Archive for the ‘Assault & Battery’ Category

Three Reasons Why You Need To Fight Your Domestic Battery Charges

September 30th, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Fight Your Domestic Battery ChargesThe Illinois courts and law enforcement do not take kindly to those who are accused of committing domestic battery. Causing bodily harm to a family or household member, or insulting, provoking, or threatening them, is a serious criminal matter in Illinois. When a person is accused of domestic battery, it is critically important that they fight the charges that are lodged against them because even a first-time conviction carries severe and long-lasting consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help.

Below are three reasons why you need to fight your domestic battery charges.

  1. A domestic battery conviction means you will have a criminal record. Even if your fight with a family or household member was just a minor dispute that got out of hand, the court will look at the altercation as a serious crime. Even a first-time offense for domestic battery is typically a misdemeanor level offense. But a domestic battery charge can be upgraded to a felony-level offense in certain situations, such as when a protection order was violated, when you have a record of prior domestic battery convictions, or when other aggravating factors were involved.
  2. A domestic battery conviction generally cannot be sealed or expunged from your criminal record. Once you have been convicted of a criminal battery against a family or household member, as a general rule, the conviction will go on your criminal record, and it cannot be expunged or sealed under Illinois law. This means that your domestic battery conviction will follow you for many years to come. There are very limited circumstances in which a domestic battery conviction may be expunged. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine if you may be eligible.
  3. A domestic battery conviction has unintended consequences. The effect of a domestic battery conviction is far-reaching. For instance:
    • You can lose your right to own or carry a firearm;
    • You could lose out on job opportunities due to the fact an employer can view your criminal record;
    • You could be denied an apartment or a credit card;
    • You could lose your child visitation privileges, or have restrictions placed on your visitation rights.

Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Being charged with a domestic battery comes with severe consequences, and you need to fight the charges. If you are facing domestic battery charges, a conviction can have a serious impact on your life and can affect you in ways that you may not foresee. You need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has helped defendants facing domestic battery charges. A dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can assist you every step of the way.

Source:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K12-3.2

Assault in Illinois

April 23rd, 2015 at 5:00 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statutesWhat exactly is assault? Because different states have different standards, there can often be confusion about what counts as assault, what counts as battery, and whether they are the same thing. For example, our neighbor to the southwest, Missouri, does not recognize a crime of battery and considers all offenses that involve striking another person to be “assaults.” Here in Illinois, however, we have multiple types of assault and multiple types of battery.

Simple Assault in Illinois

The first assault crime in Illinois is known as either “assault” or sometimes as “simple assault.” A person commits this crime when he or she, without lawful authority, knowingly does something that places another person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. So the immediate follow up question has to be: what is considered a battery in Illinois? Illinois defines battery where one person knowingly, without legal justification, either (1) causes bodily harm to an individual, or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. Basically, one commits an assault when one makes another reasonably afraid that they are either about to suffer bodily harm or be touched in some sort of insulting or provoking way. Simple assault, on its own, is a relatively minor offense in Illinois. It is only a Class C misdemeanor. There is a special sentencing provision that requires that anyone convicted of assault perform between 30 and 120 hours of community service if such community service is available in the community where the assault was committed, unless the person is sentenced to actual incarceration.

Aggravated Assault in Illinois

Aggravated assault is like simple assault, but the facts of the case are somehow worse than a simple assault; thus, aggravated assaults are punished more harshly. There are three main times of aggravated assault in Illinois:

  • Assaults aggravated based on location of the conduct;
  • Assaults aggravated based on the status of the alleged victim; and
  • Assaults aggravated based on the use of a firearm, device, or motor vehicle.

Aggravated assault based on location or conduct comes in a few forms. This includes assaults that are committed against a person who is on or about a public way, assaults that take place on public property, assaults that occur at a place of accommodation or amusement, and assaults that occur at sports venues. This kind of aggravated assault is a Class A misdemeanor.

Aggravated Assault Based on Victim Status

Aggravated assault based on the status of the alleged victim is the most sweeping part of the aggravated assault law. Alleged victims who have special protections under this statute include:

  1. Physically handicapped people and people aged 60 or older;
  2. Teachers and school employees on school grounds, grounds adjacent to the school, or in any part of a building used for school purposes;
  3. Park district employees on park grounds, grounds adjacent to park grounds, or in any part of any building used for park purposes;
  4. Peace officers, community policing volunteers, firefighters, private security officers, emergency management workers, EMTs, or utility workers under certain circumstances;
  5. Correctional officers or probation officers who are performing their official duties;
  6. Employees of jails, prisons, and juvenile detention centers or treatment centers for sexually dangerous or sexually violent persons who are doing their official duties;
  7. State or local employees and officials doing their official duties;
  8. Transit employees performing their duties and transit passengers;
  9. Sports officials or coaches who are involved in any level of athletic competition; and
  10. Process servers who are engaged in their official duties.

The severity of each type of offense based on victim status depends upon the exact victim status in question. Most of them are Class A misdemeanors, but some of them are class 4 felonies.

Aggravated Assault Based on Use of a Firearm, Device, or Motor Vehicle

There are nine types of aggravated assault that fit into this category. It includes assaults where the assailant is:

  1. Using a deadly weapon, air rifle, or item that looks like a firearm;
  2. Discharging a firearm other than from a motor vehicle;
  3. Discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle;
  4. Wearing a hood, robe, or mask to conceal the assailant’s identity;
  5. Flashing a laser sight near a person;
  6. Using a firearm but not discharging it when the victim is some sort of law enforcement or first responder doing their job;
  7. Operating a motor vehicle in a manner where someone would reasonably fear they could be hit;
  8. Operating a motor vehicle in a manner where a law enforcement-type or first responder would reasonably fear being hit; or
  9. Recording the assault with the intent of disseminating the recording.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with assault, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney on your side. Christopher Cosley has represented many people in your very position and he wants to fight for you. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M . Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

Rhetoric is Wrong: Violent Crime is Actually Down

December 11th, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Chicago crime rate, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Day after day we hear the rhetoric about how bad crime is today and about how much worse crime is now than it used to be. Stories pop up about Chicago being the murder capital of America. Citizens are left to believe that there is some mass criminal class that is much worse than it has ever been before. The problem with all of this is that it simply is not true. In fact, violent crimes rates are the lowest they have been since the 1970s.

Violent Crime is Down

The Chicago Tribune reports that violent crime in the United States fell 4.4 percent in 2013, bringing the violent crime rate to its lowest level since the 1970s. Fewer violent crimes were reported last year than have been reported in any year since 1978. This trend rings true for all types of violent crimes including but not limited to murder, rape, and robbery. The violent crime rate has fallen every year since 1994 and has fallen by roughly 50 percent since 1994. Property crimes were also down last year.

Decreased Prison Populations Lead to Even Greater Violent Crime Rate Decline

Some tough-on-crime law and order types point to our nation’s extraordinary levels of incarceration as the cause of this decrease in crime. However, the evidence indicates that violent crime is dropping in spite of, not because of, our over-imprisonment problem. The Pew Charitable Trusts compiled data over the last five years regarding states’ imprisonment rates and crime rates. They found that over the last five years the majority of states have decreased imprisonment rates while seeing a decrease in crime at the same time. Hawaii decreased its imprisonment rate by 23 percent and saw a whopping 14 percent decrease in crime. In the 33 states where imprisonment rates decreased, crime fell on average by 13 percent. While crime also fell in the states where imprisonment rates increased, crime only fell 11 percent in those states.

This Means We Need Solutions Other than Prison

This data demonstrates that we need to use tools other than imprisonment if we want to minimize crime. Rather than focusing solely on punishment, it is high time our justice system focused on rehabilitation. Drug treatment, mental health treatment, and education need to become our primary tools of corrections, rather than oft ignored side programs. For those criminal defendants who do wind up serving sentences in jail or prison, we need to focus substantial efforts into supporting reentry programs. Reintegrating into society with a felony conviction can be extremely difficult and our society needs to work to make it possible for people to make it in society after incarceration. People who serve long sentences for violent crimes especially need assistance reintegrating into a world that has changed dramatically during their incarceration.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Being accused of committing a violent crime is terrifying. These crimes carry stiff penalties, but even just being accused can have a profound and permanent effect on your life. If you or someone you know has been accused of committing a violent crime, contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We can schedule a consultation where we can discuss your situation and see what we can do to help you.

New Law Takes Aim at Domestic Violence Offenders

September 19th, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Illinois legistlation, domestic assault, battered spouse, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Domestic violence cases often are troubling situations that bring up serious issues. These charges are not limited to one group or a specific type of offender; anyone from any socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic background can be involved in such a scenario. This is further evidenced by a news story that has become popular as of late. Since the official start of the 2014-2015 National Football League (NFL) season, news and other media outlets have been consistently reporting on a notorious domestic violence incident that became public knowledge in February of 2014, but has garnered new and deserving attention since more details of the incident surfaced recently.

Illinois Domestic Violence Law Signed

Even before this news story concerning the professional football player garnered renewed attention, officials in the state of Illinois had their attention turned to the topic of domestic violence. At the end of August, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation known as “Diane’s Law” into effect. The law is meant to provide protection to survivors of domestic violence by allowing courts to order risk assessment evaluations as a condition of bails and to require electronic surveillance via GPS monitoring of those charged with the crime in order to enforce restraining orders. Charges covered by the new law will include domestic battery, kidnapping, stalking, harassment, and attempted murder.

The Governor reported that this action is part of a larger focus on promoting public safety, and that specifically, he intends for the law to protect victims and prevent future tragedies. The law goes a step further by being focused on prevention and not just protection of victims. It is purportedly named after a domestic violence victim who was murdered by a former boyfriend just three days after renewing a protective order against him. The purpose of the law is to strengthen protective orders and give police additional tools in their enforcement, as well as providing for increased penalties for domestic violence offenders. The law, known as House Bill 3744, will become effective January 1, 2015.

The law is one of several signed into effect by Governor Quinn since 2012 regarding domestic violence in Illinois. Other initiatives included classifying domestic violence crimes as a felony if a defendant has a prior conviction, requiring that school boards adopt a policy regarding teen dating violence, protecting victims who may be covered by their abuser’s insurance policies, and allowing prosecutors to use prior domestic violence conditions as evidence in certain murder cases which involve the crime.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Domestic violence cases deserve professional attention. The experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are familiar with the recent changes to domestic violence law in the state of Illinois and are prepared to advise their clients accordingly. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

Assault and Battery Law in Illinois

June 28th, 2014 at 6:49 am

battery, Assault & Battery, Chicago criminal defense attorney, Christopher M. Cosley, Cook County criminal defense lawyer, Rolling Meadows, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, Class C misdemeanor, assault crime, aggravated assault, Class 4 felony, aggravated batteryAssault and battery are two serious offenses that are treated as such in criminal courts in the state of Illinois. Those charged with such crimes are advised to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect their rights. Below are some of the basics regarding relevant assault and battery laws in Illinois.

Assault

In the state of Illinois, an assault charge is usually graded as a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties associated with such an offense are a maximum of 30 days incarceration and up to $1,500 in fines. Typically, the facts that give rise to such a charge involve engaging in conduct or acting in a way that places another in fear of harm. It is important to note that the crime of assault does not necessarily involve physical contact with the victim; a verbal threat or threat of physical harm is enough to meet the law’s requirements.

Certain circumstances warrant a charge to be elevated to an aggravated assault. This usually happens when a deadly weapon is involved, the defendant is disguised when committing the crime, or the alleged victim is within a certain class of individuals, including but not limited to teachers, law enforcement officials, and firemen. Aggravated assaults are graded as Class A misdemeanors, which carry a maximum one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $2,500. If the victim falls within the designated class of individuals, the crime becomes a Class 4 felony and carries a maximum three-year prison term and a maximum $25,000 fine.

Battery

Under Illinois law, it is considered battery if a person causes bodily harm to another or makes insulting or provoking contact with another. Pushing someone could be the basis for a battery charge. Because the crime invokes physical harm, it is generally treated more seriously than assault. Battery is graded as a Class A misdemeanor and can invoke a maximum jail term of one year or a fine of up to $2,500.

Aggravated battery is charged when the victim suffers significant bodily harm or permanent disability. The use of a firearm could also support a charge of aggravated battery. This crime is graded as a Class 3 felony and carries a maximum five-year prison term as well as fines that could reach up to $25,000.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Depending on the circumstances, assault or battery charges could have serious consequences for those accused of them. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully defended a number of clients charged with assault and battery. Contact us today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We can listen to the facts of your specific case, advise you of your options, and protect your rights.

Harsher Penalties for Domestic Battery Defendants

January 22nd, 2014 at 6:00 pm

A new law that went into effect this month will allow prosecutors in Illinois to impose stiffer penalties on domestic battery offenders. According to the Rockford Register Star, the 2014 law states that those defendants who have multiple misdemeanor domestic battery convictions can be charged with a felony in light of the multiple convictions. The purpose for the harsher penalties would be to give law enforcement and prosecutors another way to protect victims of domestic violence from their attackers.

 domestic battery IMAGEAlthough some say that domestic violence is a crime that is often disregarded because it involves family members, it is one of the most common crimes reported to local law enforcement, though it is still believed to be underreported overall. The issue of domestic violence is certainly large-scale, with thousands of domestic violence incidents reported in local counties each year.

As of the first of the year, if an individual is charged with a misdemeanor domestic battery and that same individual was previously convicted of an identical charge at least once before, the grading of the charge will increase to a felony. Domestic battery is defined as harmful physical contact, harassment, threatening behavior, or interfering with the personal liberty of a household or family member. If the defendant has one or two previous convictions, their charge will be graded as a Class 4 Felony and they can face incarceration of one to three years. Three prior convictions will result in a Class 3 Felony with two to five years incarceration, and four or more prior convictions will make it a Class 2 Felony punishable by three to seven years in jail. Prior to the new law taking effect, any repeat offenders, no matter the number of prior convictions, were charged with a Class 4 Felony, the lowest graded felony charge in Illinois.

Prosecutors will retain prosecutorial discretion in making decisions, as well as in deciding on a case-by-case basis if a certain action should result in the offender being charged with a felony. Prosecutors and law enforcement will regularly work together with other local agencies in order to develop their responses to domestic violence reports, and to discuss the details of certain cases, particularly those cases that have resulted in serious injury or even death. Police officers intend to look at severe cases of domestic violence closely, and to avoid assuming a domestic violence situation will have less serious consequences than other assaults.

As the new law takes effect, there will be a number of cases that define its parameters, so that others can be aware of what sort of consequences to expect. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Chicago can be invaluable in arguing your case in light of a change in the law. Not only are we informed on legal changes, we are prepared to advise you on how they can affect the specific facts of your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

New Legislation to Address “Knockout Game”

January 7th, 2014 at 10:23 am

Chances are you have seen or heard of the disturbing new trend among teens to participate in what is known as the “knockout game,” in which the assailant unexpectedly attacks a member of the public from behind in an effort to knock them out. Victims are usually targeted at random. The dangerous trend has been featured on news broadcasts, online, and through other media outlets, who reported on the attacks with sometimes fatal consequences for the victims. Now the government is taking steps to address it.

knockout gameAn Illinois state representative, Dwight Kay, has proposed House Bill 3783, known as the Knockout Assault Prevention Act, which takes aim at punishing knockout game offenders. The Act would impose higher penalties on those convicted of the crime of battery while participating in the game, making it punishable by three to seven years of incarceration. It also provides that any minors above the age of 14 would be tried for the crime in adult criminal court. Currently, law enforcement seems to think that the trend is mostly confined to large cities, but if the legislation is passed into law in Illinois, any county would be able to use it.

In a case involving an elderly black male victim, the “knockout game” attacker will be charged with a federal hate crime. Authorities say that the attack in that case was racially motivated, as the attack and the moments leading up to it were video recorded, which revealed that the suspect targeted the man because of his race and color.  The recorded statement was of the attacker posing the question that if he were to hit a black person, would it be nationally televised. That defendant was 27 years old at the time of the attack, which occurred in the state of Texas. The victim’s jaw was fractured in two places, and he was hospitalized for several days as the result of the injuries he sustained in his fall to the ground. It is important to note that this defendant allegedly suffers from mental illness, including bipolar disorder, and was reportedly off of his medication at the time of the attack.

In New York, police charged a suspect with a hate crime in connection with the attack of a Jewish male as part of the “knockout” game, and other cases have been reported in numerous other states, such as Missouri and Washington. While this dangerous game does not seem to be confined to one area across the nation, it is safe to say that law enforcement will be cracking down on offenders from here on out.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, an experienced criminal defense attorney can protect your rights. Our attorneys have experience defending citizens in many types of criminal law cases, and we are prepared to advise and represent you in your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

City to send Police Patrols Overnight in Chicago Parks

December 6th, 2013 at 11:26 am

family in parkOfficials in the city of Chicago are aware of the prevalence of violent crime in Chicago parks.  Four days after the FBI claimed that Chicago was the murder capital of the United States, more violence broke out in the city.  An outburst of shooting occurred on September 20th at Cornell Square Park on the south side of Chicago.  Waves of gunfire left 13 people wounded including a couple of teenagers and three year old boy.  The shooting was considered to be gang-related as some of the victims were known gang-members.

In response to these violent crimes, the police department of Chicago started paying overtime to officers in high crime neighborhoods of the city for an initiative called “Operation Impact”.  Overtime pay for 2013 is estimated to be around $100 million.

More recently, the police department instituted a new plan to keep the parks safe through the night.  Off-duty police officers are to be paid overtime wages for patrolling 20 of the city’s most dangerous parks.  The names of the parks have not been released yet, but will be decided based on the last three years of crime statistics.   This new initiative started in November of 2013.  Paying overtime to existing officers seems cheaper than hiring a large amount of rookie officers according to a statement by Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has agreed that the safety of Chicago’s parks is a top priority of his.  He even stated that “The parks in the city of Chicago belong to families of Chicago, the streets of the city of Chicago belong to families of Chicago, the front stoops of our homes belong to the families of the city of Chicago.  You go out there and enjoy our city.”

If you have been arrested for a crime then it is important to have a legal professional to protect your rights.  Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the effects can be life altering.  You could lose your job, be rejected by colleges, or worse spend time in prison.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cook County today to review your case.

Teenage Man Charged in Infant’s Homicide

October 4th, 2013 at 11:52 am

A 17-year-old man was ordered held on $500,000 bail after being charged in the death of a infant whose death was ruled a homicide, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Willie Brown is facing charges in the death of 4-month-old Demari Brown after Demari died while in the sole care of Brown in late September. Prosecutors allege that after Brown killed the infant he proceeded to play video games “after the severely battered baby… stopped crying and eventually died,” reports the Sun-Times. Assistant State’s Attorney Heather Kent told the Sun-Times that Demari was Brown’s girlfriend’s baby, though police reported that Brown was the child’s father. “When Demari’s mother asked Brown what he did to her baby at the hospital where the infant was transported he allegedly cried and said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” reports the Sun-Times. Teenage Man Charged in Infant’s Homicide IMAGE

Brown was the only one home with the child when the incident occurred, and police reported after the baby was found that Demari had suffered “blunt trauma to the head, a linear fracture to the skull, subdural hemorrhages, rib fractures and healing fractures to other ribs and a wrist,” according to the Sun-Times. This has led some prosecutors to allege that the baby had suffered abuse before the incident that took his life. The Illinois Department of Children & Family Services was “investigating the boy’s mother, Brown, and grandmother for allegations of abuse,” reports the Sun-Times, though the family has no other prior allegations of child abuse.

According to the MCH Center for Child Death Review, more than 2,000 kids die in the United States each year after allegations of abuse or neglect. The most common form of physical abuse manifests as head injuries, known as abusive head trauma. “These injuries occur when a child’s head is slammed against a surface, is severely struck, or when a child is violently shaken,” according to the MCH Center.

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime such as this, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today.

New Travel Restrictions for Suspects of Violent Crimes

August 20th, 2013 at 8:00 am

passportIn 2012, a Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered a high number of criminal suspects flee the state of Illinois to avoid sentencing.   It is a problem that existed across all levels of law enforcement.

The Tribune found that police departments have allowed over 60 fugitives escape justice when they ran to Mexico.  When they submit extradition paperwork it often overwhelms the county officials who need to process these requests.  Of the fugitives in Mexico, at the time of their investigation, officials were only seeking the deportation of 12 suspects.

There is also an issue with the judges who held bond hearings.  They set low bonds for suspects who were being charged with crimes such as rape and murder.  They also were not required to confiscate passports from suspects with dual citizenship.  But now Illinois lawmakers have passed a law to limit these avenues for suspects to escape justice.

Now judges are required to restrict the travel or seize the passport of suspects accused of first degree murder and other violent crimes. “This closes a huge loophole that was brought to my attention by the Chicago Tribune,” said one of the law’s sponsors, state Senator Ira Silverstein, a Democrat from Chicago.

Another loophole was closed by lawmakers this August.  There was an exemption in Illinois which allowed family members to aid and harbor suspects without being charged with a crime.  This allowed families to provide a suspect with money, drive them to the airport and even keep information from the authorities.  Now, family members found to have aided or abetted suspects of crimes can be charged with a felony.

With these new laws in place, it puts a greater importance on the legal advice of an attorney with a background in representing suspects of violent crimes.  Don’t play with your fate by trying to run from your charges.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cook county today.