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When Does Burglary Become a Serious Felony?

April 18th, 2019 at 8:32 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois theft lawsRecently, thieves broke into a Lincoln Park bike shop. It is estimated that approximately $20,000 in merchandise was stolen. It was also the second time in the same month the shop was targeted. Police do not yet have anyone in custody for this latest crime that seems to be part of a rash of burglaries in the same neighborhood.

Some may consider this burglary, while others may consider the value of the goods stolen and think it is a burglary, but one with a more serious charge. The confusion begs the question, when does burglary become a serious felony in Illinois?

The Crime of Burglary in Illinois

Under Illinois law, burglary is defined as the act of entering a structure illegally with the intent to steal property or commit another serious felony. Normally, burglary is charged as a Class 2 felony, regardless of the amount of goods stolen. This means that the crime is always a felony.

Felonies are always considered more serious than misdemeanor crimes. The penalties for burglary in Illinois are severe, with those convicted facing anywhere from three to seven years, depending on the case. However, there are circumstances that can make felonies even more serious and increase the charge to a Class 1 felony.

When Burglary Becomes a Serious Felony

According to the legal statute, there are many structures that could amount to a burglary charge if someone breaks into them. Sheds, vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, and railroad cars are just a few of the structures outlined in the law. These would all fall under the category of Class 2 felonies, the lesser charge for burglary.

Certain structures can make a burglary a Class 1 felony, though. These include schools, daycares, or other child care centers. When these structures are broken into, the charge of burglary will increase and so too, will the penalties. The sentences for this crime if convicted is a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Other Factors Leading to Serious Felony Charges

In addition to defining the type of structure that was broken into, the prosecution will also take other factors into consideration. For example, if tools were used during the burglary, this can also lead to serious felony charges.

Considering that the thieves in the Lincoln Park bike shop case cut through the locks on the doors as well as the locks securing the stolen bikes in the store, it is reasonable to think they had these tools that will increase their charge if caught.

Those Charged Need the Help of a Burglary Lawyer in Rolling Meadows

Facing a charge of even a Class 2 felony has serious consequences. Those penalties become even more serious when the charge is increased. Anyone facing these accusations must speak to a dedicated Rolling Meadows burglary lawyer for help. If you have been charged with burglary, regardless of whether it is considered a Class 1 or Class 2 felony, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200. There is a possibility that you could have your charges reduced, and we can provide you the strong defense you need. We also offer free consultations, so call today and we will begin discussing your case.

 

Sources:

https://abc7chicago.com/$20k-in-merchandise-stolen-from-lincoln-park-bicycle-shop/5144942/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-1

When Is Meth Possession a Felony in Illinois?

April 11th, 2019 at 8:27 pm

Illinois drug crimes lawyer, Illinois defense lawyerThe drug laws in Rolling Meadows and throughout Illinois are often confusing, and the line between a misdemeanor drug charge and a felony charge can become blurred. Most of the time, the charge that is laid depends on the scenario surrounding the alleged crime.

There are instances though, in which a drug crime is automatically a felony. Typically a harsher charge is laid when there are large volumes of a controlled substance involved, or when the crime includes certain substances. LSD, cocaine, and heroin are a few drugs that automatically make a crime a felony. Methamphetamine, or meth, is another.

Methamphetamine Laws in Rolling Meadows

According to 720 ILCS 646/60 of the Illinois statutes, meth crimes are always charged as a felony. This means that even when a person is caught with the smallest amount on them, and they did not intend to distribute the drug, they will face felony charges.

The law imposes such strict charges and penalties on those caught with meth because it is a very dangerous drug. It is incredibly addictive and exposes those that use it to toxic chemicals. Manufacturing the drug is also particularly dangerous, which is why the law also outlines severe penalties for anyone that does.

Methamphetamine Possession Felony Charges

The crime of meth possession is the most minor meth crime of all in Illinois. These are still treated as felonies. Individuals charged with meth possession face a number of possible charges, depending on the amount they were carrying at the time of arrest.

  • Class 3 felony for any amount under five grams;
  • Class 2 felony for any amount of at least 5 grams, but under 15 grams;
  • Class 1 felony for any amount of at least 15 grams, but under 100 grams; and
  • Class X felony for any amount over 100 grams.

When charged with a Class X felony, the penalties will increase even more if the amount was over 400 grams, and then again on any amount over 900 grams.

Penalties for Methamphetamine Possession in Rolling Meadows

With meth possession being the most minor of all meth crimes, it makes sense that these also carry the lightest sentences. However, anyone charged with a meth crime in Rolling Meadows must understand these sentences are still very severe.

A Class 3 felony offense, the least severe of them all, still has a potential sentence of two to five years in jail. A Class 1 felony offense carries a much longer prison sentence of 15 to 30 years in jail. Class X felonies, although rarely charged in meth crime cases, can send someone to prison for several decades if they are convicted.

Been Charged with Meth Possession? Call a Rolling Meadows Drug Crime Lawyer

Being charged with meth possession, or any other meth crime, is very scary. Those accused begin to worry about their future and what it may hold for them. A skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help ensure that future is a little brighter. If you have been charged with a meth crime, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We know how serious the charges are that you are up against, and we will build a strong defense against them. Do not wait for representation when you can call and get a free consultation right now.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072006460K60

https://www.iwu.edu/counseling/Illinois_Drug_Laws.htm

Is There a Lookback Period in Illinois for DUIs?

April 4th, 2019 at 8:22 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois DUI attorneyMany states have a lookback period for DUI convictions. A lookback period, which is typically five to 10 years, indicates the amount of time a DUI conviction remains on a person’s driving record. This is helpful for those charged with subsequent DUIs because the prosecution and courts can only see DUIs within that timeframe. If a person was convicted of a DUI but the conviction took place longer than the lookback period, that DUI is not considered during sentencing.

So, is there a lookback period in Illinois for DUIs?

Lookback Period in Illinois

Unfortunately, in Illinois, there is no lookback period for DUIs. If a person is convicted of a DUI, it remains on their permanent driving record. This means the prosecution and judge can charge for a subsequent DUI no matter how long ago the first conviction occurred.

However, the courts will still take into consideration the length of time between a first offense and subsequent offenses when revoking a person’s driver’s license. For this reason, it is important anyone charged with a DUI speaks to a Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer that can help them beat the charges and continue to enjoy an unblemished permanent driving record.

Court Supervision

After being found guilty of driving under the influence in Rolling Meadows, the best chance a person has at avoiding jail time and high fines is court supervision.

When a judge sentences a person to court supervision, the defendant will have certain requirements and obligations they must meet. The court will then supervise that person for a period of time to ensure they are fulfilling those obligations, such as community service. Once a person can complete their court supervision successfully and without further incidence, the charges are dismissed without a conviction.

It is important that anyone sentenced with court supervision for a DUI understands this is only possible after their first DUI. Any subsequent DUI convictions are not eligible for court supervision, even if the defendant was not ordered to court supervision previously.

It is also important for all drivers in Illinois to understand that court supervision is not only possible for first-time DUIs, but also first offenses of reckless driving. The stipulations of court supervision remain the same regardless of the charge a person is facing.

Driver’s License Revocation

While Illinois may not have a lookback period for DUIs, the length of time in between subsequent DUIs does have an effect on how long a person’s driver’s license is revoked.

First-time DUI convictions will result in a person losing their driver’s license for one year. If a person is then convicted a second time of a DUI, their license is revoked for five years, but only if 20 years have passed since their first DUI.

The only subsequent DUI convictions that will not have any effect on the amount of time a person loses their driver’s license are third and fourth convictions. After a third DUI, a person will lose their license for 10 years, regardless of how long it has been since their last DUI. After a fourth conviction, a person loses their driver’s license for the rest of their life.

Without a Lookback Period, Anyone Charged with a DUI Needs a Rolling Meadows DUI Attorney

In Rolling Meadows, even one DUI conviction has serious consequences. Not only will individuals go a year without their license, but they will also have a permanent mark on their driving record. They could even have a permanent criminal record. For these reasons, anyone charged with driving under the influence needs a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer that can help them build a solid defense. If you have been charged with a DUI, you simply cannot take your chances with the wrong lawyer, or try to beat the charges on your own. There is simply too much at stake. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 for your best chances at retaining your license, and your freedom. Do not face the difficulties that come with even just one DUI conviction. Call today for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-6-3.1

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities During a Traffic Stop

March 28th, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Illinois traffic offenses, Illinois traffic stops, police search, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, searches and seizuresMany people do not have much interaction with the police. If they do, the chances are good that it is going to happen during a traffic stop. Even then, many people will only get pulled over two or three times while they are behind the wheel. When it happens, it is often very stressful. People imagine the worst as they sit in their car and watch the officer approaching.

In these cases, people are sometimes prepared to cooperate with the officer and do whatever they ask. These individuals do not understand that they have rights, and are not required to comply with everything an officer may request. Still, others may think they do not have to follow anything an officer instructs them to do at a traffic stop. These individuals may become belligerent or aggressive at a traffic stop.

So, what rights and responsibilities do people have when they are pulled over for a traffic stop?

Drivers Are Required to Pull Over

Any time a driver sees the flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle, they must pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. In a few cases, a police officer may ask a driver to pull over, such as if the two vehicles are at a stop light, or if an officer walks up to the driver’s window while the vehicle is stopped. In either case, it is important that the driver complies with the officer’s request.

Under Section 11-204 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, failing to pull over for a police officer is considered fleeing the police, and it is illegal. Even if a driver simply takes too long to pull over, the officer may believe they are trying to evade the police. When this is the case, the driver will face penalties that are likely much more serious than the penalties they would face for the initial traffic violation.

Drivers Must Remain Calm

This is not written into Illinois law, but it can prevent the situation from escalating. When a driver can remain calm and speak politely to a police officer, it is less likely that the situation will develop into anything more. When drivers are aggressive and rude to police officers though, it could lead to further charges than they would have faced from the traffic stop alone. Police can misinterpret even small gestures such as the driver reaching for something in the vehicle. Due to this, it is always best if the driver keeps their hands visible and only gets out of the vehicle if the officer asks them to.

Drivers Are Not Required to Answer Questions

Drivers are required to provide a police officer with their driver’s license and registration if they are asked. However, they do not have to answer any questions the officer asks. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows individuals to refrain from answering questions that may incriminate them in a crime. This includes traffic stops.

Officers often ask a lot of questions during a traffic stop. They may ask a driver if they knew how fast they were going, or if the driver knows why they were pulled over. It is often advised that even when a driver feels as though they have done nothing wrong that they refrain from answering these questions. Anything a driver says can be held against them later on.

Drivers Do Not Have to Consent to a Search

Just because a driver has been pulled over does not give police officers the right to search the vehicle. Drivers can refuse this search, although officers are also given quite a bit of leniency during traffic stops. If they have reason to believe there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle, they can perform their search without the driver’s consent. For example, if an officer noticed drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, they might search the vehicle.

In order to search a vehicle, police officers must have probable cause. Due to this, drivers can ask police what they are searching for, or what probable cause they have.

Did You Get Into Trouble at a Traffic Stop? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that can Help

Traffic stops may seem minor, but they can quickly become a much more serious situation. When this is the case, drivers should contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for help. If you were pulled over and it led to serious charges or you feel as though you were treated unfairly, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 today. We understand you have rights that may have been violated, and we will help make to correct that situation, ensuring those rights are upheld. Do not try to handle your case on your own. Call now for your free consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-204

Harsher Penalties Now in Effect for Wrong-Way DUI Crashes

March 21st, 2019 at 5:53 am

duiOften with a new year comes new laws, and 2019 was no different. In fact this year, over 250 new laws went into effect on January 1, 2019. One, in particular, affects those charged with a DUI while traveling on the wrong side of the road. Now, wrong-way travel is an aggravating factor in sentencing for DUIs.

What exactly does the new law entail, though? And what does it mean for drivers in Rolling Meadows?

The New DUI Law

House Bill 4554 was debated throughout most of 2018. In August of that year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill that would become law in January of the new year.

The new law amends a section of the Illinois Criminal Code. It does not, however, actually change the drunk driving laws in Illinois. Those found driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher will still likely be charged with driving under the influence. This will apply regardless of the side of the street they were driving on at the time, or whether or not the DUI driver caused an accident.

The new law will only change a wrong-way DUI case during the sentencing phase of trial. When aggravating factors are present, the courts can impose harsher sentences, which means longer jail times and higher fines.

The new law was prompted by the number of wrong-way DUIs seen throughout Illinois. One in particular, however, occurred in 2015 near Oak Brook. That incident resulted in the death of a young police officer. Three other people were injured. At the time, judges wished to consider the wrong-way travel as an aggravating factor but were not permitted to. If that same circumstance happened today, they could consider wrong-way travel as an aggravating factor.

Penalties for Wrong-Way DUIs

The penalties for driving under the influence in Illinois are already severe. DUIs are already considered a Class 2 felony within the state. If convicted, individuals face between three and seven years in prison.

When individuals are charged with a DUI while traveling the wrong way on a road though, those penalties could potentially double. With the new law in effect, judges will have the authority to hand down an extended term prison sentence of seven to fourteen years.

Beat DUI Charges with the Help of a Rolling Meadows DUI Attorney

Even without aggravating factors present, the penalties for a DUI conviction are extremely harsh. Those charged need the help of a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer. If you have been charged with a DUI, with or without aggravating factors, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. These are serious charges, and no one should try to beat them on their own. We will investigate the circumstances of your arrest, and analyze all the evidence to build the strong defense you need. There is no time to waste. We want to get started on your case today, so call now for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=4554&GAID=14&DocTypeID=HB&SessionID=91&GA=100

Are Porch Pirates Burglars?

March 14th, 2019 at 1:47 am

IL defense lawyerThe holidays are over, but that has not stopped porch pirates from scooping up items left on porches. In a recent case, a porch pirate was caught on a security camera stealing a unicorn from the porch of a Wicker Park home in the early morning hours. Unlike most porch pirates heard of in the news, the unicorn was not a package delivered by a postal service or courier. Instead, a two-year-old living in the home had simply left it on the porch.

This type of crime is clearly against the law. However, this is one area of law that is not as clear as others. Are porch pirates considered burglars in the eyes of the law? Or, are they charged with another crime, such as petty theft?

Definition of Burglary in Rolling Meadows

According to 720 ILCS 5/19-3, residential burglary in Illinois is defined as when a person enters a dwelling, or any part thereof, without permission with the intent to steal another person’s property. The statute also states that anyone convicted of residential burglary is guilty of a Class 1 felony. In Illinois, a conviction of residential burglary can carry sentences of four to fifteen years in prison.

That penalty may seem harsh for porch pirates, particularly those charged with stealing something as small as a stuffed animal, as in this most recent case. However, due to the language of the statute and that it includes the phrase, “or any part thereof,” it is possible that porch pirates could be charged with residential burglary.

Definition of Petty Theft in Rolling Meadows

Law enforcement and the state prosecution both understand that residential burglary is often a harsh sentence for those that did not really break into a home and steal property. It is for this reason that some, including those charged with smaller thefts, are sometimes charged with the lesser charge of petty theft.

Petty theft, according to 720 ILCS 5/16-0.1, is the theft of property with a value of $500 or less. This is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, those charged could face up to one year in county jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Most often, those charged with smaller thefts will face this charge if they did not actually steal from the victim’s person, and the value of property stolen was less than $500.

This is also true in the case of porch pirates, including the latest story involving the man that stole the toy unicorn. While law enforcement has not caught or charged the person, a police report was filed for petty theft in the amount less than $500.

Get the Proper Defense with a Rolling Meadows Theft Lawyer

While petty theft is a much lesser charge than residential burglary, those convicted will still face jail time and high fines. Even more, they will have a criminal record that will follow them around for the rest of their lives and prevent them from gaining housing, employment, and other opportunities. It is for this reason that anyone charged with petty theft should contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for help. If you have been charged with any type of theft in Rolling Meadows, call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We understand Illinois law and will use it to prepare a defense that can get your charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. Contact us today for your free consultation so we can begin working on your case.

 

Sources:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/porch-pirate-unicorn-wicker-park-video-my-little-pony/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+16&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=36600000&SeqEnd=41200000

Challenging a Search Warrant

March 7th, 2019 at 3:44 pm

warrantDuring a criminal trial, the prosecution’s case often rests on evidence seized by law enforcement officers during a search. In order for that search to be lawful, the owner of the property must voluntarily agree to the search, or law enforcement officers must have a valid search warrant. When police officers have a search warrant, the owners of the property must never interfere with the search. However, this does not mean that the search cannot be contested in the future.

Challenging a search warrant during a trial is a very common defense for those accused of committing a crime. If the defense can prove a search was unlawful, any evidence obtained during that search is deemed inadmissible in court. This can lead to the entire case being dismissed.

So, how does one challenge the validity of a search warrant? In Rolling Meadows, there are three possible ways to do it.

Unlawful Items Seized

With a search warrant, law enforcement officials must indicate the exact property they plan to search, and the evidence they are looking for. When they conduct the search, they are only allowed to take the property specified in the warrant. If they find evidence of another crime, or evidence such as electronic data that was not listed on the search warrant, they cannot seize that property.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects digital devices from illegal search and seizures. In order to be seized, the search warrant must explicitly state officers are searching for these items.

False Sworn Affidavit

When law enforcement officials are trying to obtain a search warrant, they must sign a sworn affidavit. The Illinois Constitution and Criminal Code allows not only police officers, but also private citizens, to provide these sworn affidavits. An affidavit states a person’s case for the search of a certain area.

When this affidavit contains false information, this is sometimes grounds for challenging a search warrant. Defendants that believe the affidavit contains false information can petition the court for a Franks hearing. These hearings are named after a landmark case in 1978 in which Franks was the defendant.

During a Franks hearing, the defendant is required to prove the signer of the affidavit knowingly or intentionally provided false information, or that they had a reckless disregard for the truth. It is not enough to show an officer was simply negligent or made a mistake.

Warrant Staleness

When law enforcement obtains a search warrant, they are required to search a property within a reasonable time frame. This is due to the fact that in many cases, valuable evidence is likely to be lost, hidden, or destroyed before the search is conducted.

For example, if officers obtained a warrant to search a home looking for drugs, they should conduct the search shortly after receiving the warrant. If they wait too long the evidence could be consumed or destroyed.

Warrant staleness can often provide a strong defense when challenging a search warrant. However, there are times when it is not as effective. For example, digital files are designed for longevity and so, warrant staleness may not provide a valid defense for crimes such as child pornography.

Let a Qualified Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney Handle Your Case

There are several ways to challenge a search warrant in court, but those accused of committing a crime should never attempt to argue those reasons on their own. A skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer will know the law surrounding searches and seizures and will apply it to any case that may involve an unlawful search. If you have been accused of a crime, or you believe law enforcement conducted an illegal search of your property, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200. We will ensure you are treated fairly and will fight for your rights in court. Call today for your free consultation.

 

Source:

https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1278&context=casefiles

Driver’s License Reinstatement Hearing

February 28th, 2019 at 6:00 pm

licenseA driver’s license suspension can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps you were charged with a DUI, or had too many points on your license. Whatever the reason, now you want your license back. And to get it back, you will need to attend a driver’s license reinstatement hearing.

These hearings are held at the Secretary of State Formal Hearing Offices, and the process can be intimidating. Lawyers are present to represent the Secretary of State, and whether or not you can start driving again all depends on the outcome. For your best chance at success, below are some tips to follow that can help.

Bring All Supporting Documents

Your hearing will end before it has even begun if you do not have all the necessary documents. An attorney for the Secretary of State will ask for them before the hearing even starts. A license reinstatement lawyer can advise on the specific documents you will need for your case, but the most common are:

  • Updated uniform report or evaluations;
  • Proof of risk education;
  • Letters of abstinence;
  • Letters of support/character letters; and
  • Documentation from a licensed facility.

It is also important to keep in mind that many petitioners still get turned away at this point, even if they have all the documents they need. This is because you are required to bring the original documents, not photocopies.

Dress Appropriately

What you wear to court may seem like a minor thing. However, the judge at the hearing will be making their decision based on their overall impression of you, and that includes how you present yourself. It is important to dress in a way that reflects that you understand the severity of the hearing and that you also respect the court. Dress pants, dress shoes, and button-down collared shirts or blouses are typically seen in court.

Have Representation

The best way to ensure success at your reinstatement hearing is to retain an attorney familiar with the Illinois Secretary of State Reinstatement Hearings. An attorney will be able to go over all the documentation to ensure it is what the court needs. They will find any inaccuracies or inconsistencies within the paperwork and clarify any information the judge may not look kindly on.

An attorney will also prepare an outline of the trial. They will inform you what types of questions will be asked, and may even have a mock hearing to give you a real feel for what to expect. This also allows you to become more familiar with the process so when you are asked certain questions, you know how to respond. The process will include an in-depth interrogation from the Secretary of State hearing officer that could include up to 100 questions. This is why it is so important to remember that in these cases especially, practice makes perfect.

Contact a License Reinstatement Lawyer in Rolling Meadows To Help Get You Back on the Road

If your license has been suspended and you have an upcoming formal hearing, do not try to handle it on your own. There is too much at stake and even forgetting just one document can delay your case for many more months. Instead, speak to a skilled Rolling Meadows license reinstatement attorney that can help. To give yourself the best chance of success at a formal hearing, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 today. We will review your case and help you prepare testimony that leaves no doubt as to whether or not you are trustworthy to drive again. We offer free consultations, so call today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

 

There Are Defenses to Burglary in Illinois

February 26th, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Illinois defense lawyerRecently, burglaries occurred on the same day at two different businesses in Chicago. As of this writing, the police had not yet released much information, including whether or not the two incidents are related. They had released basic information about the suspects and are asking for the public’s help in finding them.

Facing burglary charges is extremely difficult, and may seem like a hopeless situation. It is not. A burglary lawyer in Rolling Meadows can help those accused build a strong defense and retain their freedom.

Elements of Burglary in Rolling Meadows

According to 720 ILCS 5/19-1, a person commits burglary when they enter into a building or structure without the permission of the owner or occupier. In order for burglary charges to apply, this breaking and entering must be done with the intent to commit a crime.

The prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that all three elements of the crime existed in order for a court to convict those accused. Refuting these elements will be a strong defense to any case, as this will create reasonable doubt in the minds of a judge or jury.

Defenses to Burglary in Rolling Meadows

Claiming innocence is a very common defense used against burglary charges. Defenses that include strong alibis, a lack of forensic evidence, and no eyewitnesses can all help build a strong defense of innocence.

While a situation may look bad, and like someone is committing a crime, that is not always the case. Someone may have permission to enter a building and therefore, there is no unlawful entering. Even when the owner or occupant has not given explicit consent, if the defendant believed they had permission to enter the building, this can provide a very strong defense.

In order for burglary to occur, a person has to have the intention to commit a crime, even if they have entered a building or structure unlawfully. It is for this reason that defenses such as voluntary intoxication are often very successful in burglary cases. A person cannot be convicted of burglary as long as they were simply too intoxicated, but had no intention to commit a crime.

Entrapment is a very challenging defense to prove, but it is still sometimes used. If someone encouraged the defendant to commit a crime when they otherwise would not have, they cannot be convicted of burglary. There needs to be evidence that the defendant tried to refuse, but was eventually convinced.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Burglary Lawyer for the Best Defense

Many defenses for burglary charges exist, but those accused should not try to argue them on their own. A skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can build a much stronger case based on evidence and refuting the prosecution’s case. If you have been charged with burglary and you need the best defense, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We are dedicated to defending your freedom and will aggressively explore defense strategies with you. We offer free initial consultations, so call today and we will start reviewing your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-1

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/burglaries-reported-at-2-ravenswood-businesses-police/

Been Charged with a Hit-And-Run? Defenses Are Available

February 21st, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Illinois defense lawyerWhen someone is involved in an accident, it is natural for the fight-or-flight response to kick in. It is for this reason that many people flee the scene of an accident. This is particularly true if they do not believe there was major property damage or serious injury. Leaving the scene of an accident could result in a hit-and-run charge. Those charged will face serious consequences if convicted. Due to this, it is important anyone charged knows that there are defenses available.

Illinois Law on Hit-And-Runs

The Illinois Compiled Statute, 625 ILCS 5/11-402 explains very clearly that hit-and-runs are against the law. Those charged with this crime in Illinois may be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, a possible license suspension, and even jail time in some cases.

In addition to the state statute, it is also law to report certain accidents to the Illinois Department of Transportation within ten days of the incident. Accidents that must be reported are those that result in death, bodily injury, or property damage over $1,500. This law pertains to contacting authorities. Even when minor accidents do not require reporting, all drivers involved are still required to stop. This is mainly so drivers can exchange information in case an issue from the accident arises later.

Defenses to a Hit-And-Run

Many people feel as though it is difficult to challenge a hit-and-run charge because the facts are typically unambiguous. Perhaps a witness wrote down the license plate number of the person that fled, or video surveillance captured the whole scene. While these facts may be damaging, it is important those charged remember that there are still defenses available.

Mistaken identity is a defense to many crimes, and an instance of a hit-and-run is no different. While witnesses, and possibly even those hit, may have a license plate number, that does not necessarily mean the owner of the car was driving. If it can be proven they were not, that individual is not criminally liable.

In order for a person to be convicted of a hit-and-run, the prosecution needs to prove that the individual knowingly left the scene of the accident. When accidents are severe, such as hitting a pedestrian, it can be difficult to convince a jury that the individual that left the scene did not know they were in an accident. However, there are times when the accident is so minor, it is reasonable to assume a person may not have even realized they were in an accident. This could be the case when a person is backing out of a parking space and hits another vehicle. If the prosecution cannot prove the individual knew they were leaving the scene of an accident, they have no case.

When an emergency situation is involved in the accident, the courts are also sometimes more lenient on those accused. For example, if someone was transporting another person to the hospital for an emergency, hit someone in the process and did not stop, the courts may decide to reduce the charges. They may even drop them altogether depending on the circumstances of the case.

Lastly, involuntary intoxication can provide a defense for hit-and-runs, as well as many other traffic offenses. For example, if an individual was unknowingly drugged or given sufficient amounts of alcohol, they would not be responsible for their behavior behind the wheel because they had no reason to believe they were intoxicated.

It is important to remember that in a hit-and-run case, or any criminal case for that matter, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. This means it is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove the defendant committed the crime, and they must do so beyond a reasonable doubt. These defenses challenge that burden of proof and are often enough to get hit-and-run cases dismissed.

Contact a Hit-And-Run Lawyer in Rolling Meadows That Can Help

Simply knowing the defenses for a hit-and-run charge are not enough. Those accused will face very many specific procedures that must be followed in court and be prepared to go up against very confident prosecutors. They will also be questioned extensively and could be presented with damaging evidence they do not know how to effectively argue in court. It is for this reason that anyone charged with a hit-and-run should contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney that can help. If you have been charged with a hit-and-run, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200. We know the strategies that can be used in court to reduce your charges or get them dropped altogether. We are the best defense against hit-and-run cases in court, and we want to help you with yours. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-402

 

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