Archive for April, 2017
April 28th, 2017 at 1:42 pm
As the weather begins to warm up, many homeowners in the area will open their doors and garages to allow the sunshine in and to air out their homes after a long, cold winter. In suburbia, it is not uncommon for people to leave their garage doors open during the daytime, and to even leave them open without supervision.
While normally such behavior should be safe, open doors can be inviting, especially to juveniles. Take, for example, a group of teenagers who see an open and apparently unguarded garage and enter in search for beer. One teen in the group might dare another to go steal the beer or something else from the open garage. Under pressure from his or her friends, the unfortunate teen will enter the garage and commit the theft.
When Theft Turns Into Residential Burglary
The teen who steals the beer from the garage, however, has done more than merely commit a theft. Because the teen entered the garage of another without permission, and with the intent to steal the beer, the criminal charges the teen can face will likely be upgraded to residential burglary. Why is the upcharge so bad for a teen? Residential burglary is a felony level offense, even if the offender is only a juvenile.
While someone who is under 18 years of age will likely face juvenile charges for his or her theft of the beer from someone’s garage, it is still a serious matter. When it comes to juveniles who commit offenses, the courts have a lot of discretion in terms of how the juvenile offender should be punished. The potential punishments that a convicted juvenile delinquent could face include:
- Having to pay a fine;
- Having to pay restitutions to the victim of the residential burglary;
- Having to attend mandatory counseling sessions or therapy sessions;
- Being put on probation, which means that the juvenile avoids detention (the juvenile equivalent of jail), but is required to comply with a number of terms, i.e., rules, that are part of his or her probation;
- Being placed in juvenile detention, weekend detentions, or mandatory community service-type work programs.
Juveniles sometimes make poor decisions and exercise bad judgement. They also can make mistakes about the criminality of the things they do. First time juvenile delinquents are often treated with more leniency by the court than repeat offenders. Any young person facing theft of burglary charges needs to consult with a juvenile offenses lawyer immediately.
Juvenile Delinquents Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
A juvenile charged with a crime needs a strong criminal defense lawyer fighting for his or her rights. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile crime lawyer for assistance with your case.
April 24th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Many people live in some sort of domestic relationship at home. You might live with a significant other or even with a family member. Of course, sometimes tensions can rise between people who live together or lived together in a domestic relationship, and things can get out of hand.
When one person physically hits or strikes the other, it can constitute domestic battery, which is a crime in Illinois. When actions escalate and the violence is extreme, or strangling is involved, the battery is considered aggravated domestic battery.
What is Domestic Battery in Illinois?
In Illinois, domestic battery is defined as when an individual causes bodily harm or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature against a family member or household member without legal justification to do so. Physically hitting, biting, violently threatening, etc. are all acts of violence. When you commit these acts against a family member or a household member, you could face domestic battery criminal charges. A first time offense is a Class A misdemeanor, while a second or repeat offense (after a domestic violence conviction) can be a Class 4 felony.
There is a second tier for domestic battery, referred to as aggravated domestic battery, which covers physically harmful conduct that is committed against a family or household member that is more severe than simple domestic battery.
What is Aggravated Domestic Battery in Illinois?
When the physical violence committed against a family or household member is more serious, then you can be charged with aggravated domestic battery. Specifically, engaging in physical contact with a household or family member with full knowledge that your physical contact will cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or permanent disability is aggravated domestic battery.
Similarly, strangling a household or family member also constitutes aggravated domestic battery. Strangling involves deliberately impeding the normal breathing of the victim and/or preventing circulation of blood to the brain of the victim by applying pressure to the neck or throat of the victim. It does not matter if the act of strangling was for just a second or for several seconds. Moreover, even just one instance of strangling can be enough to support a conviction. Aggravated domestic battery is a Class 2 felony.
Domestic battery allegations are fairly common in Illinois, and when someone is falsely accused of domestic battery it can be problematic for the individual who stands accused. An angry ex or your current significant other, roommate, or family member might lodge false or exaggerated allegations to the authorities that you engaged in domestic violence against them. It is unfair when these things happen and if you are charged with domestic battery in Illinois, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Get a Criminal Defense Lawyer on Your Side Now
Please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as you can if you are facing domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery criminal charges. We can help craft a solid defense in your case.
April 21st, 2017 at 9:30 am
Many people who live in Rolling Meadows and the surrounding communities do not have United States citizenship. These individuals are living in the U.S. on a visa or as a permanent resident, or because they hold a green card. Immigrants who are in the United States legally, or even illegally, and find themselves in trouble with the law over drug offenses could face deportation or removal from the country if they are convicted.
Non-U.S. citizens who are deported are often prevented from reentering the country again for many years after their deportation. Often times, non-U.S. citizens who are convicted for drug crimes involving controlled substances or methamphetamines are more likely to be deported or removed from the country than someone who is convicted for marijuana possession based on small quantities of marijuana. The harder and more addictive the drug that is involved in the crime, the more serious the consequences may be upon conviction.
The Challenges of Deportation
When a non-U.S. citizen (also known as a foreign national or a legal alien) is convicted for a drug crime in Illinois, deportation from the United States is often one of the most serious consequences for his or her criminal activity. Deportation back to a native country can be a big problem for someone who is convicted for a drug crime, especially if he or she does not know anyone in his or her native country, has no family connections in his or her native country, or does not speak his or her native country’s language. Not only that, but it is very likely that the immigrant has built a life in the United States. He or she most likely has family, friends, a job, and a life here in Illinois and he or she could lose it all if convicted with drug charges.
Fight Your Drug Charges to Avoid Deportation
The best way to avoid being deported is to not be convicted on your drug charges. If you are not convicted, then the federal government does not have grounds to force your deportation or removal from the country. Getting the drug charges against you dropped or dismissed is your best bet.
By working with an experienced drug crimes defense lawyer, you will give yourself your best shot at success for beating your charges. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will review the facts of your case and your arrest and will identify each possible grounds for defense. Together, you and your lawyer will decide on a defense strategy.
Reach Out to Us for Help
More often than not, first time offenders who are convicted of minor drug offenses often avoid being deported. However, there is no guarantee that you will not be deported if you are convicted of a drug related offense in Illinois. Drug charges need to be taken seriously, and especially so if you are not a U.S. citizen. Please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows drug crimes defense attorney immediately for assistance with your case.
April 17th, 2017 at 9:16 am
When many people think about drug charges, they incorrectly assume that a conviction is not a serious matter. For instance, most minor marijuana-related offenses are only punishable by a civil fine, and most low-level drug offenses are misdemeanors. With the stakes so low, people are often not worried if they get caught by the police. However, it is possible for you to go away to jail for life over a drug offense, which is not something that should be taken lightly.
Circumstances Where You Could Face Life in Prison for a Drug Conviction
There are several circumstances when it comes to drug-related crimes that could land you in jail for the rest of your life if you are convicted. Not only could you be facing state drug laws, but you could also be facing federal drug laws, which are often more strict and carry tougher penalties.
Being Caught in Possession of Large Amounts of Cocaine
If you are caught with more than 100 grams of cocaine in your possession, even if you are a first time drug offender, then you could be sentenced to the rest of your life in jail (you could be sentenced from anywhere between 30 to 50 years in jail, which reasonably could be the rest of your lifetime). What seems patently unfair about being sent to jail for the rest of your life over a drug possession charge is that typically no one gets hurt during the commission of a drug possession crime.
Conversely, if you are caught by Illinois law enforcement with a large quantity of a cocaine mixture in your possession, and someone has died or suffered serious bodily injury as a result of your drug activities, you could face up to life in prison.
Caught Trafficking a Large Quantity of a Drug
Under federal drug laws, you can be sentenced to life behind bars if you are caught trafficking a large quantity of any of the following:
- Cocaine mixture (500 or more grams);
- Cocaine base (28 or more grams);
- Fentanyl (40 or more grams);
- Fentanyl analogue (10 grams or more);
- Heroin (100 grams or more);
- LSD (1 gram or more);
- Methamphetamine (5 grams or more of pure methamphetamine, or 50 or more grams of a methamphetamine mixture); and
- PCP (10 grams or more of pure PCP, or 100 or more grams of a PCP mixture).
Discharged Firearm Causes Death or Injury During a Drug Crime
If you are responsible for using and discharging a firearm during the commission of a drug-related offense, and someone is injured or killed as a result, you can be punished for your crimes by being given a sentence of life behind bars.
Drug Charges Are Serious. Call Us
If you are arrested for drug offenses, depending on what you allegedly did, you may face charges under state and federal law. You will need help fighting the drug charges that are levied against you. Make sure to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal attorney for assistance.
April 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Operating a vehicle under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs is illegal in Illinois. Even though medical marijuana is legal with a valid medical card in Illinois, the state previously had a zero-tolerance policy regarding the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in one’s system.
Governor Rauner signed SB 2228 into law which made changes to the Illinois DUI statute. Instead of investigating whether there are trace amounts of THC in a defendant’s blood, this new law creates a tiered system for impairment.
The new law dictates that it is now illegal to drive or be in actual control of a vehicle with more than 5ng of THC per ml of a person’s blood or bodily substance. Officials have determined this level is close in proximity to the .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) level for driving under the influence.
While this change in the law leaves some uncertainty in the community, it corrected a legal paradox where a person could be charged with a DUI for cannabis that he or she may have smoked or consumed over a month prior.
I Have My Medical Marijuana Card
Illinois is an implied consent state, which means that when you applied for a medical marijuana card and were approved, you thus automatically consented to a field sobriety test. If a driver with a medical marijuana card refuses a field sobriety test after being pulled for reckless driving, he or she may have his or her license suspended or revoked. If the arresting officer suspects that the reason for the reckless driving was the medical marijuana, the officer may testify at trial as to the defendant’s appearance of impairment.
Are the Penalties the Same?
If you are arrested for an offense while being legally impaired by THC and driving a vehicle, Illinois traffic laws apply. For example, a reckless driving citation is not less reckless even though the THC that caused the reckless driving was legal under Illinois state law for medicinal purposes. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol vary depending on the circumstances surrounding each case. Most DUI penalties carry hefty fines and usually involve the suspension of one’s license. After a DUI arrest, a driver’s license is automatically suspended for 180 days.
I Have Been Arrested for a DUI. What is My First Step?
A DUI arrest for drugs or alcohol is a serious charge that no one should face alone. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. Take advantage of our 24-hour answering service.
April 10th, 2017 at 7:00 am
The Illinois state police are motivated to help reduce instances of automobile accidents and traffic fatalities in and around Rolling Meadows, Illinois. That is why state law enforcement focuses on four moving violations known as the “FATAL-4”, which are four moving violations that pose the highest rate of causing traffic fatalities.
Law enforcement looks particularly closely for signs that drivers are committing any of the FATAL-4 driving offenses. The traffic offenses that make up the FATAL-4 include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in Illinois. A person is considered to be too drunk to drive when he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or if his or her ability to safely operate the vehicle is compromised. Driving while under the influence impacts a driver’s ability to judge distance and speed and can render a driver incapable of operating his or her vehicle safely.
- Speeding. Driving faster than the posted speed limit or faster than road conditions or weather conditions allow is illegal in Illinois under 625 ILCS 5/11-601. Drivers have a duty to reduce speed when approaching crossings, intersections, going around curves, approaching a crest in the road, approaching hazards, when pedestrians are visible, or whenever traffic conditions indicate a need to slow down. Speeding by a certain degree above the posted speed limit can carry certain penalties proportionate to the offense. For instance, there is a specific statute concerning speeding when the driver is going more than 26 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
- Engaging in distracted driving. Whether it is texting while driving, tuning the radio, or fiddling with center console controls for the heating or air conditioning in the vehicle, when a driver is not paying full attention to the task of driving, the driver is distracted. Distractions take many forms, and they can disrupt a driver’s concentration and focus. Driving is a dangerous activity when the driver is not paying attention to what is occurring on the road around them. Distracted drivers are often incapable of reacting to circumstances on the road, which can result in accidents.
- Seat belt compliance. Seat belt compliance laws are strictly enforced by police because use of a driver or passenger restraining device, such as a seat belt, during an accident can help save lives and reduce injuries. Seat belt compliance citations are often tacked on to other moving violations after a police officer notices that the driver or passenger was not fastened into his or her seat with a seat belt.
Contact Us for Professional Help
If you are facing criminal charges for a DUI, or a traffic citation for speeding or engaging in distracted driving, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer to help you fight your charges. There is much at stake if you are convicted. Make sure to contact a lawyer immediately.
April 7th, 2017 at 9:29 am
Countless people in Illinois get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, despite knowing that driving under the influence is illegal. A driver may think that he or she is sober enough to drive or will not get caught. However, if you are caught, you will quickly find out that Illinois law enforcement does not take DUI very lightly.
Police are often harsh on drivers who are intoxicated behind the wheel and they will often look for ways to stack up as many criminal charges against an intoxicated driver as possible. But in some situations the driver actually gives the police good reason to add on additional criminal charges.
Extra Charges When the DUI Results in An Accident
If you are driving under the influence and you cause an accident, either a single vehicle accident or an accident involving another vehicle, when police arrive at the scene, they will look for every way that they can to charge you with criminal charges in addition to your DUI. For instance, if an accident was the result of your speeding or reckless driving, police will charge you with DUI, in addition to a reckless driving or speeding charge.
Tacking on Charges When Leaving the Scene of An Accident
Sometimes a driver involved in a DUI accident might decide that he or she should leave the scene of the accident in order to protect himself or herself from being arrested. For instance, this is common when a drunk driver hits a parked car. The intoxicated driver might leave the scene of the accident, thinking that because no one saw the accident there will be no liability. This is very far from the truth.
Hitting a parked car and then leaving the scene of the accident is a hit and run. Once the owner of the parked car discovers that his or her vehicle was involved in a hit and run accident, he or she will report the accident to police and the police will investigate. You could very well be identified as the culprit if the police are able to successfully conduct their investigation. You could be charged with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and hit and run.
If the accident involved another vehicle and you try to flee the accident scene before the police arrive, you will face additional charges as well. On top of your DUI charge, you will be charged with leaving the scene of the accident, and could be charged with other offenses based on the circumstances of the accident. For instance, if you left someone injured at the accident scene and you did not try to help that person, you could be further charged with failure to render aid.
Contact Us Today for Help
Driving under the influence charges are serious, and your situation can get far worse if you leave the scene of an accident. Even if you know that you are likely to be charged with a DUI if you stay, it is important that you stay until police arrive if you have been involved in an accident. Dealing with the DUI is one thing, but the additional charges that can be tacked on against you if you leave the scene of an accident can make things much worse for you. Furthermore, it is in your best interests to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for help with your case.
April 3rd, 2017 at 8:14 am
If you have been arrested and charged with burglary, you are most likely feeling scared and unsure about what you should do next. A few questions might run through your head, including:
- What is going to happen to you?
- Are you going to go to jail?
- What will court be like?
- Is there anything that you can do to fight your charges?
Being charged with a crime is overwhelming, and you likely do not have a background in criminal law. That is why you need an experienced burglary criminal defense lawyer to help you fight your charges. Your lawyer understands the criminal justice system and is familiar with what happens in criminal court. You need guidance and advice as you deal with your criminal charges, and a seasoned lawyer can help you.
What Constitutes Burglary and Residential Burglary in Illinois?
Under 720 ILCS 5/19-1, burglary is defined as when a criminal defendant enters property owned by someone else knowingly and without permission, and with the intent to commit a theft or a felony once inside the property. The property can include homes, garages, guest houses, apartments, sheds, and house trailers. However, it can also include vehicles like cars, boats, airplanes, and even railroad cars.
Breaking into someone else’s property to steal something or to commit a felony crime, like a sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, second domestic battery offense, or stalking, most likely constitutes burglary.
Burglary in and of itself is a Class 2 felony, which means that you will face felony level punishment for your felony level offense if you are convicted. But it is important to note that there is a distinction between burglary and residential burglary. Residential burglary involves the same elements as burglary except the property that is burglarized must be a home or dwelling and is codified under 720 ILCS 5/19-3. Residential burglary is a Class 1 felony.
Since burglary and residential burglary are felony offenses, it is critical that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you fight your charges. A conviction for burglary most likely means significant jail time and a hefty fine, and you will undoubtedly be burdened with a criminal record that can haunt you for years to come. That is why it is so important that you work with a criminal defense lawyer to fight your burglary charges.
What Can Happen if You Are Convicted?
If you are convicted for burglary, you will more than likely face jail time, although it could be possible to be placed under court supervision, which means you will not go to jail. It is critical to work with a criminal defense lawyer to present your strongest possible defense and mitigating circumstances to the court. While the goal is to get the charges dismissed, getting reduced charges or a reduced sentence could also be a good strategy for your criminal defense case.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
A burglary charge in Illinois is a serious matter. Do not go up against your charges without the help of a lawyer. Please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately for help with your case.