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Archive for October, 2017

Understanding State and Federal Racketeering Laws

October 27th, 2017 at 1:29 pm

criminal charges, federal racketeering laws, racketeering, Rolling Meadows criminal law attorney, RICO offenseIf you or a family member is facing criminal charges of racketeering, take action now and retain the services of an experienced racketeering defense attorney. Racketeering is a very serious crime that, upon conviction, can have life-altering consequences.

If convicted, you will be ordered to spend years in prison, pay substantial sums of money in fines, have mandatory probation, lose your constitutional rights (e.g., ability to vote), lose your personal assets, and you will be ordered to provide financial restitution to any victims.

Overview of Racketeering

Racketeering is typically used as shorthand to describe the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). Congress enacted this law in 1970. It is typically used in instances of alleged organized crime where businesses, known as “rackets,” utilize legitimate organizations for the purpose of embezzling funds. Though, this federal law covers a wide array of crimes, more than 25 to be exact.

Examples include:

  • Producing counterfeit consumer goods;
  • Bank fraud;
  • Laundering money;
  • Bribing an athlete or other individual participating in a sporting event; and
  • Tampering with a witness in a criminal case.

In Illinois, if convicted of a crime where the RICO Act was implicated, you could face between one and 20 years in prison, along with being ordered to pay up to $250,000 in fines. The extent of the penalties is typically influenced by your previous convictions, if any, the scope of the racket and amount of money stolen or laundered, the amount of attention the case received from the press, and any other circumstances that may have a bearing on the case.

Defenses That Can Be Used to Combat a Racketeering Charge

If you are charged with a RICO offense, do not assume that the government will obtain a conviction. The standard the prosecution must meet in order to convict you is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Basically, beyond a reasonable means that the prosecutor must present such compelling evidence that there is no other reasonable explanation that can be derived from the specific facts of your case other than you are guilty of the crime. The threshold is this high because there is a presumption of innocence when someone is charged with a crime.

Your Rolling Meadows racketeering defense attorney needs to work diligently to build your case and raise some, or call, of the following defenses:

  • Having evidence excluded if it was illegally obtained by police (also known as fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine);
  • Introducing evidence that you had no knowledge of the illegal racket
  • Raising reasonable doubt of your guilt

Speak to a Rolling Meadows Racketeering Defense Lawyer Today

As you can see, racketeering charges are quite serious and necessitate having top-notch legal representation. That is why you need to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal law attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Let us help you throughout each step of your case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+33G&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=90000000&SeqEnd=91000000

Understanding the Ramifications of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Illinois

October 23rd, 2017 at 6:21 am

breathalyzer test, DUI charge, DUI conviction, DUI defense, Rolling Meadows DUI attorneyIf you or a family member is pulled over, should you consent to taking a breathalyzer test? This is a common question and, in truth, the answer is—it depends. This is because each case is different and your circumstances may have presented a scenario where refusing a Breathalyzer test was appropriate, or vice versa.

Under Illinois Law, when you obtain a driver’s license you are impliedly consenting to take a Breathalyzer test if you are requested by a police officer to do so. This implied consent is codified in state statute 625 ILCS 40/5-7.1.

Even with the existence of an implied consent law, you have the right to refuse a Breathalyzer test, but the ramifications can be quite severe. For example, if you are convicted of a DUI and you refused to take a breathalyzer test, then your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year.

Warning Required

When a police officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test, they are legally obligated to inform you that refusing to take the test may result in the aforementioned suspension of your driver’s license.

The suspension of your driver’s license can go beyond one year, depending whether you have a criminal record and/or a prior DUI conviction.

Why Some People Opt to Decline the Breathalyzer Test

There is a belief that if you refuse a breathalyzer test, it will improve your chances of prevailing against the government’s DUI charge. This is not a sound legal strategy. Yes, the lack of an official breathalyzer result may make it more challenging for the prosecution to obtain a conviction, but it does not guarantee your victory in court. This is because the government can prove a DUI through a variety of methods, even without a breathalyzer result.

For example, the police officer who pulled you over could testify in court concerning your driving behavior and physical appearance when you were pulled over. If you underwent a field sobriety test, the results of that test are generally admissible as evidence. Also, there may be video footage from the police officer’s squad car which could potentially reveal that you were intoxicated. Some, or all, of these tests and other evidence could be considered sufficient by a jury to find you guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Speak to a Rolling Meadows DUI Defense Attorney Today

Whether you agreed to take a breathalyzer test or not, you have the right to quality legal representation. That is why it makes sense to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows DUI attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We are eager to assist you immediately.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500400K5-7.1

Strategies for Prevailing in Your DUI Case

October 20th, 2017 at 11:50 am

DUI case, DUI convictions, DUI offenses, Rolling Meadows criminal law attorneys, DUI defenseGetting convicted of a DUI carries significant ramifications that may adversely affect you for years. A DUI conviction is typically a Class A misdemeanor, meaning you could be ordered to serve up to one year in jail. You could also be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500 with a mandatory minimum fine of $500. In addition, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year. And this is all for a first-time offender.

If you have prior DUI convictions on your record, the penalties are even more severe. For example, if this is your third DUI conviction, the charge escalates to a Class 2 felony which means you could be ordered to spend between three and seven years in jail. Also, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 10 years.

Ways to Prevail Against the Government

If you are charged with a DUI, do not presume that you are going to be found guilty. There are many ways to challenge a DUI charge. For example, your Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorney can investigate whether the police officer who pulled you over followed all proper and necessary protocols and procedures when handling your charges.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from being subjected to an unreasonable search and seizure. Hence, a police officer cannot engage in an invasive search of your person or vehicle for no good reason.

In addition, a police officer must have probable cause to pull over your vehicle. Therefore, if you were operating your vehicle in a reasonable manner, traveling at the posted speed limit, and the officer just randomly pulled you over, the arrest and subsequent charge could be challenged due to a lack of reasonable suspicion.

Another way to prevail in court is to challenge the veracity of the evidence the government claims to have against you. This may include impeaching the police officer’s credibility, contesting whether you were even the driver in the vehicle, or emphasizing the fact that you took a field sobriety test and passed.

Are these strategies guaranteed to work? No lawyer can guarantee the outcome of a case. Nevertheless, these strategies highlight the fact that you have ways to take on the government’s charges and prevail in court.

Speak to a Rolling Meadows DUI Defense Attorney Right Away

One of the best ways to enhance your chances of succeeding in court is by contacting a DUI defense lawyer right away. The dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal law attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are ready and able to help. We have extensive experience representing people charged with DUI offenses. Contact our office today to schedule a confidential case review.

Source:

http://www.isp.state.il.us/traffic/drnkdriving.cfm

Governor Signs New DUI Law

October 16th, 2017 at 6:35 am

Conor's Law, criminal DUI charges, drunk driving, new DUI law, Rolling Meadows DUI attorneysThe Governor of Illinois signed a new piece of legislation into law that alters the way police handle an arrest of someone under the age of 21 who is suspected of being intoxicated.

Senate Bill 2185, most commonly referred to as “Conor’s Law” requires that when a police officer arrests someone showing signs of being intoxicated who is under the age of 21, he or she must make a reasonable attempt to contact a responsible adult who can take custody of the individual. If police cannot locate a parent, guardian, family member, or friend, the arrested individual has the right take a breathalyzer test or other chemical test to prove that he or she is below the legal limit of 0.08. The results of these tests are now prohibited from being used in a prosecution against the person placed under arrest.

The new law, which goes into effect in June 2018, enables police to detain someone under the age of 21 until he or she sobers up or, as mentioned, police can locate a responsible adult to come pick up the individual, according to WAND17.

Conor’s Law also exempts police officers from criminal and civil liability if they acted in good faith when determining whether to detain or discharge the individual or to allow a responsible adult to take the individual into protective custody.

Rationale Behind the New Law

This new DUI law is named after Conor Vesper, a 20-year-old Blackburn College student who took his own life after being placed under arrest for alleged drunk driving.

Prior to the passage of Conor’s Law, anyone placed under arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state could be released on their own recognizance once he or she posted bond.

At the bill signing, the Governor of Illinois emphasized the importance of protecting impaired young individuals while they are in a mental and emotional state that places them at risk of making a reckless and dangerous decision, according to Fox 55 Illinois. The goal is to try and prevent another tragedy similar to Conor Vesper’s passing.

Rolling Meadows DUI Defense Attorney is Here to Help

If you or your child is facing criminal DUI charges, do not lose hope or assume that will be found guilty. The skilled Rolling Meadows DUI attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley is here to help and understands the complexities of Illinois’ DUI laws. Our legal team possesses extensive experience representing people facing serious DUI charges. We work tirelessly on your behalf to try and build a compelling defense that will challenge the government’s supposed evidence against you and raise a reasonable doubt sufficient to convince a jury that you should not be convicted of the charges. Contact our office right away to schedule a confidential case review.

Sources:

http://www.wandtv.com/story/36458081/conors-law-could-make-changes-to-certain-arresting-procedures

http://foxillinois.com/news/local/new-dui-law-signed-we-pray-that-we-are-continuing-conors-work-09-26-2017

What Should I Ask When Interviewing a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

October 13th, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Criminal Defense Lawyer, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, criminal offense, retain legal services, criminal defense strategyIf you have been charged with a criminal offense, hiring a criminal defense lawyer should be the top priority on your to-do list. But how should you go about doing this? It is critical that you hire an attorney who is a good fit for both you and your case.

Therefore, researching local attorneys who routinely defend clients against charges similar to yours, and who are well respected in the community, is essential. The Illinois State Bar Association’s Your Guide to Hiring a Lawyer can help you do this.

Next, sit down with the attorney in order to assess whether or not he or she and his or her firm are a good fit for you.

Consider Asking the Following Questions When Interviewing an Attorney

When interviewing a criminal defense attorney, your main goal should be to assess whether or not the attorney is well equipped to defend your legal interests, is someone you can trust, and has legal fees that are manageable with regard to your  financial situation.

Consider asking the following questions during your interview:

  1. Do you routinely handle cases like mine?

It is important to understand that the legal skills needed to competently defend a client against a DUI allegation or a murder charge are quite different. While an attorney may be well versed in one area of criminal law, he or she may have only had limited experience handling cases involving a different area of the law. Therefore, be sure to ask the attorney you are interviewing whether or not he or she routinely handles criminal cases similar to yours.

  1. What sort of defense strategy would you suggest given the facts of my case?

Although your attorney will only have had a chance to give your case a preliminary evaluation at this point, he or she will likely still be able to give you his or her initial impressions of the case and discuss the defense strategy that he or she would likely favor given the facts as the attorney knows them to be at the present time.

You can also ask the attorney what he or she believes the likely outcome of your case will be. However, be aware that an attorney can never guarantee a client a particular result. Still, an experienced lawyer will often be able to give you an idea of what you can expect to happen.

  1. How much will retaining your services cost me?

While it is not likely that the attorney will be able to give you an exact dollar amount during an initial consultation, he or she will be able to explain how his or her fee structure works and can give you a ballpark estimate of what you can expect to pay for services rendered.

It should be noted that a criminal case that ends up going to trial will rack up considerably steeper legal fees than one that is quickly settled outside of court. Hence, you may want to ask the attorney for two cost estimates—one if the case settles and the other if it goes to court.

Contact a Local Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we understand how daunting it can be to hire a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. We know it is critical that you hire an attorney who has both the experience in handling cases similar to yours and one whom you have confidence in and trust. Therefore, we offer prospective clients the opportunity to meet with Attorney Christopher Cosley during a free consultation before retaining our legal services. During this initial meeting Mr. Cosley will review the facts of your case, answer any questions that you might have, and discuss your legal options with you.

Source:

https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/publications/pamphlets/Hiring%20a%20Lawyer.pdf

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders in Illinois: A General Overview

October 9th, 2017 at 9:32 am

domestic violence, protective order, restraining orders, Rolling Meadows domestic violence lawyer, domestic batteryProtective orders (also commonly referred to as restraining orders) are civil orders designed to protect alleged domestic violence victims (and sometimes their family members as well) against future abuse. Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act courts in Illinois are permitted to issue a protective order if any of the following types of domestic violence has likely been perpetrated against the requesting petitioner, or their minor child, by a family or household member:

  • Physical abuse,
  • Harassment,
  • Intimidation of a dependent,
  • Interference with personal liberty, or
  • Willful deprivation.

Who Qualifies as a “Family or Household Member?”

It is important to note that in Illinois a domestic violence protective order can only be issued if the alleged abuser is a family or household member of the petitioner. Code section 750 ILCS 60/103(6) defines “family or household member” as:

  • A former or current spouse,
  • A parent,
  • A child or stepchild,
  • Someone related to the petitioner by blood or marriage (either present or prior),
  • Someone whom the petitioner currently (or formerly) lives with,
  • Someone the petitioner allegedly shares a child in common with,
  • Someone the petitioner shares (or allegedly shares) a blood relationship with through a child,
  • A former or current boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiance, or
  • A disabled petitioner’s personal assistant or caretaker.

What am I Prohibited From Doing if a Protective Order is Issued Against Me?

In Illinois we have three different types of domestic violence protective orders. These include emergency protective orders, interim protective order, and plenary protective orders. The key difference between these orders is the duration for which they can be in effect. Yet while in effect they can all prohibit alleged abusers from engaging in the same actions. It is up to the issuing judge to determine the provisions of a particular protective order but some commonly included provisions are:

  • No harassing, stalking, abusing, or intimidating the petitioner,
  • No contacting the petitioner,
  • No coming within a specified distance of the petitioner, the petitioner’s home, or the petitioner’s place of work, and
  • No possessing firearms.

How Can I Fight a Protective Order?

If you have been served with a protective order, then the first step that you need to take is to stay calm. Do not lash out at the person who served you and definitely do not contact the person who requested a restraining order against you.

What you should do is read through the order and make sure to fully abide by every provision contained in it. Now you are ready to fight the order, if you wish to do so. This can most effectively be accomplished by consulting with a local domestic violence lawyer, although you can technically oppose the order on your own if you like.

In either instance, fighting a protective order generally involves filing a response with the court, gathering evidence in your defense, and appearing in court in order to tell your side of the story.

Consult With a Local Domestic Violence Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing domestic battery or have had a protective order issued against you in Illinois contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley straight away.

Christopher Cosley is a very well respected Rolling Meadows domestic violence lawyer who has extensive experience defending clients throughout the greater Chicago area. Don’t hesitate to contact the office today for help.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2100&ChapterID=59

How to Defend Against a Shoplifting Charge

October 6th, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Illinois criminal law, Rolling Meadows retail theft attorneys, shoplifting, shoplifting defendants, shoplifting defenseUnder Illinois law shoplifting (also commonly referred to as retail theft) occurs when someone knowingly steals goods from a retail establishment. While shoplifting in Illinois can be committed in any of the various ways enumerated under 720 ILCS 5/16-25, shoplifting most commonly occurs when someone:

  • Takes merchandise from a retail establishment without paying for it; or
  • Exchanges the packaging of one item with the packaging of a lower priced item in order to pay a lower price.

Commonly Asserted Defenses

Although every shoplifting defense must be tailored to suit the facts of the applicable case, many shoplifting cases contain similar facts and, therefore, shoplifting defendants often assert similar defenses. Commonly asserted shoplifting defenses include:

  • I did not intent to steal the merchandise: Intent is a key element that must be proven before a defendant can be convicted of shoplifting. In order to secure a shoplifting conviction in Illinois the prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly stole. Therefore, if a defendant can prove that he or she accidentally walked out of the store with merchandise that did not belong to him or her, then his or her charge will be dismissed. Sometimes a defendant can prove that he or she did not intentionally take merchandise by producing evidence (usually via the store’s security cameras) showing that he or she was distracted by a phone call, text message, his or her crying child, etc. just before exiting the store.

A quick note about intent: It should be noted that under Illinois law a person can actually shoplift without physically leaving the store from which he or she stole. This is because a person can intend to shoplift and take an article of merchandise into his or her possession while still inside a store. For example, someone who knowingly slips a lipstick into his or her purse while in a store has shoplifted the lipstick if he or she intends to take the lipstick home without paying for it.

  • The person I was with stole, not me: When one person is caught shoplifting, it is common for anyone that he or she is with to also be detained by the store. This is because anyone who is found to have been working in concert with the person who did the actual shoplifting can also be charged with retail theft. In other words, if two people walk into a department store and one shoves clothing into a bag while the other keeps a lookout, then both individuals can be found guilty of shoplifting if they each had the requisite intent to steal. However, someone who was arrested after his or her friend was caught shoplifting can often argue that he or she was in no way acting in concert with his or her friend and that consequently only the friend broke the law.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with shoplifting or retail theft in Illinois contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Rolling Meadows retail theft attorneys. We would be happy to discuss your legal options with you and, if you decide to retain our legal services, craft a defense tailor made to suit the facts of your case. A shoplifting conviction can negatively impact your life for years to come so take a step towards protecting your legal interests today and contact us.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-25

The Ins and Outs of Claiming Self Defense in Illinois

October 2nd, 2017 at 10:24 am

claiming self defense, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, self defense claim, unlawful force, Illinois criminal defenseIn law and order television programs, characters seen under attack are often able to fight their attackers. In these dramatic scenes, the aggressors end up dead. Viewers are led to believe that everything will work out for the victims as they tell the authorities that they reacted in self defense, killing their attackers, and they are then able to simply return home.

While it is true that in America self defense is an affirmative defense (i.e. a defense that will negate liability even if the defendant committed the alleged acts) it should be noted that claiming self defense is actually a bit more complicated in reality. 

The Components of a Successful Self Defense Claim in Illinois

Illinois’ self defense statute contained in 720 ILCS 5/6-4 (also sometimes referred to as the use of force in defense of person statute), spells out the requirements that must be met in order for a criminal defendant to successfully argue that he or she was justified in using force to defend himself or herself.

Under this code section, a person is justified in using force against an individual who is threatening the imminent use of unlawful force if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary in order to defend themselves.

However, in order for a defendant to successfully assert this defense, he or she must also be able to demonstrate that the amount of force used was proper. In other words, if the defendant used force that was intended or likely to cause great bodily harm or death, then he or she must be able to demonstrate that such force was reasonably necessary to prevent himself or herself from great bodily harm or death.

In summary, you can only successfully claim that you acted in self defense in Illinois if your belief that you were in danger of an imminent unlawful force was reasonable and if the amount of force that you used to defend yourself did not exceed the level of force threatened.

Defense of Another

It should be noted that Illinois’ use of force in defense of person statute also provides an affirmative defense for a criminal defendant who used proportionate force against an aggressor if he or she reasonably believed that such conduct was necessary in order to defend another against the imminent threat of an unlawful force. This means that you are justified in using force to defend someone else from an imminent unlawful threat of force as long as you reasonably believe that your conduct is necessary to defend against the attack and you do not use force that exceeds the level of force threatened.

Have You Been Accused of Committing a Crime? Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing a crime and are searching for an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our well respected firm defends clients throughout the greater Chicago area against a wide variety of criminal charges and would be happy to assist you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=8200000&SeqEnd=9700000

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