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Archive for the ‘crime’ tag

The Basics of Shoplifting in Illinois

April 14th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

shoplifting, theft, retail theft, Illinois criminal law, criminal defense, lawyer, ChicagoShoplifting is typically a crime committed by citizens who follow the majority of other laws. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reported that between 2001 and 2006, roughly 10 million people were caught shoplifting. It is also estimated that almost 10 percent of all Americans shoplift.

The National Self Help & Support Center defines shoplifting as “theft or stealing of any kind from a retail store…taking merchandise from a retail store without paying for it or without intending to pay for it.”

What’s important to know is that shoplifting laws are different in every state and many laws also vary between each local jurisdiction as well. This post is specific to Illinois

If you have been caught shoplifting for the first time, you should call a criminal attorney to help you get a lighter penalty for your first offense. Many factors will be considered when the court decides what your sentence will be including if you have completed an education program and if you have shoplifted previously.

Information from the store where you have been accused of shoplifting will also be accounted for such as what you stole and what occurred when you were caught. Whether or not you had a proper ID when you were caught will also be included.

Another detail that is taken into account it how much you shoplifted, the value of the item(s) that were stolen. Typically, the offense is less serious and only considered a misdemeanor if it costs under $500. However, if the cost exceeds $500, the charge may escalate to a felony and have more serious consequences.

It is possible to get community service, be sentenced to an education program related to shoplifting, or some other form of sentence other than prison if the charge is not extreme.

Also note that you do not have to be the person who actually took the merchandise from the store to be charged if you are with someone when they have shoplifted. You may be seen as an assistant to the shoplifter.

Lastly, shoplifting occurs in many forms including changing the price tag on an item and buying for an incorrect price. You can also be charged for shoplifting if you are sampling foods that you have not paid for as you shop. For example, if you are walking through the produce section of a grocery store and you pick a few grapes off of the bunch and eat them that is a chargeable offense.

If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact a criminal attorney to help you in an Illinois court today. Even if you have been wrongly accused or the charge is small, an attorney can help you get a better or alternative sentence today.

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.

New Legislation Pending for Driving with Google Glass

December 26th, 2013 at 8:29 am

drivingGoogle Glass is being tested by a select number of people in anticipation of a roll out in 2014.  The concept of device is that it is a smartphone display that is worn on your face and looks like a pair of glasses.  It allows you to take pictures, view social media, make phone calls and even get directions by the sound of your voice.  While it is not for sale to the general public, legislators in Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia have introduced legislation that seeks to ban driving while wearing Google Glass frames.

Lawmakers in Springfield are also interested in stopping distracted driving on the streets of Illinois.  Certain laws are already in place to accomplish this gial.  Currently, it is illegal to text while operating a vehicle.  Another law which will be effective in 2014 will outlaw the use of any handheld device behind the wheel.

Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein, a Democratic representative from Chicago, recently filed a new bill that extends the law banning handheld devices.  Silverstein said that using these new Google Glass is “another way people will be distracted.  People’s attention to the road should not be interrupted.”

Detractors of this legislation point to the possible use of Google Glass which gives you turn by turn directions similar to a GPS device.  Even if your eye would drift to the small screen on your face, it is no different than checking other instruments in your car.

But the debate centers on the capabilities of Google Glass which has the ability to cause distractions to drivers with Facebook or YouTube videos.  The author of a similar bill in West Virginia, state Delegate Gary Howell, said that “it is incredible technology, but it doesn’t belong on the road.  There’s no way law enforcement officers can tell whether you’re watching a cat video or using your GPS system.”

If you have been accused of committing a crime behind the wheel, then it is important to seek legal representation.  Receiving too many moving violations can even result in the suspension of your license.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows who can protect your rights.

Family Files Suit for Lock up Death in Drug Arrest

November 11th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

jail timeMay Molina was a community activist for many years in the city of Chicago.  Even with her diabetes, asthma, and inability to go anywhere without a wheelchair, she still voiced her opinion against the Chicago Police Department.   She was especially adamant her son’s wrongful lockup for a crime he did not commit.  In 2004, her voice was silenced after being locked up for drug possession.

For 24 hours in lockup at the police station, Molina was without her medicine.  Other inmates at the time as well as her attorney notified the police on duty that Molina was becoming breathless and confused.  No one acted on their warning and within a few hours, Molina was found dead in her cell.

Recently, the surviving family of May Molina has decided to filed a civil suit against the Chicago Police Department.  When May was arrested, she had asked the officers to bring her medicine but she was denied.  May’s family is claiming in the suit that the city normally denies medical requests of inmates at holding cells of Chicago police departments.

During the trial they had an expert corroborate their claim.  Former assistant police chief of Seattle Michael Brasfield is an expert in police practices.  He told the jury that Chicago departments hold people longer than other cities, permits unqualified officers make medical decisions neglects calling in a medical staff even when those who were arrested were in critical condition.  Brasfield said that as a department “you are supposed to err…unequivocally on the side of overresponding, on the side of well-being and safety.”

The police offered a counterclaim that Molina never asked for medical attention.  The fact is that Molina’s autopsy showed that there were tinfoil packets of heroin in her throat that she may have swallowed prior to arrest.  The medical examiner’s office ruled that the death was accidental.  Proving that the police department is responsible for the death of Molina may change the care for others being processed in the system.

Another way to protect yourself in the judicial process is to have the support of a legal professional.  A lawyer who will look out for your best interest.  If you need that kind of a lawyer, reach out to an experienced Cook County criminal attorney today.

New Laws to Improve Illinois Boating Safety

November 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

boatSenator Julie Morrison has sponsored a bill, which along with other measures will make waterways safer next year.  For Morrison, this bill is personal.  In 2012, her nephew, 10 year old Anthony Borcia was killed after falling off a tube on Petite Lake in Northern Illinois.  Morrison stated that “for me, this law is about turning a personal tragedy into an opportunity to protect other people.  Last summer, my nephew was killed by a boater under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  I’m doing everything I can to keep other families from experiencing our loss.”

The person responsible for Tony’s death was David Hatyina.  He was sentenced to ten years in jail after pleading guilty to operating a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.  His blood alcohol level while operating his boat was between .09 and .12, which is over the legal limit.

One measure that was signed into law would make the penalties harsher for people who operate boats under the influence.  If convicted of this crime, offenders would have their driver’s license suspended for three months.  It also requires boaters who are involved in boat accidents to submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical blood alcohol test.  This is how implied consent works when a driver is suspected of DUI.

The other measure would require certification before certain people can operate a watercraft.  People who were born on or after the first day of 1990 would need to complete a boat operation safety course and also receive certification from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  Without this new law, only kids from the ages of 12 and 18 need to be certified unless they are driving a boat with their parent or 18 year old guardian.  The last bill would require boats who are towing a person to show an orange flag as a warning to other boaters.

Morrison also stated that “people need to know that drinking and boating is every bit as serious as drinking and driving.  I hope that requiring blood alcohol tests in the case of serious boating accidents will make some people think twice before they crack open a beer while they are operating a boat.”  If you have been operating any vehicle and pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you need help.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows who can handle your case.

Teenage Man Charged in Infant’s Homicide

October 4th, 2013 at 11:52 am

A 17-year-old man was ordered held on $500,000 bail after being charged in the death of a infant whose death was ruled a homicide, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Willie Brown is facing charges in the death of 4-month-old Demari Brown after Demari died while in the sole care of Brown in late September. Prosecutors allege that after Brown killed the infant he proceeded to play video games “after the severely battered baby… stopped crying and eventually died,” reports the Sun-Times. Assistant State’s Attorney Heather Kent told the Sun-Times that Demari was Brown’s girlfriend’s baby, though police reported that Brown was the child’s father. “When Demari’s mother asked Brown what he did to her baby at the hospital where the infant was transported he allegedly cried and said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” reports the Sun-Times. Teenage Man Charged in Infant’s Homicide IMAGE

Brown was the only one home with the child when the incident occurred, and police reported after the baby was found that Demari had suffered “blunt trauma to the head, a linear fracture to the skull, subdural hemorrhages, rib fractures and healing fractures to other ribs and a wrist,” according to the Sun-Times. This has led some prosecutors to allege that the baby had suffered abuse before the incident that took his life. The Illinois Department of Children & Family Services was “investigating the boy’s mother, Brown, and grandmother for allegations of abuse,” reports the Sun-Times, though the family has no other prior allegations of child abuse.

According to the MCH Center for Child Death Review, more than 2,000 kids die in the United States each year after allegations of abuse or neglect. The most common form of physical abuse manifests as head injuries, known as abusive head trauma. “These injuries occur when a child’s head is slammed against a surface, is severely struck, or when a child is violently shaken,” according to the MCH Center.

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime such as this, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today.

Illinois Marijuana Laws

September 11th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

LucyMarijuana, Mary Jane and pot are all names for the drug that come from the plant Cannabis Sativa. It is a very common drug in high schools and colleges across the country and has even made its way into quite a few movies in recent years, like “21 Jump Street” and “Pineapple Express”.

It is a psychoactive drug that is sometimes inhaled from a rolled cigarette, or joint, but can also be consumed when mixed into recipes such as brownies, cookies, butter or candy.

According to the University of Illinois marijuana laws, the marijuana that is used today is as much as ten times stronger than it was in the early 1970s.

Effects of marijuana include an increased heart rate, dry mouth and throat, bloodshot eyes, sleepiness and increased appetite.

Not only is marijuana illegal in most states, including Illinois, possession and sale of marijuana is also against the policies of many colleges and universities, including the University of Illinois. If a student has been found with marijuana, he or she may find herself in serious legal trouble, as well as suffering consequences related to school and financial aid.

In 1988, the Federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act allowed the denial of Federal benefits to anyone who is in possession or involved with the trafficking of marijuana, whether it was students with financial aid or other citizens with federal assistance.

If a student is convicted with a first offense of possession of marijuana, he or she could lose financial aid for up to an entire year. This includes grants, loans, or professional licensing provided by the government.

Along with loss of financial aid, students at the University of Illinois may be put on probation or dismissed from the University. Although every college has its own rules, many school penalties are similar to these.

If you are a student who has been caught with illegal drugs and you are afraid of losing your financial aid or worse, contact a criminal attorney for help. Criminal attorney Chris Cosley is located in Rolling Meadows, Ill. and can help to keep you in school today.

 

 

The Age on Crime

August 30th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Late last year, Clark Merrefield from The Daily Beast reported on a minor who committed a crime, was sentenced in court as an adult, and brought out concerns about what was the proper age to begin charging children as adults.

After he was found guilty of robbing two local businesses, Sean Shevlino, now 22, was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

LucyIn 2006, when Shevlino was 16 years old, he robbed a Piggly Wiggly. His friend’s older brother, who was an employee of the southern chain at the time, told him how easy it would be to rob the store.

Sean’s mother, April, told The Daily Beast that although his father and herself were providing a positive, college-bound life for Sean and his brothers, Seamus and Alex, when Sean turned 15, he became very angry and began to act out.

Sean said that his friends thought he was crazy when he told them about his idea to rob the Piggly Wiggly, but once he got away with money, they quickly changed their minds.

He wanted the money to repay his friends for allowing him to stay at their houses, but once they got it, they wanted to get enough money to get their own apartment. Sean had every intention of completing school, but doing so outside of his family home.

Part two was planned for the Food Lion, which was much larger than the Piggly Wiggly. Along with more money, however, comes more protection, so one of Sean’s friends suggested toy guns.

When the plan was finally in action, Sean admitted that he did not really think he was going to go through with it, but he felt he had no choice.

After he pulled out his pellet gun, there was no turning around, and he was sentenced as an adult for 10 years.

If your child has been charged with a crime, contact a great criminal attorney to be sure that he or she is sentenced properly as a minor. Attorney Chris Cosley can help you today in Rolling Meadows, Ill.

New Travel Restrictions for Suspects of Violent Crimes

August 20th, 2013 at 8:00 am

passportIn 2012, a Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered a high number of criminal suspects flee the state of Illinois to avoid sentencing.   It is a problem that existed across all levels of law enforcement.

The Tribune found that police departments have allowed over 60 fugitives escape justice when they ran to Mexico.  When they submit extradition paperwork it often overwhelms the county officials who need to process these requests.  Of the fugitives in Mexico, at the time of their investigation, officials were only seeking the deportation of 12 suspects.

There is also an issue with the judges who held bond hearings.  They set low bonds for suspects who were being charged with crimes such as rape and murder.  They also were not required to confiscate passports from suspects with dual citizenship.  But now Illinois lawmakers have passed a law to limit these avenues for suspects to escape justice.

Now judges are required to restrict the travel or seize the passport of suspects accused of first degree murder and other violent crimes. “This closes a huge loophole that was brought to my attention by the Chicago Tribune,” said one of the law’s sponsors, state Senator Ira Silverstein, a Democrat from Chicago.

Another loophole was closed by lawmakers this August.  There was an exemption in Illinois which allowed family members to aid and harbor suspects without being charged with a crime.  This allowed families to provide a suspect with money, drive them to the airport and even keep information from the authorities.  Now, family members found to have aided or abetted suspects of crimes can be charged with a felony.

With these new laws in place, it puts a greater importance on the legal advice of an attorney with a background in representing suspects of violent crimes.  Don’t play with your fate by trying to run from your charges.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cook county today.

Man who Spent over 20 Years in Prison Exonerated

August 17th, 2013 at 8:00 am

criminal record expunge 164664874 (2)Over 25 years ago, James Kluppelberg was convicted of setting a deadly fire in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.  The home that was burnt contained a woman and her five children.  Elva Lupercio, 28, and her children who ranged between 3 and 10 years old, died in their home on the 4400 block of South Hermitage Avenue. After reviewing the scene, investigators determined that the fire was an accident.

Four years after the incident, Kluppelberg was identified as the perpetrator by a man who was arrested for burglary.  They booked Kluppelberg and, shortly after, he confessed to the crime.  Sentenced to life in prison, he maintained that he was innocent of all wrongdoing.

Kluppelberg was exonerated in 2012 of this crime due to advances in fire sciences.  It was also revealed that his confession of guilt was coerced by officers who had beaten Kluppelberg so badly that he started to urinate blood.  The man who turned him in was found to be lying in order to receive leniency for his burglary conviction.  The police department also withheld information about a drunk woman who started another fire nearby the

Although Kluppelburg was granted his release in May, he struggled to regain his old life.  It was very difficult to find a job with six murder convictions on his record.  Kluppelburg has applied to over 400 jobs and the only one that responded to give him an interview, didn’t give him the job because of his record.  He is forced to live with the support of his son and daughter-in-law in northwest Indiana.

For 14 months, Kluppelburg struggled to keep it together.  Luckily he was able to secure a certificate of innocence by proving that he was falsely accused.  He will also be eligible to receive nearly $200,000 in compensation for the years he was incarcerated.  Having a record makes it difficult to live the life you would want but you may be able to get it sealed or expunged.  Seek the assistance of an experienced expungement attorney in Rolling Meadows today to see if your record can be erased.

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