Archive for the ‘Chicago juvenile crime lawyer’ Category
October 18th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Teens and young adults sometimes make poor decisions. As a result, they may end up being charged with a crime. Teens may even be involved in criminal activities on a regular basis when they are caught, or they may be first-time offenders. If your teen is involved in a crime, speaking with a skilled criminal defense attorney is essential.
Teens, Crime, and the Statistics
Many crimes that are committed by juveniles occur while they are at school. For instance, according to a 2014 National Report on Juvenile Offenders produced by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, some frightening statistics about juveniles and crime while in school in Illinois include:
- 3.9 percent of juveniles questioned reported having taken a weapon to school with them within the past 30 days prior to being surveyed;
- 7.6 percent reported having been threatened in school by a weapon possessed by a classmate;
- 3.3 percent of juveniles reported that they had used alcohol while on school property within the past 30 days;
- 4.7 percent of juveniles reported using marijuana while at school; and
- 27.3 percent reported being offered illegal drugs or alcohol while at school.
These statistics show that young people are exposed to a lot of opportunities to engage in criminal activities, even while they are in school. A number of other crimes often occur on school grounds as well, such as assaults, batteries, school-ground fights, thefts, bullying, and harassment.
When Teens Get Into Trouble At School
Teens are subjected to peer pressure, and because they are not good at exercising sound judgement, good kids can make bad choices—they are influenced by their peers. A lot of kids make bad choices and commit crimes because they want to appear cool to their friends, or are going through tough issues at home and are acting out. There are several reasons why teens make the decisions that they do, and they often do not have the foresight to understand the consequences of their actions.
When a teen gets into criminal trouble while in school, there are many consequences. The teen could be suspended or expelled from the school, and criminal charges could be pressed against the teen. If convicted, the teen could have a criminal record. These are all very serious consequences that can have a long-lasting impact on a young person’s life. The teen could have trouble finishing school, could develop a reputation as a troublemaker within the school, or could have difficulty getting accepted to college.
Contact Us Today for Help
Do not let your teen’s misguided mistake turn into a lifetime of harsh consequences. One youthful mistake could haunt your teen for many years to come in the future. If your child has been charged with a crime, it is important to diligently and aggressively fight the charges. Do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Our office can help you today. Call 847-394-3200.
June 13th, 2016 at 10:10 am
Teens get into all kinds of trouble with the law, largely as a result of not exercising the best judgement when making decisions. Many teens get into trouble for having drugs or controlled substances in their possession illegally. A teen might snatch a couple pills out of his or her dad’s oxycontin prescription, or a teen might hold a joint for a friend. Whatever the case might be, when juveniles get caught with drugs or other controlled substances, they can be charged with juvenile drug possession. Juvenile drug possession is a serious crime, and a conviction can have have long-lasting consequences on the teen’s life down the road.
Knowledge and Control
In order for a juvenile to be convicted of juvenile drug possession, the teen must know that he or she had the drug in his or her possession, and must have had control over the drug. The knowledge requirement is established when the teen knew that he or she had the drugs, and knew that they were drugs. If a teen had the substance in his or her possession, but reasonably believed that it was something other than a drug, then there cannot be a conviction for juvenile drug possession.
The control requirement is established if the teen had control over the drug in his or her possession, or control over the area where the drug was found. For instance, drugs found on a teen in his or her pocket would establish the control element of juvenile drug possession. Similarly, drugs found in a teen’s backpack or in the trunk of a teen’s car would also likely satisfy the control requirement, presuming that the search that uncovered the drugs, and the seizure were both legally conducted.
Your Child’s Defenses to Juvenile Drug Possession
If your teen has been charged with juvenile drug possession, it is important that you consult with an experienced juvenile drug charges lawyer as soon as possible. It is critically important to your teen’s future that his or her best possible defense be made against the drug charges. There are a number of different defense strategies and which is best for your teen will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding his or her alleged crime and arrest. Common drug possession defenses include:
- Lack of knowledge that the drug was actually a drug;
- Lack of knowledge that the drug or controlled substance was in his or her possession;
- The child was too young to understand what he or she was doing in possession of a drug;
- The teen has a legitimate prescription for the controlled substance found in his or her possession; or
- The teen was under duress to hold the drugs for someone else.
It is imperative that your child’s best defenses be raised in an effort to have the charges dropped or reduced.
When Your Teen Needs Legal Representation
If your teen has been caught with drugs and is facing juvenile drug possession charges, you should seek legal representation from an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile crime attorney immediately. Contact us today for assistance.
May 25th, 2016 at 8:44 am
Juveniles are just children or teenagers; they make poor choices from time to time, and they make mistakes. When young people are involved in minor crime, and arrested for it, their detention by police can place a terrible burden on the juvenile and his or her family. For the juvenile’s family, there is a sense of uncertainty and worry until a judge reviews the juvenile’s case. For the juvenile, detention can mean being locked up for a long period of time away from people he or she knows and loves.
Children and teens need love and support when they are in trouble, and isolating them away to wait for the review of their case can be stressful. Moreover, detaining teens for extended periods of time can be detrimental to their well-being. It can cause them to panic, worry, and fret incessantly. Detention can trigger severe emotional and psychological reactions, especially if the juvenile is generally a good kid who made a silly mistake, or foolishly listened to the bad advice or goading of his or her friends, which landed him or her in juvenile detention. It is unfair and unjust to unnecessarily force juveniles to be detained any longer than is absolutely necessary. Juveniles should be rejoined with their families and loved ones as quickly as possible.
Current Illinois Law Concerning Juvenile Detention Hearings
Under current Illinois law, 705 ILCS 405/5-415, juveniles may be detained for up to 40 hours before they are granted a detention hearing. That 40-hour time frame does not include weekends or court-recognized holidays. So, in effect, a juvenile could be detained for up to five days, given that an arrest was made on a Friday, and the juvenile is detained over a holiday weekend. In such a case, the earliest a juvenile could be granted a detention hearing is on the next Tuesday morning. Over 1,000 juveniles are detained for suspected criminal activity each year in Illinois, and approximately 25 percent of these juvenile detentions occur over a weekend.
Fortunately, the Illinois Senate is considering a bill that would expedite detention hearings for juveniles who commit minor, nonviolent crimes. Under the proposed bill, HB5619, juveniles charged with minor offenses would receive a detention hearing within 24 hours of being charged. This time period for review of the juvenile’s case would include holidays and weekends so that juveniles would not possibly be detained over a weekend or holiday. The House of Representatives has already approved the bill.
When Juveniles Need Legal Representation
Individuals who face criminal charges, no matter how severe and no matter what their age is, should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The consequences of a conviction, even as a juvenile, can have serious long-term consequences. If you have a juvenile who is in need of legal representation, please do not hesitate to contact a compassionate Rolling Meadows juvenile defense lawyer at our office. We are happy to help you today.
May 11th, 2016 at 10:29 am
Young people are often curious about alcohol, and sometimes their curiosity can land them into trouble. Rather than wait until they reach the legal age of 21 to buy, possess, and consume alcohol, juveniles find ways to gain access to alcohol, in violation of the law. Minors do not always understand the risks that they are taking, as well as the potential consequences of possessing, consuming, or trying to purchase alcohol when underage.
As a general rule, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol in Illinois. A minor who is caught violating the law can face being charged with a Class A misdemeanor along with the suspension of his or her driver’s license.
License suspensions can last for three months when a minor is issued court supervision, six months when the convicted minor is a first time offender, and up to a year for a second conviction. Any third or subsequent conviction for a minor in possession or consumption of alcohol will result in a revocation of the minor’s driver’s license.
Minor in Possession
Many teens and their concerned family members are sometimes surprised when a minor is charged with possession in Illinois—the minor may not have been physically holding or physically in possession of the alcohol in question. The alcohol might be in a backpack or car trunk, or might have even been sitting on a table near the minor when a party was broken up by the police. However, possession exists in two forms: actual possession and constructive possession.
Actual possession is what many people understand as physically holding the alcohol in your hand or on your person (i.e., a bottle of alcohol in your pocket). Actual possession makes sense to a lot of people—if you are holding an alcoholic beverage, you are clearly in possession of it. Yet, many people have trouble understanding constructive possession.
Constructive possession is based on the possessor’s intent to remain in control or possession of the alcohol, even if he or she is not physically in possession of it at the moment. A case of beer could be in your trunk, or you could have set down your alcoholic beverage nearby, but you would still be considered to have constructive possession of the alcohol.
Is There Any Scenario Where Minors Can Have Alcohol?
There are limited exceptions to the law when minors can have access to alcohol. These limited exceptions include the following:
- Minors can have alcohol if it is with their parent’s consent and supervision while in the privacy of their home;
- Minors can have access to alcohol if the alcohol is part of a religious ceremony; and
- Minors who are 18 years old or older, but are under the age of 21, can have access to alcohol if it is part of an educational course.
Let Us Represent Your Child
Underaged minors get into to trouble with alcohol all of the time, and it is unfortunate. The conviction of a minor in possession of alcohol could seriously impact your child’s future, and it is important to diligently fight the charges against you child. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately at our office. We will help your child throughout his or her 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 4th, 2014 at 7:37 am
Being charged with the crime of retail theft in the state of Illinois is a serious matter. Not only can such charges have criminal penalties, but they can have consequences that can affect other areas of the offender’s life, as well. These consequences often include the ability to obtain employment, qualify for housing, and be approved for a loan, among other things. Taking all of this into account, it is clearly important to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney for those who are charged with the crime of retail theft.
Grading of Charges
The severity of the charges an offender will face depends on both the value of the item or items stolen, as well as any prior criminal history of the defendant. The crime of retail theft can be graded as a misdemeanor or a felony, and the potential jail time and fines an offender may face varies with the severity of the charges. First-time offenders for retail theft, whose case does not exceed a value of $300, will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail term of one year and up to a $2,500 fine. If the value exceeds $300, the offense will be considered a Class 4 felony, even if it is just a first offense. Such a graded offense is punishable by a maximum jail term of three years and a fine of up to $25,000.
Those arrested for retail theft may have several options available to them by which to resolve their case. What options available, if any, are largely dependent on the specific facts and circumstances of each individual case. Some courses of action to consider, particularly for a first-time offender, include:
A supervisory sentence. This means that the defendant will be placed on a period of court supervision with certain conditions in place. If the offender abides by the terms and conditions of his or her supervision and is not arrested again, the charges may be dismissed.
First offender programs. This would include diversionary programs, as well as deferred prosecution. Through discussion and negotiations between the defense attorney and the prosecutor, an agreement may be able to be reached by which the charges are held open while the defendant completes certain classes or programs aimed at rehabilitation. With proof of the program’s completion, the prosecution may be willing to dismiss the charges. In addition to, or in lieu of, this type of program, an offender may be required to complete a certain amount of community service before the prosecution will agree to dismiss the case.
Plea bargaining. This is usually an option by which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for a reduction in charges or a lighter sentence. Such agreements hinge on the discretion of the prosecutor, and must be approved by the judge before they become final.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of retail theft or shoplifting, the experienced Illinois criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley can assist you with your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.
July 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am
Under Illinois law, those convicted of certain crimes may be able to clear their criminal record. While this is a positive thing for many eligible people, the problem is that many are not aware of their option to do so. This often puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to education and employment opportunities after completing their sentences. However, according to a recent article, the clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court is working to spread awareness about the law so that people can take advantage of the benefits it offers in having their records expunged.
The clerk has been running a campaign for the last ten years aimed at educating offenders about their options to get their criminal records sealed or expunged. While she has made progress, there is still room for improvement, particularly among juvenile offenders. An educational summit will be held to continue the campaign. The goal is to let people know if they have an opportunity to expunge their court records, and to take advantage of the second chance it affords them to be law-abiding citizens and productive members of society. The law is aimed at removing as many obstacles as possible for people who are trying to better themselves and the life of their family. Many agencies and organizations from Cook County will be involved in hosting the event.
After the tragedy of 9/11, the number of background checks performed on job applicants drastically increased from 20 percent to 80 percent. This statistic presented obvious difficulties in securing employment for those with a criminal record. Perhaps more problematic is that even those charged with minor infractions in the past were denied jobs and other opportunities because of the charges.
Employment opportunities are not the only thing with which a criminal record can interfere. Prior criminal charges in court records can affect education opportunities, bank loan applications, eligibility for military service, and housing or rental applications, just to name a few. Another important piece of information to keep in mind is that even if a defendant was later found innocent of a charge or never charged with a crime, he or she may still have an arrest record.
Although the number of juvenile applications for expungements have increased in recent years, it is believed that only a fraction of those eligible apply. Part of the problem may be that since juvenile cases are confidential, those charged with juvenile crimes mistakenly think no one can access their record anyway, so there is no need to get the case expunged. This likely causes many juvenile offenders to never think they need to seek an expungement.
Criminal Defense Attorney
There is a legal process involved in applying for and successfully obtaining an expungement. If you are interested in petitioning the court to clear your criminal record, the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can assist you. Contact us today for a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.
July 2nd, 2014 at 7:00 am
The end of a school year brings graduation and all of the celebrations that go along with the occasion. Many high school students are undoubtedly eager to enjoy the milestone and excitedly look forward to the next part of their lives. However, it is an unfortunate fact that many event celebrations for teens involve underage drinking, or at least the opportunity to do so. A recent article discusses law enforcement officials’ response in Pontiac, Illinois.
Police officers are aware of a correlation between the incidence of underage drinking and warmer weather in the summertime. Their concern, however, is that teens do not appreciate the fact that choosing to participate in underage drinking and risking an arrest can have long lasting and damaging effects on their lives in the future.
School officials also side with law enforcement, saying that students partaking in celebrations is to be expected. But, it is also important that such celebrating be done in a responsible way. School representatives encourage students to enjoy their graduation with friends and family in a smart and safe way. The local school in Pontiac offered a safe and legal alternative celebration that they hosted, called Operation Graduation. It was an all-night event allowing teens to celebrate in a drug and alcohol-free environment.
Potential consequences of an underage drinking arrest include suspension of the individual’s driver’s license for at least six months due to the state of Illinois’ zero tolerance policy. Other consequences include a probationary sentence, community service, the imposition of a curfew, and potential ramification from school administration, like restrictions on extracurricular activities.
If convicted of a higher graded Class A misdemeanor, an individual faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Both the age of the individual and whether they have any prior criminal history are factors that are considered in order to determine whether the person will be sentenced to a period of incarceration, a period of probation, and/or any fines imposed.
Other criminal offenses involved with teen drinking could include an arrest for driving under the influence. Minors are subject to the same testing as adults, including breath, blood, and urine screenings. In addition to losing their license, teens could be sentenced to probation time or fines.
Of course, some may argue that the legal consequences of underage drinking pale in comparison to the personal tragedy that can occur. Poor judgment and decision making that results from underage drinking could have potential life-long consequences if such behavior results in a crash, death, or other significant injury.
Juvenile Law Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with underage teen drinking or any other criminal offense as a juvenile, the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can assist in your defense. Contact us today for a consultation. We serve clients in DuPage and Cook Counties and surrounding areas.
May 27th, 2014 at 7:06 am
There is not a universal approach to the legal age of consent across the country. Rather, states take different approaches to declaring what the age of consent is within their borders and the enforcement of such according to law. Some suggest a national age of consent of 18 to clear up these inconsistencies. In general, the ages of consent range from 16 to 18 years of age. In Illinois, the age of consent is 17 years old.
Arguments against Young Age of Consent Laws
One of the main arguments against a younger age of consent is the disparity between a state saying a 16 or 17 year old can legally have sex with an adult, but are not considered adults in the eyes of the law in any other situation. Opponents of such young ages of consent say the states that have such laws place too much responsibility on young people and put them at a higher risk for negative consequences of being sexually active with adults.
Further, a considerable age difference between sexual partners can be emotionally damaging, especially when one of them is still a teenager. If a teen has a negative sexual experience with an adult, they may be more likely to have negative sexual experiences as adults and suffer from anxiety, depression, and contract STDs and STIs.
The crime of statutory rape occurs when an adult has sex with minor who is under the age of consent. While this crime is important to protect young people from predators and sexual abuse, it may also come into play in a less threatening situation. Consider a scenario where an 18-year-old high school student has sex with a 16-year-old high school student. Such activity is against the law, but it seems unjust to punish someone on the other side of the age of consent who is so close in age to the other as severely as an older offender. In cases such as these, some laws may reduce the punishment for violations of statutory rape, as the purpose behind the laws regarding age of consent and statutory rape are less relevant when applied to couples so close in age.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The crime of statutory rape is a serious one that deserves attention. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can advise you of your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.
May 20th, 2014 at 4:12 pm
According to an article recently published, a study shows that the Illinois law, which required juveniles charged with certain serious crimes to be tried as adults, may be discriminatory.
The imposition of the law also takes away judges’ discretion in these cases while also increasing the likelihood that the same juveniles will become repeat offenders in the future, according to the study.
Juvenile Justice Initiative
As part of the study, the Initiative considered 257 juvenile cases heard in Cook County between 2010 and 2012, in which juveniles were charged as adults in keeping with the law. All but one of the cases involved a defendant who was considered a minority. Out of these juveniles, over half of those that were transferred ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge in adult court, which would not have caused the case to be transferred out of juvenile court had they been originally charged with the lesser offense.
The conclusion of the study found that by transferring a juvenile case to adult court, the offender’s chances at rehabilitation are seriously diminished. Also, the juveniles instead spend their time in adult jail, which correlates to a higher risk for reoffending and taking part in a violent crime. One of the contributing factors to this is that juveniles involved in the adult court process can remain in prison for up to a year before their case is heard, while their counterparts who have pending cases in juvenile court may spend just a month or so in detention.
As a result of the study’s findings, the Initiative is pointing to legislation that would amend the current Illinois law to avoid an automatic transfer of certain juvenile cases to adult court. Instead, the group wants to focus on legislation that would allow judges to exercise their discretion in determining which cases should be transferred in light of the circumstances and the individual defendant. Advocates tout the inherent advantages of having a judge, who is sitting in the best position to determine the circumstances of a person and a crime and make the decision to transfer a case, instead of a blanket approach instituted by the General Assembly.
Illinois is not the only state to keep such a law on its books. The law was enacted in the early 1980s and requires juveniles between the ages of 15 and 17 years old to be automatically transferred to adult court when charged with serious offenses including murder, armed robbery, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated battery with a firearm. Once a juvenile is tried as an adult, future charges will also be heard in adult court, no matter the severity of the offense.
Often, the problem is that juveniles are interrogated by officers without a lawyer present, are charged as an adult. They then plead guilty to a lesser charge as the result of bargaining. There is never an opportunity for the juvenile to be heard in court or have the case tried, which results in a situation in which the juvenile’s fate is essentially sealed at the point of arrest.
Criminal Defense Attorney
While some may consider the need for this change to be obvious, it may take a while to be put into practice if it approved at all. In the meantime, those charged with any criminal offense as a juvenile, but especially those who likely face a transfer to adult court, should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.