Archive for the ‘Chicago criminal defense attorney’ Category
November 23rd, 2016 at 9:22 am
The most booming time of year for retailers is the end of the calendar year. With all of the shopping that goes along with the holiday season, retailers pull out all the stops and offer great sales to draw in customers. Retailers also engage in gimmicks to draw in business, such as two-for-one deals or Black Friday sales. Whatever retailers can do to get customers into their stores and spend money is all that matters this time of year. However, the end of the calendar year is also a time when retailers increase their store security efforts and monitor most closely for instances of retail theft.
With more customers in their stores, there is an increased likelihood that theft will occur more frequently. Customers might try and hide unsold merchandise in shopping bags they are carrying from other stores, and may try to simply walk out of the store without paying. Theft is a serious problem for retailers, so it makes sense that retailers would take extra precautions this time of year to catch people in the act.
Charged With Retail Theft
Retail theft is a serious crime in Illinois. Generally speaking, retail theft occurs when someone knowingly takes a piece of merchandise without paying the full price for the item. Under Illinois law, retail theft can take many different forms. For instance, it is retail theft if you:
- Take an item off the shelf and then conceal it in a bag or on your person, so that you can leave without paying for the item;
- Swap the price tags of a lower cost item and a higher cost item so that you can get the item for less than full price;
- Work with the cashier to under-ring up the item you are trying to get for less than full price;
- Modify the price tag on an item so that you can get it for a cheaper price;
- Lie to store employees to claim that a piece of merchandise is actually your personal belonging; or
- Use a theft detection shielding device to smuggle an item out of a store without paying.
When store security catches you stealing merchandise, they have a right to hold you and call the police. Once the police arrive, it is likely that you will be arrested and charged with retail theft. You do not have to speak to the police—speaking with them will only serve to incriminate you. You can instead request to speak to your lawyer.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Being charged with retail theft charges can be frightening. If you have been arrested for retail theft, or any other form of theft, you need to speak with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We are here to help you.
August 4th, 2016 at 10:09 am
The City of Chicago is about to make some big changes to its sale of tobacco laws. Joining approximately 170 other local jurisdictions and major cities across the country, on July 1st, young Chicagoans will have to wait until they are 21 years old before they can legally buy tobacco products and accessories within the city. It does not matter the type of tobacco product: the sale of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and pipe tobacco to people under the age of 21 is prohibited. Buying tobacco while underage is not just a juvenile offense anymore. If the law change is effective in reducing the number of young people who are smoking, by limiting legal access to tobacco products, state lawmakers have already indicated that they would consider making a similar law change state-wide.
Why Was The City Law Changed?
For many years, legislators have been concerned about the health and safety of young people. The Chicago City Council, in particular, has worried about smoking and tobacco addiction rates amongst young Chicagoans for quite some time. The main concern is that young people do not have fully developed brains before entering their twenties and this can leave young people particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction.
The Goal Is To Keep Youths Away From Tobacco Products
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that almost 90 percent of people who smoke tobacco products had their first cigarette by the time they were 18 years old, which means that change in the smoking age in Chicago could help prevent young people from getting access to tobacco products. Additionally, e-cigarettes are in vogue now, and many people have also taken up using a hookah as an alternative to smoking cigarettes. Chicago feels that its youth has too many alternative options available for them to consume nicotine, which prompts these young people to develop an addiction early in life. Beating a nicotine addiction can be hard and many fail repeatedly at quitting smoking.
By limiting the sale of tobacco products to people who are 21 years of age or older, young, undeveloped brains might be spared from easily forming an addiction to nicotine.
Despite the change in the law concerning who tobacco products can be sold to, the law has not changed with regard to who can sell tobacco products – an employee who is under the age of 21 is permitted to handle and sell tobacco products to a purchaser who is 21 or older. Sellers are required to post signage in their stores about the change in the tobacco sales law. The city changed its tobacco sales regulations in March and became effective July 1st.
Reach Out to Us for Help
As of now, young people between the ages of 18 and 21 are prohibited from buying tobacco in Chicago. If you need a criminal defense lawyer, please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Our legal professionals are eager to assist you with your case.
November 28th, 2014 at 12:14 pm
Everyday citizens are not the only ones whose behavior must conform to certain standards set by law. Police, too, are supposed to follow a set of provisions, many of them put in place by the U.S. Constitution, in carrying out their duties as representatives of the government. Failure to do so, in either case, could result in different consequences. One of the most extreme examples of police action in the context of carrying out their duties is the use of deadly force and the circumstances in which it can and should be used. A shooting death which occurred over the summer has brought this issue to the forefront of media discussions.
License to Kill
There is little doubt that police officers and law enforcement are allowed, in certain limited circumstances, to use deadly force when necessary. These situations include, but are not limited to, ones in which the police officer’s lives are in clear and obvious danger, or are facing a threat of significant harm or death themselves. The problem that the referenced report points out is that there is very little tracking of fatalities caused by officers’ use of deadly force and investigation into the matter to determine whether the use of force in a given case should be met with any consequences.
Usually, reports submitted to the FBI from police agencies only make it optional to include cases of justifiable homicide. This data also does not usually include how often police officers are criminally prosecuted for using deadly force. These cases are likely included within the other criminal killings reported by the agency without distinguishing it as an officer perpetrated crime.
Incomplete Data a Problem
Considering the recent shooting in Ferguson, officials are being reminded just how much this under reporting poses a problem in addressing the issue of police use of force. When there is such a lack of data and corresponding lack of evidence, it becomes difficult to distinguish situations in which rights were violated from those where action was justified. It also invited the public to a wide interpretation of facts, some of which are likely not true.
Congress has acted in the past to correct the lack of data issue, but a lack of federal funding caused the program to suffer over 10 years ago. Now, organizations are concentrating on the use of better databases as well as officer training and education to ensure proper procedures are being followed. Still, the system leaves much to be desired. Several major cities have reported no justifiable homicides in recent years, and some for several years in a row. It is unclear whether this is due to such homicides not occurring, or the fact they were not reported. The ultimate goal is transparency and information being readily available to the public.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys.
November 20th, 2014 at 2:57 pm
Many involved in the criminal justice system as the result of drug charges are battling a serious addiction. But for the drug dependency of these offenders, they most likely would not participate in illegal or criminal activity. In instances such as these, courts and law enforcement usually recognize the unique needs of these defendants and attempt to address them. Often times, this may involve the defendant participating in an alternative program known as drug court.
Drug Court FAQs
A recent news article touting the crime-reducing benefits of drug court in some counties goes on to explain some basic information regarding the program. Many counties in Illinois have formed drug court as a division of the Circuit Court. The eligible participants are ideally nonviolent drug-dependent offenders who are willing to submit to intensive treatment and accountability-based supervision in order to address their criminal charges and get a new chance at life. They are closely monitored by a judge and a larger drug court team.
The benefits of drug court are not limited to treatment. A relatively high percentage of participants who successfully complete the program have remained crime-free two years after completion. Some counties in Illinois boast a higher success rate than the 75 percent national average. Only one-third of similar defendants sentenced to traditional forms of punishment enjoy the same success. In short, well-run drug courts seem to be effective in bringing about higher rates of recovery from addiction as well as lower rates of drug-related crime.
Each drug court may operate under a slightly different set of rules and regulations decided by the chief judge within a particular county. In general, and in addition to the drug court judge, the rest of the team is made up of representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, drug counselors, and probation officers. In order to qualify to participate in drug court, an offender must meet certain criteria including the absence of any disqualifying offenses (usually violent crimes), a finding that the offender is drug dependent, and final approval from the drug court team. If approved, the defendant will be required to enter a guilty plea and be placed on probation for a specified amount of time, as well as receive a jail term that is held open in the event the participant violates the rules of the program. If successful in the participation and completion of the program, the offender may be able to avoid a prison term altogether.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Drug court may be a viable alternative for drug-dependent criminal defendants. The experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley can discuss your case with you and advise you of your rights if you have been charged with a drug offense. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding areas.
November 4th, 2014 at 7:08 pm
There has been much focus in the recent past on criminal justice reform and addressing issues within the system that may unduly prejudice criminal defendants. However, another key player in the criminal justice system is the victim of a particular crime, who is also granted certain rights according to the system. However, not every privilege afforded to victims within the context of the prosecution of a criminal case is always enforceable.
For example, at a defendant’s sentencing, the victim is usually granted the opportunity to speak through a victim impact statement that is presented to the court. Nevertheless, some courts have decided not to take such a statement and proceed to sentencing without hearing from the victim. As a recent report points out, victim advocates are calling for a change in the rules of criminal procedure in this area, making it a right to deliver a victim impact statement. The change will be left in the hands of Illinois voters on today’s ballot.
Strengthening Victim Rights
For many victims, addressing the court at a defendant’s sentencing with a victim impact statement goes beyond attempting to affect the sentence the judge will hand down. Many victims simply want their voice to be heard. In a more practical sense, the statement would also go on the record and be available to others who may be reviewing the case down the road on potential appeal. Supporters of this and other victims’ rights are advocating for the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights to take effect in the state of Illinois. The proposal would ensure an enforceable right for crime victims who want to participate and have a voice in the criminal process as a result of the crime perpetrated upon them.
According to the article mentioned, a victim rights group known as Marsy’s Law of Illinois is advocating for an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would guarantee that a victim or his or her surviving family members would have an opportunity to address the court if his or her rights have been violated. The amendment is included on today’s ballot and voters can choose to afford additional protections to crime victims by voting yes to the proposal. This amendment would strengthen victim rights by creating a method by which to enforce them, not just acknowledge them. It gives victims who have been denied certain rights a way to remedy the situation.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Not only can an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney advise you of your rights, but they can also advise you of what to expect from the other side in a criminal case. A change to victim rights in Illinois could represent important considerations for every criminal defendant to be aware of and take into account in defending their case. If you have been charged with a crime, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation.
October 2nd, 2014 at 10:58 am
It seems officials in the state of Illinois are taking steps to revamp the criminal justice system in a number of ways. Media outlets have reported on the reform, revaluation, and modification of different parts of the criminal justice system, from police procedure to sentencing guidelines to reintroducing criminal defendants back into society after their release from prison. According to a recent reports, efforts to ultimately improve the state’s criminal justice system are continuing with a focus on procedures used by the police and prosecutors in criminal cases.
For the first time in Illinois, a committee is being established to recommend the best practices for police departments and prosecutors to use while investigating and collecting evidence in criminal cases in the state of Illinois. The General Assembly enacted legislation to allow the formation of the committee, which will operate out of the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor’s Office. Joe McMahon, Kane County’s State’s Attorney, is said to be tasked with leading the committee.
The stated goal of forming the committee is to perform these procedures correctly the first time and to re-emphasize to law enforcement officials what their responsibility is in criminal cases. More specifically, McMahon reported that the committee will focus mostly on ethics, interviews of criminal suspects, and collection of evidence related to criminal cases. Evidence collection will include a concentration on social media postings, surveillance video recordings, cellphone tower pings, and DNA swabs. Many aspects of this evidence collection has developed or changed drastically in the last decade or two and deserved renewed attention.
Another area the committee will focus on is lineups of criminal suspects. This may include both live lineups of suspects and photo arrays, though photo lineups are more commonly shown to a victim for identification purposes. Many argue that how the photos are shown for purposes of identification matter, whether the lineup is shown all at once, one at a time, as well as who shows the photos to the victim.
McMahon has expressed a desire to use the committee as an opportunity to develop the best practices in criminal prosecution to avoid some of the problems encountered by criminal defendants in Illinois in the past. Wrongful convictions have been an especially large problem in the state of Illinois, and McMahon acknowledged the same. In addition, he hopes that the committee can offer insight and suggestions to the General Assembly to inspire new legislation in Illinois.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, do not hesitate to secure expert representation. The experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully represented clients in Cook County and the surrounding area. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
September 19th, 2014 at 4:02 pm
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.
September 17th, 2014 at 7:33 am
Cases involving juvenile criminal offenses deserve special consideration, especially since many of these cases present an important opportunity to get a child or adolescent back on track. Truancy cases involve a particular set of concerns, mainly because they not only implicate a juvenile and his or her actions, but could implicate the juvenile’s parents or guardians in criminal liability as well. Prosecutors in several counties in the state of Illinois are charging an increasing number of parents with the crime of truancy.
Criminal Charges for Parents
Both St. Clair County and Madison County in Illinois have been focusing on charging a juvenile’s parents with the crime of truancy if their children are offenders. This is apparently part of a larger movement across the country to address the issue of truancy. According statistics, officials in St. Clair County have charged 13 parents so far this year with truancy because their children are chronically absent from school. This number has increased from eight in 2013, and just one parent in 2012. Madison County has charged a surprising 30 parents so far this calendar year with the crime, up significantly from 10 last year and seven parents in 2012. The offense is graded as a misdemeanor and can result in imprisonment of up to 30 days, imposition of a fine, or both. According to Illinois law, a child is considered truant if he or she has nine days of unexcused absences in the previous 180-day period.
The Focus on Truancy
Prosecutors are saying that the renewed efforts at truancy offenders are part of a larger plan of combating crime. In addressing truancy issues, they believe they are taking a step in crime prevention since truancy is often the first step in a pattern of later criminal activity, often resulting in prison time when such truant juveniles become adults.
Most times, there is an effort to intervene in the truancy process long before any criminal charges are filed. This includes communication to parents after just a few absences, and implementation of a corrective action plan if the truancies continue. A hearing is scheduled if a student reaches nine unexcused absences. If such a problem remains uncorrected, the case is referred to a Regional Office. If a truancy problem persists at this stage, a state attorney is likely to get involved. Some offices even have a policy of criminally charging both the student and the parent if the child is in middle or high school.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The knowledgeable Illinois criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have vast experience in representing juveniles who are charged with crimes. If you or your child needs representation in a juvenile matter, do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.
September 11th, 2014 at 7:55 am
According to a recent article published by the Pekin Daily Times, predicting future risk within the context of the criminal justice system has gotten significant attention lately. As described in the article, the concept of predictive analytics involves taking information from a large amount of data in order to identify patterns and make future predictions. While not always 100 percent accurate, the process does reveal information about the future that is somewhat reliable. The practice of predictive analysis is typically used in the business world, in making military decisions, and in scientific study. Now, it seems to also be leaking into the criminal justice system, which may not be a good thing.
Risk Assessments at Sentencing
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently gave a speech in which he stated his position on using risk assessments at the sentencing of criminal defendants: he does not think it is a good idea. Holder went so far as to caution against such use, saying his concern is that doing so has the potential of seriously undermining efforts at individualized and equal justice. Equal justice, he said, can only be achieved using an individualized approach that takes the particular defendant, along with the crime committed, into consideration.
While risk assessments may not be commonly used in the context of criminal sentencing, similar models have been used for a long time when making parole decisions. Using reductive analytics in the context of the later part of punishment, Holder says, is not as dangerous as using it in front-end applications like in initial sentencing decisions. There is a need to ensure that doing so will not have unintended consequences.
Despite the warnings, several states, including the state of Illinois, have begun employing the use of risk assessment tools within their criminal justice systems. One of the supposed benefits some states say they are gleaning from sentencing defendants based on risk factors is to decrease their prison population. However, the danger in doing so remains that these states risk imposing very different sentences on defendants for similar crimes. Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice reportedly requested the U.S. Sentencing Commission to take an in-depth look at the use of predictive analysis in sentencing and to issue policy recommendations based on their findings.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, it is important to consult with an experienced Cook County defense attorney about your case as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are prepared to represent clients in many types of criminal matters in both DuPage and Cook County, including through the sentencing phase of the criminal process. Please feel free to contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.
September 9th, 2014 at 7:44 am
Almost every driver will tell you that receiving a ticket for a driving infraction is a hassle. According to a recent article published online though, many Illinois motorists may have more to complain about than the average driver. The article reported that potentially thousands of Chicago drivers may have been issued undeserved tickets in connection with red light cameras used within the city. Apparently there has been a series of sudden spikes in such traffic citations that city officials have been unable to explain.
The Tribune conducted an investigation into the over four million tickets issued to drivers since 2007. They found that deviations in the city’s network of 380 red light cameras were caused by both faulty equipment and human adjustment. Many of the spikes in ticketing reportedly lasted weeks, despite the fact that ticketing patterns were supposed to be monitored every day. Transportation officials in Chicago claimed they had no knowledge of such significant deviations associated with ticketing and the equipment. Now, questions are being raised about the traffic enforcement program in Chicago. A federal corruption probe is allegedly underway. To be clear, the true cause of the influx in tickets has not yet been determined. Potential sources being suggested include everything from corruption and bribery, to technological issues and malfunctions, to something that was purely an oversight and accidental.
No matter the cause of the erroneous tickets, one other issue undoubtedly needs to be addressed: refunding the drivers who were unjustly fined. The investigation identified questionable tickets that reached the tens of thousands. Some cameras that averaged just one ticket per day were found to have spiked up to 56 per day over a two-week period, before returning to normal. Other cameras were found to have issued over 500 tickets in 12 days for an infraction that should have represented a significant change in enforcement; this same type of infraction generated only a dozen tickets over a six-month period previously.
While the normal percentage of drivers who are successful in challenging red light tickets in Chicago hovers at about 10 percent, drivers who were ticketed during spikes have been successful in their challenges as often as 45 percent of the time. This could suggest that many cases where drivers were ticketed during spikes were bad cases or weak to begin with.
The sudden increase in tickets, whether due to a change in ticketing procedure or a system malfunction, is undermining the goal of fair and consistent traffic enforcement. Experts seem to agree that one remedial measure should be for the city to consider refunding drivers who were ticketed unfairly. Others went so far as to say there is an ethical obligation to do so, including those cases where drivers may have deserved the tickets due to a clear violation of the law.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been issued a traffic citation in the city of Chicago or the surrounding area, the Illinois defense attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.