Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
February 15th, 2017 at 9:01 am
All too many people find themselves ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois, and these drivers fail to understand that leaving the scene of an accident is not just a traffic violation—it is a criminal offense. As such, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois. A skilled lawyer will be able to identify any potential defenses you have and will work hard to fight the charges that are pending against you.
There are several reasons why someone might leave the scene of an accident. For instance, you might panic because you do not know what to do. Or, you might leave because you think that there is nothing for you to do about the situation, such as when you accidentally hit a parked car and have no way to leave contact information and have no way to reach the driver of the vehicle you hit.
Sometimes drivers flee the scene of an accident because they are worried about facing other criminal charges in addition to the accident if police show up at the scene, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or reckless driving charges.
What Are Your Obligations if You Are Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-402, leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois is illegal. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you are supposed to stop immediately and remain at the scene until you can provide contact information (including providing your name address vehicle registration number and the name of the owner of the vehicle if it does not belong to you) to the affected parties, and/or until you render the appropriate aid for the given situation. In some situations, this could mean having to remain at the scene until law enforcement and/or emergency personnel arrive at the scene. You are also required to report the motor vehicle accident to the appropriate authorities under 625 ILCS 5/11-403 and you have 10 days to report the accident to the Illinois Secretary of State.
What Are the Consequences of Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
A conviction for leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor, which can leave you with a criminal record, jail time, a fine, and a lengthy probation period. Additionally, a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident can result in long-term consequences as well. For instance, your driving privileges could be suspended or revoked and having a leaving the scene of an accident conviction on your record could prevent you from getting certain types of jobs in the future, especially if those jobs involve driving.
Consult With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Now
You should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois. The potential consequences of a conviction are numerous, and you need to do everything that you can to help protect yourself and your rights. Working with a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who has years of experience handling these types of cases would be to your benefit.
August 20th, 2016 at 5:00 am
One of the most devastating things a parent can have to deal with is a situation in which their son or daughter is caught with drugs at school. Not only might you as a parent be disillusioned by the whole ordeal, but you are most likely consumed with worry about your son or daughter’s future as well. Whether your child was involved in drug activity at school, was caught selling drugs, or was found in possession of drugs, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer for your child immediately. This is important because your child could be convicted of juvenile drug charges, or if your child is 18 years of age or older, but is still in high school, your child could be charged as an adult.
Teens Will Find Access To Drugs
It is unfortunate, but most teens will be exposed to some sort of drug activity while they are in high school. They might be offered drugs, they might know or watch a friend take drugs, or they may become involved in drug activity, such as buying and selling drugs. These things happen because teens don’t always make the best decisions, and sometimes they agree to things because they want to seem cool to their peers. Teens are driven by social acceptance, and so they might be pressured into taking, doing or selling drugs at school.
It is not uncommon for teens to get into trouble for having marijuana in their possession, or for selling controlled substances, such as medication for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Some teens get involved with very serious drugs, like heroin or methamphetamines.
Drug Charges That High School Teens Can Face
Teens can find themselves in trouble with the law for a number of different drug offenses. Most commonly, high school students get in trouble for possession of marijuana or possession of another controlled substance. They also get into trouble for selling drugs to classmates. This is a particularly bad situation for a student charged with a drug offense since the court has the ability to double the student’s sentencing if the student was selling drugs near a school. There are state laws that require school zones to be drug-free zones. In Illinois, the drug-free school zone extends 1,000 feet from the school property. This also means that school buses are drug-free zones as well.
Let Our Attorneys Help You Today
It is important to fight juvenile drug charges since your son or daughter’s future depends on it. A drug conviction could lead to problems down the road. If your high-school aged child has been charged with a drug-related crime, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows juvenile crime lawyer immediately. Our attorneys are here to assist you every step of the case.
May 18th, 2016 at 12:35 pm
In honor of National Work Zone Safety Week, law enforcement across Illinois put forth effort to raise awareness about exercising care when driving through active and inactive work and construction zones. National Work Zone Safety Week was the week of April 11th 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
Highway construction is a problem that is acutely experienced by drivers in Illinois, especially around big cities. However, road construction is a necessary part of maintaining our highways and byways. As such, it is important that drivers exercise care when driving through a work zones. Law enforcement takes traffic violations in work zones very seriously.
Work Zone Safety Stats
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were more than 4,300 accidents that occurred in construction zones in 2015. Of these accidents, 1,000 resulted in injuries to construction workers, drivers and passengers. There were also 46 fatalities resulting from work zone traffic accidents. More often than not, it is motorists who are passing through a work zone who are involved in traffic accidents. Inattentiveness, driving at too high of a rate of speed, and following too closely are some of the leading causes of work zone traffic accidents.
Work Zone Speeding Tickets
Speed limits are strictly enforced in work zones, and you can get a speeding ticket even if no workers are present when you are caught speeding. 625 ILCS 5/11-05.1 is the Illinois statute for speeding tickets issued for offenses committed while driving through a work zone. It does not matter whether the workers are present in the work site or not, and work zones are one of the few locations where law enforcement is permitted to use radar and lidar detection means to determine a driver’s speed as evidence that the driver was speeding in the work zone.
Work zones are clearly identified as they are required to have posted signage indicating where a work zone begins and terminates, as well as the posted maximum and minimum speed limit. Fines for a first offense can range from $250 to $750. A second-time offense within a period of two years can cost a driver his or her license. Court appearances are mandatory, and dealing with the courts for a traffic ticket can be difficult as there are very specific rules that must be followed. You should consider working with an experienced traffic offenses lawyer to fight your ticket.
Let Us Help With Your Ticket
Traffic tickets can happen to anyone, even the best drivers. When a traffic offense occurs in certain locations, such as in a school or work zone, the associated fines and penalties can be more severe. If you have been cited for a traffic violation, you should contact an experienced traffic offenses lawyer immediately. Please contact a Rolling Meadows traffic offense attorney at our firm for assistance. We will help you throughout each step of your case.
May 2nd, 2016 at 7:56 am
Across the country, there is a significant amount of variability as to when a teen is charged as a juvenile when he or she commits a crime. In some states, criminals are charged as adults as early as 15 years old. In other states, the juvenile boundary is set at 16 years old while several states set the limit at 17 or 18. Currently, in Illinois, the age for juvenile jurisdiction is 18 years old. However, the Illinois Legislature is considering a pair of proposed bills that would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to the age of 20.
The Illinois Bills Behind the Change in Age
A pair of bills could make this age change a reality in Illinois. Under HB6308, the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 would be amended such that people under the age of 21, i.e., those who are 20 years old and younger, who are charged with misdemeanor offenses would be treated as delinquent minors. Similarly, HB6191 would amend the Juvenile Court Act so that those under the age of 21 who are charged with felonies would be treated as delinquent minors by the courts.
Benefits of Raising the Juvenile Jurisdiction Age
Research has been conducted on young adults and has found that the young adult brain is still relatively immature compared to a mature adult brain, and a young adult’s brain is more akin to a teenager’s brain than to a mature adult’s brain. To say this another way, the brain of a young adult is still developing into an adult’s in his or her early and mid-twenties. Young adults in their late teens may still have difficulty managing certain emotions or exercising sound judgement. This makes young adults prone to make criminal mistakes and they are more likely to get into trouble with the law. Such enlightening research lends support to the idea that the age for juvenile jurisdiction should be increased to the age of 20.
The benefits of such a change to the law would allow for young adults who make criminal mistakes in their teens to be treated less harshly and would allow offenders to have a juvenile record, which is a criminal record that often does not follow the offender into adulthood, making it easier for the individual to obtain a job later in life.
While the proposed bills for raising the juvenile jurisdiction age to 20 are still in their early stages of review by the legislature, if they were to pass into law, more young people would be charged as juveniles. If you have a young person in your life who is facing juvenile criminal charges, his or her defense should be handled by a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in juvenile matters criminal defense.
Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
When a young person gets into trouble with the law, it can be scary for the young person as well as his or her family members. Juvenile offenses are just as serious as adult charges, and should be treated with immediacy and diligence. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for help with your case. We can provide you with a consultation to learn more about your options.
March 9th, 2016 at 8:23 am
Illinois law takes a firm stance on protecting a person’s home and property from the unwanted intrusion of others. Indeed, Illinois has a number of laws intended to protect people from others. Specifically, Illinois law provides for criminal charges for trespassing, home invasion, and residential burglary. The consequences associated with each of the above crimes are serious, and criminal defendants who are facing these charges need to have a thorough understanding of what the differences are between these crimes.
Trespassing occurs when a person knowingly enters the property of another without permission. When someone enters or remains in another’s home, it is considered criminal trespassing to a residence, under 720 ILCS 5/19-4. Trespassing can occur by entering another’s yard or property, and residential trespassing could occur if someone entered the home of another or overstayed his or her welcome as a guest.
A home invasion, under 720 ILCS 5/19-6, occurs when someone enters or remains in an inhabited dwelling without permission and causes injury or threatens to cause injury to the inhabitants. It can be considered home invasion if the invader has a gun or other weapon that he or she uses to threaten the inhabitants of the home. It can also be considered home invasion if the invader commits a sexual crime against an inhabitant of the home.
The inhabitants of the dwelling must be home at the time of the crime in order for it to be a home invasion. If the inhabitants are not home, the charges could be different if the person is caught, based on what he or she does in the home upon entry. If he or she simply leaves after learning that no one is home, the charges could be reduced to trespassing. However, if he or she intends to commit a felony or to steal something, then the person could be charged with residential burglary.
Residential burglary, under 720 ILCS 5/19.3, occurs when a person knowingly and without permission enters a dwelling of another with the intention of committing a theft or a felony. Breaking into a home where people are living in order to steal something rises to the level of a residential burglary. But a residential burglary can quickly turn into a home invasion if the burglary goes awry and one of the inhabitants of the dwelling is in the home at the time of the burglary. If the inhabitant confronts the burglar and the burglar causes injury or threatens the inhabitant, the crime can quickly change from a residential burglary to a home invasion.
Contact Us for Assistance
Trespassing, home invasion, and residential burglary are all serious criminal charges, and it is important that you fight any criminal charges that you are facing. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your case. Our dedicated attorneys are happy to help you today.
December 23rd, 2015 at 4:54 pm
Law enforcement in Illinois takes driving under the influence of alcohol very seriously. Police regularly conduct DUI checkpoints, and pull over drivers who are suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence. Before making an arrest, officers generally will ask a suspected drunk driver to participate in field sobriety testing, in accordance with 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(a-5).
What Are the Standard Field Sobriety Tests in Illinois?
Many people have heard of field sobriety tests, but are not clear on what these tests are or what they entail until they are faced with them while pulled over on the side of the road. The standard field sobriety tests (FST) were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and consist of three tests designed to present indicators of intoxication of an individual. The tests include:
- The One Leg Stand. Under this test, a suspect is required to stand on one leg, raising one foot off the ground six inches and must maintain his or her balance for a full 30 seconds;
- The Walk-and-Turn. A suspect is instructed to execute the test according to the officer’s instructions exactly. The instructions require the suspect to walk nine steps forward in a heel-to-toe fashion in a straight line, turn around on one leg, and walk nine steps backwards; and
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, they may exhibit involuntary jerky eye movements, or the inability to smoothly visually track an object.
These tests assess physiological responses to alcohol, such as slow movement, poor sense of balance and poor memory function, to determine whether a driver might be intoxicated.
How Accurate Are These Tests?
One might wonder how accurate FSTs can be when people have medical conditions, are panicked by being pulled over by law enforcement, or have other legitimate reasons for not being able to perform the FSTs perfectly. Research conducted for the NHTSA on just how accurate these tests are at determining whether a suspect is under the influence reveals that:
- The one leg stand test is accurate about 83 percent of the time;
- The walk-and-turn test is only accurate 79 percent of the time; and
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is accurate 88 percent of the time.
Field sobriety tests are voluntary, and you can refuse to participate in them. While there are consequences of not submitting to FSTs, it can be helpful if you are later charged since you will not have those tests as evidence against you. Failing one of these tests often gives the officer probable cause to make an arrest.
Let Our Attorneys Help You
Being arrested for a DUI is serious business. If you are facing DUI charges, you refused to submit to field sobriety testing, or you refused to submit to a breathalyzer or some other chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol concentration, you will need to consult with an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can discuss what options are available to you. Please contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows DUI attorney immediately at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. You can reach us at (847) 394-3200 today.
July 8th, 2015 at 2:36 pm
In the wake of the tragedy in Charleston, S.C., there has been a great deal of public discourse about the reasons why people commit violent crimes. Those of us who handle these cases understand that a whole host of sociological, psychological, and physical factors come in to play and that in some cases it is simply impossible to know why these things happen. There is certainly some evidence that the shooter in the Charleston case may have been motivated by racism. But it is impossible for us to know if that was this young man’s exclusive motivation, and we will not understand his true mental state unless and until he undergoes psychiatric evaluation.
When race, or some other sensitive characteristic, such as gender or religion, plays a role in a crime, it often gets called a hate crime. Hate crimes have a very specific definition under the law, and it is important to understand exactly what a hate crime is.
What Is a Hate Crime in Illinois?
In Illinois, hate crimes are defined by statute. Under Illinois law a person commits a hate crime if, “by reason of the actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin” of a person or group of people that person commits one of the following crimes:
- Aggravated assault;
- Misdemeanor theft;
- Criminal trespass to residence;
- Misdemeanor criminal damage to property;
- Criminal trespass to vehicle;
- Criminal trespass to real property;
- Mob action;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Harassment by telephone; or
- Harassment through electronic communications.
Of course, there are some obvious hate crimes missing from this statute. This statute takes crimes that would otherwise be relatively minor, and turns them into serious felony offenses because of the defendant’s motive. It is important to note that extremely serious felonies like murder and rape are not included on the list. Perhaps this is because of the harsh sentences that already result from those offenses. However, while murder itself cannot qualify as a hate crime in Illinois, a person could be charged with both murder and a hate crime at the same time.
For example, imagine the defendant who is accused of murdering someone and in the course of the crime he or she also breaks some of that person’s property, and he or she is motivated by one of the protected characteristics when he or she does so. That person could be charged with and convicted of both murder and a hate crime. It is important to understand that the federal government also has its own hate crime laws, so if a person is charged in federal court, those laws, not the Illinois law, would apply.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing criminal charges then you have many important decisions to make. Perhaps the most important decision you will make will be when you choose a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We have the experience and the tenacity to handle your situation the way it should be handled. Call us today at (847)394-3200.
January 9th, 2015 at 9:32 am
As many across our nation continue to protest against abuses of power by police officers, unfortunately some people are winding up arrested. All too often these sorts of arrests are for things like obstructing or resisting arrest. This is why it is so important for politically active citizens to understand their rights and know exactly what does and does not count as obstruction, so they can do everything they can to avoid criminal charges.
What is Resisting or Obstructing a Peace Officer?
Crimes in Illinois are defined by statute. Under Illinois law a person “who knowingly resists or obstructs the performance by one known to the person to be a peace officer….of any authorized act within his or her official capacity commits a Class A misdemeanor.” This definition is a little bit circular, though, so we have to look at how the courts have defined the crime in practice. The Illinois Supreme Court said in a case called People b. Raby that:
Resisting or resistance means withstanding the force or effect of or the exertion of oneself to counteract or defeat. Obstruct means to be or come in the way of….These terms do not proscribe mere argument with a policeman about the validity of an arrest or other police action, but proscribe only some physical act which imposes an obstacle which may impede, hinder, interrupt, prevent or delay the performance of the officer’s duties, such as going limp, forcefully resisting arrest or physically aiding a third party to avoid arrest.
So What About Refusing to Comply with a Police Officer’s Orders?
A new decision was recently released by the Court of Appeals that has to do with whether it counts as obstruction to merely refuse to comply with a police officer’s orders. In this case a woman went to pick up her son from school. In the process, she briefly stopped her car in a traffic lane. As a result, a cop pulled her over. The cop claims the woman argued with the cop. The cop decided to write the woman a ticket, and he went to his car to call for back up. The woman allegedly started to pull away slowly, but the cop told her to stop and she did. The cop told the woman to give him her license and insurance information and she told him no. Then she drove away. The cop caught up with her and pulled her over again. He told her she was under arrest and that she had to exit her vehicle. The cop claims the mother told him, “I don’t have to do (explicative).” The cop told her to get out of the car again and she would not. The cops then forcibly removed her from the car.
Obviously the driving away from the initial pull-over was a problem. But the obstruction charge in this case had to do specifically with the woman’s refusal to get out of her car. The Court decided in this case that just refusing to get out of the car was enough to convict the woman of obstructing a police officer. In doing so, it said that considerations of officer safety were paramount in the case. A jury could conclude that the defendant refused the cop’s repeated orders to exit the vehicle and that as a result the cop had to put himself in danger, which is enough for the conduct to be considered obstruction.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are accused of resisting or obstructing a police officer you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You should contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and schedule a consultation.
December 4th, 2014 at 10:59 am
Considering some of the tragic events that occur in the world today, it is perhaps not surprising that citizens who choose to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms also may choose to travel with their firearms. Whether they anticipate using the weapon for self defense or protection, or just simply to gain some peace of mind, it is important for those individuals choosing to do so to realize that there are usually laws regulating weapon possession by which they must abide. If not, violators of weapons laws may face serious criminal charges, including felony crimes. Visitors to this area should also be aware that they need to follow Chicago gun laws, as well.
Gun Laws in Chicago
According to a recently published news article, gun owners who visit Chicago should familiarize themselves with the city’s gun laws before deciding to take their weapon with them to the city, or to the state of Illinois. There are three main laws governing possession of firearms that are applicable throughout the state, including in the city of Chicago: one in the Criminal Code, one in the Wildlife Code, and the Firearm Owner’s Identification Act. These laws are in addition to any local regulations or ordinances put in place by smaller communities within the state of Illinois. Even those who are not residents of Illinois are subjected to these laws and are expected to abide by them while in the state.
Nonresidents who are in possession of a firearm in Illinois are expected to have their weapon properly registered in their home state. They would also likely do well to meet any other requirements imposed by their home state regarding the legal possession of the firearm. In addition, nonresidents who want to transport their weapon into Illinois must carry it in a closed case, and the weapon must not be immediately accessible or otherwise must be broken down so that it is not in functioning condition. Chicago does not recognize concealed carry permits from other states, but nonresidents from states with concealed carry laws that are substantially similar to Illinois’ law can apply for a permit here.
Criminal Defense Attorney
There have been many changes to Chicago gun laws in the recent past, including how they apply to nonresidents. As a result, legal issues regarding this area of law can get complicated quite quickly. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney about the most recent gun laws in Illinois and how they affect your rights is the safest way to ensure the laws are followed and criminal conduct is avoided.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a weapons offense in the Chicago area, contact the Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation to discuss your matter. Our office is located in Rolling Meadows.
January 3rd, 2014 at 10:22 am
Many people consider the Chicago area notorious for drugs, and more specifically the abuse of heroin. In fact, citizens in the Chicago area suffer the highest number of heroin overdoses across the country. An interesting article recently published by the Chicago Reader examined the state of Chicago’s “thriving heroin business” and the history of the issue over the last 100 years.
Over the last century, Chicago’s heroin business has been able to change and thrive despite the measures aimed at curbing the behavior, including legal restrictions, increased law enforcement, and societal changes. Illegal drug markets began developing in the early twentieth century in marked areas of Chicago. Police were forced to strike a balance between cracking down on users and confining the activity to the known areas with known users and known criminal histories.
When Congress began passing restrictions on the trade of opiates in the 1920s, criminal organizations began dominating the business by smuggling the drugs, sometimes internationally. In the next 40 years, there was a shift in population in the west side of Chicago, with the area becoming predominantly African-American by 1965. Overall, the area suffered losses in jobs as a result of hundreds of companies closing. With the economy declining, the market for illegal drugs flourished.
Eventually, the organized crime families stepped away from the drug trade in favor of having gangs handle the business for them. Instead of selling drugs on the street as was done in the past, buyers would call dealers to arrange a purchase, decide on a meet location, exchange a code and make the exchange through an opening in the door. Perhaps not surprisingly, gang and drug-related violence increased dramatically in the early 1970s, and in 1974, Chicago experienced the city’s highest number of annual murders.
The 1980s and 1990s brought another change in the drug business. Colombian and Mexican cartels took over drug trafficking into Chicago. Increased competition in Chicago forced the sale of drugs outdoors, usually in public housing complexes or other distressed neighborhoods. Incidents of violence spiked again, and it seemed drug sales were a commonplace occurrence happening everywhere.
By the early 2000s, many of the gang leaders heavily involved in the drug trade were incarcerated and gang structure was weakened. The rates of violence began to decline overall. The drug business is no longer strongly tied to a specific group, but now often involves different gangs participating in the business together.
People not only in Chicago, but across the state of Illinois and across the country, continue to struggle with and suffer from the use and abuse of drugs. As criminal defense attorneys, we have experience in defending clients who have been charged with numerous drug-related crimes. We are prepared to discuss your case with you and advise you of your rights. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, contact us today for a consultation.