Archive for the ‘Illinois Laws’ Category
January 16th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Trespassing is a serious offense, and many people in Illinois are charged with criminal trespass every year. If you are facing criminal trespassing charges, you should not delay in speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can help you assess your legal options and can assist you with building a defense strategy.
Criminal trespassing under Illinois law occurs when a person unlawfully and without authority knowingly enters the property of another or remains on the property of another without permission. Criminal trespass exists in several forms including:
- Criminal trespass to a residence. Under 720 ILCS 5/19-4, the crime occurs whenever you knowingly and without permission enter the residence of another. Alternatively, it can be criminal trespass to a residence if you enter someone’s residence with permission, but then stay longer than you were authorized to stay. Criminal trespass to a residence might occur if you may have been invited to someone’s home for a party, but then you did not leave when you were asked to leave and you stayed in the home after your permission to be there had expired or been revoked.
- Criminal trespass to a vehicle. Under 720 ILCS 5/21-2, the crime of criminal trespass to a vehicle occurs when you access a vehicle belonging to someone else. The vehicle could be an automobile, a snowmobile, or a watercraft. It is also criminal trespass to a vehicle to operate someone else’s vehicle without permission. Carjacking or car theft is sometimes reduced to criminal trespass to a vehicle.
- Criminal trespass to real property. Under 720 ILCS 5/21-3, the crime of criminal trespass to real property happens when you enter property belonging to someone else without permission. It is also criminal trespass to property if you were permitted to be on the property, but are then asked to leave but you do not. This offense is common in situations where bar or restaurant patrons are asked to leave a bar or restaurant for being disruptive or fighting, but they do not leave the premises. It is also common for people to be charged with criminal trespass to real property when there are posted signs prohibiting entry onto someone’s property but the signs are ignored.
When the prosecution is unable to establish every element required to convict you of criminal trespass, of either a residence, vehicle, or real property, it might be possible to reduce the charges against you to attempted criminal trespass. This means that there was evidence to suggest you were trying to commit a criminal trespass but did not successfully complete the trespass.
Criminal Trespassing Charges Need A Defense Lawyer
Criminal trespassing charges can truly affect your future in a negative manner. You need the help of an experienced professional who will be able to help you through the legal system. Do not hesitate and reach out to an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
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.
September 13th, 2016 at 2:48 pm
Everyone has heard the story of the little boy who cried wolf. Repeatedly the little boy made false assertions that a wolf was nearby, alarming everyone else in the town. But in truth, there was no wolf. Finally, others stopped believing the boy, and when the boy saw a wolf that posed a real threat to those in the town, no one would heed his warnings because he had developed a reputation as a liar. The moral of this children’s story is that it is not a good idea to report false threats and place groups of people into a state of alarm unnecessarily. A similar premise underlies Illinois disorderly conduct law.
Falsely alerting groups of people of danger is a serious offense in Illinois. When there is no real threat of danger, there is no need to alert others. Alerting others to a false danger can place these people in a state of panic or distress, and can cause them to act in an alarmed way unnecessarily. In effect, false reports of danger put people on edge, and cause them to do things that they might not normally do because they feel like they are in danger, and these false reports of danger can cause disruptions of the peace. Some examples of offenses that can warrant a disorderly conduct charge include:
- Crying “fire” in a crowded place where there is no real threat of a fire;
- Reporting to 911 a false call for help, such as calling police to a scene where there is no crime being committed or calling for an ambulance when none is required;
- Falsely making a report of a bomb or other dangerous explosive; or
- Making a false report about an abused or neglected child.
Any one of these instances where someone falsely reports a situation or danger, causes dozens of others to be mobilized into action. For instance, if “fire” is shouted in a club, the club patrons will take steps to exit the building, which is unlikely to occur in a safe and considerate fashion since the patrons are likely going to panic. Patrons might get hurt while trying to exit the club, such as being trampled by the crowd or being struck by someone who is panicking. Not only that but if the alleged fire is called into 911, fire trucks will come to the club where there is no real fire, taking these firefighters away from other calls.
It is important to keep the public safe, and that means protecting the public from false reports of danger. That is why Illinois law takes such a firm stance against acts of disorderly conduct. When police, fire, medical services, and child protection services are falsely called to a situation where there is no real threat of harm to anyone, it is a waste of these people’s time and attention.
Contact Us for Professional Representation
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct for falsely reporting a dangerous situation, you should speak with an experienced disorderly defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys are eager to assist you today.
May 20th, 2015 at 12:18 pm
When it comes to gun crimes, Illinois has some of the strictest and harshest laws in the country. While these strict laws apply to firearms, there are special laws that apply to air guns in our state. There are strict rules as to who may possess them and where they may be used. Ignoring these regulations can result in being charged with a petty offense.
What is an Air Rifle?
For legal purposes, Illinois statute defines what an air rifle is. This definition includes any air gun, air pistol, spring gun, spring pistol, BB gun, paintball gun, pellet gun, or non-firearm that shoots paintballs or pellets with a force that reasonably is expected to cause bodily harm.
What State Laws Apply to Air Rifles?
A few different state laws apply to air rifles. Violation of any of these laws is considered a petty offense. First, a dealer cannot sell, rent or transfer air rifles to someone under the age of 13 if the dealer knows or has cause to believe the person is under the age of 13. It is also illegal to give an air rifle to a child under the age of 13 unless you are the child’s parent, guardian, or adult instructor. It is illegal for a person under age 13 to carry a loaded air rifle on the public streets or public lands of the state. It is also illegal for one of these children to discharge an air rifle on the public streets, sidewalks, or land. The one exception to this rule is if the child is using the air rifle at a safely constructed target range.
Rolling Meadows Air Rifle Ordinance
The state laws on air rifles specifically say that local municipalities can craft their own ordinances regarding the use and possession of air rifles and that those ordinances can be more strict. Rolling Meadows has such an ordinance. Rolling Meadows has a general weapons law that says it is unlawful for any person to shoot or discharge a BB gun, air gun or spring gun outside any completely enclosed premises. This ordinance does not apply to the premises of duly licensed shooting galleries, gun clubs or rifle clubs. This ordinance shows why it is particularly important for parents in a large metropolitan area to be familiar not only with state laws, but also with the laws of the individual municipalities in which they reside and spend substantial time.
Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are charged with a criminal offense you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Please call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley. We have built our practice on criminal defense and we are willing to fight for you. Call us today at (847)394-3200.
March 16th, 2015 at 6:37 pm
Not surprisingly, traffic offense cases are among the most common type of criminal law cases. It is much less likely for an average member of the public to be charged with a more serious crime than it is to be cited for a traffic offense such as a speeding ticket, reckless driving, or even drunk driving. Regardless of the severity of the offense, it is advisable for anyone who has been charged with any type of criminal matter to seek the advice of legal counsel in order to best improve the chances of a successful outcome in their case.
A Change in Penalties
The prevalence of citizens charged with a traffic violation makes any change in the regulations involving these crimes especially important for many members of the public. According to media reports , a bill that was signed into law last August says that drivers who are pulled over in the state of Illinois will no longer need to surrender their license in exchange for a citation. Previously, the law required motorists to hand over their license to law enforcement as bail.
The New Law
The bill is known as Senate Bill 2583 and was sponsored by Senator Michael Noland from Elgin and State Representative John D’Amico from Chicago. According to its terms, drivers in the state no longer need to post their license as bail as they previously must have done in response to being charged with certain traffic violations. Instead, the new law considers a cited driver’s signature on the traffic ticket to be enough to ensure their appearance in court for the matter, or be forced to pay a fine if they do not appear.
The new law went into effect on January 1, 2015. A provision contained in the old law allowing the Secretary of State to suspend motorists’ driving privileges who do not comply with the terms of the citation remains in effect. The stated reason for the new law includes the fact that many people use their driver’s license as a form of identification in situations that require it. If they lose it, they can run into problems in their everyday affairs.
Criminal Defense Attorney
While the new law does not require motorists to surrender their license prior to their court appearance, many traffic violations still carry the possibility of license suspension if a driver is found guilty of the infraction. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successful experience defending clients charged with a myriad of traffic violations in the Chicago area of Illinois. If you have been charged with such a crime, contact our experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys today for a consultation.
March 4th, 2015 at 9:26 am
We all know that if we break or destroy something that belongs to another person we are likely on the hook for the costs of replacing or repairing what we damaged. What some people do not realize until they find themselves in need of a criminal defense lawyer is that breaking the property of another is often a crime that can carry jail time.
Criminal Damage to Property
Illinois statute creates the offense of criminal damage to property. There are nine different ways a person can commit this offense. They include:
- Knowingly damaging another person’s property without the owner’s consent;
- Recklessly damaging another person’s property with fire or explosives;
- Knowingly starting a fire on someone else’s land without the owner’s consent;
- Knowingly injuring another person’s domestic animal without the owner’s consent;
- Knowingly depositing a stink bomb or similar smelly substance on someone else’s land or building to interfere with the use of the building or land without the owner’s consent;
- Knowingly damaging certain types of property to defraud an insurance company;
- Knowingly shooting a firearm at a train;
- Knowingly tampering with a fire hydrant or fire fighting equipment; and
- Intentionally opening a fire hydrant without proper permission.
Criminal Damage to Government Supported Property
Under Illinois law, government supported property is property supported at least in part by government funding. It is a crime to:
- Knowingly damage government supported property without the state’s consent;
- Knowingly damage government property with an explosive or fire;
- Start a fire on government supported property without the state’ s consent; and
- Knowingly use a stink bomb or similar item on government supported property without the state’s consent to interfere with the use of the property.
While many types of regular criminal damage to property can be misdemeanors if the amount of the damages is not too great, all types of damage to government supported property are felonies. The class of felony depends upon the cost of the damage done. If the damage to the property is more than $10,000 the offender will also face a fine in an amount equal to the value of the damage to the property.
A person commits institutional vandalism when he or she damages one of certain types of properties at least in part because of the actual or perceived race, creed, religion, or national origin of another person or group of people. It may be considered a “hate crime” version of property damage. The properties covered by this statute include:
- Places of religious worship or personal property contained therein;
- Cemeteries or other places used for burying or memorializing the dead or personal property contained therein;
- Schools, educational centers, and community centers or personal property contained therein; and
- The grounds adjacent to any of the above three places.
Even if the damage done is only valued at costing one cent, institutional vandalism is at least a Class 3 felony. If the value of the damaged property exceeds $300 or if the offender has a prior conviction for this type of offense, it is a Class 2 felony.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing property damage charges, or are charged with some other crime, you need help. You should call the law offices of experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.
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 24th, 2015 at 7:10 am
Typically when people think of criminal cases, they think of things like theft or murder or drug dealing. However, each state also criminalizes some relatively inoffensive conduct. For example, Illinois has made it a criminal offense to sell or rent certain violent video games to minors.
What Illinois Considers to be a Violent Video Game
The Illinois legislature took it upon itself to define what constitutes a “violent” video game. It crafted a law that defines a violent video game as any video game that depicts human-on-human violence where a player kills or otherwise causes serious physical harm to another human. This serious physical harm includes things like death, dismemberment, decapitation, mutilation of body parts, amputation, or disfigurement. It also includes rape. What this means is that games where the player’s character is human and the player kills another human character, would be covered. Meanwhile, games where the player kills other characters, but those characters are aliens, would not be covered.
Illinois Prohibits the Sale or Rental of “Violent” Games to People Under Age 18
Section 12A-15 of the Violent Video Games Law restricts the sale or rental of violent video games to people under the age of 18. If you sell or rent one of these covered games to an underage person, you are guilty of a petty offense and a court can impose a $1,000 fine. If you own a business that uses an electronic scanner to sell these games, and your system does not prompt your sales clerks to check ID, then you are guilty of a petty offense and can be fined $1,000. You are also guilty of such an offense and can be fined $1,000 if you allow these games to be sold through a self-scanning checkout device. Retail sales clerks are not fined unless they have complete knowledge that the person they are selling the game to is underage and they do it anyway.
Affirmative Defenses to Prosecution for Selling a Game
The law does allow for certain defenses in these cases. It is a defense if you are a family member of the child for whom the game was purchased. It’s also a defense if the minor showed you an official document that purported he or she was 18 when he or she actually was not. For retailers, if the sales clerk had complete knowledge that the buyer was under 18 and the clerk sold the game anyway, this is a defense for the retailer. Finally, if the allegedly violent video game is rated EC, E10+, E, or T, this provides a defense against prosecution.
Call Criminal Defense Attorney Christopher M. Cosley
When you are charged with a crime, you deserve an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who will fight for you. You should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. When you call us at (847)394-3200 we can schedule an appointment to discuss the facts of your case and determine what we can do to help.
February 17th, 2015 at 10:12 am
“I got robbed.” This is a statement that is used very often in our contemporary society. While sometimes it is applied metaphorically, such as when complaining about a call in a sporting event, we usually mean it to imply that someone stole something from us. However, like many areas of criminal law, the common understanding of this term and the legal definition are not the exact same. Not all victims of theft are robbery victims and not all thieves are robbers. Instead, robbery is a very specific type of theft.
What is Robbery in Illinois?
In Illinois, the offense of robbery is defined by statute. As one would assume, robbery requires one person to take property from another person. This can be any property except for certain motor vehicles, which are covered by a separate law. What differentiates robbery from mere theft is that in order for a taking of property to be a robbery, the robber must either:
- Use force; or
- Threaten the imminent use of force.
There is also another difference between mere theft and robbery. In order for a taking to be a robbery, the property has to be taken either directly from the victim or from the victim’s presence. If, for example, one were to break into a store at night when no one was there and steal the cash register, that person would not have committed a robbery. While the natural response of the store owner might be to say “I’ve been robbed!” that is not technically accurate, and the thief could not be prosecuted for robbery; instead, the thief could be prosecuted for other crimes like burglary.
Robbery is normally a Class 2 felony, unless the victim is over 60 years old, the victim is a physically handicapped person, or the crime is committed at certain places like schools, churches, or child care facilities. In those cases it is a Class 1 felony.
What is Aggravated Robbery?
Some robberies are worse than others in the eyes of the law. Because of this, Illinois law includes another offense called “aggravated robbery.” Aggravated robbery is a Class 1 felony. There are certain ways to turn a robbery into an aggravated robbery. These include:
- Indicating through your words or actions during the robbery that you have a dangerous weapon, even if you do not have such a weapon; or
- Taking the property by administering a controlled substance to the victim without his or her consent.
What is Armed Robbery?
Armed robbery is robbery where the robber has a dangerous weapon or a firearm during the act. There are also versions of this crime that deal specifically with discharging a firearm during the robbery and with seriously injuring someone by discharging the firearm. These are all Class X felonies, but in cases where a firearm is involved there are substantial add-ons of prison time in addition to the regular sentence.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
When you are charged with robbery or any other crime, you need a fierce litigator in your corner. That is why you should contact experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Call the office at (847)394-3200 today to learn how we can help.
February 12th, 2015 at 9:11 am
Most crimes are standalone crimes. However, there are some crimes that act as add-ons of a sort or as ways for the prosecution to try to punish someone not just for committing a crime, but also for the way in which he or she committed the crime. These additional offenses can increase the severity of the possible punishment for a crime, which makes it extremely important that you have the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. One example of this sort of additional offense is a crime many have never heard of: unlawful transfer of a telecommunications device.
What is Unlawful Transfer of a Telecommunications Device?
From the name of this crime, it sounds like it might have something to do with defrauding a cell phone company or giving a kid a cell phone without his or her parents’ permission. While either of those activities can land you in hot water, they are not quite what this law is about. Under Illinois statute you are guilty of this crime if you transfer a telecommunications device (like a cell phone) to someone under the age of 18 with the intent that the device be used to commit a crime under the Illinois criminal code, the Cannabis Control Act, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, or the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. This crime is a Class A misdemeanor, which means you could be sentenced to a term in jail not to exceed one year. Property forfeiture is also a possibility. Thus, if one were to participate in a criminal enterprise of some sort with a minor and that person were to give the minor a cell phone or similar device in order to facilitate that criminal offense, the person could be charged both with that underlying crime and with this additional crime.
What Counts as a Telecommunications Device?
The most obvious type of covered device is a cell phone. But many other devices are also covered. Any device that is portable or that can be installed in a mode of transportation and that is capable of transmitting speech, data, signals, or other information is included. This means that pagers or beepers are covered, along with radio transceivers, transmitters, and receivers. It is worth noting that a radio designed to receive only standard AM and FM radio broadcasts is specifically exempted from the law.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
When you are charged with a crime you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. When you call us at (847)394-3200 we will set up an appointment to go over the facts of your case and figure out how we can help.