Archive for August, 2016
August 30th, 2016 at 7:04 am
When you are suspected of driving while under the influence, law enforcement may request that you submit to blood alcohol concentration testing. While this testing often takes the form of a breathalyzer test, where a breath sample is analyzed for its alcohol content, sometimes blood testing is requested to determine a suspected drunk driver’s blood alcohol concentration. Blood samples are taken in one of two ways, either as part of a DUI kit that is completed at a hospital or as part of an emergency blood draw.
- DUI Kit Blood Samples. When blood is taken as part of a DUI kit, the arresting police officer must request the blood test and the driver must consent to the blood draw. The test must be done at a hospital by a qualified medical professional (i.e., a registered nurse, licensed physician, certified paramedic or trained phlebotomist). Urine samples are often also collected when a driver completes a DUI kit.
- Emergency Blood Draws. Emergency blood draws that are taken while a suspected drunk driver is receiving emergency medical treatment and can be used as evidence in DUI cases. These are blood samples that are taken as a matter of routine when a person receives emergency medical services.
Must I Consent to Blood Testing?
Under Illinois implied consent law, anyone who uses the state’s public roads automatically gives consent to chemical testing in suspected DUI situations. However, drivers do have a right to refuse such tests, but there will be consequences for doing so. In particular, a driver that refuse testing will have their driver’s license suspended for a certain period of time.
Fighting the Use of Blood Evidence in DUI Cases
There are plenty of reasons why it might be important for a person charged with a DUI to fight the use of blood testing results as evidence in a DUI case. The test results might show a blood alcohol concentration level that is above the legal limit of 0.08%, or the blood test results could show that the driver was under the influence of drugs. There are many ways that a skilled DUI criminal defense lawyer can fight the use of blood test results as evidence in a DUI case. For instance:
- Your lawyer could demand proof of custody of the blood sample every step of the way through the testing process. This means that if the prosecution cannot show that the sample was in the appropriate chain of custody (i.e., only people who were authorized to handle the blood sample ever touched it), the sample cannot be used as evidence.
- Your lawyer may be able to present evidence that medication you took or alcohol from an alcohol swab administered before your blood draw interfered with the accuracy of your blood sample.
- If appropriate, your lawyer may be able to argue that proper protocol was not followed by law enforcement when making your DUI arrest, the medical professional who drew the blood sample, or the lab technician when performing analysis on your blood sample.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing DUI charges and there is chemical testing evidence in your case, please contact a Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.
August 24th, 2016 at 2:56 pm
In Illinois, retail theft under 720 ILCS 16-25 is a crime that is taken seriously by businesses, law enforcement, and the courts. It is a crime that is committed so regularly that certain stores hire their own security guards to help combat and prevent retail theft from happening. You could be stopped and detained by store employees or store security if you are suspected of shoplifting. You could also be arrested by police. But what is the difference between being detained by store security and being arrested by law enforcement?
Store Security and Employees Have Limitations
While store employees and security have the legal ability to hold a shoplifting suspect, their ability to do so is limited under the law. You can be detained by a store’s security or employees on for a reasonable length of time and in a reasonable manner. Store security is not required to read you your rights, wait for a parent or guardian, or wait for a lawyer before questioning a suspected shoplifter. However, police are required to do these things when you are placed under arrest.
Detention can occur either on or off of the merchant’s premises. During the detention, security may:
- Request you to identify yourself,
- Verify your identity,
- Inquire about whether you have in your possession merchandise that you have not purchased, and do not intend to pay for,
- Report you to the authorities, and
- Attempt to contact your parents or guardian if you are a minor.
Each of these is at the merchant’s discretion. In the case of a minor, the merchant is not required to contact his or her parents before handing the minor over to law enforcement.
Detention is not the same as being arrested – only the police are capable of arresting you. Stores sometimes choose to let a suspect go and not press charges. Many stores simply ban an individual accused of shoplifting from ever entering the store again. Other times stores decide that the police should be involved and detain the suspected shoplifter until police arrive and make an arrest.
When you are placed under arrest, law enforcement must read you your Miranda rights. These rights inform you that you are in custody of the police and that you have the right to remain silent and that you can get a lawyer. The exact format of Miranda rights vary from state to state, but generally the Miranda warning covers these basic points. You will next be taken to jail and booked.
When you are arrested for retail theft, it is absolutely critical that you only consult with a lawyer before telling police anything because your lawyer can advise you on how best to protect yourself, your rights, and your freedom.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
There is a difference between being detained by store security and being arrested by law enforcement. If you are facing retail theft charges, you need the help of an experienced retail theft lawyer. Please contact a Rolling Meadows shoplifting attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200.
August 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am
Crime is a big issue in Illinois, especially in Chicago and the surrounding geographical areas. Hundreds of arrests are made every day, and convictions are made all the time. Across the state, the Illinois Department of Corrections is home to more than 45,000 inmates, who have been convicted of a number of different crimes. According to an article in the Huffington Post, the top 10 crimes that inmates have committed in Illinois include:
- Homicide. The number one crime committed by inmates in the Illinois prison system is homicide. The killing of another person accounts for more than 18 percent of the inmate population in Illinois.
- Offenses involving controlled substances. Possession, manufacturing, distribution, and trafficking of controlled substances and other drug violations of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act account for 17.5 percent of the Illinois state inmate population.
- Sexual assault. Just under 10 percent of the total Illinois inmate population is in jail for sexual assault offenses.
- Assault. Assault is the next most frequently committed offense by Illinois inmates, with approximately eight percent of inmates being in jail for assault offenses.
- Weapon offenses. Nearly six and a half percent of Illinois inmates are in jail for weapons-related offenses. This could include using weapons in conjunction with committing other crimes.
- Burglary. Breaking into a building and stealing something or committing a felony is a crime that many individuals get in trouble for. Just under six percent of inmates are doing time for a burglary conviction.
- Armed robbery. When robbery is committed with the threat or use of a weapon, it constitutes armed robbery. Over five and a half percent of Illinois state inmates are in jail for armed robbery.
- Residential burglary. Breaking into a house or dwelling of another without permission is a serious crime. Of the Illinois prison population, just under four and a half percent of inmates are in prison for committing residential burglary.
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI is serious business, especially when someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of the DUI. Just under three and a half percent of inmates are in jail for a DUI offense.
- Robbery. Just over three percent of Illinois inmates are in jail for committing robbery.
These 10 crimes account for over 82 percent of the reason why inmates are in the state prison system. If you have been charged with drug crimes, burglary, shoplifting, theft, or other offenses, and are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Facing Jail Time? Let Us Help
If you are facing criminal charges and jail time, it is important to speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer as soon as you possibly can. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer to discuss your specific circumstances and the charges that you face. We can help fight the charges against you.
August 20th, 2016 at 5:00 am
One of the most devastating things a parent can have to deal with is a situation in which their son or daughter is caught with drugs at school. Not only might you as a parent be disillusioned by the whole ordeal, but you are most likely consumed with worry about your son or daughter’s future as well. Whether your child was involved in drug activity at school, was caught selling drugs, or was found in possession of drugs, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer for your child immediately. This is important because your child could be convicted of juvenile drug charges, or if your child is 18 years of age or older, but is still in high school, your child could be charged as an adult.
Teens Will Find Access To Drugs
It is unfortunate, but most teens will be exposed to some sort of drug activity while they are in high school. They might be offered drugs, they might know or watch a friend take drugs, or they may become involved in drug activity, such as buying and selling drugs. These things happen because teens don’t always make the best decisions, and sometimes they agree to things because they want to seem cool to their peers. Teens are driven by social acceptance, and so they might be pressured into taking, doing or selling drugs at school.
It is not uncommon for teens to get into trouble for having marijuana in their possession, or for selling controlled substances, such as medication for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Some teens get involved with very serious drugs, like heroin or methamphetamines.
Drug Charges That High School Teens Can Face
Teens can find themselves in trouble with the law for a number of different drug offenses. Most commonly, high school students get in trouble for possession of marijuana or possession of another controlled substance. They also get into trouble for selling drugs to classmates. This is a particularly bad situation for a student charged with a drug offense since the court has the ability to double the student’s sentencing if the student was selling drugs near a school. There are state laws that require school zones to be drug-free zones. In Illinois, the drug-free school zone extends 1,000 feet from the school property. This also means that school buses are drug-free zones as well.
Let Our Attorneys Help You Today
It is important to fight juvenile drug charges since your son or daughter’s future depends on it. A drug conviction could lead to problems down the road. If your high-school aged child has been charged with a drug-related crime, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows juvenile crime lawyer immediately. Our attorneys are here to assist you every step of the case.
August 19th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Illinois, and law enforcement does not take it lightly. Illinois law provides for three different types of DUI offenses: driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs, or driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to 625 ILCS 5/11-501.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
When it comes to driving under the influence of drugs, there are two levels of this offense: driving under the influence and driving with drugs in your system. Driving under the influence of drugs involves the arresting officer’s judgment call concerning whether you were operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Only officers who have received training concerning how people behave when they are on drugs are really qualified to make this judgment call. Inexperienced law enforcement officers may lack the skill and training to appropriately and correctly identify suspected drugged drivers. In order to be convicted, there must be proof of the charge that you were under the influence of drugs at the time of the arrest. The smell of drugs (e.g., the smell of marijuana) or the driver’s admission of having taken drugs at some other time in the past is not enough. However, if drug paraphernalia is found in the vehicle, or the driver is unable to perform field sobriety tests, this evidence is more concrete.
Driving with drugs in your system involves being tested to prove that you had some concentration of drug in your body at the time of arrest or shortly thereafter. These tests could include breath, blood, or urine testing. These tests must be completed by individuals who are trained and qualified to perform these tests. For instance, breathalyzer testing can be conducted by a law enforcement officer who is trained to perform such testing. However, blood and urine testing must be done by a qualified medical professional, and must be done within a certain amount of time after you are taken into custody by law enforcement. There are also specific procedural requirements for how these types of tests are conducted, which are provided for under the law. The testing procedure must be performed in accordance with the law, or else any resulting evidence may be inadmissible against you.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs And Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol can be a dangerous mixture, with highly intoxicating effects. Police have the right to request a blood or urine sample for testing to determine whether or not the driver was intoxicated at the time of arrest.
Charged With A DUI? Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Facing a DUI for driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both is serious business. If you have been charged with a DUI, please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately for help with your case.
August 18th, 2016 at 8:46 am
Being charged with a first DUI is bad enough, but being charged with a second, third or subsequent DUI can be worse. DUIs are serious matters, and anyone who has been charged with a DUI needs to seek the help of an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer immediately. The differences between facing DUI charges as a first time offender and facing DUI charges as a repeat offender are striking. Illinois law takes repeat DUI offenses very seriously. For instance:
- When you are facing a third or subsequent DUI charge, you are facing a felony charge under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(B);
- A second DUI conviction within 20 years of a first DUI conviction will result in driver’s license revocation for a period of five years; and
- A third DUI conviction will result in driver’s license revocation for a period of 10 years.
When it comes to DUIs, the Illinois courts can look back into your driving history for prior DUI convictions; indeed, they can look back to when you first were granted driving privileges. This means that any prior DUI conviction in Illinois will be taken into consideration when determining your punishment for a second or subsequent DUI conviction.
Any number of aggravating factors can make things worse for you when you are facing a second or subsequent DUI. For instance, having a blood alcohol concentration twice the legal limit (the legal limit is 0.08 percent), driving while under the influence with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle, or being involved in an accident that causes severe bodily harm or death to another can all exacerbate the penalties you may face if convicted. An experienced DUI defense lawyer understands what is at stake for you and will work diligently to get your charges dropped or reduced and will work hard to ensure that you receive fair treatment under the law.
Possible Defenses to DUI Charges
Any number of defenses could be raised against the DUI charges you are facing, but what defenses may be appropriate are determined on a case by case basis. Based on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest, certain defenses may be available to you, while others may not. Some common defenses that are typically raised against DUI charges include:
- The traffic stop was not a valid stop;
- The breathalyzer device was not properly calibrated;
- The field sobriety tests were not properly conducted;
- Police failed to follow appropriate protocol concerning breathalyzer testing, field sobriety testing, the stop, or the arrest; or
- Police violated your rights.
Reach Out to an Attorney for Help
It is possible to move past a DUI charge and get on with your life, but you will need the help of an experienced Illinois DUI criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and freedom. Please do not wait unnecessarily to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for assistance with your case.
August 10th, 2016 at 3:33 pm
Being arrested on drug charges can have a lasting impact on your life. Besides the cost of the charge itself, your job or livelihood could be placed at risk, and you may even lose government funding if you are attending or planning on going to college. Understand how the state of Illinois processes these charges, and what you can best do to protect yourself from the adverse consequences.
Drug Scheduling in Illinois
In Illinois, the penalties of a drug charge depend on several factors, including the assigned “schedule” of the drug you allegedly had in your possession. Based on the drug’s potential for abuse and whether or not they are considered approved for medical use, this schedule is as follows:
- Schedule I drugs: opiates and opium derivatives that have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use (heroin, LSD, ecstasy, etc.);
- Schedule II drugs: some accepted medical use, a high potential for abuse, and the propensity to cause severe psychological or physical dependence (Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, etc.);
- Schedule III drugs: a lower potential for abuse and a moderate to low risk of physical or psychological dependence (Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine, Suboxone, etc.);
- Schedule IV drugs: a low potential for abuse compared to other higher schedule drugs (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, etc.);
- Schedule V drugs: a low potential for abuse compared to other higher schedule drugs and primarily preparations that contain limited quantities of higher level narcotics (Robitussin AC, Codeine, Phenergan, etc.).
Other Factors Considered in Your Drug Possession Case
While the scheduling of the alleged drug is a major factor in determining the potential consequences of a drug charge, there are many other factors considered as well. Examples include the number of previous convictions and/or possession charges, the amount of the drug you were allegedly carrying, and your proximity to a school at the time of an arrest.
Possible Penalties of Drug Possession
Schedule I drugs often result in felony charges, which could lead to incarceration of anywhere from four to 50 years, depending on the amount you were allegedly carrying. However, there are exceptions. In contrast, lower schedule drugs are often considered misdemeanors, which typically results in a shorter sentence. Still, there are factors that could aggravate a lower schedule drug charge and increase your penalties.
Contact Our Illinois Criminal Law Attorneys
If you are facing a drug charge in Illinois, it is critical that you contact an attorney that understands how to defend your rights and mitigate your charges. Our Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys possess this knowledge, and we will take swift, aggressive action in your case. Get the representation you deserve. Contact us to schedule your confidential consultation today.
August 4th, 2016 at 10:09 am
The City of Chicago is about to make some big changes to its sale of tobacco laws. Joining approximately 170 other local jurisdictions and major cities across the country, on July 1st, young Chicagoans will have to wait until they are 21 years old before they can legally buy tobacco products and accessories within the city. It does not matter the type of tobacco product: the sale of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and pipe tobacco to people under the age of 21 is prohibited. Buying tobacco while underage is not just a juvenile offense anymore. If the law change is effective in reducing the number of young people who are smoking, by limiting legal access to tobacco products, state lawmakers have already indicated that they would consider making a similar law change state-wide.
Why Was The City Law Changed?
For many years, legislators have been concerned about the health and safety of young people. The Chicago City Council, in particular, has worried about smoking and tobacco addiction rates amongst young Chicagoans for quite some time. The main concern is that young people do not have fully developed brains before entering their twenties and this can leave young people particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction.
The Goal Is To Keep Youths Away From Tobacco Products
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that almost 90 percent of people who smoke tobacco products had their first cigarette by the time they were 18 years old, which means that change in the smoking age in Chicago could help prevent young people from getting access to tobacco products. Additionally, e-cigarettes are in vogue now, and many people have also taken up using a hookah as an alternative to smoking cigarettes. Chicago feels that its youth has too many alternative options available for them to consume nicotine, which prompts these young people to develop an addiction early in life. Beating a nicotine addiction can be hard and many fail repeatedly at quitting smoking.
By limiting the sale of tobacco products to people who are 21 years of age or older, young, undeveloped brains might be spared from easily forming an addiction to nicotine.
Despite the change in the law concerning who tobacco products can be sold to, the law has not changed with regard to who can sell tobacco products – an employee who is under the age of 21 is permitted to handle and sell tobacco products to a purchaser who is 21 or older. Sellers are required to post signage in their stores about the change in the tobacco sales law. The city changed its tobacco sales regulations in March and became effective July 1st.
Reach Out to Us for Help
As of now, young people between the ages of 18 and 21 are prohibited from buying tobacco in Chicago. If you need a criminal defense lawyer, please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Our legal professionals are eager to assist you with your case.
August 2nd, 2016 at 12:39 pm
If you live in or around Chicago, you are well aware that crime in the city is rampant. There is no shortage of crime news in Chicago, and it seems like there is no end in sight. Looking at gun violence in the city specifically, shooting crimes, and crimes involving guns, are up 80 percent this year over last year. There were more than 650 shooting incidents in 2016 by March. Memorial Day weekend in Chicago this year saw 64 shooting victims, with six of those ending in fatalities, according to an article in The New York Times. Additionally, police have seized nearly 100 fewer guns this year than they did at this same time last year. These startling statistics indicate a serious problem. So why has there been an increase in gun crime this year?
What’s Causing the Spike in Gun Violence?
For a long time, Chicago law enforcement officers were very aggressive when it came to stopping and frisking subjects. While taking an aggressive approach to police stop and frisk is good for identifying crime and stopping it before something catastrophic occurs, it also risks ensnaring a significant amount of innocent people. There is also evidence that indicates that stop and frisks were conducted disproportionately on African Americans and other minority groups in Chicago.
After years of pushing stop and frisk reform, the American Civil Liberties Union finally got the change that they fought so hard for. At the start of 2016, a new state law concerning police stop and frisks took effect that prompted Chicago police to change the way that they conduct stops in the city. The criteria for making a stop became more strict, and the reporting process after a stop became longer. As a result of this change in procedure, the number of stop and frisks that law enforcement conducts have declined by more than 80 percent, according to DNAInfo. Last year 157,346 stop and frisks were recorded, while just under 30,000 had been made by March of this year. Fewer police stops mean more guns are staying on the streets of Chicago when these same guns used to be picked up during stop and frisk searches. More guns on the streets equate to more street violence.
Is a lack of police enforcement to blame for the dramatic increase in gun violence across Chicago? Some think this is the case and argue that law enforcement is not conducting stop and frisks because of fear of being sued.
Reach Out to Us for Professional Help
While law enforcement is making fewer stops, they are still making them and people are being arrested and charged with various offenses. If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Our attorneys are able to assist you today.
August 1st, 2016 at 10:56 am
All too frequently in the news the media reports on a nurse, pharmacist, or other hospital employee who steals controlled substances that are meant for patients. When this happens it is often referred to as diversion, or theft, of controlled substances, and it is a drug crime as well as a theft crime. Not only did the defendant steal the drugs, but if they are caught with the stolen drugs in their possession, they can be charged with possession of a controlled substance under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.
Controlled substances are often stolen by healthcare workers who have an addiction. Their addiction drives them to take the drugs and to cover their tracks. Less frequently, a healthcare worker will be motivated to steal controlled substances from their place of employment by the potential of financial gains – by selling the controlled substances for a profit.
Controlled Substances that Are Often Involved in Diversion
When a person has access to an entire pharmacy, it is like having uninhibited access. Every type of drug is readily available; even the most highly regulated and controlled medications and drugs are there. The worker might report that the drugs were properly administered to a patient, or are included in a drug count, when, in fact, some of the drugs are missing.
Some controlled substances that are typically the subject of diversion, or theft by hospital or pharmacy employees, include, but are not limited to:
- Painkillers, which include Vicodin, Percocet, Percodan, and Oxycontin;
- Narcotics, which includes opioids, such as morphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone;
- Barbiturates, which include drugs like Valium and Librium; and
- High-value or very costly drugs, such as expensive antiretroviral drugs, and performance enhancing drugs.
How Does The Theft Occur?
Diversion of drugs from healthcare facilities and pharmacies can take many forms. Sometimes workers will steal whole vials or pill packs. Some theft involves the removal of solution from a vial storage container and replacing the stolen solution with water. Other types of theft may involve swiping pills out of a patient’s pill vial, but reporting that all the pills were counted and are present. The theft could occur at a pharmacy, hospital, nursing home, senior care center, or any other healthcare facility that has access to controlled substances.
Do You Need Legal Representation?
Being addicted to controlled substances can be tough to live with. If you have been charged with theft or possession of controlled substance charges, you need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Let our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys assist you. Reach out to us for more information on how we can be of help.