Archive for the ‘Felony’ Category
December 7th, 2016 at 8:57 am
During the holiday season there is a noticeable spike in the instances of retail theft. For whatever reason, people are more likely to shoplift in November and December than at any other time of the year. A higher rate of foot traffic in stores around the holidays makes it easier to commit retail theft. Moreover, there are a lot of pressures placed on people this time of the year, which can drive them to committing an act of shoplifting.
According to MarketWatch, the most commonly stolen items around the holidays in the United States include:
- Electronics and electronics accessories, such as cell phone cases, headphones, etc.;
- Winter or leather clothing;
- Meat, seafood, alcohol and chocolates;
- Children’s toys; and
- Perfume or cologne.
Ultimately, many of these items, such as electronics and electronic accessories, leather clothing, and some children’s toys, can be greatly valued. It is not uncommon for electronics to cost hundreds of dollars, which might be part of the reason why someone would steal these items from a store in the first place.
What is Felony Retail Theft in Illinois?
In regards to retail theft in Illinois, the severity of the crime depends on the value of the item, or collection of items, that is stolen. According to 720 ILCS 5/16-25, stealing an item from a store that is valued at more than $300 puts you at risk of being charged and convicted of felony retail theft. Simply stealing a cell phone, a handheld video gaming device, or an Apple product, would be valued high enough to charge you with a felony level offense.
Shoplifting can result in serious consequences. You will face jail time, be charged with a fine, and will have a criminal record that will follow you around for many years—a record in which future employers and landlords will likely find in a background check. Moreover, the consequences of getting caught shoplifting will also affect your family and loved ones, since they will need to help you through your arrest, trial, and possibly your jail sentence. The consequences extend even further than that as well. In order to make up for losses resulting from retail theft, retailers often markup the cost of items that they sell, which means that all customers have to pay higher prices.
Contact Us for Help with Your Case
Getting caught shoplifting can ruin your holidays. Not only will you be arrested and charged with a crime, but your family will also have to deal with the consequences of your actions, which can really dampen the holiday spirit. If you are facing shoplifting charges this holiday season, then you need to get in touch with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Illinois Gun Crime Laws: Parts of the Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon Statute May Be Unconstitutional
March 3rd, 2015 at 5:56 am
Thousands of people have been prosecuted in Illinois for having guns. Up until the last couple of years, Illinois was the lone holdout state that did not even allow for concealed carry permits. Our gun crime laws are harsh. However, in addition to being harsh, as it turns out, some of them are also unconstitutional. When a criminal law is held unconstitutional, then prosecutors are no longer allowed to prosecute people under that law.
What Gun Law is Unconstitutional?
Illinois law includes a crime called “aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.” This statute makes it illegal to possess a firearm under various different sets of circumstances. Some of this law is still enforceable. But other portions of it are unconstitutional because they violate the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. For example, the portion of the law that makes it always a crime to carry an uncased, loaded, immediately accessible firearm on your person or in a vehicle goes too far. It acts as a comprehensive ban on the use of firearms for self-defense outside the home, thus rendering it unconstitutional. Similarly, the part of the law that prohibits all carrying of such guns on public ways is unconstitutional for the same reason.
Reasonable Restrictions are Permitted
While these outright bans on gun possession are not constitutional, the other portions of Illinois gun law that act more as restrictions on the right to bear arms are usually held to be constitutional. Under Illinois law this includes things like the requirement that a gun carrier have a FOID card and prohibitions on 19- and 20 year-olds receiving the documentation required to possess firearms. It also includes common exceptions to the right to bear arms such as laws that say people with felony convictions, people with certain mental health histories, intoxicated people, and fugitives of the law cannot lawfully possess guns. People who are or have recently been subject to an order of protection are also usually prohibited from having guns both under state law and federal law.
What is a FOID Card?
A FOID card is not the same as a concealed carry permit. FOID cards are somewhat unique to Illinois and they are used to identify those individuals who are eligible to possess and obtain firearms and ammunition. Illinois residents who own or possess firearms generally are required to have a FOID card. There is a separate application process from the concealed carry application process. Once one has a FOID card it is good for 10 years, assuming the applicant remains otherwise eligible to possess firearms.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
When you are charged with a crime, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney on your side. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We are here to fight for you. Reach out to us today at (847)394-3200.
February 19th, 2015 at 10:22 am
To many people, hijacking sounds like something that happens on an airplane in an action movie from the late twentieth century. While it is that, hijacking is also a type of crime that happens right in in Illinois. Specifically, Illinois law prohibits what it calls “vehicular hijacking.” If you find yourself charged with this crime, you will need the help of a felony criminal defense attorney.
What is Vehicular Hijacking?
Illinois statute defines vehicular hijacking as a person knowingly taking a motor vehicle from another person by either using force or by threatening the imminent use of force. It is basically the same as robbery, except instead of taking some other type of property, the hijacker takes the victim’s car. It is important to note that the car has to be taken directly from the person or from the person’s presence. Thus, stealing a car from an empty garage would not count as vehicular hijacking. Vehicular hijacking is a slightly more serious offense than robbery, in that even in its most benign forms it is a Class 1 felony.
What is Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking?
There are six ways a regular vehicular hijacking can become aggravated vehicular hijacking under Illinois law. The first two of these are punishable as Class X felonies. These two types are:
- Vehicular hijacking where the vehicle is taken from someone over age 60 or someone who is physically handicapped; and
- Vehicular hijacking where a person under the age of 16 is a passenger in the vehicle when the hijacking occurs.
The other four types of this offense are as follows:
- The third type of aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X felony for which the court must sentence an offender to at least seven years in prison. These are vehicular hijackings where the hijacker has a dangerous weapon other than a firearm.
- The fourth type involves a hijacker who is armed with a gun. This is a Class X felony but it comes with a 15-year firearm add-on to the sentence.
- The fifth type occurs when the hijacker personally discharges the firearm during the hijacking. This is a Class X felony, but it comes with a 20-year mandatory firearm add-on.
- The final type involves the hijacker firing a firearm and someone getting seriously hurt because of it. This is a Class X felony that carries with it a firearm add-on of 25 years to natural life.
Vehicular invasion is a related crime. This Class 1 felony is committed when a person knowingly, by force and without legal justification, enters a motor vehicle or reaches into one when the following two conditions are met:
- There is at least one person in the vehicle; and
- The person reaching into the car or entering the car is doing so in order to commit a theft or a felony.
Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are charged with vehicular hijacking or any other criminal offense, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200 to schedule a case consultation to discuss your situation and determine how we can best be of help.
January 30th, 2015 at 1:57 pm
Gun crimes are a reality in our society. Otherwise law abiding citizens find themselves carrying guns or other weapons for self-defense when they themselves would never want to hurt a fly. Others resort to protective measures like bullet-proof vests or bullet-proof backpacks to protect themselves. While combining both measures may seem like an excellent self-defense strategy, doing so in Illinois could wind you up in some hot water.
What is Body Armor?
Illinois has a statute that defines body armor. Body armor can be any of the following:
Military-Style Vests and Jackets. These include flack jackets, military surveillance vests, and other types of protective armor designed to be worn by military personnel. They are made of Kevlar or similar materials which are designed to prevent bullets from penetrating the chest. Usually these vests or jackets are designed to be worn over your clothing.
Soft body armor. Unlike flack jackets, these vests are softer, but they still contain Kevlar. These are designed to be worn under a shirt. In movies and on television when characters are shot and then get back up to reveal they had a “bullet-proof vest” on under their shirts, this is the type of body armor they are portraying.
Undercover body armor. Unlike the vest/jacket types mentioned above, this type of body armor can take many forms. While it still includes bullet-resistant material like Kevlar, it can take the form of a jacket, coat, raincoat, quilted vest, or three piece suit vests. The key part of this portion of the statute is that the prohibited body armor was designed to be used by undercover police officers. Since that is a requirement, it is unlikely that things designed for use by school children like bulletproof backpacks would be covered.
Wearing Body Armor Can be a Crime
There is a crime in Illinois called “unlawful use of body armor.” If a person knowingly wears body armor and is in possession of a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, in the commission or attempted commission of any offense, then he or she is guilty of this crime. This means that committing a crime while possessing a weapon that is not a gun and wearing body armor at the same time is a crime.
Interestingly, one does not commit this crime if he or she is carrying a gun as opposed to a different dangerous weapon. However, there is a different crime one has to be concerned about when a gun is involved. If a person commits the crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm while wearing or in possession of body armor, then he or she is guilty of a class X felony punishable by at least 10 and no more than 40 years in prison. Additionally, if one wears or possesses body armor while possessing a gun and not having been issued a valid Firearms Owner’s Identification Card, then he or she is guilty of a class X felony.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are charged with a weapons crime or any criminal offense, you will need an experienced and passionate lawyer on your side. That is why you should call the law offices of experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. When you call us at (847)394-3200 we can schedule a consultation to discuss your case and see if we can be of help.
December 4th, 2014 at 10:59 am
Considering some of the tragic events that occur in the world today, it is perhaps not surprising that citizens who choose to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms also may choose to travel with their firearms. Whether they anticipate using the weapon for self defense or protection, or just simply to gain some peace of mind, it is important for those individuals choosing to do so to realize that there are usually laws regulating weapon possession by which they must abide. If not, violators of weapons laws may face serious criminal charges, including felony crimes. Visitors to this area should also be aware that they need to follow Chicago gun laws, as well.
Gun Laws in Chicago
According to a recently published news article, gun owners who visit Chicago should familiarize themselves with the city’s gun laws before deciding to take their weapon with them to the city, or to the state of Illinois. There are three main laws governing possession of firearms that are applicable throughout the state, including in the city of Chicago: one in the Criminal Code, one in the Wildlife Code, and the Firearm Owner’s Identification Act. These laws are in addition to any local regulations or ordinances put in place by smaller communities within the state of Illinois. Even those who are not residents of Illinois are subjected to these laws and are expected to abide by them while in the state.
Nonresidents who are in possession of a firearm in Illinois are expected to have their weapon properly registered in their home state. They would also likely do well to meet any other requirements imposed by their home state regarding the legal possession of the firearm. In addition, nonresidents who want to transport their weapon into Illinois must carry it in a closed case, and the weapon must not be immediately accessible or otherwise must be broken down so that it is not in functioning condition. Chicago does not recognize concealed carry permits from other states, but nonresidents from states with concealed carry laws that are substantially similar to Illinois’ law can apply for a permit here.
Criminal Defense Attorney
There have been many changes to Chicago gun laws in the recent past, including how they apply to nonresidents. As a result, legal issues regarding this area of law can get complicated quite quickly. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney about the most recent gun laws in Illinois and how they affect your rights is the safest way to ensure the laws are followed and criminal conduct is avoided.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a weapons offense in the Chicago area, contact the Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation to discuss your matter. Our office is located in Rolling Meadows.
October 16th, 2014 at 10:50 am
White collar crime is often not considered as serious as other types of criminal conduct, but it is often punished just as harshly. Depending on the type of crime and the severity of the offense, the defendant could be looking at a substantial amount in prison. In many cases, white collar crimes may be prosecuted at the federal level in federal court. Such cases involve slightly different laws and procedure, plus the imposition of a federal prison term.
There has been discussion in Illinois and across the country recently about sentencing reform, decriminalization of certain criminal acts, and shorter prison terms. All of this is likely in an effort to achieve both fair and practical effects by both reforming the criminal justice system and decreasing prison populations. According to recent report, there has been an important shift in the federal prison population toward those ends.
First Drop in Decades
The federal prison population has decreased by about 4,800 inmates in the last year. The Justice Department reports that this marks the first time the number has gone down in several decades. In addition, the Justice Department reportedly projects that the prison population will be about 215,000 inmates at the end of the current budget year, which would reflect a total decrease of about 5,000 from the same count taken just one year ago. If that happens, it would mark the first time since 1980 that the federal prison population has actually declined over the course of a year.
Going forward, it seems as though the trend will continue. The Bureau of Prisons released internal figures that show an expected decrease of over 2,000 prisoners to happen in the next year, and almost another 10,000-inmate decrease the year after that.
What is Causing the Shift?
In commenting on what factors have contributed to the decline in federal inmates, Attorney General Eric Holder said that a decrease in crime rates has had an effect on prison populations.
Holder has been working to reduce prison populations across the country over the course of the past year. His efforts included taking actions such as discouraging prosecutors from charging nonviolent offenders with crimes that would carry mandatory minimum sentences, to encouraging certain prisoners to apply for clemency, to supporting reduced sentencing guidelines. He is also encouraging the government to measure the success of its criminal justice policies by how many people are prosecuted and sentenced to prison. He is purportedly of the opinion that the idea of using enforcement as the measure of success is outdated and that a holistic approach is preferable and more useful.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorney to advocate for your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We have successful experience representing clients in Cook County and surrounding areas.
September 19th, 2014 at 4:02 pm
Domestic violence cases often are troubling situations that bring up serious issues. These charges are not limited to one group or a specific type of offender; anyone from any socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic background can be involved in such a scenario. This is further evidenced by a news story that has become popular as of late. Since the official start of the 2014-2015 National Football League (NFL) season, news and other media outlets have been consistently reporting on a notorious domestic violence incident that became public knowledge in February of 2014, but has garnered new and deserving attention since more details of the incident surfaced recently.
Illinois Domestic Violence Law Signed
Even before this news story concerning the professional football player garnered renewed attention, officials in the state of Illinois had their attention turned to the topic of domestic violence. At the end of August, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation known as “Diane’s Law” into effect. The law is meant to provide protection to survivors of domestic violence by allowing courts to order risk assessment evaluations as a condition of bails and to require electronic surveillance via GPS monitoring of those charged with the crime in order to enforce restraining orders. Charges covered by the new law will include domestic battery, kidnapping, stalking, harassment, and attempted murder.
The Governor reported that this action is part of a larger focus on promoting public safety, and that specifically, he intends for the law to protect victims and prevent future tragedies. The law goes a step further by being focused on prevention and not just protection of victims. It is purportedly named after a domestic violence victim who was murdered by a former boyfriend just three days after renewing a protective order against him. The purpose of the law is to strengthen protective orders and give police additional tools in their enforcement, as well as providing for increased penalties for domestic violence offenders. The law, known as House Bill 3744, will become effective January 1, 2015.
The law is one of several signed into effect by Governor Quinn since 2012 regarding domestic violence in Illinois. Other initiatives included classifying domestic violence crimes as a felony if a defendant has a prior conviction, requiring that school boards adopt a policy regarding teen dating violence, protecting victims who may be covered by their abuser’s insurance policies, and allowing prosecutors to use prior domestic violence conditions as evidence in certain murder cases which involve the crime.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Domestic violence cases deserve professional attention. The experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are familiar with the recent changes to domestic violence law in the state of Illinois and are prepared to advise their clients accordingly. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
August 12th, 2014 at 7:00 am
The state of Illinois has frequently been in the news as of late regarding numerous programs and efforts regarding criminal justice that are in various stages of development and implementation. In fact, our law firm’s blog has featured many articles related to these efforts, including expungement seminars and attempts at sentencing revision. Now, a recent news article is highlighting an anti-violence program, in light of information that was discovered about it, as the result of a new study that was performed by researchers.
CeaseFire is a program that furthers anti-violence efforts among the criminal population. Now, the program itself is under scrutiny as a new study is now underway regarding its effectiveness. Northwestern University previously conducted a study, which found that CeaseFire acts to reduce crime as participants, called “interrupters,” hit the streets in the most dangerous neighborhoods and attempt to settle conflicts before guns are used in shooting wars. Those who participate as interrupters are often ex-felons themselves. The new study being conducted by the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago is being performed in an effort to reveal some additional information about the true impact of the program CeaseFire, and many are saying that the questions being studied are ones that need answers.
As mentioned, some of the interrupters who participate in CeaseFire have been charged and convicted of serious crimes. This fact brings up an urgent issue about the use of ex-felons within the program. In one recent example, a man working as an interrupter for about one year was arrested and charged with sexual assault and kidnapping of a teen girl. The offenses are alleged to have occurred while the man was working for the program. His charges are pending, and no decision about his guilt has been made in connection with this most recent case. He is among at least nine other individuals who have faced serious criminal charges during the time they were CeaseFire employees.
Many officers, particularly in Chicago, are at best skeptical of the CeaseFire program and its use of ex-felons as interrupters. However, it may be foreseeable that a program such as CeaseFire, attempting to combat violence on the street level, will encounter similar problems. Part of the rationale behind CeaseFire employing criminals is due to their credibility with young men on the street who may be following in the same path. However, it may be inevitable that some will return to a life of crime.
Police would reportedly like the program to report crime tips to law enforcement, which program directors will not agree to since it would compromise the program’s effectiveness. Ironically, police are supposedly using some of the same techniques as CeaseFire in an effort to de-escalate violent situations before they occur, with the thought that targeting a small number of known violent offenders could have a big impact on decreasing violence overall. The study referenced above is attempting to determine whether CeaseFire or police are more effective in curbing violence on the street level.
Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can protect your rights. Contact us today in our Rolling Meadows office for a consultation.
April 3rd, 2014 at 7:56 am
In filling out numerous types of documents and applications required for everyday things, many of us have likely noticed questions related to prior felony convictions. It may not be applicable to everyone, but for those who have to indicate a prior conviction, it could mean they are denied a job or a home and, as a result, a new start. A recent article discussed the discrimination associated with those who have a criminal record, as well as a campaign started by a prisoners’ rights organization aimed at removing the question from public employee forms.
Ban the Box
Ten years ago, the organization All of Us or None began the “Ban the Box” campaign, which 10 states and dozens of local jurisdictions have joined, in an effort to get any questions about prior felony convictions removed from public employee forms. They have had some success recently, which has propelled a movement at the national level to improve hiring opportunities for mostly non-violent criminal offenders.
States and Local Jurisdictions are Responding
In San Francisco, the mayor signed the Fair Chance Ordinance into law, which not only addressed the question appearing on public employee forms, but also on paperwork related to affordable housing and private employers with more than 20 employees. The idea is that punishing someone twice for the same past mistake is not a worthwhile goal.
The state of Illinois has implemented similar state laws regarding the removal of conviction history questions on public employment applications, and Chicago is among the jurisdictions mentioned above that have implemented ban the box policies.
Limits of Ban the Box
Although many states and jurisdictions may be taking actions in preventing initial disclosure of criminal history to avoid employers automatically disqualifying prior convicts for a given position, it will not prevent the information from being shared at all. Rather, many laws (like the one passed in California last year) will specify that the job applicant does not have to disclose criminal convictions until after a potential employer determines that the applicant otherwise meets the minimum qualifications required for the job.
Some States Hesitant to Follow Suit
While some jurisdictions in the south have implemented ban the box, no southern states have taken the step to pass or propose such a law going into effect. In order for the movement as a whole to be successful, the idea needs to be implemented in different places across the country, and also needs to include private employment practices, housing, and loan applications. The overarching theme of the movement is not only equal treatment, but also a shift in society’s thinking so that all people can hope for a better life.
Criminal Defense Attorney
There have been numerous issues involving criminal justice and improvements to the system in the United States that have developed lately. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you not only in protecting your rights in court, but in giving you the best chance of improving your life going forward. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation if you have been charged with a crime in Chicago or the surrounding area.
February 28th, 2014 at 12:29 pm
The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article about a defendant who withdrew his guilty plea in connection with a murder charge. The 22-year-old man, from Aurora, had pled guilty to murdering a woman in October of 2005, when he was just 14 years old.
Appellate Court Decision
The hearing came in light of last year’s appellate court decision, which stated that the defendant’s 2009 guilty plea was invalid, as it provided for a 45-year minimum sentence, and not the 35-year sentence he should have received as the result of entering a plea to first-degree murder. The Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear the case when county prosecutors appealed the appellate court’s decision.
New Criminal Process
There was a short court hearing on February 11th, which served to reset the criminal process against the defendant in light of the appellate court opinion allowing him to withdraw his plea. It was the first court hearing since the decision.
The defendant’s current charges stem from the murder of an Aurora woman during a home invasion on October 31, 2005. Her body was discovered by law enforcement two months later in Batavia Township. The Defendant, who is a Sudanese immigrant and had a significant juvenile record prior to this incident, was originally arrested for the murder in 2007. When he pled guilty in 2009, he almost immediately tried to withdraw his plea.
Illinois Law Regarding Withdrawing a Guilty Plea
According to the law in Illinois, certain procedural and legislative requirements have to be met in order for a defendant in a criminal case to withdraw a guilty plea. A motion to withdraw a guilty plea must be filed within 30 days of the date it is entered. This time limit must be met in order for a judge to even consider hearing the motion.
If the Judge agrees to hear the motion, the defendant must show that the guilty plea was not made knowingly, intelligently, or voluntarily. This is usually difficult to do, as criminal procedure usually requires the defendant to be fully informed of the rights he or she is waiving as the result of pleading guilty and the consequences of doing so. Established case law has stated that guilty pleas will not be withdrawn unless it is necessary to correct a manifest injustice. Therefore, it is usually exceedingly difficult to successfully withdraw a guilty plea once it is entered.
All that being said, while it is difficult to withdraw a guilty plea, it is not impossible, as the case previously mentioned demonstrates. An experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights and likelihood for success in light of the facts of your particular case. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in the state of Illinois, contact us today.