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Archive for the ‘Illinois crime’ tag

The Difference Between an Assault Charge and a Battery Charge

June 12th, 2017 at 12:33 pm

assault and battery, assault charge, battery charges, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, Illinois crimeAssault and battery is a common criminal charge. We often see the charges linked together as if they are the same offense. However, in the state of Illinois, these are two distinct charges that many times go hand in hand with each other but do not have to.

Criminal assault in Illinois is defined as an act or conduct that places another individual in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm. Whereas, a battery is the actual unwanted, unsolicited physical conduct which usually immediately follows an assault. Still, there can be a battery without the accompanying assault charge—the same way one can be charged with assault without being charged with a battery.

Why Does the Difference Matter?

The difference between the two matters because the available defenses differ based on the crime or crimes with which you are being charged. For example, self-defense is a common defense to a battery allegation; however, self-defense is not a traditional defense to a pure assault charge. General defenses to assault and battery charges include:

  • Defense of property;
  • Self-defense or defense of another;
  • Consent of the victim to the contact (battery charge specific); and
  • Lack of a legally reasonable apprehension about an impending battery (assault charge specific).

Are the Penalties for an Assault the Same for a Battery?

This is a question for your Chicago criminal defense attorney. There are many variables that can affect the sentence of either an assault or a battery. Those variables include:

  • Whether the assault had a sexual component;
  • Whether the battery included a deadly weapon; and
  • The types of injuries the victim sustained.

A “simple” assault is a class C misdemeanor under Illinois law. This can carry a fine of up to $1,500 and up to 30 days in jail. However, if one of the above-mentioned aggravating circumstances is present, then the fines can become significantly harsher. For example, if you are convicted of felony aggravated assault and battery, you may be facing a class 4 felony that carries a potential punishment of up to three years. Other aggravating factors can affect your sentencing, like having a prior record.

I Have been Charged with Assault and Battery, How Do I know if it is a Felony?

The first step you need to take is to consult your experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our dedicated legal team defends misdemeanors as well as felony criminal charges of assault and battery. A Criminal conviction may alter the course of your life for good.  Therefore, do not try and defend yourself alone. Contact us at 847-394-3200, 24 hours a day, so that we can get to work defending you and your rights.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+12%2C+Subdiv.+5&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=20887500&SeqEnd=22225000

What You Need to Know About Vehicular Hijacking in Illinois

February 19th, 2015 at 10:22 am

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, felony, violent crime,To many people, hijacking sounds like something that happens on an airplane in an action movie from the late twentieth century. While it is that, hijacking is also a type of crime that happens right in in Illinois. Specifically, Illinois law prohibits what it calls “vehicular hijacking.” If you find yourself charged with this crime, you will need the help of a felony criminal defense attorney.

What is Vehicular Hijacking?

Illinois statute defines vehicular hijacking as  a person knowingly taking a motor vehicle from another person by either using force or by threatening the imminent use of force. It is basically the same as robbery, except instead of taking some other type of property, the hijacker takes the victim’s car. It is important to note that the car has to be taken directly from the person or from the person’s presence. Thus, stealing a car from an empty garage would not count as vehicular hijacking. Vehicular hijacking is a slightly more serious offense than robbery, in that even in its most benign forms it is a Class 1 felony.

What is Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking?

There are six ways a regular vehicular hijacking can become aggravated vehicular hijacking under Illinois law. The first two of these are punishable as Class X felonies. These two types are:

  • Vehicular hijacking where the vehicle is taken from someone over age 60 or someone who is physically handicapped; and
  • Vehicular hijacking where a person under the age of 16 is a passenger in the vehicle when the hijacking occurs.

The other four types of this offense are as follows:

  • The third type of aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X felony for which the court must sentence an offender to at least seven years in prison. These are vehicular hijackings where the hijacker has a dangerous weapon other than a firearm.
  • The fourth type involves a hijacker who is armed with a gun. This is a Class X felony but it comes with a 15-year firearm add-on to the sentence.
  • The fifth type occurs when the hijacker personally discharges the firearm during the hijacking. This is a Class X felony, but it comes with a 20-year mandatory firearm add-on.
  • The final type involves the hijacker firing a firearm and someone getting seriously hurt because of it. This is a Class X felony that carries with it a firearm add-on of 25 years to natural life.

Vehicular Invasion

Vehicular invasion is a related crime. This Class 1 felony is committed when a person knowingly, by force and without legal justification, enters a motor vehicle or reaches into one when the following two conditions are met:

  • There is at least one person in the vehicle; and
  • The person reaching into the car or entering the car is doing so in order to commit a theft or a felony.

Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are charged with vehicular hijacking or any other criminal offense, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200 to schedule a case consultation to discuss your situation and determine how we can best be of help.

What You Should Know About Vehicle Impoundment

January 28th, 2015 at 7:53 pm

Illinois defense attorney, proprty seizure, Illinois criminal lawyer, your rightsBeing charged with a crime is always a very difficult situation. You may be worried about potential jail or prison time, fines and fees, the effect on your reputation, the possibility of losing or job, immigration or professional licensing consequences, or any of about a thousand other potential consequences. One thing you need to be aware of is that when you are charged with certain crimes, another possible issue you may have to deal with is having your car impounded by police.

Illinois Vehicle Impoundment Statute

Illinois has a statute that allows the police to impound your vehicle if you are arrested for certain crimes. These crimes include:

The police can also impound your car if you are arrested for violating any city ordinance that is related to these crimes. The law enforcement agency is then allowed to charge you a $1,000 fee, and you are not allowed to pick up your vehicle for at least two hours. Half of the fee goes to the police agency that arrested you and the other half of the fee goes to the “Specialized Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking Fund.”

What Happens if You are Found Not Guilty?

If you are found not guilty of an offense for which you are arrested, some consequences go away and some do not. Obviously you do not have to concern yourself with further jail time or fines in these cases, but the impact on your public reputation can be permanent. As for the vehicle-impounding consequences, you do have some recourse. While there is no way to undo the hassle of dealing with the impounding process, a signed court order can get you your $1,000 back.

Potential Forfeiture

Of course, the impoundment statute is not the only way that law enforcement can take your car. The seizure and forfeiture statute allows the police to take your car permanently if it is used in the course of committing certain crimes. Asset seizure law is complicated and in most cases the burden falls on you to prove that the property was not used to commit a crime. Seizure law also involves strict time limits. That is why it is extremely important to get an attorney involved in your case as soon as possible.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a crime, the list of potentially life-changes consequences is huge. That is why you need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney like Christopher M. Cosley. You should call our office at (847)394-3200 so we can schedule a consultation to discuss your case and see if we can be of help.

Addressing Sexting among Juveniles

November 25th, 2014 at 9:44 pm

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

The Crime of Sexting

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

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

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

Criminal Defense Attorney

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

Indirect Effects of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

April 17th, 2014 at 12:37 pm

mandatory minimum sentenceDefendants who are convicted of certain types of crimes – including murder, sex offenses, and drug crimes – face sentences that often include mandatory minimum incarceration time. These are minimum periods of incarceration that leave very little room for judicial discretion or leniency in their imposition, and can amount to decades spent in jail for the defendants.

The intended purposes that are achieved by such mandatory minimum sentences include deterrence, protecting the public, and punishment of the perpetrator. However, such lengthy mandatory sentences also have indirect effects that ripple outward from the defendant. As a recent article discussed, mandatory minimum sentences involve collateral damage to children of defendants who are forced to parent from prison.

A Wave of Incarcerated Parents

Just before the year 2000, there were almost 1.5 million minor children who had a parent that was incarcerated. That number represented an approximate 50 percent increase from the same statistic in 1991. The significant increase is arguable directly correlated to the emergence and imposition of mandatory minimum sentences, which caused an influx of incarcerated individuals as judges’ discretion was severely limited in handing out prison terms.

Mandatory minimums were a response to the rising crime rates and drug problems of the 1980s. The new sentencing structure applied to a wider array of crimes and increased penalties associated with them. This not only caused prison populations to dramatically rise over the next number of years, but also made costs significantly rise as well. The effects on children and families of those incarcerated were occurring simultaneously.

The Effect on Children and Families

Families are more vulnerable as the result of the policy shift towards mandatory minimums. Further, the opportunities and life chances that children of incarcerated parents may otherwise have are greatly reduced. This is not surprising, considering the fact that in cases such as these, the parent-child relationship is almost exclusively limited to phone interaction, if at all. While many credit the current low crime rates as a direct benefit of mandatory minimums, there is a detectable, however slight, shift in thinking when it comes to the harsh penalties.

Society seems to be viewing the policy and considering who should really be behind bars. One problem with mandatory minimum sentences is the ability to abuse them, especially in drug cases. Prosecutors often bolster the facts and weight of the illegal substances, which is directly tied to the length of a mandatory minimum sentence, in order to gain additional information, implicate others, and produce confessions. This could lead to extreme penalties for low-level associates with minor involvement in the drug trade, while other offenders, including rapists, kidnappers, and even murderers, serve just a fraction of the sentence.

Alternatives to Prison

The change in societal thinking toward mandatory minimum sentences is reflected in the formation of non-profit groups and organizations that focus on promoting alternatives to prison and organizing families of prisoners in order to advocate change. Such ideas are gaining popularity among politicians from both sides. The discussion is directed more toward being smart on crime as opposed to being unnecessarily tough on crime. The ideas are most relevant to non-violent offenders who do not have a long criminal history. Bills are being passed to lower mandatory minimums, even making the change retroactive.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Although the public seems to be increasingly in favor of once again giving judges discretion in imposing sentences, others argue that mandatory minimums are still appropriate in cases involving hardened criminals and the most serious crimes. If you are charged with a crime in the Chicago area, it is best to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today and schedule a consultation. We will work diligently to protect your rights.

Cracking Down on Sex Trafficking in Chicago

March 24th, 2014 at 12:49 pm

sex trafficking, sex crimes, lawyer, attorney, Chicago criminal law, Illinois criminal law

It goes without saying that sex crimes of any nature are very serious cases that should be handled with special care and attention. Sex crimes can involve a variety of incidents leading to criminal charges, but the government and law enforcement in the Chicago area are focusing their efforts on human trafficking, and the organizations involved in promoting it. A recent article explained the city’s actions in relation to targeting those culpable of such crimes.

Government Action

United States Senator Mark Kirk and Anita Alvarez, a Cook County State’s Attorney, called for the partnering of local and federal officials to put an end to sex trafficking across the country. One of their efforts includes preventing websites from contributing to the trafficking. They even went so far as to say human trafficking was really just modern day slavery. The Senator said that just as Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th amendment, which put an end to slavery, the state was in a unique position to put a similar end to human trafficking. He said a good place to start would be to stop the publication of sex ads on websites, many of which are also responsible for prostitution advertising.

The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) and Safe Children’s Acts

In keeping with his call to action, Senator Kirk plans on introducing the SAVE Act in the Senate this week. The legislation will allow the federal government to prosecute websites, like backpage.com, that contribute to children being victimized via commercial advertising. On the state level, the state’s attorney said her office passed the Illinois Safe Children’s Act, which was drafted to protect child victims of sex trafficking. Since the law was passed, 93 defendants have been charged with crimes related to trafficking in state court.

The Internet’s Role

According to the article, the internet has played a huge role in promoting human trafficking and sex crimes. It makes such offenses easier, and often facilitates the commission of the crimes for pedophiles and sex traffickers, who have access to advertising for such acts at any time. Proponents of the legislation described above say it is necessary to stop websites from profiting from criminal activity that victimizes children. They also claim that current law operates to protect sex trafficking websites and their owners from prosecution because they only exist on the internet.

Not all sex crimes involve human trafficking. Sexual assault, prostitution, indecent exposure and possession of child pornography are also sex crimes that can bring with them serious consequences. As such, it is critical that those charged with crimes such as these consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime in Chicago or a surrounding area in the state of Illinois, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are prepared to assist in your defense. Contact us today to discuss the facts of your particular case.

Learning Curve as Concealed Carry Law goes into Effect in Illinois

January 30th, 2014 at 3:03 pm

One of our more recent blog posts discussed the new concealed carry law that went into effect in Illinois starting in the New Year. Now, many news outlets are reporting on some of the obstacles and challenges the implementation of that law is bringing up in practice. Lawmakers are proposing bills that provide for harsher punishments for carrying guns in prohibited zones such as schools, penalize instructors who fail to train properly, and decrease the age for legally carrying a weapon.

 concealed carry law IMAGEPenalties for Carrying in Prohibited Zones

Some were surprised to learn that the new law changed the penalty for possessing a firearm in a school from a felony for the first offense to a misdemeanor the first two times an individual is charged with the crime. Changes propose increasing the penalty associated with having a gun in school, in addition to other places where they are prohibited by law, including libraries, parks, and on mass transit vehicles, as well as adding places of worship.

Advocates of gun rights are not so enthusiastic about the increased measures. They point out that any law will likely only matter to those law-abiding citizens who choose to follow it. They suggest letting the law play out for a while and seeing how the new law works, before going ahead with any suggested changes to the legislation.

Gun-Safety Training

Even those who have expressed opposition to increased penalties for those caught having a firearm in a prohibited zone are on board with stricter regulations for gun safety instructors. Other proposed legislation seeks to change punishments for those gun-safety instructors who falsify their training records. Instructors are required to give 16 hours of instruction on gun safety procedures. If they falsely allege they did so, they may serve jail time and face losing their own license to carry a weapon.

Lowering the Legal Age to Carry

Currently, the law allows for those citizens over the age of 21 to apply for a license to carry. Another proposed change to the law would include lowering that age to 18.

In addition to these changes, many are also expressing concerns over how the law will apply to those with mental health issues. Some representative are saying that these concerns are coming directly from citizens, who are wondering what protections the law affords to ensure those who suffer with mental illness are not getting access to guns.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand new laws, the consequences of violating them, and how they apply to you. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving a firearm in Illinois, we can advise you of your rights. Contact us today.

Chicago’s Ban on Guns Struck Down

January 26th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Year Brings New Police Procedure

January 11th, 2014 at 11:24 am

The New Year is here, and with it come new laws and regulations that are going into effect. One change that could be especially relevant for criminal defendants involves new training for law enforcement in the use of Taser guns. According to WICS, who recently reported on the change, a new law went into effect on January 1st, 2014, and requires more training for police officers who may use Tasers on a suspect.

Taser gun IMAGEThe new law also requires police departments to keep detailed records of their training related to Taser use and when they are used in a confrontation with a potential defendant. In the event a police officer uses a Taser on a suspect, the officer will then be required to collect certain information from the suspect.

Some law enforcement agencies reported that it had already been their practice to keep records similar to those required by the law for the last seven years, and also regularly practiced displaying Tasers when an officer had one in his or her possession, something which was not required under the old rules. Displaying the Taser involves removing it from its holster and making sure the suspect sees it as if the officer is going to use it. At times, the suspect may start complying with law enforcement after seeing it and the officer can then secure it in the holster again without having to use it. Then, the protocol is for the officer to complete paperwork stating that they displayed the Taser, the suspect complied, and was not tased.

Under the new rule, all of the data kept by police departments will be required to be turned over to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, who in turn will present a report containing the relevant information to the governor of the state of Illinois and the Illinois legislature.

While not all changes in police procedure may have a significant impact on the rights of a criminal defendant, violations of procedure could very well affect the outcome of a criminal case.  It is best to consult with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney who can discuss your case with you and protect your rights. Our attorneys have experience defending citizens in many types of criminal law cases, and we can advise you on the specific facts of your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

New Legislation to Address “Knockout Game”

January 7th, 2014 at 10:23 am

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

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

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

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

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

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