Archive for November, 2016
November 25th, 2016 at 3:19 pm
Getting arrested for a drug offense, such as possession or intent to distribute, is a bad situation on its own. If you are convicted for such an offense, you can face jail time and fees. However, getting caught with drugs can also mean that you will lose personal property, such as your car or other assets, if such assets are affiliated with the drug offense. Drug asset forfeiture is a common practice in Illinois, yet many people are unaware of it until it happens to them or someone they know.
If you are charged with a drug crime, you might be subjected to Illinois’ drug asset forfeiture laws. Under these laws, property that is associated with drug activity or a crime can be seized by law enforcement. The point of the seizure is to limit the amount of resources that are available for criminal activity. If your personal property is taken by law enforcement under state asset forfeiture laws, it may take a long time to get your seized assets back, and recovery of your seized property can be at a great cost to you.
What Types of Assets Can Be Seized?
Under the Illinois drug asset forfeiture laws, police do not have to arrest anyone or have a warrant to make a seizure of property involved in criminal drug activity. Instead, law enforcement can simply seize any personal property that is involved in a drug crime. Examples of assets that are commonly seized under civil asset forfeiture include motor vehicles, cash, real estate, home, electronics, equipment, and more.
Recovering Seized Property
Even if your underlying drug charges are dropped or defeated, or if you are only given probation or court supervision, your seized property will not automatically be returned to you. Rather, you will have to enter a claim to obtain your seized property.
Recovering your seized property can be a difficult process. The owner of the property has the burden of proving that the personal property was not involved in the criminal activity and should not have been seized. Property owners must demonstrate that the property was obtained in a legitimate way, was not used for criminal activity, and that the property owner will suffer financial hardship without their seized property.
Call an Experienced Drug Offenses Lawyer
There is no doubt that drug offenses carry serious consequences, and if you have been charged with a drug crime, it is important to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer quickly. A skilled attorney can begin crafting a defense to your original drug crimes, as well as help you devise a way to recover your seized property. Please feel free to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for assistance. We are prepared to help you immediately.
November 23rd, 2016 at 9:22 am
The most booming time of year for retailers is the end of the calendar year. With all of the shopping that goes along with the holiday season, retailers pull out all the stops and offer great sales to draw in customers. Retailers also engage in gimmicks to draw in business, such as two-for-one deals or Black Friday sales. Whatever retailers can do to get customers into their stores and spend money is all that matters this time of year. However, the end of the calendar year is also a time when retailers increase their store security efforts and monitor most closely for instances of retail theft.
With more customers in their stores, there is an increased likelihood that theft will occur more frequently. Customers might try and hide unsold merchandise in shopping bags they are carrying from other stores, and may try to simply walk out of the store without paying. Theft is a serious problem for retailers, so it makes sense that retailers would take extra precautions this time of year to catch people in the act.
Charged With Retail Theft
Retail theft is a serious crime in Illinois. Generally speaking, retail theft occurs when someone knowingly takes a piece of merchandise without paying the full price for the item. Under Illinois law, retail theft can take many different forms. For instance, it is retail theft if you:
- Take an item off the shelf and then conceal it in a bag or on your person, so that you can leave without paying for the item;
- Swap the price tags of a lower cost item and a higher cost item so that you can get the item for less than full price;
- Work with the cashier to under-ring up the item you are trying to get for less than full price;
- Modify the price tag on an item so that you can get it for a cheaper price;
- Lie to store employees to claim that a piece of merchandise is actually your personal belonging; or
- Use a theft detection shielding device to smuggle an item out of a store without paying.
When store security catches you stealing merchandise, they have a right to hold you and call the police. Once the police arrive, it is likely that you will be arrested and charged with retail theft. You do not have to speak to the police—speaking with them will only serve to incriminate you. You can instead request to speak to your lawyer.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Being charged with retail theft charges can be frightening. If you have been arrested for retail theft, or any other form of theft, you need to speak with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We are here to help you.
November 18th, 2016 at 9:39 am
Domestic disputes occur between significant others and family members frequently in Illinois. Sometimes these get out of hand and rise to the level of domestic violence.
Under Illinois law, domestic violence generally involves acts of violence or threatening behavior between two people who share a domestic relationship, or used to share a domestic relationship. Domestic violence disputes arise between spouses, exes, significant others, family members who are related by blood or marriage, and people who share a living space, such as roommates.
Even the most minor physical contact can be construed as a battery. If you are concerned that someone is likely to make a false claim of domestic violence against you, you should avoid making physical contact with that person at all costs. But just because you deliberately refrain from physical contact does not mean that someone will not make an attack on you.
Charged with Domestic Violence When You Acted in Self-Defense
There are many cases of domestic assault and battery where the accused is charged with domestic violence when he or she was merely acting in self-defense. While it is unfortunate that charges are being pressed against you for domestic violence, it is fortunate that self-defense could be a potential defense to these charges.
Under Illinois law, a person is justified to use force against another when he or she believes that the use of force is necessary to defend him or herself from imminent harm from another’s use of force. A skilled Illinois criminal defense lawyer can examine the specifics of your case and help ensure the charges are dropped against you if you were acting in self defense.
Defense of Others Might Also be a Defense to Domestic Violence Charges
Not only can you act in self defense, but you can also act in the defense of others. Another common scenario where domestic violence charges are filed involves one person acting violently or threateningly against someone else, where a third party steps in to aid in the defense of the victim. If this occurred in your case, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected.
Let Us Help With Your Domestic Violence Defense
If you are faced with allegations of domestic violence, but you believe that your actions were justified as an act of self defense or the defense of others, you should contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our attorneys can examine the specifics of your criminal charges in Illinois, and utilize our knowledge and experience to help craft a solid defense. Reach out to us today for a consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.
November 16th, 2016 at 10:33 am
All too often individuals are faced with criminal trespass to real property charges, under 720 ILCS 5/21-3, when they were asked to leave a place but do not do so. This scenario plays out a handful of different ways:
- A patron might be asked to leave a bar, club, or restaurant after becoming too intoxicated and rowdy, or getting into a fight with another patron or employee of the establishment;
- An individual might be causing a dramatic and disruptive scene in a business establishment in view of other patrons;
- An individual might have conducted him or herself inappropriately, but not necessarily in violation of the law, in a business establishment, and is then asked to leave;
- An individual might ignore posted signs saying “do not enter” or “authorized personnel only beyond this point”; or
- An individual might knowingly go into a restricted area after being warned not to go into that area.
Knowingly staying on property when you do not have the authority to do so, or if your presence on the property has been forbidden, can land you in hot water with law enforcement. You will likely be charged with criminal trespass to real property. Similarly, knowingly entering an area of real property where you do not belong can also get you charged with criminal trespass.
Criminal Trespass is a Misdemeanor Offense
Criminal trespass to real property is a misdemeanor offense, but that does not mean that you should take criminal trespass charges lightly. Punishment for a criminal trespass conviction can range anywhere from six months to a year of jail time. However, in some situations a criminal defendant can get court supervised probation instead of jail time. Additionally, you can also face a fine of a few thousand dollars and civil liability for your offense. These punishments can wreck havoc on your life, and that is why you need a criminal defense lawyer by your side helping you fight your charges.
If you are arrested for criminal trespass to real property, you should refrain from telling the police anything by exercising your right to remain silent. As soon as it is possible for you to do so, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation. A knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you fight the charges you are facing and will hopefully get the charges against you either dismissed or reduced.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Anyone who is facing criminal trespass charges should be concerned about his or her defense. These charges are serious and pose potential consequences that can severely impact your life. A conviction for these charges can jeopardize your freedom, which is why it is so important that you get into touch with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as quickly as you can after being charged.
November 11th, 2016 at 11:33 am
What happens to a person who was caught in the middle of committing a burglary? If the burglary was never completed, meaning you never had the chance to get away with anything you stole or were planning to steal, are you still charged with burglary?
Intent is All That is Required
In Illinois, there is no difference between attempted burglary and burglary, because under the law, all you need to have is the intent to steal from, or commit a felony in, a place where you are not authorized to be. You do not actually have to take anything, nor do you even have to attempt to take something from someone else’s property, in order to be charged with burglary. Simply having the intent to steal something, or to commit a felony, is enough.
Many criminal defendants wonder how intent can be proven. If you did not take anything, and you do not flat out admit that you were there to steal something, how will the police know that you ever had intent to take something? Police take burglary very seriously, and will investigate the scene of the crime to look for clues that indicate you may have had the intent to steal something before you were caught.
Intent is Often Established with Circumstantial Evidence
Often times, police will conduct interviews with you, with the owners of the burglarized property, and with your friends or associates to get a better understanding of what you were doing on someone else’s property without permission. Between these interviews and evidence at the scene of the crime, police can often put together enough circumstantial evidence to arrest you and charge you with burglary.
Circumstantial evidence is evidence that requires an extra step of thought, i.e., an inference, to arrive at a conclusion of fact or is used to support the truth of an assertion. In the case of burglary, circumstantial evidence is used to support the assertion that you were at the property with the intent to steal something or commit a felony.
For instance, if there is evidence at the scene of the burglary that you tried to pry open locked chests and drawers, or that you left fingerprints on drawers where it is likely that valuables would be stored, this circumstantial evidence could be used to establish your intent to steal something from the scene of the crime.
Defenses Can Help Reduce or Dismiss Charges
Circumstantial evidence is one of the weakest forms of evidence because it requires an inference to arrive at some conclusion about what the evidence suggests. If you have a valid reason for why the circumstantial evidence exists that defeats the inference, it is possible to beat your charges.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
When you are faced with burglary charges, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. We are eager to help you today. Call 847-394-3200.
November 9th, 2016 at 11:46 am
Committing Identity Theft
When most people think of identity theft they think of cyber hacking. However, identity theft is not just a crime that is committed by high-tech cyber thieves. Identity theft can occur when a person uses another individual’s personal identification information, such as one’s name, Social Security number, driver’s license, passport, credit card number, or other financial information, without permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
Moreover, identity theft can be committed by stealing an individual’s mail and then completing credit card applications in the name of the victim. An identity thief may even open a new bank or a credit card account in a victim’s name or may change the mailing address of a victim’s existing account so he or she can use the account without the victim’s knowledge. When a thief uses an account without paying the bills, the delinquent accounts are noted on a victim’s credit report.
Additionally, there are many high-tech ways to commit identity theft. For instance, it is very common for an identity thief to hack into a victim’s email account or other online account to gain access to personal identifying information, which can be used for financial gain as well. It is also possible to purchase the personal identifying information of victims online through nefarious websites.
Potential Identify Theft Defenses
Identity theft is a serious criminal charge. It is a felony offense that carries lengthy jail time and substantial fines. Due to the seriousness of the consequences of being convicted for identity theft, it is important that, if you have been charged with identity theft, you fight the charges that are pressed against you. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you identify any potential defenses that you might have when you are charged with identity theft.
Accused of Being an Identity Thief? Get a Lawyer
Identity theft is a felony. Therefore, if you have been accused of identity theft, it is essential that you contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and your options. Please call 847-394-3200 to schedule your consultation today.
November 4th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Shoplifting is one of the most frequently committed theft crimes in Illinois. Shoplifting involves knowingly taking merchandise from a store without the intention of paying retail price for the item that is stolen. Shoplifting can take many forms, including taking physical possession of a retail item and removing it from a store without payment, altering or swapping out labels or price tags to get a desired retail item at a cheaper price, and swapping a retail item’s packaging for the packaging of another, less expensive item. If you have been charged with retail theft, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge, you need to get in touch with an experienced retail theft criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
When Retail Theft Rises to the Level of a Felony
Many people who engage in retail theft do not think that the charges associated with their offense will be very serious. But this is a misconception. Even as a first-time offender, stealing something from a store that has a full retail value of more than $300 can result in a class 3 felony charge for retail theft.
Stealing something that is expensive, but small, leads to a felony level retail theft charge. It does not matter if the item is a phone, other electronics, jewelry, a watch, or designer sunglasses. If it costs more than $300, you will face felony level charges if you are caught stealing.
Felony Level Charges for Those With a Record of Theft-Related Offenses
Illinois law is stricter on those who commit retail theft and have already previously been convicted of any other form of theft. For instance, if someone who has been convicted of a theft crime in the past steals an item from a merchant that has a retail value of less than $300, he or she can be charged with felony retail theft, under 720 ILCS 5/16-25(f)(2). Similarly, second time offenders who get caught stealing retail merchandise by using a theft detection shielding device can be charged with a felony under 720 ILCS 5/16-25(f)(1). Or, second time offenders who get caught stealing retail merchandise by darting out an emergency exit door can be charged with a felony under 720 ILCS 5/16-25(f)(2).
Individuals who have a criminal history involving theft-related offenses, or who presently face retail theft charges, need to consult with an experienced attorney. Second-time theft offenders face a tough road when they are charged with retail theft and should not go down that road alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney will make sure that you are treated fairly under the law.
Let Us Help You With Your Retail Theft Charges
Retail theft charges are serious. Please do not delay and contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for help.
November 2nd, 2016 at 7:00 am
Countless people in Illinois get behind the wheel when they do not have a valid driver’s license. These drivers may have never obtained a driver’s license in the first place, could have a suspended driver’s license, or could have had their driving privileges revoked. According to a recent news article posted by WREX.com, far more Illinois drivers get behind the wheel without a valid driver’s license than one might think.
What Motivates People to Drive Without a License?
According to the article, across the state of Illinois, state law enforcement have issued citations to more than 100,000 drivers who were behind the wheel while driving on a revoked or suspended driver’s license. Between the years of 2011 and 2015, there were more than 300,000 convictions for driving with a revoked or suspended driver’s license. Why are these numbers so high? Why do people choose to risk it and drive when they do not have a valid driver’s license?
There are several reasons why people choose to risk it and drive despite having a revoked, suspended, or simply no driver’s license at all. Common reasons include the following:
- Driving is more convenient than public transportation, biking, or walking;
- Some people living in Illinois are unaware of how to obtain a driver’s license, such as undocumented immigrants, or foreign nationals; and
- Unlicensed drivers often have no other choice—they either drive themselves without a license, or they cannot go to work or run errands.
How Do I Avoid Losing My Driver’s License?
There are a number of criminal offenses that can result in your driver’s license being revoked or suspended. For instance, a DUI conviction will result in your driver’s license being revoked. Or, committing too many traffic violations in a short amount of time can result in too many points accumulating on your driver’s license, which can lead to your license being suspended.
Losing your driving privileges due to a driver’s license suspension or revocation can seriously disrupt your life. Driver’s license suspensions and revocations can span many years, leaving you unable to legally drive for a long time. That is why it is so important to fight any criminal charges that are pressed against you which could potentially cost you your driving privileges.
If you have been charged with any criminal offenses that could potentially cost you your driver’s license, it is critically important that you get in touch with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you fight the charges against to you, potentially getting your criminal charges dropped or reduced to a lesser offense.
Contact an Illinois Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation Lawyer
Losing your driver’s license can upend your life and can make getting everyday things in your life done in an effective way a challenge. Having a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer to help you fight for your driving privileges, or to reinstate your driver’s license after a suspension or revocation, is always a good idea.