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Archive for July, 2017

If I’m Convicted of a DUI in Illinois Will I Lose My License?

July 28th, 2017 at 7:35 am

DUI conviction, DUI in Illinois, DUI offenses, lose my license, Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyersIf you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois your driver’s license may be suspended, revoked, or placed under supervision. However, the fact that you have been convicted of a DUI does not necessarily mean that that your driving privileges will be curtailed. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding your DUI.

Before we examine some situations under which driving privileges are often limited in connection with DUIs, let us briefly discuss the difference between a revoked license, a suspended license, and a supervised license in Illinois.

While there are a variety of technical differences between a revoked and a suspended license, the key difference is that a suspension has an end date while a revocation is permanent. A suspended license can be reinstated after a certain amount of time has passed and a hearing officer from the Secretary of State has confirmed that all stipulated requirements have been satisfied. However, a revoked driver’s license can not be reinstated (although the driver can usually apply for a new license after some time has passed). Furthermore, a license suspension is often temporary and will be lifted as soon as the driver successfully jumps through specified hoops (for example, paying fines, maintaining a clean driving record, completing alcohol classes etc.).

Under Illinois law, a first-time driving under the influence offender is generally eligible to have his or her license placed under supervision for a specified period of time. However, the court also has the option of suspending the violator’s license (generally for at least one year) instead of placing the license under supervision. Further, the Illinois Secretary of State can revoke the driver’s license if they are convicted for violating section 6-205 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, i.e. driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination thereof, according to the following timetable:

  • First DUI Conviction: Revocation for up to one year.
  • Two DUI Convictions Within 20 Years: Revocation for up to five years.
  • Three DUI Convictions: Revocation for up to 10 years.
  • Four DUI Convictions: Revocation for life.

Additionally, it should be noted that your driving privileges can be impacted in Illinois even if you have not actually been convicted of driving under the influence. Under some circumstances, simply being under suspicion of having committed a DUI is sufficient to have your license suspended. For example, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended if you are pulled over by a police officer who determines that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or greater and you refuse testing.

Let Us Help You Today

At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our dedicated Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyers are committed to providing exceptional representation to each and every one of our clients. Whether you have been charged with driving under the influence and are in need of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court or are seeking legal counsel to help you regain your driving privileges, we would be happy to assist you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K6-205

Aggravated DUIs in Illinois

July 24th, 2017 at 7:05 am

aggravated DUIs, DUI convictions, DUI defendants, DUI violation, Rolling Meadows aggravated DUI lawyersAll driving under the influence (DUI) convictions are serious offenses. But, in the eyes of the law, an offender who is caught driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol under certain extreme circumstances is seen as being as being more morally culpable than others, and can therefore be charged with the elevated offense of aggravated driving under the influence (also referred to as felony DUI).

Each state defines aggravated driving under the influence a bit differently. However, here in Illinois, felony driving under the influence is codified under code section 625 ILCS 5/11-501 and, in a nutshell, states that an individual commits an aggravated DUI when he or she is in actual physical control of a vehicle in Illinois while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds, or a combination thereof, and any of the following aggravating factors were present:

  • This is the offender’s third or more DUI offense;
  • The offender was driving a school bus with at least one passenger aboard;
  • The offender was involved in an accident resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to another (when driving under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury);
  • The offender was previously convicted of reckless homicide while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds;
  • The offender was driving in a 20 mph school zone and was involved in an accident resulting in bodily harm (when driving under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury);
  • The offender was involved in a motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile, or watercraft accident resulting in the death of another (when driving under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury);
  • The offender was driving with a revoked or suspended license;
  • The offender did not possess a driver’s license or permit;
  • The offender knew, or should have known, that the vehicle they were operating was not covered by a liability insurance policy;
  • The offender was in an accident while transporting a child under the age of 16 who sustained bodily harm (when driving under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury);
  • The offender has at least one prior DUI violation and was transporting a child under the age of 16; or
  • The offender was transporting at least one passenger in a vehicle for hire.

Common Defenses

In order to be convicted of aggravated driving under the influence in Illinois the prosecution must be able to prove that you (1) violated IL’s driving under the influence statute and (2) did so while one or more of the aggravating factors outlined above were present. Therefore, depending on the facts of your particular case of your case, you may be able to assert one or more of the following commonly asserted defenses:

  • The arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop me;
  • The field sobriety test(s) administered in my case were in some way defective or improperly administered;
  • The arresting officer violated my Miranda Rights;
  • My blood alcohol concentration was rising at the time of my arrest and was actually below the legal limit while I was driving; or
  • None of the aggravating factors listed under code section 625 ILCS 5/11-501 were present at the time of my alleged DUI.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local DUI Lawyer

Although DUI defendants are not legally required to retain legal representation, hiring a competent driving under the influence attorney to defend your legal rights is highly recommended, especially if you are facing an aggravated DUI. Here at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our experienced Rolling Meadows aggravated DUI lawyers, led by former lead prosecutor in the DUI division of the IL state courts Chris Cosley, assist clients charged with driving under the influence throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K11-501.htm

Illinois’ Disorderly Conduct Law

July 19th, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Disorderly Conduct, felony offense, misdemeanor, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, disorderly conduct defenseWhen an individual disturbs the peace in a manner that threatens public safety, it is likely that he or she has committed the crime of disorderly conduct. However, each state defines disorderly conduct a bit differently. Therefore, in order to determine whether a disruptive individual in Illinois can be rightfully convicted of disorderly conduct, one must closely examine our state’s disorderly conduct statute.

Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 26-1: Disorderly Conduct

Under 720 ILCS 5/26-1 a person commits disorderly conduct in Illinois when he or she knowingly:

  • Acts in an unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another person and to incite a breach of the peace;
  • Tells, or causes another to tell, the fire department that there is a fire while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that the fire exists;
  • Reports, or causes another to report, that an explosive device or a container holding a dangerous substance is hidden somewhere where its detonation or release would pose a risk to human life while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that such a device or container exists;
  • Reports, or causes another to report, a threat of destruction against a school, or a threat of violence, death, or bodily harm aimed at people attending school or a school function;
  • Notifies, or causes another to notify, a police officer that an offense is currently being committed, will be committed, or has been committed while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that what they are saying is true;
  • Makes a false report, or causes another to make a false report, to a public safety agency while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that making such a report is necessary for the public welfare and safety;
  • Calls 911 with a false alarm or complaint while knowing that it is not reasonable to make such a call;
  • Transmits, or causes another to transmit, a false report to the Department of Children and Family Services or the Department of Public Health;
  • Issues, or causes another to issue, a false request for emergency medical services or for an ambulance from the police or fire department while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that such assistance is required;
  • Makes a false report, or causes another to make a false report, under Article II of Public Act 83-1432;
  • Enters the property of another for a lewd or unlawful purpose and deliberately looks into a dwelling through a window or other opening; or
  • While acting as the employee of a collection agency, makes a phone call to an alleged debtor with the purpose of harassing, annoying, or intimidating them.

Penalties

In Illinois, disorderly conduct can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. Those convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct can face up to 30 days, six months, or one year in jail (depending on whether the offense was charged as a Class C, Class B, or Class A misdemeanor) and a fine of up to $2,500. However, those convicted of felony disorderly conduct can be sentenced to serve up to three or five years in prison (depending on whether the offense was charged as a Class 4 or Class 3 felony) and ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, violators may also be ordered to perform community service.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyer Today

A disorderly conduct conviction can carry serious consequences in Illinois and should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with disorderly conduct and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K26-1

The Three Types of Protective Orders Available in Illinois

July 17th, 2017 at 12:13 pm

protective orders, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defense, Illinois protective order, protective order violationIn Illinois, there are three different types of protective orders (also referred to as restraining orders); emergency protective orders, interim protective orders, and plenary protective orders. If a protective order has been filed against you it is important that you understand which type of order you are facing so that you can take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights. Read on to learn about the three types of protective orders available in Illinois and then contact a local order of protection criminal defense lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Emergency Protective Orders

An emergency protective order offers short-term protection to the accuser and can be issued solely based on his or her testimony. Furthermore, under some circumstances an emergency protective order can be issued ex parte, i.e. against you without prior notice. Emergency protective orders are temporary in nature and are designed to be in effect until a full hearing for a more long-term protective order can be held (this usually takes place within 14-21 days).

Interim Protective Orders

In some cases it takes awhile before a full restraining order hearing can be held. When this happens, the court may issue an interim protective order to be in effect from the date on which the accuser’s emergency protective order expires until the full court hearing takes place. Interim protective orders can be in effect for up to 30 days. However, an interim protective order can only be issued against you in Illinois if you have had a chance to make an initial appearance in court and have been properly notified of the date on which your full restraining order hearing will take place.

Plenary Protective Orders

Plenary protective orders are unique because unlike the other types of protective orders that are available in Illinois plenary orders offer long-term protection. Plenary protective orders may last up to two years and, under 750 ILCS 60/220(e), may be renewed an unlimited number of times. However, a court will not issue a plenary protective order until after holding a hearing in which both the accuser and the accused have had a chance to present their cases.

A Protective Order Has Been Filed Against Me, What Should I Do Now?

The circumstances surrounding each protective order are different, so the best thing that you can do is consult with a local criminal defense attorney about the specifics of your case. However, it is generally also advisable to avoid all contact with your accuser (this includes calling or texting them!), attend every hearing that has been scheduled, and fully comply with every provision of the order against you.

Reach Out to Us for Assistance

If you need help opposing an Illinois protective order, or defending yourself against an alleged protective order violation, the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers of The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are here to help. Our firm is located in Rolling Meadows but we are dedicated to defending adults and juveniles throughout the greater Chicago area.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000600K220

The Ramifications of Illinois Minor in Possession Charges

July 12th, 2017 at 7:00 am

Class A misdemeanor, juvenile crimes, minor in possession, Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes attorney, underage drinkingFor good or ill, underage drinking is a rite of passage for many young people, though it often leads to legal trouble for those involved.  While such issues are commonly seen as youthful peccadilloes, in reality an underage drinking issue can affect a young adult’s future in a significant manner.

If a parent or authority figure becomes aware of minor in possession charges entered against a son, daughter or ward, it is incumbent upon both them and the young adult to become aware of the potential consequences if convicted of such a charge.

Restrictions & Exceptions

Illinois has very strict regulations regarding minors caught with alcohol. Generally, if one is under the age of 21, it is illegal to either possess or consume alcohol. If they are observed doing so in public or in ‘a place open to the public,’ they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious class of non-felony offense, and under Illinois law it is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail (not prison—the distinction is fine but important to observe).  

The law does state that a minor may legally consume alcohol at home—thus, not in a public place —without repercussions if they have the approval and direct supervision of a parent (or anyone standing in those proverbial shoes).  Other exceptions do also exist under the relevant statute; however, they are few in number and quite rare to encounter or experience.

One, for example, is that minors may possess or consume alcohol as part of religious ceremonies. While this is a clear-cut exception, it is one that applies to a significant minority of young people caught indulging in alcohol. Most of the time, the absolutist logic of the statute itself will apply—if a minor is caught consuming or possessing alcohol in public, then he or she will almost always be charged with that Class A misdemeanor.

Alternatives to Jail Time

While the majority of defendants in minor possession cases will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, it does not mean that the majority will be convicted of such an offense. Judges also have considerable leeway to impose alternative sentences or add extra requirements that a convicted minor must fulfill. It is, however, required that the defendant be informed of the possible maximum sentence so as to ensure that any guilty plea is voluntary—if the defendant was not specifically informed and still pled guilty, receiving a sentence of jail time, it would open up the possibility of appeal based on lack of understanding of the potential consequences.

In terms of alternative sentences or additional penalties imposed, the most common choices are community service (as opposed to jail time) and court supervision or probation. Supervision in particular tends to be favored for first-time offenders, as successful completion of the supervision period without any further legal trouble leads to a dismissal of the charges and no permanent indication on the defendant’s criminal record.

Consult a Knowledgeable Juvenile Crimes Attorney

Very often, episodes of underage drinking are met with nostalgia or minimizing by friends and family. However, the law does not share such an indulgent view. The passionate Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley will fight for you and do our best to achieve a fair outcome. Contact our offices today to set up an initial appointment.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-6-3.1

FAQs About Shoplifting in Illinois

July 10th, 2017 at 8:48 am

Rolling Meadows shoplifting defense lawyer, shoplifting, retail theft, felony offense, shoplifting chargeShoplifting (also know as retail theft) is the willful theft of goods from a retail establishment while posing as a customer. Shoplifting is a crime that occurs frequently in Illinois and throughout the United States. In fact, the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) reports that more than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the United States over the last five years.

Despite the prevalence of shoplifting, this crime is not frequently reported on and is often misunderstood. Consider the following frequently asked questions about shoplifting and Illinois’ shoplifting laws.

Q: What is the profile of a typical shoplifter?

A: According to the NSAP, there is not really a “typical shoplifter.” Men and women appear to steal from stores at comparable rates. However, approximately 75 percent of shoplifters are adults while only 25 percent are children.

Q: What constitutes shoplifting in Illinois?

A: In Illinois, shoplifting or retail theft can be committed in a variety of different ways. For example, under 720 ILCS 5/16-25 a person commits retail theft in Illinois when he or she knowingly:

  • Takes merchandise from a retailer without paying for it;
  • Alters the price tag or label on merchandise in order to buy the item at a reduced price;
  • Swaps the packaging of one item with the packaging of a cheaper item in order to pay the lower price;
  • Rings up an item for a lower price than its retail value (when allowed to ring up their own items at checkout);
  • Lies by saying that an item belongs to them when it in fact belongs the store that they are stealing it from;
  • Removes an anti-theft device in order to steal merchandise without paying for it;
  • Steals a shopping cart; or
  • Takes possession of leased property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of that property.

Q: Is retail theft a misdemeanor or a felony offense in Illinois?

A: Retail theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense in Illinois depending on the value of the merchandise that was shoplifted. Under state law (720 ILCS 5/16-1), anyone who steals something that has a full retail value of more than $500 can be charged with a felony. However, someone who has a record of committing theft-related offenses can be charged with felony retail theft in Illinois in some circumstances even he or she was caught shoplifting less than $500 worth of merchandise.

Q: How can I defend against a shoplifting charge?

A: Each shoplifting case is unique, but some commonly asserted defenses in Illinois include:

  • Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove their case.
  • Wrong Person: This is a case of mistaken identity, the defendant is not the person who stole the merchandise.
  • Lack of Intent: The defendant did not knowingly take the merchandise.
  • The Retail Value Does Not Support the Charge: The retail value of the allegedly stolen merchandise is not high enough to support the crime that the defendant has been charged with.

Contact Us for Professional Help

Have you been charged with retail theft in Illinois? If so, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Our team of experienced Rolling Meadows retail theft and shoplifting defense attorneys offers zealous representation for both juveniles and adults accused of shoplifting throughout the greater Chicago area. To discuss your legal options, contact our office today.

Source:

http://www.shopliftingprevention.org/what-we-do/learning-resource-center/statistics/

Revoked vs. Suspended Driver’s License: The Difference in Illinois

July 5th, 2017 at 9:09 am

driver’s license reinstatement, driving privileges, suspended driver's license, suspended or revoked license, revoked driver’s licenseSection 6-303 of the Illinois Code makes it illegal to drive a motor vehicle if your driver’s license is revoked or suspended. But what is the difference between a revoked license and a suspended license?

An article from The Balance summarizes the key difference well by noting that “a suspended license is bad and a revoked license is very bad—a suspended license is a temporary hardship, but a revoked license is permanent.” Consider the following additional differences that differentiate a revoked driver’s license from a suspended driver’s license in Illinois.

Key Differences

The main difference between a revoked driver’s license and a suspended license is that suspensions have an end date while revocations mean an indefinite loss of your driving privileges. This is because a suspended driver’s license can be reinstated after you have attended a reinstatement hearing with a Secretary of State hearing officer and have complied with all post-hearing requirements.

A revoked driver’s license, on the other hand, can never be reinstated. However, this does not mean necessarily mean that you will never be allowed to drive again. If your Illinois driver’s license has been revoked, then you are allowed to apply for a new driver’s license after the specified period of revocation has passed (unless a lifetime revocation has been placed on your driving privileges).

Other important differences between a revoked and a suspended driver’s license include:

  • Why the DMV Limited Your Driving Privileges: The Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspends driver’s licenses for a wide variety of reasons (for example, traffic violations, failure to appear in court, parking violations, driving under the influence (DUI), failure to pay child support, etc.). However, the DMV only revokes a driver’s license for serious violations (for example, committing a criminal DUI, stealing a vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, being convicted of drag racing, etc.).
  • Applicable Fees: The fee charged to reinstate a suspended Illinois driver’s license is usually substantially lower than the fee charged in connection with revoked licenses. How much the reinstatement fee for a suspended license is varies depending on the reason for the suspension but is often $70 (although it can be as much as $500), while the fee for a revoked license is usually $500.

Unsure if Your Driver’s License is Revoked or Suspended?

If you are unsure if your Illinois driver’s license is revoked or suspended, feel free to check the status of your license by visiting the DMV’s website. Even if your driver’s license is valid it is a good idea to periodically check your driving record just to make sure that everything is in order.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Losing your driving privileges can greatly impact your life. Day-to-day tasks like getting to work, picking your kids up from school, and even going to the grocery store are suddenly much more challenging. However, do not lose hope. There may be a way to get you back on the road sooner than expected. For example, you may be able to obtain a restricted driving permit if you agree to use a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device.

At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our experienced Rolling Meadows driver’s license reinstatement lawyers have a high success rate when fighting to obtain restricted driving permits and full reinstatement of driver’s licenses on behalf of our clients. Let us fight for you.

Sources:

http://www.ilgagov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K6-303

https://www.thebalance.com/suspended-vs-revoked-license-527274

Petty Traffic Offenses & Misdemeanors

July 3rd, 2017 at 7:00 am

petty traffic offenses, Rolling Meadows traffic violations defense lawyer, moving violations, Class C misdemeanor, suspended licenseIt is not uncommon for people to treat moving violations as inconsequential or somehow beneath notice, therefore paying the requested fine quickly and proceeding on their merry way. However, many will then receive a rude awakening as their driving privileges are affected, especially if they have a history of multiple speeding tickets or other moving violations. Therefore, it is important for Illinois drivers to be aware of the potentially punitive consequences that may result if too many tickets or citations are incurred.

Classification Differences

The significant majority of traffic offenses are characterized as either petty or as misdemeanors under Illinois law. Petty offenses are punishable with merely a fine, usually no more than $1,000, though there are always exceptions depending on the egregious nature of the conduct. Examples include driving without auto insurance and failing to wear a seat belt while driving or riding in an automobile. While a petty offense is still something to take seriously, it is the lightest type of offense that can appear on one’s record, and is the classification for which it is most likely to receive supervision or probation as a sentence instead of a particularly heavy fine.

Misdemeanors, comparatively, are more serious and may carry jail time as part or all of the sentence handed down at conviction—there are three classes of misdemeanor, A through C, with A being the most severe.

An example of a Class C misdemeanor would be drag racing, while a Class A misdemeanor would be driving without a license or on a suspended license. Class A misdemeanors are held to be more likely to injure participants or bystanders, as well as to possess an exaggerated degree of recklessness or negligence compared to petty offenses.

Misdemeanor traffic offenses may sometimes receive a sentence of court supervision, but it is decidedly less common than with those convicted of petty offenses.

Minor Offenses Can Add Up

While the relative consequences for petty and misdemeanor traffic offenses are much less significant than those associated with felonies, this does not mean that minor traffic offenses may simply be ignored, or paid and forgotten. For example, if an Illinois driver accrues three moving violations (whether petty or misdemeanor offenses) in one 12-month span, it results in an automatic, mandatory license suspension. That suspension will expire on a specific calendar date, but only if the driver’s record has been clean for that period of time.

It is also possible to receive a license suspension over failure to pay fines associated with petty offenses and misdemeanors of any class. If a driver fails to pay the costs associated with five or more automatic traffic violations, then his or her license will be automatically suspended in much the same manner as it would be with multiple moving violations on one’s record. The driver will not be able to reinstate his or her license without presenting proof that any remaining fines or penalties have been paid, and any attempt to drive without reinstating his or her license may result in a re-suspension (as driving on a suspended license is in itself a suspendable offense).

Consult a Knowledgeable Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

Because traffic offenses are seen as such relatively inconsequential affairs, it can be a momentous shock when your license is suspended over the amount of these minor offenses. Consulting an attorney with experience in such matters can greatly ease one’s mind, or at least articulate exactly what one faces in the near future.

The dedicated Rolling Meadows traffic violations defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley is well versed in this specific area of law, and is happy to try and assist you with your case. Contact the office today to set up an initial consultation.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K12-603.1.htm

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