Archive for January, 2017
January 25th, 2017 at 9:12 am
Theft is one of the most commonly committed crimes in Illinois. Theft in the broadest sense involves someone knowingly taking property that belongs to another without permission and with no intention of giving the stolen property back to its proper owner. There are a number of criminal offenses that stem from theft, including:
- Petty theft. Petty theft is also known as misdemeanor theft. Petty theft occurs when the item that was stolen has a value of $500 or less.
- Shoplifting or retail theft. Shoplifting occurs when a person knowingly takes an item from a merchant without paying full price for the stolen item.
- Receipt of stolen property. Receipt of stolen property occurs when someone knowingly accepts property that he or she knows to be stolen.
- Stealing a motor vehicle. Stealing a motor vehicle arises when a person takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission.
- Robbery. Robbery occurs when a person takes property belonging to someone else by the use of force. Robbery can become aggravated robbery if a weapon was used as the threat of force.
- Burglary. Burglary occurs when a person knowingly breaks into a building belonging to another without permission to be there with the intention of committing theft of some other felony offense.
In many theft scenarios, law enforcement arrests whomever stands accused of committing the theft crime, and then the state prosecutor presses charges against the accused. Oftentimes, the state prosecutor will look at the evidence surrounding the alleged crime and will bring charges for every crime that might have been committed. To be sure, criminal defendants often face multiple charges for a single alleged crime.
Each theft-related crime has its own unique elements that must be proven by the prosecution in order to obtain a conviction. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney will demand that the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the theft crime with which he or she has been charged.
You deserve fair treatment under the law and fair trial, and your criminal defense attorney should fight for your rights and on your behalf.
Knowledge and Intent Are Key Elements of Theft Crimes
A common thread shared by all theft-related crimes is that knowledge and intent are key elements to establish that the crime was committed.
- Knowledge means that the person who allegedly committed the crime knowingly did so.
- Intent means that the person who allegedly committed the crime has no intention of returning the property that he or she has taken from the rightful owner without permission.
The elements of knowledge and intent are often the prosecution’s weakest arguments, and a seasoned criminal defense attorney knows this. Many criminal cases turn on whether the criminal defendant had knowledge that he or she was stealing or whether the criminal defendant had no intention of returning the property that he or she had taken.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Anyone who is facing theft-related criminal charges needs to consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows theft attorney immediately. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today for professional help with your case.
January 23rd, 2017 at 11:01 am
Admittedly, no one enjoys getting a traffic or speeding ticket in Illinois. Getting a ticket can be inconvenient, costly, and time-consuming. Many people find the whole process of being issued a ticket, and then having to deal with the aftermath of the ticket, to be immensely frustrating. Indeed, that is why so many people simply go to the courthouse or go online to pay the fine associated with their traffic citation. Still, what a lot of people do not realize is that by simply paying the fine associated with your traffic citation, you are effectively pleading guilty or no contest to the alleged traffic offense.
By pleading not guilty or no contest the alleged traffic offense, there are many additional consequences that go along with the payment of your traffic citation fine. For instance, it could also result in:
- Points being added to your driving record;
- The loss of your driver’s license;
- Increased automobile insurance premium; and
- Attendance at a mandatory driver’s education program.
Needless to say, the consequences associated with pleading guilty or no contest to a traffic violation are many and serious. That is why it is so critically important that you fight your traffic ticket if you do not believe that you have broken the law. By working with an experienced traffic citation defense lawyer, you can fight against the charges pending against you and get your traffic offense dropped, dismissed, or reduced. You need to protect your rights and you should receive fair treatment under the law if you have been issued a traffic ticket. An experienced traffic offenses attorney can help you fight your traffic citation.
What Does it Mean to Fight a Traffic Ticket?
In Illinois it is not very difficult to indicate to the traffic court that you would like to fight your traffic ticket, although the rules regarding traffic court do vary from county to county. As a general rule, the way that you would initiate your fight is by pleading not guilty to the alleged traffic offense. You will need to make sure that you plead to the appropriate traffic court, i.e., the court that is designated on your traffic citation, and in the appropriate manner. Once you have pled not guilty, you will be scheduled to appear in traffic court where you will present to the judge your case as to why you are not guilty.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
It is to your benefit to retain the services of an experienced traffic violations defense lawyer when fighting your traffic citation. A traffic violations lawyer will know the specifics of the traffic court, can help you build your case, and can represent you in court. If you believe that you were issued a traffic ticket in error, then you should consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows traffic violations lawyer about fighting your ticket.
January 18th, 2017 at 8:30 am
One interesting scenario that people often ask about is whether you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol when you are in the vehicle, but not actually driving the vehicle. The logic is simple: If you are not driving the vehicle while intoxicated, how can you be considered to be “driving under the influence?”
Countless criminal defendants have been arrested by Illinois law enforcement for DUI when they were not actually engaged in driving the vehicle. In fact, an arrest can take place after law enforcement finds an intoxicated driver stopped at the scene of an accident, or after an officer finds a driver passed out behind the wheel of a stopped, or even parked, vehicle.
Driving or in Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, a person shall not drive or be in actual control of a vehicle in Illinois while intoxicated to the point of being incapable of driving safely. The part of the law that confuses many is the “in actual control of a vehicle” language of the statute.
“In actual control of a vehicle” is purposely broad in scope, as it is meant to make intoxicated driving as broad a crime as possible. Many scenarios fall within the scope of “in actual control of a vehicle” while under the influence, such as:
- Being found by law enforcement in a condition where you are too drunk to drive, but you were just sitting in your car for a while until you felt sober enough to drive. If you have the keys, you are in actual control of the vehicle and can be charged with a DUI;
- Being found passed out in your parked vehicle with the engine off due to intoxication. If you have the keys and you are drunk, you can be charged with a DUI. Circumstances might be different if you are sleeping it off responsibly in the back seat of your car, with no keys in your possession; and
- Sitting in your vehicle while the engine is off after being involved in an accident. It does not matter if the accident was a single vehicle accident or a multi-vehicle accident; if you are intoxicated and behind the wheel at an accident, you may be charged with a DUI.
The main takeaway is that if you are intoxicated in your vehicle, it is critically important that you do not have your keys. Possession or easy access to your keys while you are intoxicated in your vehicle is a significant factor when the courts consider if you were in actual control of the vehicle while you were intoxicated for the purposes of DUI charges.
If you are facing a DUI charge because law enforcement found you in your vehicle while in an intoxicated state, even though you were not driving and the motor was not running, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to fight your DUI charges.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing DUI charges, an experienced DUI lawyer will know how best to proceed with your case. Please do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer immediately for assistance with your case.
January 16th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Trespassing is a serious offense, and many people in Illinois are charged with criminal trespass every year. If you are facing criminal trespassing charges, you should not delay in speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can help you assess your legal options and can assist you with building a defense strategy.
Criminal trespassing under Illinois law occurs when a person unlawfully and without authority knowingly enters the property of another or remains on the property of another without permission. Criminal trespass exists in several forms including:
- Criminal trespass to a residence. Under 720 ILCS 5/19-4, the crime occurs whenever you knowingly and without permission enter the residence of another. Alternatively, it can be criminal trespass to a residence if you enter someone’s residence with permission, but then stay longer than you were authorized to stay. Criminal trespass to a residence might occur if you may have been invited to someone’s home for a party, but then you did not leave when you were asked to leave and you stayed in the home after your permission to be there had expired or been revoked.
- Criminal trespass to a vehicle. Under 720 ILCS 5/21-2, the crime of criminal trespass to a vehicle occurs when you access a vehicle belonging to someone else. The vehicle could be an automobile, a snowmobile, or a watercraft. It is also criminal trespass to a vehicle to operate someone else’s vehicle without permission. Carjacking or car theft is sometimes reduced to criminal trespass to a vehicle.
- Criminal trespass to real property. Under 720 ILCS 5/21-3, the crime of criminal trespass to real property happens when you enter property belonging to someone else without permission. It is also criminal trespass to property if you were permitted to be on the property, but are then asked to leave but you do not. This offense is common in situations where bar or restaurant patrons are asked to leave a bar or restaurant for being disruptive or fighting, but they do not leave the premises. It is also common for people to be charged with criminal trespass to real property when there are posted signs prohibiting entry onto someone’s property but the signs are ignored.
When the prosecution is unable to establish every element required to convict you of criminal trespass, of either a residence, vehicle, or real property, it might be possible to reduce the charges against you to attempted criminal trespass. This means that there was evidence to suggest you were trying to commit a criminal trespass but did not successfully complete the trespass.
Criminal Trespassing Charges Need A Defense Lawyer
Criminal trespassing charges can truly affect your future in a negative manner. You need the help of an experienced professional who will be able to help you through the legal system. Do not hesitate and reach out to an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
January 11th, 2017 at 8:30 am
Drug trafficking, and cocaine trafficking in particular, is a serious felony offense in Illinois. The crime of drug trafficking involves knowingly selling, transporting, and importing controlled substances, such as cocaine, with the intent to manufacture or deliver the drugs.
There are two different sets of laws that govern criminal charges associated with cocaine trafficking. When the drug offense is committed within the state of Illinois, generally state law applies to the case. However, if a drug offense is committed across multiple jurisdictions, i.e., the drug offense involved activities occurring in two separate states, then the matter falls under the purview of federal law.
Transporting Cocaine Across State Lines Leads to Federal Drug Charges
One of the most common ways that drug charges go from being a strictly state matter to a federal matter, is when drugs are transported across state lines. Getting drugs like cocaine across state lines can involve:
- Transporting cocaine across state lines by automobile or bus;
- Transporting cocaine across state lines by using the rail system;
- Transporting cocaine across state lines by using a boat across Lake Michigan; or
- Transporting cocaine across state lines by use of a private plane, jet or commercial airline.
Whether your cocaine drug charges are at the state or federal level, if you are facing drug charges at all you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney serving Rolling Meadows and the surrounding areas. Your criminal defense lawyer will know the intricacies of the law regarding cocaine possession, distribution, and transportation, and your lawyer will help prepare the best defense possible in light of your particular circumstances. You deserve fair treatment under the law and a skilled criminal defense attorney will fight so that you can get the best possible outcome in light of your specific situation.
Charged With Two Crimes: Trafficking and Possession
Generally if you are facing cocaine trafficking charges, you were likely caught in the act by law enforcement or you were implicated in the crime from some other evidence, such as videotape footage, testimony from others involved in the crime, etc. Many times, defendants who are charged with cocaine trafficking are also charged with cocaine possession, since they are usually found by law enforcement to be in actual possession of the cocaine that was being trafficked.
It is common practice for law enforcement in Illinois to charge a defendant with as many crimes as possible at the time of arrest. If the offense even closely resembles a crime, the arresting officer will likely charge the defendant with it. This is referred to as “stacking” or “multiplying” the charges against the defendant and it is to the prosecution’s advantage. By effectively charging you with every possible crime that facts and circumstances surrounding your offense could possibly justify, the prosecution is given the best possible chance to have charges stick in court to turn into a conviction.
For Defense Against Cocaine Charges: Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you have been arrested and charged with a cocaine offense, you need to work with a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who has years of experience handling drug cases like yours. We are prepared to help you today.
January 9th, 2017 at 7:00 am
In Illinois, one of the most commonly imposed penalties for misdeeds is to suspend or revoke an individual’s driving privileges. There are countless ways in which you could lose your driver’s license in Illinois; therefore, understanding why your license could be suspended or revoked is important.
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing
Under Illinois’s Implied Consent Law, anyone who drives on the roadways in Illinois has given implied consent to submit to chemical testing in the event that he or she is suspected by law enforcement of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, Illinois drivers have the right to refuse chemical testing.
One consequence of refusing chemical testing is that your driver’s license will be suspended for at least six months. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing after being involved in an automobile accident where you are suspected of driving under the influence, your driving privileges will be revoked for at least one year.
Arrested for DUI or Contributing to a DUI
When a driver is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, where the driver’s blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or more, then his or her driving privileges will be suspended for at least six months, or potentially longer depending on whether or not the driver refuses to submit to chemical testing (as discussed above), and whether the driver is a repeat offender.
Additionally, if you are found to have contributed to someone else driving under the influence, for example, you let a drunk person drive your car, you can then be charged with contributing to a DUI. In addition to potential jail time and a fine, another consequence for contributing to a DUI is that your driving privileges will be suspended.
Committing Driver’s License or ID Card Fraud
Suspension or revocation of a person’s driver’s license is one of the consequences associated with committing driver’s license or ID card fraud in Illinois. Any one of the following can lead to the suspension or revocation of a person’s driver’s license for no less than 12 months:
- Presenting false identification when trying to obtain a driver’s license or ID card in Illinois;
- Using a driver’s license or driving permit that has been unlawfully altered or that is fake;
- Applying your signature to a driver’s license or ID card application that you know contains false information;
- Using someone else’s driver’s license or ID card as if it were your own; or
- Permitting someone else to use your identification documents in order to apply for a driver’s license or ID card.
When You Need Your Driver’s License Back, Call Us
A driver’s license suspension or revocation is a punishment that is often tacked on as an additional penalty for many offenses. If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked in Illinois, it is important that you work with a driver’s license reinstatement attorney to make sure that you do everything that you need to in order to get your driver’s license back as soon as possible. A passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help.
January 4th, 2017 at 1:31 pm
All too many Illinois juveniles end up in the hands of the law after committing minor offenses. A minor might get caught in possession of marijuana, or prescription drugs, or might get arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Minors often wind up in trouble for theft and are charged with shoplifting, robbery and criminal trespassing.
Minors who are arrested and charged with these offenses have to be booked in to jail and then make an appearance in court. Juveniles who are charged with offenses need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has experience in juvenile matters.
One of the most upsetting and often embarrassing aspects of a juvenile’s court appearance for a criminal matter is having to appear before a judge in shackles. For nearly 30 years it has been customary for juveniles to wear restraints when making a court appearance, regardless of the nature of their alleged crime. The thought process behind this protocol is that it promotes courtroom safety and can protect the juvenile from hurting themselves and others. Minors often feel intimidated and humiliated by the experience, and what makes it worse is if the accused minor is actually innocent.
New Rule Changes Affect When Juveniles Are Shackled in Court
A new rule and an amendment to an existing rule are changing how juvenile cases are handled in court. These changes were largely supported by state and national juvenile advocacy groups. The new rules grant judges the authority to make decisions about whether low-level juvenile offenders really need to be marched into the courtroom while wearing restraints.
Supreme Court Rule 943, which was adopted on November 1, 2016, provides that juveniles who are minor offenders will not need to make their court appearances in shackles or restraints unless the judge has made a decision that such restraints are necessary to prevent harm, or reduce the risk of flight, or if the juvenile has a history of disruptive behavior. The judge’s decision must be made after a hearing has taken place on the issue. Amendments to Supreme Court Rule 941 make it so that these new rules regarding the shackling of juveniles apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings.
A case-by-case assessment of whether restraints are appropriate in any given case seems like a more logical approach to this issue. Twenty-three other states, and Washington D.C., have all adopted similar rules to address this issue as well.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Juvenile charges are serious and they can make a lasting impression on a young person who made a mistake. Juveniles end up in all kinds of trouble and when they do it is important to seek guidance and advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney. If someone you love is a minor who has committed a criminal offense, please do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows juvenile matters lawyer immediately.
January 2nd, 2017 at 9:49 am
The word burglary often brings to mind a masked person stealing money from a bank, breaking into a car, or stealing money, jewelry, or other property from a home. However, under Illinois law, burglary can occur in many other places. To limit your understanding of the crime of burglary to only homes and cars would be overly narrow and inaccurate.
Elements of the Crime of Burglary
It is considered burglary to break into and enter a place without permission, such as trailers, buildings, and motor vehicles. But burglary also includes other transportation vehicles, such as watercraft and aircraft, with the intent to commit theft of any other felony offense. When the location that is broken into is a home or other dwelling, i.e., a place where someone sleeps, it is considered residential burglary.
Burglary is not limited to physical breaking into a new building or vehicle. You do not have to force open a lock or break a window to gain access to a building or vehicle in order to constitute an entering for the purposes of burglary. Other ways of gaining entry into a building or vehicle may include:
- Sneaking into the vehicle or building;
- Further opening a cracked door or window so that you can get inside;
- Lying or using trickery to gain access to the building or vehicle; or
- Remaining inside a building or vehicle after you have been asked to leave, i.e., after a store has closed or after you were told to leave.
Burglary Charges Can be Upgraded
Burglary is a felony offense. As if a burglary charge is not bad enough, there are several circumstances where the charges can be upgraded to a more serious felony. For instance:
- If the burglary is committed in a day care or child care facility, an elder care center, a school, or a place of worship, the burglary charge becomes a Class 1 felony;
- If the burglary is committed on a residential dwelling while someone is home;
- If you used a weapon during the commission of the burglary; and
- If you cause injury to someone during the commission of the burglary.
Burglary charges are serious criminal offenses, and any person who is suspected of committing a burglary in Illinois needs to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Intent to commit a felony or theft is a required element of burglary in order to be convicted. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know how best to fight your charges, whether it is through a defense that you had permission to enter the building, vehicle or dwelling, or that you lacked the requisite intent to commit a crime or theft.
Let Us Help You Today
Since burglary is a felony criminal offense there are serious consequences for a conviction, which include—at the minimum—years of prison time, massive fines, and a criminal record.
When you are faced with burglary or residential burglary charges, please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office for help.