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Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney’ tag

Boating Under the Influence in Illinois

December 14th, 2017 at 9:46 am

Boating under the influence, DUI conviction, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, BUI offender, BUI convictionDid you know that in Illinois it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Many people do not realize that, from a legal point of view, operating a boat is comparable to driving a car and that those caught operating a watercraft while under the influence can be charged with boating under the influence (BUI), which carries similar penalties to a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction.

625 ILCS 45/5-16: Operating a Watercraft Under the Influence

Section 625 ILCS 45/5-16 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (aka Illinois’ boating under the influence statute) states that it is illegal to be in actual physical control of a watercraft in Illinois while you:

  • Have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater,
  • Are under the influence of alcohol, or
  • Are under the influence of a drug, drugs, or an intoxicating compound to the extent that you can not safely operate a watercraft.

Penalties

The penalties available for those convicted of boating while under the influence in Illinois vary significantly depending on whether or not this is the offender’s first DUI conviction, and are as follows:

  • First BUI: Punishable by imprisonment for up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,600.
  • Second or Subsequent BUI: Punishable by imprisonment for up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Furthermore, a BUI offender’s sentence can be enhanced under Illinois law if there were one or more aggravating factors present. For example, if the offender was involved in an accident that caused another to suffer great bodily harm, or if the offender was boating under the influence while their right to operate a watercraft was suspended due to a previous BUI conviction, the offender can be sentenced to serve up to three years in prison and pay a fine of up to $25,000. Additionally, if the offender was involved in an accident that cost someone their life life, then he or she can be sentenced to serve up to 14 years in prison and pay a fine of up to $25,000.

In some cases a convicted BUI offender in Illinois will also have their boating privileges suspended, be required to complete a specified number of community service hours, and/or be ordered to participate in a drug and alcohol evaluation/treatment program.

Need Legal Advice? Contact Attorney Christopher Cosley

Whether you have been charged with driving under the influence or boating under the influence in Illinois, experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley is here to help. Mr. Cosley was formerly the lead prosecutor in the DUI division of the Illinois state courts and now uses his extensive experience to defend clients across Illinois against alcohol and drug related criminal charges. Contact the office today for help.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500450K5-16

Detained for Shoplifting? Know Your Legal Rights in Illinois

December 5th, 2017 at 3:55 pm

allegedly shoplifting, private person arrest statute, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, shoplifting, criminal defenseDid you know that when a security guard at a mall in Illinois detains someone who is suspected of shoplifting, the guard is actually making a citizen’s arrest? In other words, he or she is acting as a private citizen and is therefore bound by our state’s private person arrest statute just like anyone else who makes a citizen’s arrest.

Citizen’s Arrests: The Basics

In Illinois, our private person arrest statute is codified in code section 725 ILCS 5/107-3 and states, “Any person may arrest another when he has reasonable grounds to believe that an offense other than an ordinance violation is being committed.” Therefore, a store’s security guard (or any other person for that matter) is legally within his or her rights under Illinois law to arrest you if he or she reasonably believe that you are shoplifting.

In order for his or her suspicion to be reasonable, he or she generally must have seen you take merchandise, or have been alerted to the fact that you have merchandise on your person when a security tag sounded.

However, it should be noted that what the court finds to be a reasonable belief in one situation may not hold up under different circumstances and that a local criminal defense lawyer should review the facts of your case in order to determine whether or not your detention was proper.

Your Rights

If you are detained for allegedly shoplifting, remember that you have rights and try to keep your wits about you no matter how stressful the circumstances may be. For instance, do not feel pressured to sign anything. Those who detain you may try to pressure you into signing a statement admitting your guilt; you are under no legal obligation to sign such a document. Furthermore, if the person who detained you did so without possessing the requisite legal grounds, then you may be able to file a claim against them for false imprisonment.

Additionally, if the police are ultimately called remember that you have the right to remain silent. They can ask you questions; however, beyond identifying yourself, you are not legally obligated to answer them. Also, keep in mind that if you are arrested by the police you have the right to speak to a lawyer and that if you are under 18 you have the right to have a parent or legal guardian present when you talk to the police.

Need Legal Advice?

Accused of shoplifting in Illinois? If so, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley without delay. Shoplifting is often thought of as a minor offense for which violators are given only a slap on the wrist, but be warned that in Illinois that is not always the case!

Depending on the facts surrounding your arrest a shoplifting conviction could mean spending significant time behind bars. Do not bury your head in the sand; be proactive and contact our office to schedule a consultation with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney today.

Source:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/citizens_arrest

Crimes Against the Elderly Carry Increased Penalties in Illinois

November 10th, 2017 at 7:37 am

burglary, crimes against the elderly, criminal offender, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, sexual assaultA man accused of committing a series of crimes on both sides of the Illinois-Indiana border is facing various charges for which, if convicted, he will likely receive increased penalties because he targeted the elderly during his crime spree. The Chicago Sun Times reports that the alleged offender is being held in jail on multiple charges of sexual assault, burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, and burglary resulting in bodily harm. The victims of these alleged crimes were predominantly elderly men and women and included a 97-year-old-woman and a 73-year-old man who were robbed outside of their home, and an 81-year-old woman who was robbed and sexually assaulted, among others.

Crimes Against the Elderly

Under Illinois law, crimes committed against the elderly (or the disabled) are considered to be more morally egregious than those committed against other people, and therefore are often punished more severely. In fact, when a crime is committed in Illinois against an elderly adult, the maximum prison sentence permissible for the crime committed can be extended. In some instances, prison sentences are doubled.

However, it is important to note that during the sentencing phase of a criminal case the victim’s age is only one aggravating factor that the presiding judge will consider when determining the offender’s sentence. During this process the judge will also give weight to additional aggravating factors that favor an increased sentence as well as to mitigating factors that weigh in favor of a reduced sentence.

The other aggravating factors that Illinois judges take into consideration when sentencing a criminal offender are listed in code section 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2(23) and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The offender was paid to commit the crime,
  • The offender has a criminal history, and
  • Punishing the offender is needed in order to deter other people from committing the same offense.

Furthermore, the mitigating factors that sentencing judges in Illinois consider are contained in code section 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.1 and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The offender did not threaten or cause serious physical harm to his or her victim,
  • Based on his or her attitude and character, the offender is unlikely to commit a crime again in the future, and
  • The offender has a mental disability.

Charged With a Crime in Illinois? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime in Illinois, it is critical that you consult with a local criminal defense attorney about your legal options without delay. Regardless of whether or not you committed the illegal acts that you are accused of, it can make a world of difference having an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting to protect your legal rights.

To find out what a top tier Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can do for you, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. One of our experienced attorneys would be happy to discuss your case with you during a free initial consultation.

Source:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/elderly-woman-sexually-assaulted-during-robbery-in-lansing/

Sentencing in Illinois Criminal Cases: Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

November 6th, 2017 at 11:01 am

aggravating factors, criminal cases, criminal defendant, mitigating factors, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyAfter a criminal defendant in Illinois is found guilty of committing a crime, or pleads no contest, a judge will evaluate the facts surrounding the case and then sentence the offender. While making this determination the judge also takes into account relevant mitigating factors (i.e. factors that support imposing a lesser penalty) and aggravating factors (i.e. factors that support imposing a harsher penalty).

Mitigating Factors

Under code section 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.1 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, judges in Illinois are required to consider the following mitigating factors when determining an offender’s sentence:

  • The offender’s criminal conduct did not cause, or threaten, serious physical harm to another,
  • The offender did not consider that his or her conduct would cause or threaten serious physical harm to another,
  • The offender was provoked,
  • There were substantial facts that, although they failed to establish a defense, tended to excuse the offender’s criminal conduct,
  • The offender’s criminal conduct was facilitated or induced by someone else,
  • The offender has compensated, or plans to compensate, his or her victim for the damage that he or she suffered,
  • The offender was a law-abiding citizen for a substantial period of time prior to committing the crime for which he or she is being sentenced,
  • The circumstances that led to the offender’s criminal conduct are unlikely to reoccur,
  • The offender’s attitude and character indicate that he or she is unlikely to commit another crime in the future,
  • The offender is likely to comply with the terms of an imposed probation period,
  • Imprisoning the offender would impose excessive hardship on his or her dependents,
  • Imprisoning the offender would endanger his or her medical condition,
  • The offender has an intellectual disability,
  • The offender sought emergency medical care for an overdose and is being sentenced for a qualifying crime involving a controlled substance under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act or the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act,
  • The fact that the offender was a domestic violence victim tends to justify or excuse the defendant’s criminal conduct, and/or
  • When committing the offense, the offender suffered from a serious mental illness that substantially impacted his or her ability to appreciate the nature and illegality of his or her acts.

Aggravating Factors

Additionally, judges imposing criminal sentences in Illinois are required to consider aggravating factors. Under code section 730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes the aggravating factors that must be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • The offender’s conduct caused, or threatened, serious harm to another,
  • The offender was paid for committing the offense,
  • The offender has a history of engaging in criminal activity,
  • Punishing the offender is necessary in order to deter others in the community from committing the same offense in the future,
  • The offender’s victim was 60 years old or older,
  • The offender’s victim had a physical disability,
  • The offense occurred at a place of worship before, during, or following a worship service, and/or
  • The offender was wearing a bulletproof vest when he or she committed the offense.

Let Us Help You Today

Criminal defense attorneys have their work cut out for them during the sentencing phase of criminal trials because this is when they present mitigating factors in favor of their clients. This is critical as successfully doing so can mean no or reduced jail time for their clients. To find out what an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can do for you, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for help.

Source:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/mitigating_factor

The Consequences of Driving Without Insurance in Illinois

September 18th, 2017 at 9:32 am

Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, driving without insurance, traffic offenses, Illinois traffic offense, suspended driver's licenseIn Illinois, drivers are required by the Illinois State Legislature Vehicle Code to carry at least a minimum amount of auto insurance. Currently, in order to meet our state’s auto insurance requirements, Illinois drivers must carry at least the following amounts of liability insurance:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person,
  • $50,000 for bodily injury coverage per accident,
  • $20,000 for property damage,
  • $25,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person, and
  • $50,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per accident.

Some people mistakenly believe that driving without adequate auto insurance in Illinois is not a big deal; however, in reality, drivers who are caught failing to meet our state’s insurance requirements suffer a number of different consequences, the most severe of which are outlined below.

Fines for Driving Without Adequate Insurance

Under code section 625 ILCS 5/3-707 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, fines for a first offense of driving without adequate auto insurance in Illinois range from $500 to $1,000 while repeat offenders are required to pay a $1,000 fine for an ordinary violation and a $2,500 fine if they were caught after causing an accident in which someone else was injured.

Additionally, Illinois residents who are convicted of driving without adequate insurance also have to pay an additional $100 reinstatement fee to get their driving privileges back if their driver’s license is suspended because they drove without adequate insurance.

Other Consequences

Illinois residents who are caught driving without adequate insurance can also have their driver’s licenses suspended. Generally speaking, a first time offender will have his or her driver’s license suspended for three months, at the end of which the license will be reinstated if the offender is able to show proof of insurance and pay the reinstatement fee.

However, each license suspension comes with certain provisions that must be abided by or else the suspension will be extended for an additional six months. Furthermore, it should be noted that driving on a suspended licenses in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Additionally, a driver who has been caught driving without adequate auto insurance may find that when he or she is able to obtain insurance, he or she will be required to pay higher insurance rates than drivers who do not have such a blemish on their record.

Consult With a Local Attorney

If you have been caught driving without adequate insurance in Illinois, then you are likely facing fines, having your driver’s license suspended, and perhaps other additional penalties. However, the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley may be able to help.

Attorney Chris Cosley is an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who tirelessly fights for his clients’ rights and driving privileges and helps them avoid criminal convictions whenever possible. Contact the office today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K3-707

Illinois’ Disorderly Conduct Law

July 19th, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Disorderly Conduct, felony offense, misdemeanor, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, disorderly conduct defenseWhen an individual disturbs the peace in a manner that threatens public safety, it is likely that he or she has committed the crime of disorderly conduct. However, each state defines disorderly conduct a bit differently. Therefore, in order to determine whether a disruptive individual in Illinois can be rightfully convicted of disorderly conduct, one must closely examine our state’s disorderly conduct statute.

Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 26-1: Disorderly Conduct

Under 720 ILCS 5/26-1 a person commits disorderly conduct in Illinois when he or she knowingly:

  • Acts in an unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another person and to incite a breach of the peace;
  • Tells, or causes another to tell, the fire department that there is a fire while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that the fire exists;
  • Reports, or causes another to report, that an explosive device or a container holding a dangerous substance is hidden somewhere where its detonation or release would pose a risk to human life while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that such a device or container exists;
  • Reports, or causes another to report, a threat of destruction against a school, or a threat of violence, death, or bodily harm aimed at people attending school or a school function;
  • Notifies, or causes another to notify, a police officer that an offense is currently being committed, will be committed, or has been committed while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that what they are saying is true;
  • Makes a false report, or causes another to make a false report, to a public safety agency while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that making such a report is necessary for the public welfare and safety;
  • Calls 911 with a false alarm or complaint while knowing that it is not reasonable to make such a call;
  • Transmits, or causes another to transmit, a false report to the Department of Children and Family Services or the Department of Public Health;
  • Issues, or causes another to issue, a false request for emergency medical services or for an ambulance from the police or fire department while knowing that it is not reasonable to believe that such assistance is required;
  • Makes a false report, or causes another to make a false report, under Article II of Public Act 83-1432;
  • Enters the property of another for a lewd or unlawful purpose and deliberately looks into a dwelling through a window or other opening; or
  • While acting as the employee of a collection agency, makes a phone call to an alleged debtor with the purpose of harassing, annoying, or intimidating them.

Penalties

In Illinois, disorderly conduct can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. Those convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct can face up to 30 days, six months, or one year in jail (depending on whether the offense was charged as a Class C, Class B, or Class A misdemeanor) and a fine of up to $2,500. However, those convicted of felony disorderly conduct can be sentenced to serve up to three or five years in prison (depending on whether the offense was charged as a Class 4 or Class 3 felony) and ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, violators may also be ordered to perform community service.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyer Today

A disorderly conduct conviction can carry serious consequences in Illinois and should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with disorderly conduct and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K26-1

My Teen Has Been Arrested. Now What?

June 19th, 2017 at 2:37 pm

juvenile crimes, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, teen has been arrested, juvenile criminal case, criminal convictionRaising children can be one of the most rewarding yet challenging parts of adult life. Our children go out into the world as extensions of ourselves, and as parents we constantly worry about their safety and how we can keep them out of trouble. We even attempt to plan ahead for any potential issues that may arise—we teach our children the difference between right and wrong and instill moral values. Still, bad decisions are made.

Decisions can Become Criminal in a Split Second

It only takes a moment for an otherwise thoughtful and law abiding teen to make a decision that can change the rest of his or her life. According to federal records in 2010, 1.6 million juveniles were arrested. Recent governmental research suggests that nearly 30.2 percent of American citizens will be arrested by the time they are 23 years of age.

The most common types of juvenile criminal cases involve the following:

These crimes do not make our teens bad people. However, they may land our loved ones in trouble with the law—loved ones who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Children may succumb to peer pressure without understanding the dire consequences that they are risking with their future. One bad decision does not have to, nor should it, relegate our youth to an entire life of crime.

Police Interaction With Our Children

For many parents who are trying to protect the interests of their children once they have been arrested, the most shocking development is that there are little national procedural standards for how police officers interact with minors once they have been arrested.

Police officers are required to notify a minor’s parents in a reasonable time after he or she has been arrested. Moreover, police are required to inform a minor’s parents of the nature of the charge as well as the next proposed steps that law enforcement will take in the case.

In the majority of instances, police will allow a parent to be present during an official interrogation. However, federally, there is no guarantee that protects a parent’s right to be present during a federal investigation inquiry.

Despite not having a constitutionally protected right to be present at your minor child’s interrogation, your minor does have a right to have a lawyer present during questioning. Additionally, at any time during the investigation, if your child asks for a lawyer, then the interview must end.

The most important step you can take to help your minor child who has been arrested to enlist the help of a talented Illinois criminal defense lawyer.

Erect Your Defense Immediately

Criminal investigations are fraught with peril. The government has extensive resources and the advantage of knowing their intentions. A criminal conviction for a juvenile can have disastrous effects on his or her future. It may affect the juvenile’s ability to gain employment, take advantage of certain governmental programs, or be able to secure a professional license. Contact our skilled and relentless Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Call 847-394-3200.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=50&ActID=1863

Illinois Mayor Opposes Consent Decree

June 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am

consent decree, police reform, Rahm Emanuel, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, criminal allegationsWhen recently asked about an independent federal monitor, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained that “it is exactly the right way,” in regards to proposed oversight for the Chicago Police Department.

Negotiations between the Mayor and the Justice Department are focused on a memorandum of agreement. This would incorporate the structure for approving reforms that federal authorities have advocated for in the wake of several controversies which have rocked the Chicago Police Department in recent years.

Justice Department approval would still be required for the oversight measures to go into effect. The measures would include explicit oversight by an appointed independent monitor to oversee the proposed reforms. The Mayor’s administration believes that this is an important step further. However, some reform advocates are not satisfied.

Why Reform Advocates Want a Consent Decree

Police reform advocates had counted on a federal consent decree that authorizes the court to enforce the new policies instead of just monitoring them. The mayor defended his administration’s argument alleging that the road to reform is not as important as the reform itself.

Critics say that in the wake of the searing report released by the Justice Department roughly four months ago, more needs to be done than simply monitoring a problem that the community already knows exists. The Chicago Police Department has been saddled with controversies over their use of force policies.

The former head of the Civil Rights Division has argued that Chicago has seen a pattern of recommendations without teeth and that a consent decree would be a more potent tool to hold the police accountable to the suggested reforms.

The Justice Department and Consent Decrees

For a consent decree to take effect, the Justice Department must sign off on it. Initially, in the wake of the Justice Department report, Mayor Emanuel supported a consent decree. However, after the appointment of the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, it is unlikely that an agreement for a consent decree would be worked out with the city.

Police Investigations

Being investigated for a crime is a harrowing experience. One that is fraught with legal peril and can have serious detrimental consequences on your life. It is unwise to face these allegations on your own. Our experienced and dauntless Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney will defend your rights at every stage of your investigation or subsequent case. Contact our Cook County office at 847-394-3200 to schedule your initial consultation.

Sources:

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/independent-monitor-included-in-cpd-reform-agreement-sent-to-doj/amp/

https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/mayor-defends-cpd-monitor-over-consent-decree/2b92530c-0bb0-4c95-acb7-4cade9cc9d3a

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

When Police Confiscate Property

June 5th, 2017 at 7:15 am

police confiscate property, Rolling Meadows, criminal law, seize property, civil forfeiture, private propertyIllinois lawmakers unanimously passed a measure making it more arduous for law enforcement to confiscate property from innocent owners. The bill passed in the Senate and will now head to the house.

The plan would shift the burden of proof to authorities in circumstances where they seize an individual’s property under a criminal investigation. As it stands, Illinois law allows for the confiscation of an individual’s property even in cases where no formal charges are levied against the owner.

There is a strong financial incentive for law enforcement agencies to seize property. Once the property has been taken, then the agency who took possession of the property, in many cases, reaps the rewards of the proceeds from the civil asset forfeiture. In addition to not having a constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel once a person has had his or her property seized, it can be costly to challenge and often leaves people with no mechanism to get their property back.

What is Civil Forfeiture?

Civil forfeiture refers to the legal process in which law enforcement seizes assets from a person suspected of involvement with criminal activity. The controversial nature of this policy has its genesis in the fact that formal criminal charges do not have to be filed to seize property. Every year in Illinois, authorities snatch tens of millions of dollars in cash, cars, and land from Illinois state citizens. As of 2005, Illinois law enforcement has seized over $319 million from Illinois residents in concert with federal authorities who have seized over $404 million over the same period.

Forfeiture laws can be traced back to admiralty law. Historically, authorities were allowed to seize contraband from ships engaging in criminal activity. The Crime Control Act of 1984 broadened civil forfeiture at the federal level.  

Proposed Changes

The new bill passed by the Illinois Senate would place a stricter burden on law enforcement officials attempting to seize private citizens property. The bill would require that officials prove that the individual consented to his or her assets being used for criminal activity, reversing the current law requiring the citizen to prove that he or she was not involved. The new law would also create a streamlined process for innocent parties who have had their property seized to take possession of their property.

Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense

Being charged with a crime is a serious ordeal, even in cases where no civil forfeiture has occurred. It is essential to enlist the help of a dedicated and knowledgeable Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley provides clients with thorough and detailed criminal defense for matters including traffic offenses, DUI defense, and a litany of other criminal cases. Contact our Rolling Meadows office at 847-394-3200 to schedule your initial consultation.

Source:

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/reports/asset-forfeiture-in-illinois/

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