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Archive for the ‘Chicago criminal defense attorney’ tag

Criminal Pleas in Illinois

January 6th, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, Illinois criminal lawyer, If you are being charged with a crime in Illinois, your charges will be formally read to you at your arraignment hearing. You will be required to enter a plea, or an official statement as to whether you are guilty or not, at this time to the charges you face. You have four plea choices in Illinois: not guilty, guilty but mentally ill, guilty and no contest.

Not guilty, guilty but mentally ill and guilty pleas are specifically provided for under 725/ILCS 5/113-4(a). Pleading no contest is limited to only certain situations, and the court does not have to accept a no contest plea.

In all cases, it is very important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine which plea is best for your particular circumstances. Which plea you choose will play a significant role in how your criminal case will proceed, and your plea choice could also have a lasting effect on your life since pleas are made part of your criminal record.

Not Guilty

When you plead not guilty, you are not admitting guilt for the crime that was allegedly committed. Pleading not guilty means that your case will proceed to trial.

Guilty but Mentally Ill

When you enter a plea of guilty but mentally ill, you are admitting to committing the alleged crime, but you are also asserting that the charges should be mitigated by the fact that you were mentally ill at the time you committed the crime. The court can accept this plea, and must first make a determination on the issue of your mental state at the time of the crime, before proceeding further.

Guilty

Pleading guilty means that you admit to your guilt for committing the alleged crime. The court can enter your guilty plea and move your case forward to sentencing. You will have the guilty plea on your criminal record.

No Contest

No contest is an interesting plea because this plea means that you do not disagree with the facts, but you do not admit that you are guilty. A no contest plea is very rare in Illinois, and in most criminal cases cannot be used; as such, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to see if a no contest plea is available for you in your particular case. It is treated much like a guilty plea, and is entered into your criminal record. The main difference between a guilty plea and a no contest plea is that when you plead no contest, your plea cannot be used against you later if any civil suits arise. The court does not have to accept your plea of no contest, and will likely reject it.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Deciding how to plea in your criminal case is something that needs to be fully considered and discussed with your criminal defense attorney. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and what the consequences of each option might be. Please contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley online. We can also be reached by calling (847) 394-3200.

 

Source:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072500050K113-4

Illinois Prosecutors Taking Aim at Truancy

September 17th, 2014 at 7:33 am

truant juvenile, truancy prosecution, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Chicago juvenile crime attorney, Cases involving juvenile criminal offenses deserve special consideration, especially since many of these cases present an important opportunity to get a child or adolescent back on track. Truancy cases involve a particular set of concerns, mainly because they not only implicate a juvenile and his or her actions, but could implicate the juvenile’s parents or guardians in criminal liability as well. Prosecutors in several counties in the state of Illinois are charging an increasing number of parents with the crime of truancy.

Criminal Charges for Parents

Both St. Clair County and Madison County in Illinois have been focusing on charging a juvenile’s parents with the crime of truancy if their children are offenders. This is apparently part of a larger movement across the country to address the issue of truancy. According statistics, officials in St. Clair County have charged 13 parents so far this year with truancy because their children are chronically absent from school. This number has increased from eight in 2013, and just one parent in 2012. Madison County has charged a surprising 30 parents so far this calendar year with the crime, up significantly from 10 last year and seven parents in 2012. The offense is graded as a misdemeanor and can result in imprisonment of up to 30 days, imposition of a fine, or both. According to Illinois law, a child is considered truant if he or she has nine days of unexcused absences in the previous 180-day period.

The Focus on Truancy

Prosecutors are saying that the renewed efforts at truancy offenders are part of a larger plan of combating crime. In addressing truancy issues, they believe they are taking a step in crime prevention since truancy is often the first step in a pattern of later criminal activity, often resulting in prison time when such truant juveniles become adults.

Most times, there is an effort to intervene in the truancy process long before any criminal charges are filed. This includes communication to parents after just a few absences, and implementation of a corrective action plan if the truancies continue. A hearing is scheduled if a student reaches nine unexcused absences. If such a problem remains uncorrected, the case is referred to a Regional Office. If a truancy problem persists at this stage, a state attorney is likely to get involved. Some offices even have a policy of criminally charging both the student and the parent if the child is in middle or high school.

Criminal Defense Attorney

The knowledgeable Illinois criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have vast experience in representing juveniles who are charged with crimes. If you or your child needs representation in a juvenile matter, do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.

Do Risk Assessments Have a Place in the Criminal Justice System?

September 11th, 2014 at 7:55 am

assessment of criminal risk, Illinois defense lawyer, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, recidivismAccording to a recent article published by the Pekin Daily Times, predicting future risk within the context of the criminal justice system has gotten significant attention lately. As described in the article, the concept of predictive analytics involves taking information from a large amount of data in order to identify patterns and make future predictions. While not always 100 percent accurate, the process does reveal information about the future that is somewhat reliable. The practice of predictive analysis is typically used in the business world, in making military decisions, and in scientific study. Now, it seems to also be leaking into the criminal justice system, which may not be a good thing.

Risk Assessments at Sentencing

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently gave a speech in which he stated his position on using risk assessments at the sentencing of criminal defendants: he does not think it is a good idea. Holder went so far as to caution against such use, saying his concern is that doing so has the potential of seriously undermining efforts at individualized and equal justice. Equal justice, he said, can only be achieved using an individualized approach that takes the particular defendant, along with the crime committed, into consideration.

While risk assessments may not be commonly used in the context of criminal sentencing, similar models have been used for a long time when making parole decisions. Using reductive analytics in the context of the later part of punishment, Holder says, is not as dangerous as using it in front-end applications like in initial sentencing decisions. There is a need to ensure that doing so will not have unintended consequences.

Despite the warnings, several states, including the state of Illinois, have begun employing the use of risk assessment tools within their criminal justice systems. One of the supposed benefits some states say they are gleaning from sentencing defendants based on risk factors is to decrease their prison population. However, the danger in doing so remains that these states risk imposing very different sentences on defendants for similar crimes. Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice reportedly requested the U.S. Sentencing Commission to take an in-depth look at the use of predictive analysis in sentencing and to issue policy recommendations based on their findings.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, it is important to consult with an experienced Cook County defense attorney about your case as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are prepared to represent clients in many types of criminal matters in both DuPage and Cook County, including through the sentencing phase of the criminal process. Please feel free to contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.

Chicago Suburbs Lead in DUI Arrests

September 2nd, 2014 at 7:11 am

DUI, breathalyzer tests, Chicago criminal defense attorney, driving under the influence, Although it may seem like more people recently are being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it should still be considered a serious offense that deserves the proper attention. Depending on the circumstances, an individual convicted of a DUI can face a substantial prison term, in addition to subsequent supervision and related costs and fines. Considering these potentially harsh penalties, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling various types of DUI matters for those who are charged with the offense.

DUI Penalties

The sentencing guidelines for DUI offenses increase in severity depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. The penalties are more severe for those convicted of multiple DUIs in the past than they are for a defendant who has been charged for the first time. Still, even those convicted of DUI for the first time can face a maximum of one year of incarceration and an additional six months if a child was in the car while the offender was operating it. Other factors, such as an accident, or the injury or death of another as the result of the DUI, would enhance sentencing structures, as well as lead to additional criminal charges.

 Popularity of DUI

According to a news article recently published, four suburbs just west of Chicago are in the top ten Illinois communities for most DUI arrests in 2013. It found the community of Rockford was first, with a total of 556 DUI arrests last year. The suburb of Naperville was a close second, with 553 arrests for DUI, which was actually a four percent decrease from the 576 that occurred in Naperville in 2012.  The remainder of the suburbs were Carol Stream, which was number five on the list with 392 arrests, Elmhurst ranked sixth with 300, and Aurora, with a total of 256 individuals arrested for DUI, came in tenth place across the state.

The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists completed the survey and compiled the data related to Illinois’ DUI arrests, which it does annually. The purpose of the survey, in part, is to determine how many DUI-related arrests are made by law enforcement in the state of Illinois and to recognize the police departments and officers who are the most productive in combating drinking and driving. Almost 700 police agencies were surveyed, and about 84 percent of those responded. Other suburbs were notably ranked in the top 25 for DUI arrests, including Wheaton and Lombard.

Criminal Defense Attorney

DUI cases call for expert guidance from an experienced Illinois defense attorney. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in the Chicago area of Illinois, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation to discuss your matter. We have experience representing clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

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.

Chicago Arrest Warrants to be Executed

August 26th, 2014 at 7:00 am

arrest warrants, Chicago arrest warrants, Chicago criminal defense attorney, felony crimes, Cook County, electronic monitoringAccording to a news article by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cook County sheriff’s office will be focusing its efforts on executing arrest warrants in Chicago. The media outlet reported that Cook County sheriff Tom Dart wants to ramp up efforts to catch individuals wanted on arrest warrants in connection with violent crimes that occurred in the city. It is law enforcement’s latest effort to address the problem of gun violence in Chicago.

Shift in Focus

In addition to executing arrest warrants in Chicago, the sheriff’s office is also said to be increasing its supervision of criminal defendants who have been released from prison and are currently on electronic monitoring. Previously, many sheriff’s officers were assigned to the area of south suburban Robbins to concentrate on reducing gun violence. Now, those efforts will be shifted to the city of Chicago. The office will be focused on Chicago warrants for a period of time in order to respond to recent crime trends. The sheriff’s officers who were deployed to Robbins reportedly made a difference, with crime in that area improving.

While sheriff’s officers being present in the city of Chicago is nothing new, the sheriff wants to ensure that the crime in the area is being responded to with the proper attention and resources. The sheriff’s decision comes in the wake of a violent holiday weekend, when 13 people were fatally shot and dozens more wounded over the Fourth of July. The violence in the city made national headlines.

Chicago Warrants

Although the sheriff’s office does not plan on sending its officers on patrol alongside Chicago police officers, it is planning on executing some of the warrants with Chicago Police Department teams, and will begin to do so more frequently. The Chicago Police Department has said it has been working closely with the Cook County sheriff’s office in its effort. So far, Governor Quinn’s offer to send Illinois State Police troopers to assist the sheriff’s office has gone unanswered. The governor made a similar offer last year after a shooting that left 13 people wounded, but that offer was also rejected by local government officials.

Criminal Law Attorney

With the increased police efforts aimed at making arrests within the city of Chicago, more individuals are likely to be arrested and charged with crimes. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the city of Chicago, hiring an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney is imperative. The defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have experience representing clients in various criminal matters, including felony crimes. Contact us today to discuss your case and protect your rights. We serve clients in Cook and DuPage counties as well as the surrounding areas.

Concealed Carry Applications being Rejected by Illinois Police

August 19th, 2014 at 7:00 am

concealed carry, Chicago criminal defense attorney, concealed carry applications, concealed carry permits, gun charges, Illinois gun crime, Illinois gun laws, person’s arrest recordWe previously discussed Illinois’ new law on concealed carry permits in a past blog post. Since the law went into effect at the beginning of 2014, there has been a significant amount of controversy surrounding it. As a recent news article reported, there are now questions being raised and lawsuits being filed over the denial of applications for concealed carry permits.

Denying Applications

Some Illinois citizens who have applied for concealed carry permits and were subsequently denied are filing lawsuits against local law enforcement agencies. The reasons the applications were denied were allegedly not clear, but rather came in the form of objections from police that were reportedly kept relatively secret. As a result, the Illinois State Police announced that it plans to task a state review board with producing more information about why applications were rejected. Part of the board’s job will be to notify an applicant if it is likely their applications will be rejected so they have an opportunity to argue against the objection. Specifically, they will be notified of a credible objection and the basis of it, and will be notified of the agency that brought it. Their response is required within 10 days. These new rules have already taken effect in Illinois.

Previously, the system was made up of a seven-person review board, which considered concealed carry permit applications in private. They took into account any objections to an application that were raised by local law enforcement, which may have included a person’s arrest record or history with police that did not end in a criminal conviction. If the review board agreed with law enforcement and sustained the objection, they notified the applicant of the denial by mail. The denial did not include any further explanation of the board’s decision. Applicants had no other recourse but to take the matter up in court if they chose to do so, which resulted in over 200 denied applicants filing suit. In addition to the changes mentioned above in connection with the new system, the board’s hearings will also now be recorded and applicants will have the opportunity to obtain transcripts of the hearings.

Skepticism

Despite the new rules going into effect relatively quickly after the lawsuits being filed, many remain skeptical about their effects on the process overall. Previous proposed fixes to the process have not been successful, so many gun rights activists are reserving judgment on whether these new rules will have a positive effect until they have been in place for a little while. Further, it remains unclear as to how the new rules will affect cases that are currently in the courts as a result of already having been denied permits. Others continue to voice concern that the new rules fail to address a more serious problem: law enforcement’s consideration of information outside an applicant’s criminal record.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime in the state of Illinois, hiring an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney is critical. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we have successfully represented clients in a variety of criminal cases, including those charged with gun crimes.

Potential Revised Criminal Sentences in Illinois

July 28th, 2014 at 11:01 am

Chicago criminal defense attorney, criminal justice reform, criminal sentences, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, prisoner rehabilitation, revised criminal sentencesAccording to a recent news article, lawmakers in Illinois may soon be considering a reduced criminal sentencing structure. While lawmakers are reconsidering the criminal sentences imposed on certain offenders who are convicted of crimes of a lower level in favor of shorter sentences, they maintain the state is not easing up on crime. Rather, the state legislator who is behind the idea to form a committee tasked with reconsidering the sentencing guidelines says it is more about acting more effectively, and less about letting criminal offenders get off scot-free for their offense.

Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee

The legislator who is behind the possible revision is Representative Michael Zalewski, who reportedly sponsored a bill in the Illinois General Assembly that would create a Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee. The committee would be asked to examine options in an effort to improve the chances a prisoner could be rehabilitated while also decreasing the amount of time they remain incarcerated. The group would use research conducted by the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC) as a foundation for their revision suggestions. Zalewski allegedly advocates for a broader approach to sentencing in the criminal courts, one that involves acknowledging the difference between a drug offenders of a lower level and a felon who possesses a gun.

The Resolution

Zalewski’s resolution recounts some alarming facts about the current system of criminal justice in Illinois. Illinois supposedly spends about $1.3 billion annually to house adult prisoners in the state. It costs approximately $86,861 per year to incarcerate a single juvenile offender. Further, there is a constant problem of prison overpopulation, while crime rates remain relatively high in communities across the state. The information contained in the SPAC’s report addresses some of these issues, and also includes the recidivism rate, parole violations, and the effect of criminal sentencing enhancements on the state’s bottom line.

The committee is expected to take the SPAC’s report into account in determining whether to lower time in prison for defendants convicted of certain minor offenses. It follows other national research, which reveals that prison may act as a deterrent, but offers little rehabilitative value for those who commit minor nonviolent crimes. A portion of the focus of the committee will also include minimizing the effect the sentencing guidelines have on minority groups.

The suggestion to form such a committee comes after Illinois has taken other steps in revising its approach to crime. This includes the requirement of videotaping interrogations, the reduction of the crime of prostitution to a misdemeanor, and making expungements easier to obtain for those criminal defendants who have been successful at rehabilitation.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully defended clients in many types of criminal matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We serve clients in Chicago and the greater surrounding area.

An Opportunity for Expungement

July 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am

opportunity, Chicago criminal defense attorney, Cook County Circuit Court, criminal records sealed, expungement, Illinois law, law-abiding citizensUnder Illinois law, those convicted of certain crimes may be able to clear their criminal record. While this is a positive thing for many eligible people, the problem is that many are not aware of their option to do so. This often puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to education and employment opportunities after completing their sentences. However, according to a recent article, the clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court is working to spread awareness about the law so that people can take advantage of the benefits it offers in having their records expunged.

Expungement Summit

The clerk has been running a campaign for the last ten years aimed at educating offenders about their options to get their criminal records sealed or expunged. While she has made progress, there is still room for improvement, particularly among juvenile offenders. An educational summit will be held to continue the campaign. The goal is to let people know if they have an opportunity to expunge their court records, and to take advantage of the second chance it affords them to be law-abiding citizens and productive members of society. The law is aimed at removing as many obstacles as possible for people who are trying to better themselves and the life of their family. Many agencies and organizations from Cook County will be involved in hosting the event.

Criminal Convictions

After the tragedy of 9/11, the number of background checks performed on job applicants drastically increased from 20 percent to 80 percent. This statistic presented obvious difficulties in securing employment for those with a criminal record. Perhaps more problematic is that even those charged with minor infractions in the past were denied jobs and other opportunities because of the charges.

Employment opportunities are not the only thing with which a criminal record can interfere. Prior criminal charges in court records can affect education opportunities, bank loan applications, eligibility for military service, and housing or rental applications, just to name a few. Another important piece of information to keep in mind is that even if a defendant was later found innocent of a charge or never charged with a crime, he or she may still have an arrest record.

Juveniles

Although the number of juvenile applications for expungements have increased in recent years, it is believed that only a fraction of those eligible apply. Part of the problem may be that since juvenile cases are confidential, those charged with juvenile crimes mistakenly think no one can access their record anyway, so there is no need to get the case expunged. This likely causes many juvenile offenders to never think they need to seek an expungement.

Criminal Defense Attorney

There is a legal process involved in applying for and successfully obtaining an expungement. If you are interested in petitioning the court to clear your criminal record, the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can assist you. Contact us today for a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

Assault and Battery Law in Illinois

June 28th, 2014 at 6:49 am

battery, Assault & Battery, Chicago criminal defense attorney, Christopher M. Cosley, Cook County criminal defense lawyer, Rolling Meadows, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, Class C misdemeanor, assault crime, aggravated assault, Class 4 felony, aggravated batteryAssault and battery are two serious offenses that are treated as such in criminal courts in the state of Illinois. Those charged with such crimes are advised to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect their rights. Below are some of the basics regarding relevant assault and battery laws in Illinois.

Assault

In the state of Illinois, an assault charge is usually graded as a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties associated with such an offense are a maximum of 30 days incarceration and up to $1,500 in fines. Typically, the facts that give rise to such a charge involve engaging in conduct or acting in a way that places another in fear of harm. It is important to note that the crime of assault does not necessarily involve physical contact with the victim; a verbal threat or threat of physical harm is enough to meet the law’s requirements.

Certain circumstances warrant a charge to be elevated to an aggravated assault. This usually happens when a deadly weapon is involved, the defendant is disguised when committing the crime, or the alleged victim is within a certain class of individuals, including but not limited to teachers, law enforcement officials, and firemen. Aggravated assaults are graded as Class A misdemeanors, which carry a maximum one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $2,500. If the victim falls within the designated class of individuals, the crime becomes a Class 4 felony and carries a maximum three-year prison term and a maximum $25,000 fine.

Battery

Under Illinois law, it is considered battery if a person causes bodily harm to another or makes insulting or provoking contact with another. Pushing someone could be the basis for a battery charge. Because the crime invokes physical harm, it is generally treated more seriously than assault. Battery is graded as a Class A misdemeanor and can invoke a maximum jail term of one year or a fine of up to $2,500.

Aggravated battery is charged when the victim suffers significant bodily harm or permanent disability. The use of a firearm could also support a charge of aggravated battery. This crime is graded as a Class 3 felony and carries a maximum five-year prison term as well as fines that could reach up to $25,000.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Depending on the circumstances, assault or battery charges could have serious consequences for those accused of them. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully defended a number of clients charged with assault and battery. Contact us today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We can listen to the facts of your specific case, advise you of your options, and protect your rights.

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