Archive for the ‘criminal charges’ tag
March 15th, 2017 at 7:31 am
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Illinois, it is imperative that you appear in court for all of your scheduled court appearances. You may think that it is unnecessary, or that the court has already made up its mind and you showing up will have no bearing on your fate. However, a failure to appear in court is a big deal for a criminal defendant in Illinois and it can have serious and unpleasant consequences.
Best and Worst Case Scenarios
If you have been charged with a crime, you are already in a pretty tough situation. It makes no sense to do something that could make your situation worse. Not appearing for a scheduled court date will not bode well with the court. It is considered disrespectful and rude to miss your scheduled court appearance. The judge, the prosecutors, and your attorney have all made the time to show up to your hearing, and you should show up too. But what could happen if you fail to appear in court?
When it comes handling situations where a criminal defendant fails to appear in court, the judge has great discretion. In the best case scenario, the judge will presume there is a good reason why the defendant has not appeared in court. For instance, if there is unexpected and bad winter weather it is likely that the defendant could not make his or her court date because of the snow. The judge could simply reschedule the hearing—but this is unlikely. Many judges take offense to being stood up by criminal defendants. What is more likely to happen is that the judge will take some sort of action against you for failing to appear for your scheduled court appointment.
It is not uncommon for a judge to revoke a criminal defendant’s bond, meaning that if the criminal defendant is out of jail because he or she made bond, the judge will take away the criminal defendant’s option to be out of jail on bond, and the criminal defendant will be forced to return to jail. This is usually accompanied by the judge issuing a warrant for the criminal defendant’s arrest.
When the offenses that the criminal defendant is facing are relatively minor, such as the case when the defendant does not show up to a traffic court appointment after receiving a traffic citation, the judge could simply find the defendant guilty as charged.
Work With Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Illinois, it is important that you get into contact with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. You should work closely with your lawyer. Moreover, if you are concerned that you might not be able to make a court appearance, you should discuss your situation with your lawyer.
July 19th, 2016 at 11:46 am
Some crimes in Illinois are referred to as “specific intent” crimes. These crimes require that the criminal defendant have the specific intent, or a particular state of mind, to do something in order to make a conviction of a criminal defendant for the crime. To think of this another way, the criminal defendant must have had a specific state of mind, or purpose, that was the reason behind committing the crime. The specific requisite intent is often defined in the criminal statute that governs over any particular specific intent crime that a defendant is charged with.
The good thing about specific intent crimes is that the prosecution has the burden of showing that the criminal defendant had the requisite state of mind that is needed to commit the alleged crime. Proving the necessary specific intent for a crime is often the prosecution’s weakest link in their case against the criminal defendant, as it is difficult to prove a person’s state of mind. Sometimes the prosecution’s whole case will turn on proving the requisite intent element of a crime, and the prosecution may only have circumstantial evidence to support its position. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can fight the prosecutors by attacking the weakest aspects of their case.
What Are Some of the Specific Intent Crimes in Illinois?
There are several specific intent crimes under Illinois law. Indeed, these types of crimes include:
- Theft: In order to obtain a theft conviction, the criminal defendant must have the specific intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property of possession or use of the item that is stolen.
- Theft by deception: The criminal defendant must have the intent to defraud or steal from the victim through an act of deception.
- Burglary: For a burglary conviction, the criminal defendant must have the intent to carry out a felony or theft upon knowingly entering or remaining in a dwelling or building without authorization to be there.
- Residential burglary: Again, the criminal defendant must have the intent to carry out a felony or a theft inside a dwelling where he or she is not authorized to be.
- Battery and aggravated battery: The criminal defendant has to have the intent to cause serious bodily harm to the victim of the battery.
- Attempt of committing a crime: Attempt charges require that the criminal defendant had the intention of committing a crime, but either failed or was unable to successfully commit the crime.
When the prosecution is unable to demonstrate that the criminal defendant had the requisite specific intent that is necessary to be convicted of the crime, the charges will be dismissed. It is important to work with an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer who knows how to attack the specific intent aspect of criminal charges in your defense.
When You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Anyone who is facing criminal charges in Illinois, for theft, burglary, battery, or any other crime should get in touch with a seasoned and experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. Our attorneys are eager to assist you with your case today.
July 5th, 2016 at 12:39 pm
Diversion programs are alternative prosecution programs that are available to many first-time offenders who have committed nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors and are being prosecuted in Cook County. These programs are designed to help first-time offenders avoid criminal convictions and jail time by participating and completing diversion programming. Through participation in the program, those first-time offenders who otherwise would have become convicted criminals are given the opportunity to receive treatment and to contribute to their communities. Additionally, upon the successful completion of their diversion programming, the criminal defendant’s criminal charges will be dropped.
Eligibility for Diversion Programming In Cook County
The Assistant State’s Attorneys identify criminal cases where the defendant may be a good candidate for the diversion program. These defendants are notified and offered an opportunity to participate in the program. If the defendant is interested in participating in a diversion program then the Assistant State’s Attorneys will determine if the remaining eligibility criteria can be satisfied.
There are certain eligibility requirements for Cook County’s diversion programs. These requirements include:
- The criminal defendant must be an adult charged in Cook County;
- The criminal defendant must be a first time offender, meaning that he or she cannot have any previous felony or misdemeanor convictions for a crime involving violence.;
- The charges pending against the criminal defendant must be nonviolent felony or misdemeanor charges. Eligible criminal charges include:
- Retail theft;
- Fraud, credit card fraud, and ID fraud;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Burglary; and
- Drug possession;
- The charges cannot be for:
- Weapons offenses; and
- Domestic violence charges;
- The victim of the crime must consent to the criminal defendant’s participation in a diversion program.
How Does the Program Work?
The Cook County diversion program places certain conditions and requirements on the criminal defendant based on their offense and their particular situation and the program lasts for 12 months. For instance, one participant in the program might have been a first-time drug possession offender. This criminal defendant’s diversion program might require that the defendant participate in and complete a drug rehabilitation program.
Some other examples of conditions of a diversion program include:
- The requirement that the criminal defendant get a job;
- The requirement that the criminal defendant earn a GED;
- Participation in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program;
- Restrictions on the criminal defendant’s possession of weapons, drugs, or firearms while participating in the program; and
- Refraining from reoffending.
First Time Offenders Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are a first-time offender it is important that you pursue a diversion program if you are eligible. Participation and completion of a diversion program will result in your charges being dropped, meaning that you will not have a criminal record. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for diversion programming, can work through the pros and cons of applying for a diversion program, and can assist you with the application process.
June 20th, 2016 at 6:22 pm
Criminal defendants have a choice when facing criminal charges: they can either fight the charges in court, or they can enter into a plea agreement. In many cases, it is in a criminal defendant’s best interest to fight the charges that they are facing. By fighting the charges, it is possible to have the charges reduced or dropped entirely.
However, there may be a situation where it is in the best interest of the criminal defendant to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution, with the help of a skilled and seasoned criminal defense lawyer, to reach an agreement that results in lesser charges or lesser sentencing for the criminal defendant.
Nearly all criminal charges can be settled with a plea deal. In fact, a majority of criminal cases are resolved through a plea agreement. Plea bargaining is an effective means for resolving a case, which saves on time, court costs, and attorney fees. A plea agreement can provide certainty in the situation, and can be a great tool for reducing sentencing or avoiding jail time, especially when the criminal defendant was undeniably guilty of the crime.
Plea bargaining can be available in all types of criminal cases, including:
- Drug offenses;
- Assault and battery charges;
- Theft crimes;
- Fraud charges; and
- Drunk driving crimes.
Why Would a Criminal Defendant Ever Choose a Plea Agreement?
It is imperative that you consult with a criminal defense lawyer before you choose to go down the path of a plea bargain. A plea bargain generally involves admitting some amount of guilt, and thus generating a conviction and creating a criminal record based on that crime. There are a number of good reasons that criminal defendants choose to enter into a plea agreement. These reasons include:
- Reduction of sentencing;
- Reduction of the charges;
- Quick resolution of the criminal proceeding;
- Avoidance of jail time;
- A plea agreement provides certainty, whereas a trial is up to a jury; and
- Avoidance of unwanted publicity of the case (the news media can report on criminal cases before the court, and a criminal defendant might want to avoid the media spotlight).
If you think that a plea agreement is a good idea for you, you should ask a lawyer just to make sure that you are making a good decision. Your lawyer can go over the benefits and consequences of entering into a plea agreement and can offer you legal advice on how you should proceed in your case. Even if you do not like what your criminal lawyer has to say, the choice is still up to you. If you do choose to enter into a plea agreement, your criminal lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.
Is a Plea Agreement Right for You? Ask a Lawyer
If you have the opportunity to enter into a plea bargain, you should consult with an attorney first. You need to understand the benefits of a plea agreement, but also the potential consequences you might face in your particular situation. Our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys can help you. Reach out to us today for a consultation.
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.
February 4th, 2016 at 8:33 am
Many people who are facing criminal charges are focused on how their charges could affect their life. A criminal conviction could mean going to jail, paying a large fine, rehabilitation, losing a job, creating a criminal record, etc. However, when the criminal defendant is a parent, the outcome of their case could have a significant impact on their child in addition to themselves. Not only are there short-term consequences, such as being unable to be there and provide for the child due to incarceration, but there are also unforeseen long-term consequences as well.
A Criminal Record is Not Just Hard On You
When you have kids, they rely on you for more than meets the eye. Not only do children financially depend on their parents, but they also rely on their parents as a source of love, affection, attention, guidance and support. When even just one parent is not around, for instance because the parent is in jail, it can be exceptionally hard on a child.
The Center for American Progress recently issued a report that focused on the various impacts that criminal charges, even merely misdemeanor charges, can have on children and families. The report explores the consequences a criminal record can have on two generations: the parent who has the criminal record and his or her children. Little attention is given to how the challenges that the parent faces due to his or her criminal record trickle down to the child as the child grows up. Barriers that the parent faces because of the criminal record are also faced by the child, as well
The report noted that approximately 300,000 children in Illinois are adversely impacted by their parent’s criminal record, and across the country nearly half of all American children have at least one parent with a criminal record. Criminal background checks are performed by colleges, employers and landlord, all of which are important to gaining upward mobility and increasing one’s chances to obtain a better living. Because parents are not able to overcome certain barriers due to their criminal record, their children are negatively impacted.
A criminal record can make life challenging. Not only can a criminal record prevent a parent from getting a job, it can also prevent the parent from getting a better job, or moving up economically. A criminal record can prevent a parent from getting an education, or participating in training programs that could lead to better job prospects in the future. Poor job prospects in turn impacts the family’s income potential, which also affects the family’s ability to save money or to spend money on things that could enrich a child’s life. When a family has difficulty obtaining income, it forces the family to make sacrifices and endure hardships.
Call Our Office for Help
A criminal record affects more than just you and your life, it can also have a significant impact on your family and your children. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges you are facing. Please contact us today for more information on how we can assist you throughout your case.
December 21st, 2015 at 4:51 pm
Criminal charges are based on some sort of evidence that was found at the scene of the crime, that tends to point to a particular person. The evidence might not necessarily confirm that a suspect committed the crime, but the evidence suggests that the suspect has some relationship to the crime, such as having been present at the scene of the crime at some point in time or that the suspect had ties to the victim, etc. Alibis are a powerful tool for criminal defense as they can refute criminal accusations.
What Are Alibis?
When a suspect has an alibi, it means that the suspect was somewhere else, doing something else, or was with someone else at the time the alleged crime was committed. A valid and confirmable alibi provides evidence that the suspect/defendant is not the person who committed the crime because he or she was somewhere else or doing something else. An alibi is not an affirmative defense in Illinois, meaning even if the criminal defendant can prove the alibi, the jury is still tasked with making the decision as to whether to convict or not. However, a strong alibi is difficult for the prosecution to refute and the jury to ignore.
Evidence to Support an Alibi
Evidence of an alibi can vary depending on what the alibi is and who or what can be used to prove it. A few types of evidence that are helpful in supporting an alibi include:
- Video footage or photographs of the defendant somewhere else at the time of the crime. Time stamped security tape or surveillance footage from businesses or other establishments is often used to support an alibi. Video and photographic evidence is good for an alibi because it is objective evidence – short of a forgery, video footage and photographs do not lie;
- Documentary evidence of the defendant being somewhere else. When a defendant can provide documentary evidence that he or she was somewhere else it helps to support the alibi. Receipts, intake records (if defendant was admitted to a hospital, or other institution), telephone and GPS location records, and credit card swipe records can show that the defendant was somewhere else at the time the crime was committed. Documentary evidence is good for alibis since it is usually impartial and objective evidence; and
- Witness testimony supporting the alibi. Many criminal defendants offer an alibi through witness testimony. This evidence is most powerful when the witness is a person who was with the criminal defendant at the time of the crime. The more witnesses who can vouch for the defendant’s whereabouts, the better. Witnesses are subjected to examination and cross-examination while on the stand, so a witness that does not know the defendant, i.e., doesn’t have a personal relationship with the defendant, is going to be a stronger witness than someone who has a relationship with the defendant. An unbiased witness is good for an alibi. A witness that is close to the defendant might be biased and there are more opportunities to discredit a witness that is close to the defendant.
When a criminal defendant plans to use an alibi as a defense, the prosecution must be notified of the defense’s intentions. Asserting an alibi as a defense to an alleged crime shifts the burden of disproving your alibi to the prosecution. The prosecution must do so beyond a reasonable doubt.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
If you are facing criminal charges and you have an alibi, you will need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can discuss what options are available to you. Please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows defense attorney immediately at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is 847-394-3200.
December 15th, 2015 at 9:49 am
Criminal charges need to be brought as soon as possible in order to expedite justice and to ensure that critical components of the crime, such as evidence and witnesses’ recollections of the events that took place, are fresh and viable. But that is not to say that some charges cannot be brought against an accused many months or years after the actual crime took place. As such, one question remains: is there any limit on how long after a crime that charges can be brought?
Most criminal charges are subject to a statute of limitations, which is a window of opportunity in which charges for a crime must be brought against the accused or else they will be time barred, at which point a court will no longer hear the case against the accused. A statute of limitations begins either after the crime is committed or a victim learns that a crime has been committed against him or her. The statute of limitations forces the state’s prosecutors to move forward on a criminal case in a timely manner.
Statute of Limitations for Common Crimes in Illinois
A number of crimes in Illinois carry a statute of limitations, but not all do. The length or duration of a statute of limitations for a particular crime generally correspond to how serious the crime is, with less serious offenses having short statutes of limitations, while serious crimes may carry no statute of limitations at all. Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/3-5 lays out the statute of limitations for criminal offenses.
- Depending on whether the facts of the case warrant a misdemeanor charge, charges for the crimes of assault, disorderly conduct, receiving stolen property, and theft can all carry an 18-month statute of limitations;
- Depending on whether the facts of the case warrant a felony charge, charges for the crimes of assault, burglary, disorderly conduct, kidnapping, rape (depending on the facts of the case), receiving stolen property, robbery, and theft all carry a three-year statute of limitations; and
- Arson, rape (depending on the facts of the case), involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, forgery and and murder and attempted murder carry no statute of limitations, and charges for these crimes can be brought at any time after the crime occurred.
What Happens If the Statute of Limitations for a Crime Has Expired?
When a statute of limitations for a criminal charge has expired, the criminal action is time-barred and if charges for the crime are brought against the defendant, the charges will be dismissed. Defendants must raise this defense under 735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(5) by filing a motion for dismissal of the action with the court so that the court is aware that the case is defective and has gone stale.
Let Us Help You Today
Accusations that you committed a crime a long time ago can be troubling, but criminal charges that are too old and are beyond the statute of limitations cannot be tolerated or allowed to move forward. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at once for assistance with your case. Our law firm is prepared to help you throughout each step of the legal process.
December 8th, 2015 at 9:13 am
Heroin addiction in the United States is running rampant, with some areas of the country so affected by the prevalence of heroin addiction that the media often refers to it as a “heroin epidemic.” Heroin is very addictive and in recent years it has become popular to mix heroin with other high-enhancing drugs, which has led to an unfortunate and sobering number of deaths.
A New Approach: Treatment Programs, Instead of Jail Time
Police in small towns across Illinois are taking steps to try and help heroin addicts beat their addiction by providing assistance rather than punishment when addicts come forward seeking help. By working with addicts who want to get off heroin, police officers are getting these addicted individuals into detox facilities and into rehabilitation programs rather than putting them in jail. Addicts can even bring their drugs and paraphernalia to the police station for disposal, and the police will not press charges for heroin possession or possession of drug paraphernalia.
By targeting the demand for heroin, rather than trying to control the supply, law enforcement could be nipping the heroin problem in the bud. The model employed by Illinois police is modeled after a similar technique recently undertaken by police in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Areas in Illinois That Are Trying This Approach
After the police officers in Gloucester, Massachusetts were met with so much success when they rolled out their treatment instead of drug charges plan, other law enforcement took notice and began implementing their own version of this program. Some of the towns in Illinois that have adopted some form of this new approach to curbing heroin activity on the streets include:
- Rolling Meadows. Rolling Meadows police offer the Second Chance-Heroin Amnesty Program, where heroin addicts can go to the Rolling Meadows police station for intervention assistance with opiate addiction.
- Dixon. According to the Chicago Tribune, law enforcement in Dixon, Illinois has already successfully helped 20 individuals who have come forward seeking treatment for their heroin addiction. Dixon law enforcement was moved to make a change in how they were handling heroin cases when three people died of heroin overdose in February of 2015.
How Do These Programs Work?
The programs all share an overarching approach where an addict can come to a police station and request help with getting off heroin. The addict can bring any heroin, needles or other paraphernalia and turn it over to police, without risking having criminal drug charges raised. The program is explained to the heroin addict, and he or she is escorted to a rehab facility where he or she can get clean.
The system is not perfect. People seeking help must voluntarily show up to the police station and request help; a person cannot get arrested for heroin and then claim to want to participate in the rehabilitation program. Additionally, there are individuals who will voluntarily enter the rehab program who will ultimately relapse. But at least steps are being taken to try and address the core issue of addiction.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
To take advantage of these amnesty programs offered by local law enforcement, an individual must approach the police voluntarily. Being caught with drugs will not qualify you for the amnesty under these programs. If you are facing heroin charges, or any other criminal drug charges, please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for an initial consultation on your case.
July 13th, 2015 at 3:35 pm
Google made big news recently when it announced its decision to remove nude or sexually explicit images posted on the internet without consent from its search results. The practice of posting private sexual images without the consent of the person in the pictures is commonly referred to as “revenge porn.” This name comes from the practice of jilted lovers posting intimate pictures of an ex once a romantic relationship has ended. Historically there were few laws governing this practice. However, Illinois recently passed a strict criminal law that deals with this issue.
Illinois Passed a Strict Law against Revenge Porn
In December of last year, former Governor Quinn signed a strict anti-revenge porn law into effect before leaving office. This law goes so far as to make it a felony to post sexually explicit photos or videos of another person online without his or her consent. This new law just went into effect on June 1. The crime is a Class 4 felony, which can be punished by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Additionally, if a person who posts these images makes money off of them or receives any goods in exchange for posting them, the law requires that the money or goods be forfeited. The law does not just cover pornographic websites. It also prohibits the posting of these images without consent on other types of websites, including social media websites.
Many states still have no laws making revenge porn a crime. What makes Illinois somewhat unique is that not only does state law make this practice criminal, it actually makes it a felony. This means that people convicted under the law may face long-term consequences in addition to any imprisonment or fine. Convicted felons lose rights to gun ownership, for example. They can also lose the right to sit on a jury or vote in certain parts of the country. Sometimes felons are not eligible for government assistance, and a felony conviction can seriously impact a person’s ability to get and keep a job despite “ban the box” laws.
What about the First Amendment?
Some critics of this type of law argue that they violate our right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. Obviously the Illinois law has not been litigated yet, being that it is brand new. However, laws in other states have been challenged by organizations like the ACLU on these very grounds. Only time will tell how First Amendment arguments play out regarding these laws and Illinois’ law specifically.
Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
When you have been charged with a crime, you have many important decisions to make. The first decision you should make is to obtain the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We will fight for you. Call us today at (847)394-3200.