Archive for the ‘New Laws in Illinois’ Category

Changes to Illinois Traffic Laws For 2017

February 22nd, 2017 at 7:00 am

Illinois traffic laws, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney,Every so often traffic laws are changed, and new laws are enacted by the state legislature to better address problems that are being experienced on the roads across Illinois. The year, 2017, is no exception.

A handful of traffic laws have been changed and Illinois drivers need to be aware of these alterations. A violation of these new laws can lead to a traffic citation, even if you did not know that you were breaking the law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse or defense to making a violation of the law. The laws have been changed to help improve driver safety in Illinois.

Scott’s Law Has Been Expanded

Illinois retains a law known as Scott’s law, which requires drivers to move over to the opposite side of the road when they are passing emergency vehicles and law enforcement vehicles that are on the side of the road. The purpose of law is to give law enforcement and emergency personnel the space that they need to safely render aid or do their job while on the side of the road.

In 2017, Scott’s law has been expanded. Now, in addition to moving over for emergency vehicles and law enforcement on the side of the road, Illinois drivers are also required to slow down and move over to the opposite side of the road when there is a vehicle parked on the side of the road with its hazard lights flashing.

Have You Been Caught a Second Time Driving Without Insurance? Now Your Car Will Be Towed

Driving without valid and up-to-date automobile insurance is a problem in Illinois. Another change to Illinois traffic laws in 2017 authorizes law enforcement to tow the vehicle of anyone who is stopped on the side of the road and is found to be driving without automobile insurance after already having a conviction on the books for driving without insurance. This new law only applies to drivers who are caught driving without insurance for the second time in a 12-month period after their earlier conviction.

While 2017 is not a significant year for changes in traffic law, the few changes that have been made will be strictly enforced by the police in Illinois. Therefore, it is important for drivers to be aware of these new changes. If you are issued a traffic citation for a violation of these laws or any other traffic law violation, you need to get in touch with an experienced traffic citation lawyer as soon as possible. Traffic citations need to be dealt with, and you can fight the charges that are being pressed against you by challenging them in traffic court.

Let Us Help You Today

When it comes to handling your traffic violation, you need a strong defense and a tenacious lawyer to fight the charges against you. Please do not hesitate to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for help with your case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-907

Illinois Legislature Passes Police Body Camera Law

June 15th, 2015 at 7:27 am

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, police brutality,In the wake of the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and countless other unarmed African-American men, women, and children by police officers, the public has finally started to demand that something be done about our nation’s police problem. One of the possible solutions that has been offered is requiring police officers to wear body cameras to record their conduct and misconduct. The footage created by these cameras could exonerate innocent officers, and, conversely, could be used to prosecute guilty officers. They may deter police misconduct. And, the footage could be used by criminal defense attorneys to prove when police officers violate defendants’ rights. Illinois may be the first state to enact legislation requiring police to use these cameras.

Bill Passes through Illinois Legislature and Awaits the Governor’s Signature

The State Journal-Register reports that the Illinois legislature passed a body camera bill and that it is waiting for the governor’s signature. This bill is the first of its nature to pass since President Obama convened the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. If the governor signs the bill, Illinois will be the first state to pass such a law. This one would include requirements regarding body cameras, would create new training for police officers, and would create a database where officers who commit crimes can be tracked so it is less difficult for problem officers to jump from department to department.

The New Bill Likely Does Not Go Far Enough

While this bill may be a good first step, it does not go far enough. It does not require police to wear body cameras at all times. Instead it simply changes the state’s eavesdropping law to allow police to use body cameras and it sets standards for their use. For example, any officers who wear these body cameras will be legally obligated to record any incident with the public. That is a fantastic provision that could be huge in protecting innocent officers while aiding in the prosecution of the bad ones. But, without a requirement that all officers wear the cameras, the provision is actually quite toothless.

Another troubling provision of the law is that it would allow cops to turn off the recorders when interviewing a witness or a victim. This is a huge mistake. There is a real problem of some police officers coercing witnesses and victims to say certain things to help officers build their case. This can rise to the level of misconduct or even criminal activity on an officer’s part. Allowing them to turn off the cameras during these conversations undercuts the potential value of these devices.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Sometimes when the police go too far, no one dies, but people wind up wrongfully arrested and charged with serious crimes. If this happened in your case, you will want the help of a talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who will use all of the tools legally available to help you fight your case. You should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. When you call us at (847)394-3200 we will schedule an appointment so we can learn about your case and decide upon the best strategy to use for you.

May 27th, 2015

Addressing Sexting among Juveniles

November 25th, 2014 at 9:44 pm

juvenile sex crimes, Illinois juvenile attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyerJuvenile crimes generally get special and specific considerations when they are prosecuted in the court system. Many times, juvenile offenders participate in criminal activity merely as a result of immaturity or inexperience. One bad judgment call can have significant effects if the action results in an illegal act. Of course, there are certainly other juvenile cases that are much more serious and involve significant crimes and associated penalties depending on the facts of the case. Determining how to address issues and handle juvenile offenders in light of their crime and personal history is a main challenge of the juvenile justice system.

The Crime of Sexting

Sexting is an offense that has made headlines in Chicago several times in 2014. It is one such juvenile offense that may be handled differently according to the facts and circumstances of a case and the particular offender or offenders involved. There are likely cases in which the offense was the result of poor judgment, and other cases may have more intentional actions, leading to more serious consequences. According to a recently published report, law enforcement in Chicago are currently dealing with a high-profile sexting case, allegedly involving at least three juveniles. It is the sixth such juvenile case that officials have had to address this year alone.

Law enforcement officials are saying that the issue of sexting extends far beyond Chicago and Illinois, and that it is a national epidemic. Some police departments deal with a new sexting case every week. With the crime being so prevalent, many are asking why teens and others continue to engage in such behavior. Law enforcement officials with experience dealing with such cases seem to think that juveniles who engage in such behavior often lack the capacity to think about the consequences of their actions when it comes to sexting. When choosing to engage in such behavior, they are often driven by hormones and emotions and fail to realize the effect that sexting can have on them down the road.

In light of this, the relevant sexting laws were specifically written in order to account for such situations in which minors simply exhibited poor judgment and deserve a second chance. The law allows law enforcement officials to consider alternatives to filing criminal charges against juveniles who participate in sexting, when doing so is appropriate in light of the circumstances. This gives deserving juveniles the opportunity to move on from an incident with little effect on their lives in the long term. Law enforcement stresses the importance of parent’s as well as school official’s involvement in such cases in order to be successful in combating such behavior.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime as a juvenile, speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney is imperative. The experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have represented juvenile clients in a variety of matters. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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.

Medical Marijuana Use in Illinois

February 14th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

medical marijuana IMAGEThe legal status of marijuana use has been a popular topic in the media in the recent past. In fact, many are pointing out the coincidence that the two teams who will be competing in this year’s NFL Superbowl are from the two states that have legalized marijuana use across the board. While other states have not made such a dramatic change in their laws regarding use of the drug, a number of states across the country have legalized marijuana for the limited purpose of medical use. Illinois is one such state.

 Conditions to Legally Use Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Just because Illinois has legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes does not mean that users are free to do so at their own discretion. According to an article recently published by Liberty Voice, an individual who seeks to use the drug for medical reasons may still have to pay a substantial fee, get a background check, be fingerprinted by law enforcement, and could be asked to surrender their firearms. Other costs associated with the legal use of marijuana for medical reasons can include a $150.00 fee for an identification card application and the cost of fingerprinting, which can range from $30.00 to $50.00.

 Limits of the Law

In Illinois, marijuana was legalized for the limited purpose of use as another method of treatment for grave diseases that cause what is considered a debilitating condition, as well as chronic pain. Those who suffer from such defined diseases can use the drug within certain guidelines that still have to be fully defined. Other use is still illegal, and possession of the drug in Illinois will still be considered a Federal offense.

The Illinois Department of Public Health posted the proposed rules and regulations regarding the new law on their website. After February 7th, any public comments submitted will be turned over to the panel of lawmakers who will decide by April 2014 what exactly the medical marijuana law will include in the state. The law is part of a pilot project for medical marijuana use in Illinois, and will be in effect for four years.

 The State’s Position

Illinois concedes that medical marijuana use has a long history going back thousands of years, and modern medicine supports that its use is beneficial for those suffering with debilitating illnesses such as cancer, HIV and AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. The drug can be effective in treating pain and addressing side effects associated with these illnesses that other medicine cannot. Licensed physicians have recommended the drug to hundreds of thousands of patients in other states where medical use is legal, and its recognition by other medical organizations gives it credibility.

This law represents an important change in Illinois’ drug laws. However, it is important to note that the change is very narrow and limited to a specific use that must meet numerous conditions and regulations in order to be considered legal. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving illegal drugs in Illinois, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Chicago’s Ban on Guns Struck Down

January 26th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

According to an article recently published by the Chicago Tribune, a federal judge decided that a main part of Chicago’s gun ordinance which prohibits licensed gun stores from operating within the city is unconstitutional. The U.S. District Judge, Edmond Chang, opined that he was not convinced that the prohibition was necessary in order to achieve the goal of reducing gun violence, something that was imperative in order to outweigh the constitutional protections found in the Second Amendment. In addition to that provision, the Judge also decided that it was legal to transfer firearms as gifts or through private sale, provided the recipient was 18 years old or older and had a firearm owner’s identification card.

 Chicago gun ban IMAGEChicago’s crackdown on guns in the relatively recent past had made it a primary target of the National Rifle Association. Reversing the recent ban on licensed retail stores in the city and private gun sales is considered a win by gun rights advocates in their crusade to eliminate some of Chicago’s strict firearm prohibitions. The ruling coincided with Illinois’ new concealed carry law, which was set to take effect in the new year. It should be noted that the city is expected to appeal the judge’s decision, which will likely prevent any gun stores from opening in Chicago any time soon.

While it goes without saying that Chicago struggles with illegal guns and gun violence within the city’s borders, it seems the local government will have to try again to strike a balance between gun safety and respecting constitutional protections, a task lawmakers have been struggling with in the last few years.

The federal judge said that in this particular case, the city failed to show how allowing the legal sale of firearms in Chicago would result in a “genuine and serious risk” to public safety. The ban, he said, reached too far in totally banning legal transactions between buyers and dealers, while also failing to prove that doing so would achieve the purpose of the ban itself. The Judge pointed to other methods, such as regulations and licensing, that would address the city’s concerns while allowing law-abiding citizens to acquire firearms if they chose to do so.

While the NRA has been a key player in this suit as well as others across the country in their aim to chip away at gun control laws, others say that individual citizens have been successful in passing laws with the goal of keeping gun violence down. Some say the city’s ban failed because it aimed too high: the blanket ban on gun sales contradicted the idea that if there is a constitutional right to own a gun, part of that protection is the right to obtain one. Instead, the city may have been more successful in imposing numerous regulations on the sale of firearms.

It is likely that gun control will continue to be a hot button topic in the news and in politics and the local government. This means that crimes involving firearms may be particularly scrutinized by law enforcement and the public. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving a firearm, contacting an adept criminal defense lawyer in the Chicago area is crucial. Contact us today for advice in your particular matter.

Changes to Illinois Law in 2014: A Rundown

January 18th, 2014 at 12:47 pm

As we mark the beginning of 2014, many new laws will emerge in the state of Illinois.  We previously discussed the change in Illinois law regarding the use of mobile phones while driving and the consequences of doing so, but there are other changes that will take place that are worth mentioning as well. According to an article recently published by NPR for St. Louis, the relevant issues encompass everything from marijuana to littering.

Medical Marijuana

The new law involving medical marijuana involves a four-year trial program that allows individuals that are plagued with certain specified ailments to get a prescription for medicinal marijuana. Regulations and licenses have not been issued, so this may not go into effect right away in 2014. In addition, in order to meet the requirements of the law, the illness must be considered debilitating.

changes to Illinois law IMAGE Smoking Cigarettes

In 2014, smokers will have to take their habit outside and find a proper receptacle to get rid of the cigarette butts when they are finished. Illinois’ Litter control Act has been amended to include cigarettes, so people in violation of the policy can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, plus a fine of up to $1,500.  A second offense is graded as a Class A misdemeanor, and a third will be considered a felony, which can be punishable by a jail term of one to three years and up to a $25,000 fine.

As an extension of the law, property owners are also required to place enough waste receptacles on the property. If they fail to do so and littering takes place where a receptacle should be, the property owner can be charged with a petty offense and be fined $100. After getting a warning, property owners have 10 days to place the necessary waste receptacles on the property. If he or she fails to do so after the warning, they may be charged with a petty offense and be fined $25 for each receptacle they failed to obtain.

Minors

For purposes of delinquency or records concerning a minor in Illinois, the relevant age will be increased to 17 in 2014, up from 16 as it was previously. In addition, those under 18 will not legally be allowed to use facilities for tanning, minors will be prevented from buying e-cigarettes, and students will have the right to refuse a school’s request for their passwords to social networking sites unless the school can show good cause.

Alcohol

It will be legal to seal and travel with one unfinished bottle of previously opened wine beginning in 2014.

Traffic

In 2014, bicycles are considered an exception from the prohibition on two-wheeled vehicles moving on the right of a separate craft that is not propelled solely by a human being.

The speed limit will be raised to 70 mph on some highways, but areas of Chicago and Metro East will reserve the right to set speed limits at a lower number.

Miscellaneous

Beginning in 2014, it will be considered a crime to accept payment for altering a criminal record.  Also, it will be illegal for State grant recipients and their employees to knowingly using grant funds for political activities or as compensation for time spent on political work.

These are only a few of the many laws that will go into effect in Illinois in 2014. Many other changes in the law, and changes in rules and procedures, may affect your rights if you were or will be charged with a crime. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Chicago can help you understand changes in the law and how they may apply in your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

New Legislation to Address “Knockout Game”

January 7th, 2014 at 10:23 am

Chances are you have seen or heard of the disturbing new trend among teens to participate in what is known as the “knockout game,” in which the assailant unexpectedly attacks a member of the public from behind in an effort to knock them out. Victims are usually targeted at random. The dangerous trend has been featured on news broadcasts, online, and through other media outlets, who reported on the attacks with sometimes fatal consequences for the victims. Now the government is taking steps to address it.

knockout gameAn Illinois state representative, Dwight Kay, has proposed House Bill 3783, known as the Knockout Assault Prevention Act, which takes aim at punishing knockout game offenders. The Act would impose higher penalties on those convicted of the crime of battery while participating in the game, making it punishable by three to seven years of incarceration. It also provides that any minors above the age of 14 would be tried for the crime in adult criminal court. Currently, law enforcement seems to think that the trend is mostly confined to large cities, but if the legislation is passed into law in Illinois, any county would be able to use it.

In a case involving an elderly black male victim, the “knockout game” attacker will be charged with a federal hate crime. Authorities say that the attack in that case was racially motivated, as the attack and the moments leading up to it were video recorded, which revealed that the suspect targeted the man because of his race and color.  The recorded statement was of the attacker posing the question that if he were to hit a black person, would it be nationally televised. That defendant was 27 years old at the time of the attack, which occurred in the state of Texas. The victim’s jaw was fractured in two places, and he was hospitalized for several days as the result of the injuries he sustained in his fall to the ground. It is important to note that this defendant allegedly suffers from mental illness, including bipolar disorder, and was reportedly off of his medication at the time of the attack.

In New York, police charged a suspect with a hate crime in connection with the attack of a Jewish male as part of the “knockout” game, and other cases have been reported in numerous other states, such as Missouri and Washington. While this dangerous game does not seem to be confined to one area across the nation, it is safe to say that law enforcement will be cracking down on offenders from here on out.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, an experienced criminal defense attorney can protect your rights. Our attorneys have experience defending citizens in many types of criminal law cases, and we are prepared to advise and represent you in your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

2014 Brings Change to Concealed Carry Law in Illinois

December 30th, 2013 at 8:38 am

In the New Year, Illinois residents who legally own a firearm will also legally be allowed to carry the weapons on their person. As reported by Chicago Tonight, the change in the concealed carry law in Illinois will translate to changes for business owners, property owners, and police who may come into contact with citizens carrying weapons. When the law becomes effective next month, the state of Illinois expects tens of thousands of applications for a concealed weapon permit to be filed by citizens within the first six months of the change.

Concealed Carry Law in IllinoisChange in Police Conduct

Prior to the law taking effect, it was illegal for Illinois citizens to carry a firearm on their person. Any time police came into contact with an individual carrying a weapon, in violation of the law, they acted according to their training in handling the situation. Now, they will have to change their mindset when dealing with a member of the public carrying a gun, since they may be doing so legally.

The Sheriff of Cook County and the state’s training board are working on a formal training program to address police procedure in light of the change in the law, but most of the battle will be changing the police officer’s train of thought in addressing these scenarios. Since they could be dealing with a law-abiding citizen carrying a weapon, they want to ensure that any further police conduct and contact with the public is done with a respectful and sensible approach.

The Effect on Business Owners

While many government buildings and schools will still be off-limits for possessing a weapon on the premises, the law will extend to concealed weapon possession in private buildings and businesses. Private property owners can decide if they will allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon on the property. If they decide against it, they will be required to post a sign approved by the state police at all entrances to notify the public. Currently, the law is not definitive on the consequences of failing to post the approved signage. It is expected that any changes or clarifications to the law will likely come from the courts or state regulations.

Like any change, the concealed carry law in Illinois will take time for the public to get used to and be aware of changes in the law. Illinois’ new concealed carry law follows suit with the majority of states across the country, and reflects a significant change in Illinois’ citizens’ rights regarding gun possession.

In other scenarios, even with the law change, possessing a weapon in Illinois could still be an illegal act.  If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Chicagoland can help. Contact us today for a consultation.