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Archive for the ‘Chicago criminal defense attorney’ Category

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

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

A Drug Crime Conviction Could Lead to You Being Deported

April 21st, 2017 at 9:30 am

drug crime conviction, Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes Defense LawyerMany people who live in Rolling Meadows and the surrounding communities do not have United States citizenship. These individuals are living in the U.S. on a visa or as a permanent resident, or because they hold a green card. Immigrants who are in the United States legally, or even illegally, and find themselves in trouble with the law over drug offenses could face deportation or removal from the country if they are convicted.

Non-U.S. citizens who are deported are often prevented from reentering the country again for many years after their deportation. Often times, non-U.S. citizens who are convicted for drug crimes involving controlled substances or methamphetamines are more likely to be deported or removed from the country than someone who is convicted for marijuana possession based on small quantities of marijuana. The harder and more addictive the drug that is involved in the crime, the more serious the consequences may be upon conviction.

The Challenges of Deportation

When a non-U.S. citizen (also known as a foreign national or a legal alien) is convicted for a drug crime in Illinois, deportation from the United States is often one of the most serious consequences for his or her criminal activity. Deportation back to a native country can be a big problem for someone who is convicted for a drug crime, especially if he or she does not know anyone in his or her native country, has no family connections in his or her native country, or does not speak his or her native country’s language. Not only that, but it is very likely that the immigrant has built a life in the United States. He or she most likely has family, friends, a job, and a life here in Illinois and he or she could lose it all if convicted with drug charges.

Fight Your Drug Charges to Avoid Deportation

The best way to avoid being deported is to not be convicted on your drug charges. If you are not convicted, then the federal government does not have grounds to force your deportation or removal from the country. Getting the drug charges against you dropped or dismissed is your best bet.

By working with an experienced drug crimes defense lawyer, you will give yourself your best shot at success for beating your charges. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will review the facts of your case and your arrest and will identify each possible grounds for defense. Together, you and your lawyer will decide on a defense strategy.

Reach Out to Us for Help

More often than not, first time offenders who are convicted of minor drug offenses often avoid being deported. However, there is no guarantee that you will not be deported if you are convicted of a drug related offense in Illinois. Drug charges need to be taken seriously, and especially so if you are not a U.S. citizen. Please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows drug crimes defense attorney immediately for assistance with your case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

Businesses Up Their Security and Theft Monitoring at the End of the Year

November 23rd, 2016 at 9:22 am

security and theft monitoring, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyerThe 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.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=39200000&SeqEnd=39700000

Now You Must Be 21 To Buy Tobacco in Chicago

August 4th, 2016 at 10:09 am

Now You Must Be 21 To Buy Tobacco in Chicago, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyThe 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.

Source:

/criminal-defense/juvenile-crimes

Police Deadly Force Examined on National Level

November 28th, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Fergerson shooting, 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.

Drug Court in Illinois

November 20th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

drug addict, drug laws, Illinios criminal defense attorney, 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.

Expanding Crime Victim Rights up to Voters

November 4th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

victim advocate, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, 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.

November Ballot

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.

Illinois Officials to Focus on Criminal Justice System

October 2nd, 2014 at 10:58 am

criminal justice reform, prison reform, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois legal system, 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.

The Committee

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.

Committee’s Focus

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.

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.

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