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Penalties for Teenage Breaking and Entering

October 19th, 2018 at 9:00 am

juvenileBreaking and entering has long been a sort of game for teenagers looking for a thrill. For example, teens in Colorado recently broke into a Colorado home, threw a party, and recorded it on Snapchat. Teens and younger adolescents may dare or encourage one another to break into abandoned homes, which may not actually be abandoned, schools, and other structures. However, breaking and entering, which is called burglary whether there was an intent to steal something or not, is a felony crime.

Residential Burglary and Possession of Burglary Tools

Under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/19-3, the elements of residential burglary include the following:

  • Knowingly entering a residence (including a car, RV, boat, railroad car, or other structure) without permission;
  • Entering or remaining in a residence  for the purpose of committing a theft or other felony; or
  • Misrepresenting oneself in order to gain entrance to a residence for the purpose of committing a theft or other felony.

Defendants facing burglary charges may be put behind bars for three to seven years. However, residential burglary is a first-degree felony if the structure entered was a school, place of worship, or daycare facility, punishable by four to 15 years in prison. Teens 18 and older will be tried as adults. Furthermore, if anyone was killed, even accidentally, during breaking and entering (burglary), the defendant faces a first-degree murder charge.

Possession of burglary tools under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/19 2 is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison, and involves the following elements:

  • Possession of tools suitable for breaking and entering a structure, car, or watercraft (including lock picking tools, explosives, or other devices); and
  • Intent to break into breaking into a place and commit a felony or theft.

Juvenile Penalties for Breaking and Entering

Unlike adult sentencing, there are generally no strict guidelines for punishing minors in juvenile court. As such, a judge has much more leeway in determining an appropriate punishment. The court may look at the juvenile’s age, the seriousness of the crime committed, their criminal history if any, whether or not they are enrolled in school, their grades, their home life, their general attitude regarding the crime or remorse, and many other personal characteristics. Penalties for breaking and entering include potential fines, incarceration in a juvenile detention facility, probation, counseling, and restitution.

Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If your child is 18 or older, he or she will be tried as an adult, and if found guilty, awarded a felony record and potentially years in prison. If he or she is a minor under 18 years of age, they will most likely be tried in juvenile court. However, if serious injury, aggravated battery, or death occurred as a result of the burglary, and your child is 16 or older, they will be tried in adult court. You need to take action to protect your child’s future whether they are 10, 14, or 18. Call dedicated Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes attorney Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.

 

Source:

https://abc7ny.com/teens-break-into-home-for-party-record-snapchat-video/2548147/

Fighting a Third or Fourth DUI Charge

October 18th, 2018 at 11:00 am

IL DUI attorney, IL drunk driving lawyerOne-third of drivers arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data revealed that for some states, 47 percent of DUI offenders are repeat offenders. Ultimately, if you have already been convicted of one DUI, there a high chance that you will be charged with another. Moreover, after a second DUI conviction in Illinois, the penalties become much higher.

Aggravated DUI

An aggravated DUI is a serious offense — one that results in mandatory imprisonment or community service terms not being eligible for suspension or reduction. Additionally, aggravated DUI charges result in a minimum of 480 hours of community service or 10 days of imprisonment for those out on probation or conditional discharge. Aggravated DUI is charged when the offender was driving under the influence:

  • In a school zone, while the school speed was in effect, and caused a crash resulting in bodily harm;
  • While driving a school bus with one or more minors as occupants;
  • And caused a serious bodily harm;
  • And caused a death;
  • Without vehicle liability insurance; and
  • In many other circumstances.

Additionally, aggravated DUI is charged whenever the offender has already had two DUI convictions, according to the Illinois Secretary of State.

Third DUI Conviction

  • Class 2 felony (three to seven years imprisonment);
  • License revocation for 10 years minimum; and
  • Vehicle registration suspension.

If the offender’s BAC was 0.16 or greater, the penalties include:

  • Mandatory 90-day  imprisonment; and
  • Mandatory minimum fine of $2,500.

If the offender committed the DUI while transporting a child under 16 years old, the penalties include:

  • Mandatory fine of $25,000; and
  • Mandatory 25 days of community service in a child-benefiting program.

Fourth DUI

  • Class 2 felony;
  • License revocation for life; and
  • Vehicle registration suspension.

If the offender’s BAC was 0.16 or greater, the penalties include:

  • Mandatory minimum fine of $5,000.

If the offender committed the DUI while transporting a child under 16 years old, the penalties include:

  • Mandatory fine of $25,000; and
  • Mandatory 25 days of community service in a child-benefiting program.

Fifth DUI Conviction

  • Class 1 felony (four to 15 years imprisonment);
  • License revocation for life; and
  • Vehicle registration suspension.

If the offender’s BAC was 0.16 or greater, the penalties include:

  • Mandatory minimum fine of $5,000.

If the offender committed the DUI while transporting a child under 16 years old, the penalties include:

  • Mandatory fine of $25,000; and
  • Mandatory 25 days of community service in a child-benefiting program.

Sixth or Subsequent DUI Conviction

  • Class X felony (six to 30 years imprisonment);
  • License revocation for life; and
  • Vehicle registration suspension.

If the offender’s BAC was 0.16 or greater, the penalties include:

  • Mandatory minimum fine of $5,000.

If the offender committed the DUI while transporting a child under 16 years old, the penalties include:

  • Mandatory fine of $25,000; and
  • Mandatory 25 days of community service in a child-benefiting program.

Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney Today

It is vital to work with an experienced Rolling Meadows felony DUI attorney if you have been charged with a third or subsequent DUI offense. Contact Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.

 

Sources:

https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/outreach/traftech/1995/tt085.htm

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

https://www.madd.org/statistics/

Possession or Sale of Hypodermic Needles

October 12th, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Illinios defense lawyerHaving a hypodermic needle in your possession can land you in cuffs. This is due to Illinois’ Hypodermic Syringes and Needles Act, which makes it illegal for minors to be in possession of any hypodermic needles or syringes, and illegal for adults to possess hypodermic needles for the injection of controlled substances. Studies have shown that Needle and Syringe Exchange Policies (NSEPs) drive down HIV and other needle-transmitted-diseases, so why is possessing needles a crime, even if used for injecting drugs? Unfortunately, the logic of this law is as unjust as it is flawed, and is simply another criminal charge in the name of the war on drugs, tacked on increase overall prison time and incentivize defendants to take a quick plea deal.

What the Law Says About Needle Possession

Under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 635, it is illegal for anyone to possess a “hypodermic syringe, needle or “other instrument adapted for the use of controlled substances or cannabis by subcutaneous injection.” Adults are legally allowed to purchase dozens of syringes from pharmacies and possess up to 100 at any given time, so the mere possession of such a needle is not a crime. What makes the needle illegal is when it is used or intended to be used for injecting controlled substances, unless of course, you are a physician, nurse, or hospital worker performing your professional duties. A defense to this criminal offense is proving that the needle was used for another purpose other than delivering a controlled substance. Common reasons and medical conditions for using hypodermic needles and syringes include:

  • Dozens of types of cancer;
  • Deep vein thrombosis;
  • Type I and Type II diabetes;
  • Hormone treatment including testosterone therapy;
  • Allergy treatment;
  • Fertility purposes;
  • Injection of vitamins and minerals for general health or to compensate for a deficiency; and
  • Hundreds of other types of diseases and disorders.

Sale of Hypodermic Needles

Unless you are authorized to sell hypodermic needles (such as a doctor, pharmacist, or drug manufacturer), selling any needles could result in a felony offense. The sale of hypodermic needles is a Class 4 felony in Illinois.

A Rolling Meadows Attorney Is Available to Talk Today

Possession of a hypodermic needle used for administering a controlled substance, which is a Class A misdemeanor, carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Each subsequent offense is a Class B misdemeanor, which is a Class 4 felony punished by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. This means that if you were found with four hypodermic needles allegedly used for the purpose of administering controlled substances, you could face one Class A misdemeanor and four Class 4 felony charges. As such, if you are facing any hypodermic needle charges, whether for possession or sale, you need to contact the dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the office of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4496270/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1954&ChapterID=53

 

Child Abandonment

October 8th, 2018 at 6:48 pm

abandonmentOver 25 years ago, a St. Charles couple decided to go on vacation to Mexico for nine days. They decided not to bring their children along, and while Home Alone II was playing in theaters, these two real-life parents left their nine- and four-year-old daughters home alone intentionally. They were arrested and their story gained national media attention, eventually leading to the creation of Illinois’ child abandonment law. Today, child abandonment is a serious criminal offense that can be penalized as a Class 4 felony, which carries a prison sentence of one to three years and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Characteristics Defining Child Abandonment

Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/12-21.5 defines child abandonment as the following:

A parent, caregiver, or other guardian who currently has physical custody or control of a child under 13 years of age leaves that child without “supervision by a responsible person over the age of 14” for 24 hours or longer. This statute does not include those who legally relinquish a child in accordance with the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act. In order to determine whether or not the child’s mental or physical health or safety or welfare was disregarded, the following will be taken into consideration;

  • Child’s age;
  • Number of children left alone in the location;
  • Potential special needs of the child;
  • Length of time the child was left alone;
  • Condition and location of the place the child was left;
  • Time of day or night the child was left alone;
  • Weather conditions when the child was left alone, and whether the child had proper protection from natural elements;
  • The location of the parent or guardian when they left the child and the physical distance between the child and parent during the time they were left alone;
  • Was the child’s movement restricted, such as being locked in a room?
  • Was the child provided with a phone number of a responsible person to call in the event of an emergency? Was the child able to make such a call if need be?
  • Were food and other provisions made accessible to the child?
  • Was leaving the child caused by illness or economic hardship of the parent, and did they make a good faith effort to provide safety and health for the child?
  • Age and mental and physical capabilities of the person left to look after the under-13-year-old child;
  • Whether or not another person was left to supervise the child; and
  • Other factors that could cause danger to the child.

Call an Attorney at Once

Leaving a 12-year-old child alone for a day because you had to attend to your dying mother’s needs at a nearby hospital will be looked at much differently than if you left your five-year-old alone for a week to go gambling in Las Vegas. Every case is different, and you need an experienced attorney to help prove your qualities as a parent. If you are facing child abandonment charges, you may also be charged with child neglect and potentially child abuse. Combined or alone, any of these offenses can cause you to lose custody of your child, place you behind bars for months or years at a time, and essentially ruin your entire life. We urge you to contact the skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the office of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.

 

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-home-alone-schoo-impact-st-1215-20171221-story.html

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/methnet/laws_legislation/bodharm_09.html

What Is Grand Larceny?

September 27th, 2018 at 9:38 am

Chicago theft and larceny defense attorneyLarceny, more commonly referred to as theft, occurs when a person knowingly obtains the property of another with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of their property, as per 720 ILCS 5/16-1. The degree of larceny or theft that an individual is charged with depends on the value of the property taken. Larceny charges do not include robbery, armed robbery, burglary, carjacking, or other crimes of violence, which are punished more severely than larceny offenses.

“Grand” larceny or “grand” theft is commonly thought of as the threshold between a misdemeanor and a felony charge, though in Illinois that language is not specifically used. Illinois law classifies various degrees of larceny on a scale described below, with the highest felony classification for theft being a Class X felony, which can result in decades behind bars.

  • Class A Misdemeanor – The property taken is valued at $500 or less. Punishment includes a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Class 4 Felony – The property taken is valued at $500 or less and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence of one to three years, with a maximum fine of $25,000.
  • Class 3 Felony – The property taken is valued at $500 to $10,000. Punishment includes a prison sentence between two and five years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 2 Felony – The property taken is valued at $10,000 to $100,000, or it is valued at $500 to $10,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between three and seven years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 1 Felony – The property taken is valued at $100,000 to $500,000, or it is valued at $10,000 to $100,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between four and 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 1 Felony Non Probationary – The property taken is valued between $500,000 and $1 million. Punishment includes a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class X Felony – The property taken is valued at over $1 million, or it is valued at more than $100,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between six and 30 years a fine of up to $25,000.

Restitution

In addition to the fines listed above, the victim can also seek repayment for the value of the property that was stolen and the financial losses they suffered as a result of larceny. This is referred to as restitution. For example, a victim whose pickup truck was stolen may have lost $4,000 in revenue because their small landscaping business went without a truck for a month, and they may have lost $4,000 in productivity during the time period it took to purchase a new vehicle or have theirs returned to them. Thus, they may claim restitution of $8,000.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Larceny Defense Attorney

Theft is one of the most prevalent offenses in Illinois, and here in Cook County, there are over 1,800 counts of theft per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Illinois State Police. Those charged with any degree of theft need to protect themselves by contacting a skilled attorney. We urge you to contact dedicated Cook County criminal defense lawyer Christopher M. Cosley for assistance today. Call our office at 847-394-3200 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:
http://www.isp.state.il.us/docs/cii/cii16/cii16_SectionI_Pg11_to_246.pdf
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1

Understanding the Consequences of Prescription Forgery in Illinois

September 25th, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Cook County drug charges defense lawyerPrescription drug abuse is on the rise, and police and prosecutors are becoming increasingly vigilant about cracking down on those who they believe are breaking the law by using falsified prescriptions to obtain controlled substances. Because of the opioid epidemic, which has resulted from over-prescribed pain medications pushed by pharmaceutical companies and physicians, hundreds of thousands of Americans are looking for any means to get their hands on narcotics. Obtaining opioids by falsifying a prescription may seem safer than buying drugs on the street, but make no mistake—prescription forgery is a serious crime in Illinois.

What Illinois Law States About Prescription Forgery

According to 720 ILCS 570/406.2, a person commits prescription forgery (known as “unauthorized possession of prescription form”) if they have altered a prescription, possessed a form not issued by a licensed practitioner, possessed a blank prescription form without authorization, or possessed a counterfeit prescription form. Examples of prescription drug forgery include the following:

  • Changing the dose amount on a prescription written by a doctor.
    Stealing a prescription pad off a doctor’s desk.
    Writing a prescription for yourself.
    Using a computer to create a fraudulent prescription form.

The Consequences of Prescription Forgery

Shockingly, even a first time prescription forgery offender can be fined up to $100,000, and they may be sentenced to between one and three years in prison. If a person is charged with their second prescription forgery offense, they may be fined up to $200,000 and sentenced to between two and five years in prison.

It is common for a person who is charged with prescription forgery to be facing other drug charges at the same time, such as burglary, possession of an illegal drug, or an intent to traffic drugs. All of these offenses can add up to considerable time behind bars and fines that would be impossible to pay back in a lifetime of full-time work—something that would become extremely difficult to accomplish with a felony record.

Defending Medical Professionals

Medical professionals are not immune to prescription forgery charges. Doctors have been known to use their license as an opportunity to write friends or family members a prescription without reason, or to prescribe opioids to addicted patients who pay them cash under the table. If you are a physician or pharmacist, you will lose your professional license in a heartbeat if you are found guilty of prescription forgery.

A Cook County Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Can Help

More than 115 Americans die every day from overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Instead of taking steps to combat addiction and help self-medicated individuals overcome or manage their mental or physical ailments, our criminal justice system sends its best prosecutors to lock up victims of opioid addiction. If you have been charged with prescription forgery, you need a strong defense that will help you avoid the consequences of a conviction. Contact dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072005700K406.2

Boating While Impaired in Illinois

September 20th, 2018 at 11:34 am

Cook County boating while intoxicated lawyerIn Illinois, we are lucky to be located near Lake Michigan and other smaller lakes that are sprinkled throughout the state. Nice weather often calls for days spent with family and friends on a boat. For most people, these fun activities often involve the enjoyment of alcoholic beverages. However, what most people do not think about is the potential that they may face criminal charges while driving or operating a boat under the influence of alcohol.

What Is Boating Under the Influence?

In Illinois, the same law applies to boating under the influence of alcohol as for driving under the influence (DUI). If you are operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .08%, you can be charged with DUI. Additionally, operating a boat under the influence of drugs can also result in a DUI charge.

Picture the vessel in which you suspect a person would get in trouble for boating under the influence. Is it a speedboat? A person can be charged with boating under the influence when operating any number of different vessels, including yachts, sailboats, personal watercrafts, fishing boats, etc. Do not get fooled into thinking you are safe from a DUI charge just because you are not on a speedboat on the lake.

Who Can Test Me?

The law in Illinois dictates that a person consents to be tested for drugs and alcohol when they choose to operate their boat on the water. A person may refuse to participate in a drug or alcohol detection test, but that refusal will likely lead to an arrest and suspension of boating privileges for up to two years.

Boats can be “pulled over” just like cars on land if law enforcement suspects that you are operating your boat under the influence of alcohol. Busy days on the water and popular holidays can even lead to a checkpoint being set up to find those who are operating their boat under the influence.

Consequences of Boating Under the Influence

Just like a DUI in a car, a DUI on a boat can land an individual in a world of trouble. Driver’s license suspension, jail time, fines and costs, and probation are just a few of the penalties that can result from a boating under the influence charge. Additionally, multiple offenses will cause a boat driver to be in more trouble and face steeper sentences.

Contact a Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a DUI for boating under the influence, dedicated Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley can help you understand your options for defending against these charges. Contact us at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you.
Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

Defending Against Sex Crime Charges in Illinois

September 18th, 2018 at 11:15 am

Cook County sex crime defense attorneyAll criminal charges need to be taken seriously. That being said, because of the penalties associated with sex crimes, those facing these charges are encouraged to seek professional representation immediately. Individuals who are charged with or convicted of a sexual offense, such as sexual assault or possession of child pornography, are likely to have a negative reputation that can follow them around forever. The stigma around alleged sex offenders is so powerful that it can be hard to shake this bad reputation, even if the defendant has been cleared of all charges. In the event a defendant is convicted of a sex crime, the consequences can be even worse. Sex crime convictions can carry a host of consequences, including significant jail time and being listed on the sex offender registry for the rest of your life. As such, you need an aggressive defense attorney who can protect your rights and your reputation.

Suppressing Evidence

Without evidence, there is generally no criminal case. Every crime and charge is different, but a criminal defense attorney will work tirelessly to suppress any evidence that is improperly collected against a defendant. Regardless of the crime or suspicion, everyone is entitled to their Constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution gives individuals the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the collection of evidence violated your rights, this could be a large factor in preventing criminal charges from being brought.

Improper Police Conduct

In addition to making sure that a police officer has the proper search warrants to collect evidence, the police have other conduct-related requirements that they must follow. For example, entrapment can often be a defense in sex crime cases. Entrapment is a complex area of the law, but your attorney may be able to show that if the police had not enticed you to commit a crime, you would not have committed the alleged offense.

Challenging Witness Testimony

Evidence in many cases comes from eyewitness testimony. However, not every witness is credible. Being able to poke holes in a witness’s story or credibility can discredit the witness enough to make their testimony unusable.

Another way to discredit a witness is by finding reasons that they might be lying about their memory or account of events. In some instances, people might be willing to lie to help out a family member or friend or because of a vendetta against the alleged offender. Exposing these lies is often key in defending against sex crime charges.

Contact a Cook County Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

Reputation is important. It follows you for the rest of your life, and it is hard to change other people’s perception of you. As such, criminal charges for sexual offenses can have a devastating impact on the rest of your life. You need an attorney who is willing to provide an aggressive defense and work hard to avoid the consequences of a conviction. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here for you. Attorney Cosley is committed to providing the best defense possible under the circumstances. Contact us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation.

Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?docname=072000050hart%2E+11&actid=1876&chapterid=53&seqstart=14300000&seqend=20800000

Privacy Rights Upheld in Recent Supreme Court Case

September 14th, 2018 at 8:31 am

Chicago criminal defense lawyer unreasonable search and seizureIf you are facing a criminal charge, this does not mean that you are not entitled to the same rights and protections afforded to other individuals in the United States, including the right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution affords citizens the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Search warrants are used to ensure that if a search is being conducted, then there is a legitimate reason and cause for conducting the search. There are exceptions to this rule, however. Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the right to privacy for suspects regarding warrantless searches.

Collins v. Virginia

In the case of Collins v. Virginia, the defendant was suspected of being in possession of a motorcycle that had been stolen. The motorcycle was parked under a three-walled enclosure that was covered with a tarp. This enclosure was located at the defendant’s girlfriend’s house. The house also had a traditional garage that could completely block the inside of the garage from outside view. The police suspected that this motorcycle was parked at the defendant’s girlfriend’s home and therefore went to examine the scene. Instead of obtaining a search warrant, the police officers proceeded up the driveway to where the motorcycle was parked under the tarp. The motorcycle turned out to be the stolen property they were looking for, and the defendant was arrested.

At trial, the defendant argued that his fundamental right to privacy that is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment was violated because the police did not have a valid search warrant for the property. The state argued that finding the motorcycle without a search warrant fell under the automobile exception. The automobile exception states that police are allowed to search a vehicle when there is probable cause that the vehicle contained some type of evidence or contraband.

The Court found that the automobile exception was not applicable in this case. Instead, the three-walled tarp enclosure could be considered a part of the home. As a part of the home, it receives the same type of heightened rights to privacy as the living area of the home. The Court went on further to state that the automobile exception applies only to situations where the alleged evidence or contraband is inside of a vehicle, not sitting underneath a tarp on someone else’s property.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with a criminal offense and are concerned your rights have been violated, contact experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Attorney Cosley is dedicated to using every possible defense applicable under the circumstances, including improper searches due to lack of a search warrant. We know that just because you might be charged with a crime, you should not lose your rights. Contact us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation.

Sources:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/automobile_exception
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1027_7lio.pdf

The Timeline of a Criminal Charge in Illinois

September 11th, 2018 at 10:43 am

Cook County criminal defense attorneyFacing criminal charges can be a truly scary prospect. The process for how these charges are handled might seem tricky and confusing, but if you know the timeline and what to expect, it can ease your worries – at least a little. While every case is different and should be considered independently, there is a general framework of how the system works in Illinois. The following includes a general timeline of criminal charges in Illinois that you may encounter when facing the criminal justice system with the help of a skilled attorney:

The Offense and Arrest

A charge cannot be made unless a person is reasonably suspected of committing criminal activity. This suspicion may be determined through an extensive police investigation into an individual’s activities or through something as simple a traffic stop. However, the police must have probable cause in order to make an arrest. After being arrested, a suspect must be read their Miranda rights, informing them that they have the right to remain silent and contact an attorney.

Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury

If the offense in question is a felony charge, a preliminary hearing or grand jury hearing will be used to formally charge the suspect. In these hearings, the prosecution must present a summary of the evidence against the defendant. The judge in a preliminary hearing or the jury in a grand jury hearing will decide whether there is enough evidence to charge the defendant with the crime.

Arraignment

At arraignment, a defendant is formally read the charges against them and given the option to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” A defendant has the right to be represented by an attorney at the arraignment, and if necessary, the arraignment can be postponed while the defendant finds an attorney.

Trial Preparation and Trial

After arraignment, trial preparation begins. A defendant has the option to enter into a plea bargain and avoid a trial altogether. The defendant and their attorney will often enter into negotiations with the prosecution in an attempt to avoid trial. If no plea bargain is reached, then a trial will take place. Before trial, the defense attorney will contact witnesses, review documents or evidence obtained through discovery, and strategize the best options for success. At trial, both sides will present their case, and the judge or jury will decide on a verdict.

Verdict and Sentencing

The verdict will be read at the conclusion of the trial. If the defendant is found guilty, a separate sentencing hearing will be scheduled to determine the proper sentence. A sentencing hearing will also occur if a defendant decides to plead guilty at any time before a verdict is reached.

Appeal

A defendant has the right to appeal their case. To be successful, there must have been errors made during the trial, an unfair or improper sentence, or some other issue that greatly impacted the verdict and/or sentence.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with a crime, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process and determine your best options for defense. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer Christopher M. Cosley can help you through all stages of a criminal charge. Contact us today at 847-394-3200 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:
http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/Rules/Art_IV/ArtIV.htm#411
http://www.icjia.state.il.us/assets/pdf/ResearchReports/Policies_and_Procedures_of_the_Illinois_Criminal_Justice_System_Aug2012.pdf

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