defendant must have the intent to carry out a felony or theft upon knowingly entering or remaining in a dwelling or building without authorization to be there.
- Residential burglary: Again, the criminal defendant must have the intent to carry out a felony or a theft inside a dwelling where he or she is not authorized to be.
- Battery and aggravated battery: The criminal defendant has to have the intent to cause serious bodily harm to the victim of the battery.
- Attempt of committing a crime: Attempt charges require that the criminal defendant had the intention of committing a crime, but either failed or was unable to successfully commit the crime.
When the prosecution is unable to demonstrate that the criminal defendant had the requisite specific intent that is necessary to be convicted of the crime, the charges will be dismissed. It is important to work with an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer who knows how to attack the specific intent aspect of criminal charges in your defense.
When You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Anyone who is facing criminal charges in Illinois, for theft, burglary, battery, or any other crime should get in touch with a seasoned and experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. Our attorneys are eager to assist you with your case today.
July 14th, 2016 at 10:47 am
Some criminal defendants find themselves facing possession of burglary tools, under 720 ILCS 5/19-2, perhaps in addition to burglary charges, and do not understand why they are being charged with this crime. Sometimes they may not have even committed a burglary, and yet they still will be charged with possession of burglary tools. This can be confusing and distressing for the defendant, since the defendant is facing felony criminal charges, with serious consequences, such as loss of their freedom, if they are convicted. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you fight burglary and possession of burglary tools charges.
A conviction for the crime of possession of burglary tools does not require that the prosecution show that the criminal defendant had the specific intent to break and enter into a building or dwelling. Rather, possession of burglary tools is a general intent crime, i.e., the mere possession of burglary tools implies that the defendant had a general intent to use the tools for their intended purpose, which is for breaking and entering a building. Possession of burglary tools merely requires that the criminal defendant knowingly possessed tools that are used for the purpose of committing burglary or breaking and entering.
What Are Some Examples of Burglary Tools?
There are a number of tools that could be considered burglary tools for the purposes of a possession of burglary tools charge. For instance, a few common tools that have been found to be burglary tools include:
- Stolen keys;
- Unauthorized copies of keys;
- Keys that are designed for lock bumping;
- Lock picking instruments;
- Lock picking devices;
- Glass cutting tools;
- Explosives; and
- Other tools suitable for breaking into a dwelling or building.
Are There Defenses to Possession of Burglary Tools Charges?
There are legitimate defenses to possession of burglary tools charges. For instance, certain people have a legitimate reason for possessing the kinds of tools, instruments, and devices that can be used to break into a home, safe or vehicle. For instance, there are a number of professionals who regularly need these types of tools to do their job.
- Locksmiths. A locksmith’s entire job revolves around being able to open locks.
- Security officers. Security officers often have in their possession tools that can be used for breaking and entering, in the event that staff loses their keys.
- Law enforcement. Sometimes law enforcement officers need to break and enter into a building, vehicle or safe, presumably with a valid warrant, and thus law enforcement may have these types of tools in their possession.
- Auto mechanics. Some auto mechanics that offer car unlocking services for vehicle owners who have locked their keys in the car may have tools that are used to break into locked cars.
- Private detectives. Private detectives are often hired to investigate, and their investigation may involve an authorized breaking and entering (e.g., a wife might hire a private investigator to determine if her husband is cheating, and she might authorize the private detective to break into her husband’s locked desk in their shared home).
Reach Out to Us for Help
There are valid reasons why certain people may possess tools that are capable of being used for breaking and entering. If you are facing burglary or possession of burglary tools charges, please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as you can for professional assistance with your case.
July 7th, 2016 at 9:00 am
Illinois drivers are required to respect and protect emergency workers while driving on roadways. This means acknowledging and respecting an emergency vehicle’s need to get somewhere much faster than your average driver and getting out of the way so that emergency vehicles and personnel can get to where they need to go as quickly as possible. It also means moving over on the highway to give a stationary emergency vehicle as much room as possible.
Codified at 625 ILCS 5/11-907, the law that protects emergency vehicles and emergency personnel is referred to as Scott’s Law, after Scott Gillen, a Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant who was killed by a passing motorist while trying to do his job. The law is necessary because emergency workers face many dangers when responding to accidents and trying to save lives.
Getting To An Emergency
Other drivers on the road are supposed to get out of the way for an emergency vehicle that is using its flashing lights and/or its audio signal. Drivers are supposed to pull over and move out of the way so that an emergency vehicle has a path to maneuver through traffic. A driver that does not get over reasonably can be reported by the emergency vehicle, and the driver could end up with a ticket.
It is possible that the driver was unable to get out of the way quickly, or that it would have been unsafe for the driver to yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle. Perhaps a mechanical failure caused the driver’s car to stall out, and the driver was unable to get out of the way. There may be reasonable defenses for not having yielded to the emergency vehicle, and these reasons or defenses should be raised when fighting the ticket.
Responding To An Emergency
Under Scott’s Law, drivers are also supposed to attempt to get over as far as possible when passing a stationary emergency vehicle on the side of the road. This is to protect the emergency responders. Whether the emergency vehicle is an ambulance, fire truck or police vehicle, when and if possible, other drivers should get over as far as safely possible.
A driver could be issued a ticket if, for example, the driver approached a police vehicle that was stationary on the right-hand side of the road, and remained in the right-hand lane, although there was plenty of room for the driver to move to the left-hand lane safely while passing the stationary officer vehicle. Law enforcement officers take the safety of other officers and emergency workers very seriously and will issue you a ticket if you do not move over for stationary emergency vehicles.
Let Us Help With Your Ticket
Any traffic ticket can be challenged, even tickets issued for a violation of Scott’s Law. If you have been cited for a traffic violation, you should contact an experienced Rolling Meadows traffic offenses lawyer as soon as possible after receiving your ticket to help protect your rights.
July 5th, 2016 at 12:39 pm
Diversion programs are alternative prosecution programs that are available to many first-time offenders who have committed nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors and are being prosecuted in Cook County. These programs are designed to help first-time offenders avoid criminal convictions and jail time by participating and completing diversion programming. Through participation in the program, those first-time offenders who otherwise would have become convicted criminals are given the opportunity to receive treatment and to contribute to their communities. Additionally, upon the successful completion of their diversion programming, the criminal defendant’s criminal charges will be dropped.
Eligibility for Diversion Programming In Cook County
The Assistant State’s Attorneys identify criminal cases where the defendant may be a good candidate for the diversion program. These defendants are notified and offered an opportunity to participate in the program. If the defendant is interested in participating in a diversion program then the Assistant State’s Attorneys will determine if the remaining eligibility criteria can be satisfied.
There are certain eligibility requirements for Cook County’s diversion programs. These requirements include:
- The criminal defendant must be an adult charged in Cook County;
- The criminal defendant must be a first time offender, meaning that he or she cannot have any previous felony or misdemeanor convictions for a crime involving violence.;
- The charges pending against the criminal defendant must be nonviolent felony or misdemeanor charges. Eligible criminal charges include:
- Retail theft;
- Fraud, credit card fraud, and ID fraud;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Burglary; and
- Drug possession;
- The charges cannot be for:
- Weapons offenses; and
- Domestic violence charges;
- The victim of the crime must consent to the criminal defendant’s participation in a diversion program.
How Does the Program Work?
The Cook County diversion program places certain conditions and requirements on the criminal defendant based on their offense and their particular situation and the program lasts for 12 months. For instance, one participant in the program might have been a first-time drug possession offender. This criminal defendant’s diversion program might require that the defendant participate in and complete a drug rehabilitation program.
Some other examples of conditions of a diversion program include:
- The requirement that the criminal defendant get a job;
- The requirement that the criminal defendant earn a GED;
- Participation in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program;
- Restrictions on the criminal defendant’s possession of weapons, drugs, or firearms while participating in the program; and
- Refraining from reoffending.
First Time Offenders Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are a first-time offender it is important that you pursue a diversion program if you are eligible. Participation and completion of a diversion program will result in your charges being dropped, meaning that you will not have a criminal record. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for diversion programming, can work through the pros and cons of applying for a diversion program, and can assist you with the application process.