Archive for the ‘Criminal defense’ Category
March 20th, 2017 at 8:42 am
There are several different offenses that constitute disorderly conduct under Illinois law. However, one of the least obvious forms of disorderly conduct is voyeurism, or “peeping,” which is an invasion of privacy of someone else. The victim, or person who is spied upon, has had his or her personal space violated by the peeping act, and the Illinois courts take the invasion of privacy very seriously.
Like many of the other forms of disorderly conduct, the offense of peeping often involves a state of intoxication—but certainly not always. Being drunk is no excuse under the law for invading the privacy of another by spying on him or her in their home. However, it does lend context to how the peeping incident may have come to pass.
Many criminal defendants who are charged with disorderly conduct for peeping on someone did so as a result of exercising poor judgement, while in a state of intoxication, or were acting in response to peer pressure.
Whatever the case may be for you, if you are facing disorderly conduct charges for peeping, it is important that you work with a lawyer to fight the charges that are pending against you. You are facing a conviction on a misdemeanor offense. You could go to jail, pay a fine, get a criminal record, and you could develop a reputation if you are convicted.
What Constitutes “Peeping” Under Illinois Law?
Under 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(11), someone who looks into a dwelling through a window or other opening for the purpose of being lewd or for spying is considered a voyeur. The act must be done deliberately and for a lewd or unlawful purpose. There is a difference between accidentally and coincidentally looking into someone’s window and doing so with the deliberate intent of unlawfully watching someone through a window.
Deliberately peeping or spying on someone without his or her knowledge is illegal in Illinois and it is a crime that is taken very seriously. Since the offender must have a lewd or ill intent in order to commit the crime, a possible defense is that there was no lewd intent to the act. It could be that the defendant just happened to look in a window and saw someone, or that it was an accident.
While such a defense may be the truth, it can be difficult to prove intent. Still, an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you put your strongest defense forward as you fight your disorderly conduct charges.
Are You Facing Disorderly Conduct Charges?
If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct, such as peeping on another through a window or some other opening to a dwelling, it is important that you get into touch with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. You could be facing a misdemeanor if you are convicted.
March 15th, 2017 at 7:31 am
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Illinois, it is imperative that you appear in court for all of your scheduled court appearances. You may think that it is unnecessary, or that the court has already made up its mind and you showing up will have no bearing on your fate. However, a failure to appear in court is a big deal for a criminal defendant in Illinois and it can have serious and unpleasant consequences.
Best and Worst Case Scenarios
If you have been charged with a crime, you are already in a pretty tough situation. It makes no sense to do something that could make your situation worse. Not appearing for a scheduled court date will not bode well with the court. It is considered disrespectful and rude to miss your scheduled court appearance. The judge, the prosecutors, and your attorney have all made the time to show up to your hearing, and you should show up too. But what could happen if you fail to appear in court?
When it comes handling situations where a criminal defendant fails to appear in court, the judge has great discretion. In the best case scenario, the judge will presume there is a good reason why the defendant has not appeared in court. For instance, if there is unexpected and bad winter weather it is likely that the defendant could not make his or her court date because of the snow. The judge could simply reschedule the hearing—but this is unlikely. Many judges take offense to being stood up by criminal defendants. What is more likely to happen is that the judge will take some sort of action against you for failing to appear for your scheduled court appointment.
It is not uncommon for a judge to revoke a criminal defendant’s bond, meaning that if the criminal defendant is out of jail because he or she made bond, the judge will take away the criminal defendant’s option to be out of jail on bond, and the criminal defendant will be forced to return to jail. This is usually accompanied by the judge issuing a warrant for the criminal defendant’s arrest.
When the offenses that the criminal defendant is facing are relatively minor, such as the case when the defendant does not show up to a traffic court appointment after receiving a traffic citation, the judge could simply find the defendant guilty as charged.
Work With Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Illinois, it is important that you get into contact with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. You should work closely with your lawyer. Moreover, if you are concerned that you might not be able to make a court appearance, you should discuss your situation with your lawyer.
February 13th, 2017 at 9:39 am
One of the most detrimental aspects of a juvenile getting in trouble with the law for committing a criminal offense is that the incident will create a law enforcement and juvenile court record for the minor. Parents and affected juveniles can try to obtain an expungement, which means that they obtain a court order that hides the criminal record from the view of the public. However, a few select entities, such as the government, may still have access to expunged records.
Expunging the record means that the criminal record would not appear in a background check conducted by most individuals, and the affected individual would not have to disclose his or her expunged criminal history.
New Changes to the Law Concerning How Juveniles Can Seek Expungements
The trouble with obtaining a criminal record expungement in the past for a juvenile in Illinois was that there were many restrictions on how and when a juvenile could seek an expungement. However, in 2017 there will be several changes made to Illinois’ criminal justice laws. One change that has particular relevance to minors is how juveniles can seek expungement of their criminal records.
The new law provides that a person who is under the age of 18 years old can petition the court at any time to have his or her criminal record and juvenile court record expunged, or once the juvenile court proceedings against them related to the offense have concluded. The old law limited seeking expungement to juveniles who were 17 years old or older. Eligibility for the ability to petition the juvenile court for expungement is available to:
- Juveniles who were arrested, but no petition for delinquency was filed with the clerk of court against them, i.e., if the charges were dropped against the juvenile;
- Juveniles who were charged with an offense and a petition for delinquency was filed with the clerk of court, but the petition(s) were dismissed by the court without a finding that the juvenile was delinquent; i.e., the judge dismissed the case against the juvenile;
- Juveniles who were arrested and charged, but were not found to be delinquent by the juvenile court, i.e., the juvenile was found not guilty;
- Juveniles who are placed under supervision of the court, and the juvenile’s period of supervision has been successfully completed; and
- Juveniles who are adjudicated for a low-level offense, such as a Class B misdemeanor, Class C misdemeanor, or petty or business offense.
It is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer fighting the juvenile charges against you so that you will be able to have the charges dropped or dismissed. Once your defense is won, you can seek an expungement of your juvenile criminal record.
Juveniles With Criminal Records Need Help With Expungement
A criminal record may prevent you from getting a job or getting into school. If you want to do something about getting your record expunged, you should contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for immediate assistance.
November 2nd, 2016 at 7:00 am
Countless people in Illinois get behind the wheel when they do not have a valid driver’s license. These drivers may have never obtained a driver’s license in the first place, could have a suspended driver’s license, or could have had their driving privileges revoked. According to a recent news article posted by WREX.com, far more Illinois drivers get behind the wheel without a valid driver’s license than one might think.
What Motivates People to Drive Without a License?
According to the article, across the state of Illinois, state law enforcement have issued citations to more than 100,000 drivers who were behind the wheel while driving on a revoked or suspended driver’s license. Between the years of 2011 and 2015, there were more than 300,000 convictions for driving with a revoked or suspended driver’s license. Why are these numbers so high? Why do people choose to risk it and drive when they do not have a valid driver’s license?
There are several reasons why people choose to risk it and drive despite having a revoked, suspended, or simply no driver’s license at all. Common reasons include the following:
- Driving is more convenient than public transportation, biking, or walking;
- Some people living in Illinois are unaware of how to obtain a driver’s license, such as undocumented immigrants, or foreign nationals; and
- Unlicensed drivers often have no other choice—they either drive themselves without a license, or they cannot go to work or run errands.
How Do I Avoid Losing My Driver’s License?
There are a number of criminal offenses that can result in your driver’s license being revoked or suspended. For instance, a DUI conviction will result in your driver’s license being revoked. Or, committing too many traffic violations in a short amount of time can result in too many points accumulating on your driver’s license, which can lead to your license being suspended.
Losing your driving privileges due to a driver’s license suspension or revocation can seriously disrupt your life. Driver’s license suspensions and revocations can span many years, leaving you unable to legally drive for a long time. That is why it is so important to fight any criminal charges that are pressed against you which could potentially cost you your driving privileges.
If you have been charged with any criminal offenses that could potentially cost you your driver’s license, it is critically important that you get in touch with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you fight the charges against to you, potentially getting your criminal charges dropped or reduced to a lesser offense.
Contact an Illinois Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation Lawyer
Losing your driver’s license can upend your life and can make getting everyday things in your life done in an effective way a challenge. Having a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer to help you fight for your driving privileges, or to reinstate your driver’s license after a suspension or revocation, is always a good idea.
July 20th, 2016 at 6:00 am
Drug possession is one of the most common drug charges that criminal defendants face. When it comes to drug possession, whether it’s marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, prescription pills or other controlled substances, it is important to understand that there are two types of drug possession: actual possession and constructive possession.
What Is Actual Possession of Drugs?
Actual possession arises when you are caught with the drugs on your person. This might mean that the drugs were found by law enforcement who are conducting a search, in your pocket, or tucked away in some other article of your clothing. Actual possession can also be established if you are found with drugs in your purse or backpack that you are carrying with you when you are searched.
Drug charges based on actual possession are tough to defend against since you are basically caught red-handed. But just because drugs were found on your person does not necessarily mean that you had knowledge that you were carrying drugs (someone else could have slipped the drugs in your purse or pocket), or that the drugs are yours. Furthermore, the drugs can only be entered as evidence against you if the stop conducted by the police officers, the search, and the seizure were all done legally.
What Is Constructive Possession of Drugs?
Constructive possession arises when drugs are found somewhere that can be associated with your control. For instance, if drugs are found in your bedroom, in your house or apartment, in your car or trunk, in your shed, in your field, in your locker, etc., you can be considered as having constructive possession of the drugs since these places are linked to your ownership or control.
Drug charges based on constructive possession are easier to fight since there may be a lot of opportunities for other people to have intervened and placed the drugs in or on property that can be associated with you. While it is tough to argue that drugs found in a secret box stashed under your bed were put there by someone else, it is possible that drugs could have been left in your home or car by a friend, for example. It is also possible that someone else was trespassing on your property and planted marijuana plants in your field. When other people have access to these areas, it becomes increasingly more difficult to demonstrate your possession.
How Can a Drug Possession Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you fight the drug possession charges that you are facing by chipping away at the prosecution’s case against you. Your lawyer will determine whether you are accused of having actual or constructive possession of the drugs, and will identify any and all possible defenses that you could raise. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately.
July 14th, 2016 at 10:47 am
Some criminal defendants find themselves facing possession of burglary tools, under 720 ILCS 5/19-2, perhaps in addition to burglary charges, and do not understand why they are being charged with this crime. Sometimes they may not have even committed a burglary, and yet they still will be charged with possession of burglary tools. This can be confusing and distressing for the defendant, since the defendant is facing felony criminal charges, with serious consequences, such as loss of their freedom, if they are convicted. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you fight burglary and possession of burglary tools charges.
A conviction for the crime of possession of burglary tools does not require that the prosecution show that the criminal defendant had the specific intent to break and enter into a building or dwelling. Rather, possession of burglary tools is a general intent crime, i.e., the mere possession of burglary tools implies that the defendant had a general intent to use the tools for their intended purpose, which is for breaking and entering a building. Possession of burglary tools merely requires that the criminal defendant knowingly possessed tools that are used for the purpose of committing burglary or breaking and entering.
What Are Some Examples of Burglary Tools?
There are a number of tools that could be considered burglary tools for the purposes of a possession of burglary tools charge. For instance, a few common tools that have been found to be burglary tools include:
- Stolen keys;
- Unauthorized copies of keys;
- Keys that are designed for lock bumping;
- Lock picking instruments;
- Lock picking devices;
- Glass cutting tools;
- Explosives; and
- Other tools suitable for breaking into a dwelling or building.
Are There Defenses to Possession of Burglary Tools Charges?
There are legitimate defenses to possession of burglary tools charges. For instance, certain people have a legitimate reason for possessing the kinds of tools, instruments, and devices that can be used to break into a home, safe or vehicle. For instance, there are a number of professionals who regularly need these types of tools to do their job.
- Locksmiths. A locksmith’s entire job revolves around being able to open locks.
- Security officers. Security officers often have in their possession tools that can be used for breaking and entering, in the event that staff loses their keys.
- Law enforcement. Sometimes law enforcement officers need to break and enter into a building, vehicle or safe, presumably with a valid warrant, and thus law enforcement may have these types of tools in their possession.
- Auto mechanics. Some auto mechanics that offer car unlocking services for vehicle owners who have locked their keys in the car may have tools that are used to break into locked cars.
- Private detectives. Private detectives are often hired to investigate, and their investigation may involve an authorized breaking and entering (e.g., a wife might hire a private investigator to determine if her husband is cheating, and she might authorize the private detective to break into her husband’s locked desk in their shared home).
Reach Out to Us for Help
There are valid reasons why certain people may possess tools that are capable of being used for breaking and entering. If you are facing burglary or possession of burglary tools charges, please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as you can for professional assistance with your case.
July 5th, 2016 at 12:39 pm
Diversion programs are alternative prosecution programs that are available to many first-time offenders who have committed nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors and are being prosecuted in Cook County. These programs are designed to help first-time offenders avoid criminal convictions and jail time by participating and completing diversion programming. Through participation in the program, those first-time offenders who otherwise would have become convicted criminals are given the opportunity to receive treatment and to contribute to their communities. Additionally, upon the successful completion of their diversion programming, the criminal defendant’s criminal charges will be dropped.
Eligibility for Diversion Programming In Cook County
The Assistant State’s Attorneys identify criminal cases where the defendant may be a good candidate for the diversion program. These defendants are notified and offered an opportunity to participate in the program. If the defendant is interested in participating in a diversion program then the Assistant State’s Attorneys will determine if the remaining eligibility criteria can be satisfied.
There are certain eligibility requirements for Cook County’s diversion programs. These requirements include:
- The criminal defendant must be an adult charged in Cook County;
- The criminal defendant must be a first time offender, meaning that he or she cannot have any previous felony or misdemeanor convictions for a crime involving violence.;
- The charges pending against the criminal defendant must be nonviolent felony or misdemeanor charges. Eligible criminal charges include:
- Retail theft;
- Fraud, credit card fraud, and ID fraud;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Burglary; and
- Drug possession;
- The charges cannot be for:
- Weapons offenses; and
- Domestic violence charges;
- The victim of the crime must consent to the criminal defendant’s participation in a diversion program.
How Does the Program Work?
The Cook County diversion program places certain conditions and requirements on the criminal defendant based on their offense and their particular situation and the program lasts for 12 months. For instance, one participant in the program might have been a first-time drug possession offender. This criminal defendant’s diversion program might require that the defendant participate in and complete a drug rehabilitation program.
Some other examples of conditions of a diversion program include:
- The requirement that the criminal defendant get a job;
- The requirement that the criminal defendant earn a GED;
- Participation in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program;
- Restrictions on the criminal defendant’s possession of weapons, drugs, or firearms while participating in the program; and
- Refraining from reoffending.
First Time Offenders Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are a first-time offender it is important that you pursue a diversion program if you are eligible. Participation and completion of a diversion program will result in your charges being dropped, meaning that you will not have a criminal record. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for diversion programming, can work through the pros and cons of applying for a diversion program, and can assist you with the application process.
June 20th, 2016 at 6:22 pm
Criminal defendants have a choice when facing criminal charges: they can either fight the charges in court, or they can enter into a plea agreement. In many cases, it is in a criminal defendant’s best interest to fight the charges that they are facing. By fighting the charges, it is possible to have the charges reduced or dropped entirely.
However, there may be a situation where it is in the best interest of the criminal defendant to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution, with the help of a skilled and seasoned criminal defense lawyer, to reach an agreement that results in lesser charges or lesser sentencing for the criminal defendant.
Nearly all criminal charges can be settled with a plea deal. In fact, a majority of criminal cases are resolved through a plea agreement. Plea bargaining is an effective means for resolving a case, which saves on time, court costs, and attorney fees. A plea agreement can provide certainty in the situation, and can be a great tool for reducing sentencing or avoiding jail time, especially when the criminal defendant was undeniably guilty of the crime.
Plea bargaining can be available in all types of criminal cases, including:
- Drug offenses;
- Assault and battery charges;
- Theft crimes;
- Fraud charges; and
- Drunk driving crimes.
Why Would a Criminal Defendant Ever Choose a Plea Agreement?
It is imperative that you consult with a criminal defense lawyer before you choose to go down the path of a plea bargain. A plea bargain generally involves admitting some amount of guilt, and thus generating a conviction and creating a criminal record based on that crime. There are a number of good reasons that criminal defendants choose to enter into a plea agreement. These reasons include:
- Reduction of sentencing;
- Reduction of the charges;
- Quick resolution of the criminal proceeding;
- Avoidance of jail time;
- A plea agreement provides certainty, whereas a trial is up to a jury; and
- Avoidance of unwanted publicity of the case (the news media can report on criminal cases before the court, and a criminal defendant might want to avoid the media spotlight).
If you think that a plea agreement is a good idea for you, you should ask a lawyer just to make sure that you are making a good decision. Your lawyer can go over the benefits and consequences of entering into a plea agreement and can offer you legal advice on how you should proceed in your case. Even if you do not like what your criminal lawyer has to say, the choice is still up to you. If you do choose to enter into a plea agreement, your criminal lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.
Is a Plea Agreement Right for You? Ask a Lawyer
If you have the opportunity to enter into a plea bargain, you should consult with an attorney first. You need to understand the benefits of a plea agreement, but also the potential consequences you might face in your particular situation. Our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys can help you. Reach out to us today for a consultation.
February 4th, 2016 at 8:33 am
Many people who are facing criminal charges are focused on how their charges could affect their life. A criminal conviction could mean going to jail, paying a large fine, rehabilitation, losing a job, creating a criminal record, etc. However, when the criminal defendant is a parent, the outcome of their case could have a significant impact on their child in addition to themselves. Not only are there short-term consequences, such as being unable to be there and provide for the child due to incarceration, but there are also unforeseen long-term consequences as well.
A Criminal Record is Not Just Hard On You
When you have kids, they rely on you for more than meets the eye. Not only do children financially depend on their parents, but they also rely on their parents as a source of love, affection, attention, guidance and support. When even just one parent is not around, for instance because the parent is in jail, it can be exceptionally hard on a child.
The Center for American Progress recently issued a report that focused on the various impacts that criminal charges, even merely misdemeanor charges, can have on children and families. The report explores the consequences a criminal record can have on two generations: the parent who has the criminal record and his or her children. Little attention is given to how the challenges that the parent faces due to his or her criminal record trickle down to the child as the child grows up. Barriers that the parent faces because of the criminal record are also faced by the child, as well
The report noted that approximately 300,000 children in Illinois are adversely impacted by their parent’s criminal record, and across the country nearly half of all American children have at least one parent with a criminal record. Criminal background checks are performed by colleges, employers and landlord, all of which are important to gaining upward mobility and increasing one’s chances to obtain a better living. Because parents are not able to overcome certain barriers due to their criminal record, their children are negatively impacted.
A criminal record can make life challenging. Not only can a criminal record prevent a parent from getting a job, it can also prevent the parent from getting a better job, or moving up economically. A criminal record can prevent a parent from getting an education, or participating in training programs that could lead to better job prospects in the future. Poor job prospects in turn impacts the family’s income potential, which also affects the family’s ability to save money or to spend money on things that could enrich a child’s life. When a family has difficulty obtaining income, it forces the family to make sacrifices and endure hardships.
Call Our Office for Help
A criminal record affects more than just you and your life, it can also have a significant impact on your family and your children. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges you are facing. Please contact us today for more information on how we can assist you throughout your case.
January 13th, 2016 at 9:35 am
Many people who have been taken into custody feel pressured and scared. When criminal suspects do not know their rights, there is a chance that law enforcement will take liberties with the suspect, questioning them and trying to draw out a confession, when the suspect should have asked for an attorney. Juveniles accused of a crime are particularly at risk for this to happen to them. Sometimes, law enforcement will say that the suspect admitted to something, or confessed, when in reality they did not, or sometimes law enforcement will twist something the suspect says and call it a confession. Regardless of how it happens, these are not true confessions. They are fake or coerced, and should not be taken as the truth.
Police and prosecutors will treat a false confession as if it were real, and proving that the confession was fake or coerced from the start can be challenging. A false confession can lead to a criminal conviction, a long prison sentence, and a lasting criminal record.
Why Do Suspects Give False Confessions in the First Place?
There are a number of reasons why a suspect might give a false confession. They might be overwhelmed by the whole situation, they might be pressured into the false confession, or police might have threatened the suspect into confessing or tricked the suspect by using psychological manipulation. The police might suggest that they have more evidence than they really do against the suspect, or that the charges that the suspect faces are less serious than they really are. These techniques can all be used to elicit a false confession from a criminal suspect.
Some suspects are vulnerable from the outset, and are more likely than the average person to give a false confession. Criminal suspects who have developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, or emotional issues are more likely to crack under pressure, or are more likely to not understand what it is that they are doing. These individuals can be susceptible to influence, high-pressure tactics, and the power of suggestion.
Additionally, young individuals who are facing criminal charges may not fully understand the impact of what giving a false confession means for them. A young person might give a false confession because they are scared, or because they are trying to cover for their friends who perpetrated the crime. Juveniles often have an imperfect understanding about what the consequences are to admitting criminal guilt.
Anyone who is facing criminal charges should ask for an experienced criminal lawyer and should not tell the police anything until discussing their situation with a lawyer first.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
Giving a false confession is a serious matter, because it can lead to a conviction which can put you in jail for a crime you did not commit. Let an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney help you develop your criminal defense if you are facing charges. Please contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We can also be reached by calling (847) 394-3200.