Archive for the ‘Illinois criminal law’ tag
April 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Operating a vehicle under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs is illegal in Illinois. Even though medical marijuana is legal with a valid medical card in Illinois, the state previously had a zero-tolerance policy regarding the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in one’s system.
Governor Rauner signed SB 2228 into law which made changes to the Illinois DUI statute. Instead of investigating whether there are trace amounts of THC in a defendant’s blood, this new law creates a tiered system for impairment.
The new law dictates that it is now illegal to drive or be in actual control of a vehicle with more than 5ng of THC per ml of a person’s blood or bodily substance. Officials have determined this level is close in proximity to the .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) level for driving under the influence.
While this change in the law leaves some uncertainty in the community, it corrected a legal paradox where a person could be charged with a DUI for cannabis that he or she may have smoked or consumed over a month prior.
I Have My Medical Marijuana Card
Illinois is an implied consent state, which means that when you applied for a medical marijuana card and were approved, you thus automatically consented to a field sobriety test. If a driver with a medical marijuana card refuses a field sobriety test after being pulled for reckless driving, he or she may have his or her license suspended or revoked. If the arresting officer suspects that the reason for the reckless driving was the medical marijuana, the officer may testify at trial as to the defendant’s appearance of impairment.
Are the Penalties the Same?
If you are arrested for an offense while being legally impaired by THC and driving a vehicle, Illinois traffic laws apply. For example, a reckless driving citation is not less reckless even though the THC that caused the reckless driving was legal under Illinois state law for medicinal purposes. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol vary depending on the circumstances surrounding each case. Most DUI penalties carry hefty fines and usually involve the suspension of one’s license. After a DUI arrest, a driver’s license is automatically suspended for 180 days.
I Have Been Arrested for a DUI. What is My First Step?
A DUI arrest for drugs or alcohol is a serious charge that no one should face alone. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. Take advantage of our 24-hour answering service.
October 20th, 2016 at 7:00 am
The crime of theft encompasses many different charges under Illinois law. Not only is it a crime to commit theft by being the person who knowingly takes property belonging to another without permission, which is the case in crimes such as vehicle theft or shoplifting, but it can also be a theft crime if you end up in possession of stolen property. Similarly, it is a crime to be involved in a complicated white collar theft or fraud plot, where you might not be the ringleader of the theft, but are still a beneficiary.
In Illinois, you can be charged with a theft crime even if you are not the person who took the property from its rightful owner. To say this another way, you do not have to be the person who physically commits the theft act; you could be a beneficiary or recipient of stolen property or money and still be just as criminally liable as the actual thief.
Many criminal defendants are often in disbelief when they are charged with a theft crime, especially when they are not the person who took the item or property in the first place. Regardless, these are serious charges that you face. Just like any other criminal offense, if you are charged with a theft charge for possession of stolen property, or receiving stolen property, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Possession or receipt of stolen property is a crime in , that is much akin to theft; the difference being that you may not be the person who actually took the property from its rightful owner. However, if you know, or have reason to believe that the property that is now in your possession is stolen, your possession of that property is considered a theft crime.
Punishment for Theft Crimes Depends on Value, Circumstances, and Past History
The punishment for theft crime varies and depends upon the seriousness of the theft. When the item stolen has a high value, the penalties are more severe than if the value of the stolen item is low. Someone who steals a car at gunpoint is going to face steeper penalties than someone who shoplifts a magazine. Similarly, when a theft crime is committed at a specific location, such as a church or school, or if the theft involves stealing from a particularly vulnerable victim, such as an old person, then the penalties for the theft can be enhanced. Punishment for a theft crime can also be enhanced if you already have a history of committing theft-related crimes.
Accused of a Theft Crime? Get a Lawyer
People make mistakes all the time, and if you are charged with a theft crime, whether it is shoplifting, stealing, or receipt of stolen property, you should speak with an experienced and skilled Rolling Meadows theft crimes lawyer. Do not hesitate to reach out to our office today for help.
June 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am
One of the many recent and significant changes to the criminal laws in the state of Illinois involved legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. At the time, many saw this as an important step in Illinois criminal law. However, months after the law was enacted, ABC Local reported that the law may not have any real effect on the public in the timeframe originally expected.
Availability of Medical Marijuana
A signed bill legalized medical marijuana in Illinois nine months ago. At that time, the plan was to make medical marijuana available to eligible patients beginning in the fall of 2014. Since then, there has been one of two planned public hearings to discuss rule proposals. That hearing made clear that the original timeframe by which to have the substance available is not realistic.
Objections to Proposed Rules
Advocates of the law pointed out numerous flaws to the hundreds of pages of rules proposed by state departments. One rule will require qualifying patients to purchase a $100 patient card and submit to fingerprints and criminal background checks. Advocates object to such background checks, as other patients who are prescribed more powerful drugs are not required to give fingerprints. Advocates also argue that such a requirement is an indignity to patients and shows a total lack of compassion. However, it is important to note that the requirement was part of the original law signed by the governor in 2013. If it is changed, the issue may have to be revisited by the General Assembly or challenged in court.
Illinois also needs to choose 60 approved marijuana dispensaries and 22 growing sites before the substance will be available for medicinal use. The selection will likely take months. Once the state’s selections are made, the growers and dispensaries will have to fulfill further requirements to qualify, and the winners will still have to be determined and the growing season will have to be waited out. The new estimates project that perhaps spring or early summer of 2015 may be more realistic in having medical marijuana legally available.
Criminal Defense Attorney
While medical marijuana is technically legal in Illinois, the fact that it is not yet available by approved means presents a unique legal scenario in which medical marijuana users may still be prosecuted. While the law may have changed regarding certain types of marijuana use, other drug laws remain the same.
Drug crimes are serious offenses that deserve significant attention. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successful experience representing clients charged with drug offenses and are prepared to discuss your case with you. Contact us today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We serve clients in Chicago and the greater surrounding area.
April 10th, 2014 at 12:34 pm
According to United States law, no person under the age of 21 is allowed to consume alcohol and no person of any age is allowed to drive while intoxicated. Many times, adults will have a couple drinks and drive home safely, with a blood alcohol content below the legal level of 0.08. If a person under 21, however, is pulled over and is found to have a blood alcohol content of anything above 0.0, he or she can be charged.
This is called the zero tolerance policy of Illinois for underage drinking, says CyberDriveIllinois.com. If a person under 21 is caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in his or her system, he or she will lose all driving privileges. Police officers can only pull over a person if he or she has probable cause.
Probable causes can include:
- Driving over the speed limit;
- Running a red/yellow light;
- Not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or four-way stop;
- Not driving straight in the traffic lane.
The zero tolerance law says:
- No person under the age of 21 can purchase, accept, possess, or consume alcohol. Penalties may be suspension/revocation of driving privileges;
- Any person under 21 who receives court supervision as penalty will receive 3-month suspension of driving privileges;
- Certain exemptions include religious and medical reasons;
- All states have zero tolerance laws;
- Other penalties may be fines, jail time, high insurance costs, mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment, negative effects on driving record, and negative effects on job opportunities.
If you are caught with alcohol in your system while driving and you are under 21, your driving privileges will be suspended for 3 months. The suspension will be lengthened to one year for a second offense.
Although you can refuse to take a test to determine your blood alcohol level, you can be charged for refusal or failure to complete the test if you are under 21. The first time you refuse, your driving privileges will be suspended for 6 months and as a second offense, they will be suspended for 2 years.
Keep your driving record clean by not drinking and driving. If you have been caught drinking and driving, especially if you are under the age of 21, contact an Illinois criminal attorney to help you in court today.
March 18th, 2014 at 12:35 pm
In an effort to address the problem of ever-growing prison populations, a recent article reported that an Illinois lawmaker is proposing lower penalties for offenses involving small amounts of some drugs. The proposal includes decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession in favor of punishing the offense with a citation comparable to a traffic ticket.
The proposed change, coming from Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Democrat from Riverside, is part of a recent interest in realigning the criminal justice system in order to decrease the population of inmates in prisons across Illinois. He said his plan would also include lessening the penalty for possession of small amounts of other drugs, including heroin and cocaine. The proposal as it relates to marijuana would impart a $250.00 fine for the first such offense.
According to Zalewski, the plan would not only reduce prison populations, but would also lessen the burden for law enforcement labs to test substances related to criminal cases that may get dismissed anyway. He has been a recent advocate of a number of bills aimed at reducing sentences for certain criminal offenses, in spite of his previous efforts at tougher penalties for violations of gun control laws.
Although the Judiciary Committee heard Zalewski’s proposals, they did not take a vote. Zalewski is beginning to gauge support for the proposals by speaking with colleagues, and has not yet stated when he will ask for panel approval.
Currently, there are 49,000 individuals imprisoned in Illinois’ correctional system, which was built to hold just 32,000. State prisons regularly house about 4,500 more inmates than they are suited to hold. The proposals outlined above, as well as other similar measures, take aim at those crimes that account for a large number of inmates in state prison. Not only would the measures allow for the reduction of the prison population, but would also pave the way for harsher penalties to be enforced for more serious crimes, such as gun offenses, something Zaleski also supports.
Not only does the overpopulation of prisons pose the realistic problem of space, but also the financial and budgetary problem of overspending on the prison system. Some estimate that the amount spent is about $1.3 billion – which is a great sum, but not even enough to adequately meet the needs of the inmates currently in the system.
Working out the Details
Zaleski refrained from describing the measure as the decriminalization of marijuana, the details of which are still being defined. He said it was more of a restructuring of the criminal justice system as it related to these offenses.
Even though the proposal has not been put into legislation yet, representatives from the narcotics bureau of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said those arrested for possession of about an ounce of marijuana would face a $250.00 fine for their first offense. Previously, they would have faced up to one year of incarceration. Possession crimes involving heroin, cocaine, or other drugs will have a three-year prison term associated with them instead of four.
Drug crimes can be serious offenses. It is beneficial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois to protect your rights. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation about your specific matter.
March 13th, 2014 at 12:19 pm
It is widely known that those who work in law enforcement are held to relatively high standards. Police officers are responsible for upholding the law, and for conducting themselves in an honest way in investigations and when communicating with suspects. While many may expect the same level of professionalism from those who work closely with law enforcement though, the fact of the matter is that most public employees whose positions overlap with law enforcement are not duty-bound to uphold the law.
Different Legal Consequences
Police dispatchers regularly fulfill their duties, much like the police officers with whom they team, to serve and protect members of the public. However, they, unlike members of law enforcement, cannot be prosecuted for certain violations, such as revealing information to suspects regarding investigations targeting them. A recent article suggests that this may change if Illinois enacts a proposed law from Senator Dave Koehler from Peoria, which passed to the Senate last week.
Senator Koehler’s reasoning behind the measure is that it is inconsistent to hold the individuals who are responsible for supporting the police to a lower standard than the officers themselves regarding upholding the law. Under the proposed law, any dispatcher or other law enforcement agency employee who communicates information obtained through their employment, which delays or prevents the investigation of a crime or the apprehension or prosecution of a suspect, will be guilty of official misconduct. The crime will be considered a Class 3 felony.
Past Actions have Gone Unpunished
Such a scenario played out a few years ago in a suburb of Chicago, when a dispatcher tipped off a local drug dealer that police officers were in the vicinity of his residence. Although the dispatcher was originally found guilty of official misconduct, the Illinois Supreme Court later overturned her conviction on the basis that no law covered the offense.
In another case, a former custodian in Pekin City was accused of collecting information from the police department regarding meth-related investigations in 2010 and 2011 during the course of her employment there and later sharing the information with suspects. She was charged in federal court for this, as well as for participating in a meth sales conspiracy, and is set to go to trial in May. She has not been charged on the state level, however, since no charge exists to address her actions.
It is the hope that the proposed law would effectively act to fill that gap in state law, and be enforced to cover the situations involving law enforcement employees and dispatchers described above.If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the state of Illinois, an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney can defend your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.