Archive for the ‘New Illinois Law’ Category

Powdered Alcohol Now Illegal in Illinois

January 20th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois criminal statutes, The newest rendition of alcohol is a freeze dried form of powdered or crystallized alcohol. The powdered alcohol is considerably lighter than traditional liquid alcohol and can easily be transported. The powdered alcohol is mixed with water or other liquids to form an alcoholic beverage.

Powdered alcohol was approved for use in the United States by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in 2015. However powdered alcohol is not readily available in the United States. Obtaining the approval of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau was the last regulatory step required before powdered alcohol can be manufactured and sold in the United States. The earliest that powdered alcohol will be available for purchase in the United States is by the upcoming summer. But there are a number of states that have proactively banned powdered alcohol sales and use before the substance is even available on the market.

Illinois Bans Powdered Alcohol

Senate Bill 0067 added 235 ILCS 5/34.5 to the Liquor Control Act of 1934. Effective as of January 1, 2016, the new law prohibits the buying and selling of powdered alcohol products in Illinois. The new law makes a first offense classified as a Class A misdemeanor, while a second or subsequent offense is classified as a Class 4 felony. The new law focuses on the buying and selling, or reselling of powdered alcohol – the law does not address purchasing powdered alcohol legally out of state and then transporting it into Illinois for personal consumption.

While it may not be possible to purchase powdered alcohol in Illinois, a number of nearby states do not have laws banning the sale or use of powdered alcohol. For instance, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri lack any sort of ban on powdered alcohol, and it would not be difficult for those Illinois residents who want to try the product to travel across state lines, purchase the powdered alcohol legally, and then bring it back to Illinois for personal consumption.

Concerns about Under-Aged Consumption of Powdered Alcohol

Concern surrounding under-aged drinking abounds in Illinois, and there is no doubt that there is concern about the impact that a powdered form of alcohol will have on under-aged drinking once it becomes available for purchase. There is a high likelihood that the new form of alcohol will become a drinking fad among young people, and as previously mentioned, there is little to stop young people from purchasing the powdered alcohol (legally or illegally) in other states for use in Illinois.

Additionally, there are concerns about how potent the new substance will be. Like liquid alcohol, a powdered version can get a person drunk, but questions arise as to how quickly a powdered version could impact a person’s judgement. To be sure, it takes longer for the body to process the powdered form than liquid alcohol.

Imagine a scenario where a powder alcohol drink is mixed up and drank immediately, before the powder has time to fully dissolve into the mixer. A person could theoretically get behind the wheel while not feeling drunk, only to become gradually more affected by the alcohol as the powder fully dissolves. A DUI could easily result from this scenario.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

It may be a while before powdered alcohol is available to the public, but once it is there is no doubt that some individuals who consume it will end up having a brush with the law. If you are facing alcohol-related criminal charges, please contact an experienced Rolling Meadows aggravated DUI lawyer immediately. Our skilled attorneys are prepared to assist you today

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-34.5

Important Change in Traffic Offense Cases

March 16th, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois traffic laws,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.

Illinois Passes Another Troubling Eavesdropping Law

December 23rd, 2014 at 6:57 am

criminal rights violation, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, In the past the Illinois legislature passed a law that, among other things, made it illegal for law abiding citizens to record on-duty police officers doing their job. Fortunately, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down this terrible law, which was obviously unconstitutional. Illinois legislature has now passed another eavesdropping law, and while it does not have the exact same problems as the first law, it is still deeply troubling to anyone who cares about civil liberties or the rights of criminal defendants.

The New Eavesdropping Law

NBC Chicago reported on the new law, which passed the state Senate by a margin of 46 to four and is now awaiting the governor’s signature. It is supposed to focus on protecting “private” conversations. The prior law in Illinois made it illegal to record any conversation without having the consent of all of the parties involved. That is how prosecutors used it to prosecute citizens who recorded cops behaving badly. This new law will keep the ban on recording a conversation without every party’s consent, but will supposedly only apply to private conversations. However, that is not all the law does. It also dangerously expands the power of police to record citizens without seeking a warrant.

Law Expands Police Power

The new law would allow police to secretly record a suspect’s conversations for 24 hours without getting a warrant. Instead they would only have to get the permission of a prosecutor. In other words, they only have to get the permission of someone who is already on their side. This differs wildly from the previous requirement that they get a warrant to do such a wiretap. Getting a warrant requires that they prove to a magistrate (a neutral judge) that they have probable cause before they can start spying on a citizen. The old law allowed this sort of behavior under certain emergencies, like in a hostage situation, but the new law would allow much broader recording.

What About Body Cameras?

The new law, if it passes, will also make creating a comprehensive body camera plan for police officers more complicated. Unless police officers are required to consent to being recorded at all times in order to be officers, then they could argue that they should be allowed to turn the cameras off when they are having “private conversations.” These private conversations could include the very conduct and attitudes that the body cameras are designed to detect in the first place.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a crime, you will need the assistance of a trained and experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and schedule a consultation today. We can discuss your case and determine what we can do to help you. If you are not charged with a crime, but a loved one is, please also feel free to call.

Expanding Crime Victim Rights up to Voters

November 4th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

victim advocate, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, There has been much focus in the recent past on criminal justice reform and addressing issues within the system that may unduly prejudice criminal defendants. However, another key player in the criminal justice system is the victim of a particular crime, who is also granted certain rights according to the system. However, not every privilege afforded to victims within the context of the prosecution of a criminal case is always enforceable.

For example, at a defendant’s sentencing, the victim is usually granted the opportunity to speak through a victim impact statement that is presented to the court. Nevertheless, some courts have decided not to take such a statement and proceed to sentencing without hearing from the victim. As a recent report points out, victim advocates are calling for a change in the rules of criminal procedure in this area, making it a right to deliver a victim impact statement. The change will be left in the hands of Illinois voters on today’s ballot.

Strengthening Victim Rights

For many victims, addressing the court at a defendant’s sentencing with a victim impact statement goes beyond attempting to affect the sentence the judge will hand down. Many victims simply want their voice to be heard. In a more practical sense, the statement would also go on the record and be available to others who may be reviewing the case down the road on potential appeal. Supporters of this and other victims’ rights are advocating for the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights to take effect in the state of Illinois. The proposal would ensure an enforceable right for crime victims who want to participate and have a voice in the criminal process as a result of the crime perpetrated upon them.

November Ballot

According to the article mentioned, a victim rights group known as Marsy’s Law of Illinois is advocating for an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would guarantee that a victim or his or her surviving family members would have an opportunity to address the court if his or her rights have been violated. The amendment is included on today’s ballot and voters can choose to afford additional protections to crime victims by voting yes to the proposal. This amendment would strengthen victim rights by creating a method by which to enforce them, not just acknowledge them. It gives victims who have been denied certain rights a way to remedy the situation.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Not only can an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney advise you of your rights, but they can also advise you of what to expect from the other side in a criminal case. A change to victim rights in Illinois could represent important considerations for every criminal defendant to be aware of and take into account in defending their case. If you have been charged with a crime, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation.

Criminal Justice Reform: New Law Regarding Trial Procedure in Illinois

October 21st, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Illinois law, new law, Illinois criminal defense attorney,Among many other responsibilities, it is the duty of attorneys to stay up to date in any change in law or procedural rules that affect their area of practice. This is necessary not only to maintain up to date knowledge on the area of law that they practice, but also to provide competent representation to every one of their clients when bringing a case in court. Especially in criminal matters, staying abreast of any change in the relevant law, rules of criminal procedure, or any other criminal justice reforms is of the utmost importance, as even the slightest change can affect the outcome of a case.

New Law in Criminal Trials

There has been much talk about reforming the criminal justice system in Illinois recently, something this blog has discussed many times in the recent past. This interest in criminal justice reform is not isolated to the state of Illinois, but rather, is an issue being addressed in many states across the country, and even on the federal level. With all of this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that a new law is going into effect that reportedly reflects a landmark in criminal justice reform. The new law requires that forensic psychiatric reviews of defendants must be disclosed in order for judges to evaluate the facts behind an opinion regarding a defendant’s mental fitness to stand trial.

It is said that the new law aims to promote fairness and transparency in determining whether a defendant is competent to stand trial. Proponents of the new law are saying it is an improvement to the criminal justice system. They say that, in situations where each side’s respective experts disagree as to a defendant’s fitness to stand trial, the law’s requirements allow a judge to review the basis of each expert’s opinion in ultimately making a determination.

The law will also require the disclosure of notes and other evaluations that were performed. It was enacted in late September in the state of Illinois. Some are saying it could serve as the basis for other states to enact similar laws across the country.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense attorney who can consult with you about your case, advise you of your options, and protect your rights. The experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have represented clients in many different types of criminal matters ranging in severity throughout Chicago and the greater surrounding area. Please feel free to contact us today in order to schedule a consultation to discuss your matter.

New Law Takes Aim at Domestic Violence Offenders

September 19th, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Illinois legistlation, domestic assault, battered spouse, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Domestic violence cases often are troubling situations that bring up serious issues. These charges are not limited to one group or a specific type of offender; anyone from any socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic background can be involved in such a scenario. This is further evidenced by a news story that has become popular as of late. Since the official start of the 2014-2015 National Football League (NFL) season, news and other media outlets have been consistently reporting on a notorious domestic violence incident that became public knowledge in February of 2014, but has garnered new and deserving attention since more details of the incident surfaced recently.

Illinois Domestic Violence Law Signed

Even before this news story concerning the professional football player garnered renewed attention, officials in the state of Illinois had their attention turned to the topic of domestic violence. At the end of August, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation known as “Diane’s Law” into effect. The law is meant to provide protection to survivors of domestic violence by allowing courts to order risk assessment evaluations as a condition of bails and to require electronic surveillance via GPS monitoring of those charged with the crime in order to enforce restraining orders. Charges covered by the new law will include domestic battery, kidnapping, stalking, harassment, and attempted murder.

The Governor reported that this action is part of a larger focus on promoting public safety, and that specifically, he intends for the law to protect victims and prevent future tragedies. The law goes a step further by being focused on prevention and not just protection of victims. It is purportedly named after a domestic violence victim who was murdered by a former boyfriend just three days after renewing a protective order against him. The purpose of the law is to strengthen protective orders and give police additional tools in their enforcement, as well as providing for increased penalties for domestic violence offenders. The law, known as House Bill 3744, will become effective January 1, 2015.

The law is one of several signed into effect by Governor Quinn since 2012 regarding domestic violence in Illinois. Other initiatives included classifying domestic violence crimes as a felony if a defendant has a prior conviction, requiring that school boards adopt a policy regarding teen dating violence, protecting victims who may be covered by their abuser’s insurance policies, and allowing prosecutors to use prior domestic violence conditions as evidence in certain murder cases which involve the crime.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Domestic violence cases deserve professional attention. The experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are familiar with the recent changes to domestic violence law in the state of Illinois and are prepared to advise their clients accordingly. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

New Law to Aid in Criminal Offenders’ Employment

August 28th, 2014 at 9:50 am

criminal offender, Chicago criminal defense attorney, Christopher M. Cosley, criminal defendants’ employment, criminal justice, new Illinois law, criminal record, jobs for ex-offendersIt seems criminal justice and related reform is on the minds of many Illinois officials as of late. According to a recent news article, Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a new law into effect in the state of Illinois that is aimed at helping criminal offenders obtain employment. On July 19th, he signed the Best Candidate for the Job Act, which reflected his latest efforts addressing issues that many prior defendants run into long after their criminal cases have concluded.

The New Law

Governor Quinn said the legislation is meant to help ex-offenders obtain jobs with private employers, which is essential to them becoming more productive members within the community. The new law requires job applicants to be seen as qualified for a job and selected for an interview before a potential employer can run a criminal background check. This act comes about a year after a similar measure was passed, offering the same protections to those applying for state employment.

The news article reported Governor Quinn as stating that everyone should get a second chance when it comes to getting a job. Further, he touted the new law as ensuring that people in Illinois will get a fair chance at reaching their full potential, taking into account their skills and other qualifications, and not their past history. Additional benefits are expected to include reducing recidivism, fighting poverty, and preventing violence by helping people find work.

By requiring applicants to have an interview with a potential employer before their background is called into question, it gives them a better chance of not being labeled as a poor match for employment due solely to their criminal history. Helping this particular group of individuals to gain employment will go a long way in making them more responsible, and even giving them an opportunity to further their education. Overall, it will better the lives of a significant population, reaching not only defendants but their families, and will give them opportunities that may have previously been out of reach.

The new law will not apply to all jobs, as some require employers to exclude those with a criminal history from the pool of applicants. The legislation is expected to take effect on January 1st.

The Latest Effort

This new law is just one of multiple pieces of legislation that has been signed into effect recently regarding the state of criminal law in Illinois. Governor Quinn also signed a law to automatically clear the records of arrest for less serious non-violent matters involving juveniles. In addition, he also furthered a law that allows a broader range of felonies for which records may be sealed, and includes criteria for courts to consider when deciding to issue an expungement. Last year, other efforts were taken that included “ban the box” prohibitions, second chance probation options, and the streamlining of the criminal record sealing and expungement process.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal matter in Illinois, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules on Recorded Conversations

April 25th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

recorded conversation, privacy, divorce, child support, Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled on the constitutionality of a statute regarding the legality of audio-recording a conversation. According to that law, any person who records a conversation without the consent of all parties involved in the conversation commits a crime. The law as written is broad, and defines a conversation as any oral communication between two or more people, regardless of whether one of the parties intends for the conversation to be private.

Facts of the Case

The facts giving rise to the case that was eventually heard by the Illinois Supreme Court involve a pro-se party to a child support proceeding. That party recorded a hearing that was held in open court during which a court reporter was not present. He also recorded a conversation between himself and opposing counsel prior to the start of the hearing. The recording was the pro-se party’s only record of the proceedings, in which he participated without the benefit of counsel or a court reporter keeping a record. He was charged with violating the aforementioned statute as a result of these actions.

Court’s Holding

The Illinois Supreme Court held that the above statute violates the First Amendment, as the law places a greater burden on speech than what is required to protect the interest in conversational privacy. The Court reasoned that the statute criminalizes a broad range of conduct regarding recording all conversations, even those that may not be considered private under any circumstances, including any conversation that is loud enough to be overheard by a third party, whether in a public or a private setting. Not all conversations implicate privacy interests, but the law as written failed to distinguish that fact, despite the fact that the law did contain several exceptions. The Court stated that recordings of truly private conversations would remain under the scope of the statute, as a narrower interpretation of law better serves the intent in enacting it.

In addition, the statute criminalized conduct that, seen another way, is perfectly legal. For example, if a person overheard a conversation without recording it and later quoted a portion of the communication in a publication, no law would be broken. However, if the same person merely recorded a conversation without having published any of its contents, the act would be a crime.

The Court concluded that the statute went too far in trying to protect a citizen’s interest in private conversations, and that it put more burden on free speech than necessary to serve its interests. The Court deemed the statute overly broad and, therefore, unconstitutional.

In addition to the enactment of new laws, laws that have been on the books change and are tested in Court regularly. While every member of the public may not be aware of this fact, it is an attorney’s responsibility to keep informed of new laws and changes to existing ones. That is why hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights is so important. If you have been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, contact the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation.

“Ban the Box” Fight and Related Recidivism Risk

April 3rd, 2014 at 7:56 am

ban the box, criminal history, job application, felony, felon, discrimination, Chicago criminal defense lawyerIn 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.

Should Ex-Felons be Able to Vote?

March 3rd, 2014 at 12:47 pm

criminal justice reform, new law, Illinois law, criminal justice system, Chicago criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyAn article recently published by MSNBC explored the possibility for formerly incarcerated individuals to have rights restored that were previously made unavailable to them.

Criminal Justice Symposium

According to a speech Attorney General Eric Holder delivered at a bipartisan criminal justice symposium, the attitude toward disenfranchisement of those previously in prison is starting to be considered unnecessary, unethical, and not productive at all. He said that the laws were based on outdated notions rooted in exclusion and fear and, more seriously, have a disparate impact on minorities. The symposium, hosted by the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, is evidence of the push from civil rights groups for reform of the criminal justice system.

Issues Result from Current Criminal Justice System

Part of the problem is the large number, over 1.5 million, of people who are incarcerated in the United States. Almost six million have lost the right to vote as the result of laws that apply to those previously in prison. Legislators are working on laws to lower required minimum sentences at the federal level and grant judges more freedom in handing down extreme sentences.

On the state level, government leaders have made budget cuts by decreasing prison populations. Civil rights groups are hoping that current low crime rates are an indication that the time is right for changes to the criminal justice system.

Criminal Justice Reform a Bipartisan Issue

It seems that criminal justice reform is a subject both political parties can support. Last month, the Smart Sentencing Act was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is means to reduce the federal mandatory minimum sentences associated with certain drug crimes not involving violence, make certain defendants eligible for reduced sentences, and make the law retroactive which reduces the disparity in sentencing conditions for crack and powder cocaine. While the bill’s passing is positive evidence of bipartisan support, there is not as much agreement regarding increased punishment for crimes involving terrorism, domestic assault, and sexual violence against women.

Bipartisan Support may be Fragile

Still, given the current climate of combined low crime rates and economic concerns, this is seen as an opportunity to make changes that some considered long overdue. Not only will changes to the criminal justice system mean direct effects for the system itself, but indirect effects are also certain. For example, the article states that currently, the number of children in the United States with an incarcerated parent is about equal to the population of Chicago. There is a concern that the perceived agreement between parties regarding criminal justice is delicate and may be fleeting if other criminal matters are introduced and considered by Congress.

These and other changes in the criminal justice system and criminal laws in the state of Illinois are important and could affect your rights. An experienced criminal defense attorney is responsible for keeping informed about changes in the law and procedure. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in the state of Illinois, contact us today for a consultation.