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Archive for January, 2018

A Brief Overview of Criminal Intent

January 29th, 2018 at 7:53 pm

criminal intent, malice aforethought, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal law, Illinois criminal casesCriminal intent (or mens rea) is an important legal concept to understand if you are going to stand trial for committing a criminal offense as the prosecution is required to establish mens rea (i.e. that the defendant had a guilty mind) in order for the defendant to be found guilty in many criminal cases. Depending on the severity of crime that was allegedly committed, the prosecution will need to prove that the defendant acted intentionally and possessed one of the following types of criminal intent when the illegal act was committed: malice aforethought, specific intent, or general intent.  

Malice Aforethought

Malice aforethought is the state of mind that is necessary in order to prove the most serious types of homicide. An individual possessed malice aforethought if he or she intended to kill or to cause great bodily harm. Malice aforethought is critical in homicide cases as this distinction in criminal intent is the key difference between murder and malice as murder is an unlawful killing that is committed with malice aforethought while manslaughter is an unlawful killing that does not involve malice aforethought.    

Specific Intent

In order to obtain a conviction for the most serious criminal offenses, apart from murder, the prosecution is required to show that the defendant specifically intended to cause a certain bad result, to do something more than commit the criminal act for which he or she is on trial, or acted with the knowledge that his or her conduct is against the law. Therefore, an individual is typically said to have acted with specific intent if he or she intentionally committed an unlawful act with the desire to cause a particular outcome.   

General Intent

General intent is similar to specific intent as they both require the defendant to have acted intentionally; however, if the defendant did not do something more than the criminal act itself nor did he or she act with the additional desire to cause a certain result, then he or she likely acted with general intent. In other words, an individual acts with general intent if he or she meant to do an act that is prohibited by law.

Specific Intent vs. General Intent: Which One?

It should be noted that criminal law statutes do not always specifically state whether an individual is required to have possessed specific or general intent in order to be convicted of committing the crime at hand. If the statute does not spell out the requisite level of criminal intent, then the court will determine whether the crime requires general or specific intent by looking at the language used in the statute. For example, if the statute uses terms like “voluntarily” and “knowingly” then the crime will often be considered a general intent crime.   

Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal law is complex and as such anyone who has been charged with a crime and is looking to retain legal counsel should take care to hire a local criminal defense lawyer who has extensive experience handling criminal cases. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley is just such a lawyer. If you have been charged with a crime in Illinois and live in the greater Chicago area, feel free to contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at your earliest convenience to schedule an initial consultation with Mr. Cosley to discuss your legal options.

Source:

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

Who is Eligible to Have Their Name Removed From the IL Sex Offender Registry?

January 24th, 2018 at 8:34 am

registered sex offender, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, sex crimes, sex offender registry, criminal defense caseWhen an individual is convicted of committing a sex crime in the United States,  he or she may be required to register as a sex offender. Each state (and the District of Columbia) maintains its own sex offender registry and has its own set of laws that specify who is required to register as a sex offender within the state. For example, the statute that specifies who is required to register as a sex offender in Illinois is spelled out in code section 730 ILCS 152/115. Furthermore, each state also separately specifies the circumstances under which a registered sex offender within the state can petition to have his or her name removed from the registry.

Consider the following information regarding the limited circumstances under which an individual can petition to have his or her name removed from Illinois’ sex offender registry. Additionally, it is important to note that each situation is unique and that anyone who is interested in filing such a petition should consult with a local Illinois criminal defense lawyer about the specifics of his or her individual case.

Who is Eligible to File a Petition?

Under current Illinois law, any registered sex offender who was convicted as an adult in Illinois is generally ineligible to petition the court asking to have his or her name removed from our state’s sex offender registry. However, a registered sex offender who was tried (i.e. adjudicated) and convicted (i.e. found to be delinquent) as a minor in juvenile court can petition to have his or her name removed if he or she is able to demonstrate that he or she no longer poses a risk to the community.

In order to determine whether or not a petitioning offender poses a risk to the community the court considers a variety of factors including:

  • The offender’s history of committing sexual crimes,
  • The steps that have been taken to rehabilitate the offender,
  • The offender’s mental competence,
  • The results of the offender’s risk assessment,
  • How old the offender was when they committed the sex crime at hand, and
  • Additional factors that the court considers to be relevant.

Pardons and Wrongful Convictions

It should also be noted that an adult who was previously ordered to register as a sex offender in Illinois and who has since been pardoned for the underlying crime at issue can also petition the court to have his or her name removed from Illinois’ sex offender registry in some cases. Additionally, an individual who is found to have been wrongfully convicted of the underlying sex crime can also petition the court to remove his or her name from the registry.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or your minor child is interested in petitioning the court to have his or her name removed from Illinois’ sex offender registry, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at your earliest convenience. Dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley, the sole attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, has extensive experience defending clients in criminal cases throughout the greater Chicago area and would be happy to put his skill to work for you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073001520K115

What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

January 22nd, 2018 at 7:22 am

 misdemeanor, criminal offenses, felony charge, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, infractionsIf you enjoy watching courtroom dramas on television, then you have probably heard the terms “felony” and “misdemeanor” bantered about quite a bit. Yet perhaps you were not quite sure of their precise definitions. In the legal world, the meaning of these terms are quite important as they are used to distinguish one class of criminal offenses from another.

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are typically crimes that are punishable by incarceration for up to one year and payment of a fine. Those who are sentenced to serve time for a misdemeanor offense are generally placed in county jail. Additionally, in certain misdemeanor trials, court appointed defense attorneys are available for defendants who cannot afford one.

Felonies

Felonies, on the other hand, fall into a more serious classification of crime and are generally punishable by incarceration in excess of one year and payment of a substantial fine. Offenders ordered to serve time for a felony offense are typically placed in a state or federal prison, as opposed to a local jail. Moreover, when an individual is charged with a felony, he or she has the right to a court appointed attorney if he or she is not able to afford legal representation.

Wobblers

It is also important to note that some criminal offenses can be tried as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. These crimes are said to be wobblers as they can wobble between being a felony or a misdemeanor. In these cases, it is within the prosecutor’s discretion whether to charge the crime as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Additionally, it is within the presiding judge’s discretion whether to sentence the crime as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

But how is it determined whether a particular offense should be tried as a felony or as a misdemeanor? This determination is highly case specific, but the decision is made based mainly on the severity of the circumstances surrounding the crime.

Infractions

Finally, there is another classification of crime that you should be aware of: infractions. An infraction (also sometimes referred to as a “violation” or a “petty offense”) is much less serious than a misdemeanor or a felony and is generally punishable with a simple fine. However, under federal law a petty offense is defined as any misdemeanor offense for which the offender can not be sentenced to serve more than six months in jail nor pay a fine of more than $5,000.

Need Legal Advice?

If you have been accused of committing a crime in Illinois, then it is a good idea to consult with a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer about your legal options as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley we understand how overwhelming it can be to be charged with a crime and are committed to helping each of our clients through the trying process of defending themselves against such accusations.

Source:

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

FAQs About Burglary Tool Possession in Illinois

January 17th, 2018 at 9:32 am

burglary charge, burglary defense, burglary tool possession, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, unlawful possessionDid you know that possessing burglary tools is illegal in Illinois? This may come as a shock but burglary tool possession is a serious criminal offense that can be charged as a Class 4 felony in Illinois. However, burglary tool possession is one of those crimes that is rarely talked about and is frequently misunderstood. In order to clear up some of this confusion, a few frequently asked questions about burglary tool possession have been answered below in accordance with Illinois law.   

Q: What does it mean to illegally possess burglary tools?

A: Under code section 720 ILCS 5/19-2, a person commits the crime of unlawfully possessing burglary tools when he or she possess a tool, instrument, key, explosive, or device that can be used to break into a building (or a watercraft, house trailer, auto, railroad car, aircraft, or any structure designed to keep property safe) with the intent to enter and commit a felony or theft there within.

Q: How can I defend myself against a charge of possession of burglary tools?

A: If you have been charged with possession of burglary tools in Illinois, then the first step you should take when mounting your defense is to consult with a local criminal defense lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to evaluate the facts of your case and advise you about how to best proceed. If you choose to retain a lawyer,  he or she will likely argue on your behalf that you did not intent to commit a felony or theft once inside and that you were in possession of the tools at issue for a lawful purpose. However, it is important to note that your defense must be tailored to suit the facts of your case and that this is just an example of one commonly argued defense.  

Q: What is the punishment for being caught in possession of burglary tools?

A: In Illinois, being caught in possession of burglary tool is a Class 4 felony offense that is punishable by up to three years in prison and payment of a fine of up to $25,000. However, it is also possible that the offender may be sentenced to probation in lieu of serving time in prison. Therefore, anyone who has been accused of possessing burglary tools should talk with a local criminal defense lawyer without delay about how to best defend themselves and avoid serving time in prison if at all possible.

Q: I was charged with sale of burglary tools rather than possession of burglary tools, what does that mean?

A: The unlawful sale of burglary tools is a closely related crime to the unlawful possession of burglary tools; however, this crime is committed in Illinois when a person knowingly sells or transfers a key or lock pick that is designed or altered to be used for breaking into a building (or a watercraft, house trailer, auto, railroad car, aircraft, or any structure designed to keep property safe). Just like the unlawful possession of burglary tools, the unlawful sale of burglary tools also constitutes a Class 4 felony offense.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a burglary-related crime in Illinois, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. Attorney Cosley is a highly regarded Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer who defends clients against a wide range of criminal charges across Illinois.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K19-2.htm

How to Fight a Protective Order in Illinois

January 15th, 2018 at 7:40 am

domestic violence, protective order, restraining order, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defenseAn Illinois protective order (also commonly referred to as an “order of protection” or a “restraining order”) is a court ordered civil decree that is designed to prevent future acts of domestic violence from occurring by requiring the individual listed on the order to refrain from engaging in certain enumerated acts (for example, coming within a certain distance of the petitioner, possessing a firearm, harassing, stalking, or intimidating the petitioner, etc.).

If a protective order has been issued against you, it is critical to carefully abide by each provision listed in the order. Failing to do so can land you in a world of legal trouble. To begin, you will have likely committed a Class A misdemeanor and may be sentenced to spend up to one year in jail, and pay a fine of up to $2,500. Therefore, even if you feel that the order of protection that has been issued against you is not justified, it is critical that you abide by its terms and fight the order through the appropriate legal channels.

Fighting an IL Protective Order: The Process

Upon receiving notice that a protective order has been issued against you, there are two options at your disposal; you can either fight the order in court or not. If you choose not to go to court, then you are essentially letting the order stand—the presiding judge will decide the case based solely on evidence presented by your accuser and no one will be there to tell your side of the story.

Alternatively, you can decide to fight the protective order by responding to the court papers that you were served with and telling your side of the story in court. If you decide to take this route, then you will need to progress through the following steps:

  • Step 1 – Read Through Each Document: Start by reading through all of the paperwork that you have been served with and immediately start abiding by each provision contained in the emergency order of protection, if one has been issued against you. Be sure to follow any and all instructions contained in the paperwork that you were served with.
  • Step 2 – Go to Court: When you were served with notice that a protective order petition was filed against you the paperwork that you received indicated the time and place of your court hearing. Go to court as instructed, be sure to arrive early, dress well, and bring your lawyer with you if you have hired one. During the hearing you will have the opportunity to tell your side of the story.
  • Step 3 – Wait for the Court’s Decision: After considering all of the evidence presented the presiding judge will decide whether or not to issue an order of protection against you. The judge may make this decision during the hearing or he or she may take the matter under consideration and inform you of their decision at a later date.

Has a Protective Order Been Issued Against You? Give Us a Call!

If an Illinois protective order has been issued against you, passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer Christopher Cosley is available to help. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we understand that domestic violence is an emotionally charged issue and that there are always at least two sides to every story surrounding an allegation of domestic abuse. If you are interested in fighting a protective order that has been issued against you we would be happy to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the order and discuss your legal options with you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K12-3.4

What Are the Penalties for Committing Forgery in Illinois?

January 10th, 2018 at 11:32 am

forgery, Rolling Meadows white collar crime lawyer, white collar crimes, forgery conviction, forgery allegationWhite collar crimes, especially the crime of forgery, have been featured prominently in the news recently. The crime of forgery is committed when an individual drafts or alters a writing with the intent to defraud another. However, it is important to note that each state in the U.S. defines forgery slightly differently in their respective criminal codes.

In Illinois, according to code section 720 ILCS 5/17-3, forgery is committed in Illinois when a person knowingly, and with the intent to defraud:

  • Falsifies a document in order to defraud another,
  • Issues or delivers a falsified document while knowing it to be false,
  • Possesses a falsified document with the intent to issue or deliver it while knowing it to be false,
  •  Illegally uses someone else’s digital signature, or
  • Illegally uses someone else’s signature device in order to create an electronic signature for that person.

Penalties   

Forgery is generally charged as a Class 3 felony in Illinois; however, if the violator forged only one Universal Price Code Label then the crime can be charged as a Class 4 felony. Additionally, if the violator was convicted of forging a coin or an academic degree (that did not explicitly state “for novelty purposes only”) then he or she can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Although the various penalties that are available for committing forgery under Illinois law vary a bit depending on the manner in which the forgery was conducted, one count of forgery that is charged as a Class 3 felony can generally be accompanied by one or more of the following penalties:

  • Restitution: The offender will almost always be ordered to pay restitution to those he or she defrauded (aka he or she will be required to pay compensation to his or her victims),
  • Imprisonment: The offender may be ordered to serve two to five years in prison; however, as an alternative to imprisonment, the offender may be placed on probation, and
  • Fine: The offender may be ordered to pay up to $25,000 in fines.

Additionally, it should also be noted that an individual who is convicted of forgery in Illinois will generally be forced to carry the forgery conviction on his or her permanent record forever as it is unlikely to be expunged or sealed.   

Charged with Forgery in Illinois? Contact a Local White Collar Crime Lawyer

If you are in need of a talented Rolling Meadows white collar crime lawyer to defend you in Illinois against a forgery allegation, look no further than the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Attorney Chris Cosley has extensive experience defending clients throughout Illinois against a wide variety of white collar crimes including conspiracy, counterfeiting, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, bribery, and of course forgery. To find out what The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can do for you, contact us today for help.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K17-3

 

Illinois Police to Begin Roadside Drug Testing

January 8th, 2018 at 7:31 am

roadside drug testing, Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer, drug offense, new drug test, drugged drivingGetting behind the wheel in Illinois while under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs is illegal. However, for the past few decades educational campaigns aimed at deterring drivers from driving under the influence have focused almost exclusively on the evils of drunk driving while largely ignoring the various problems associated with driving while under the influence of drugs. Perhaps this is because, up until recently, police officers have had a reliable tool at their disposal to detect alcohol in a driver’s system (the breathalyzer) while they lacked such an instrument to conduct roadside testing for drugs. However, it seems that this is about to change as at least one Illinois police department plans to begin roadside drug testing in the upcoming months.

The New Test

According to the Chicago Tribune, Carol Stream police officers plan to be the first department in Illinois to implement a new roadside test to determine if drivers are under the influence of one or more drugs. Reportedly, the new roadside test will be able to detect marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines, and opiates such as heroin via a chemical test.

The new test will be very similar to the roadside breath tests that police officers currently use; however, instead of blowing into a breathalyzer a suspected impaired driver will have his or her mouth swabbed. Many European countries, as well as a handful of American states, are already using similar roadside tests to determine whether a driver is under the influence of a controlled substance.

How do Police Officers Currently Determine if a Driver is on Drugs?

Currently, an Illinois police officer who suspects a driver of being under the influence of a controlled substance has the option of seeking a blood or urine sample from the driver which can then be tested for drugs. Still, such a sample must be collected and tested at a police station which means that there is often significant lag-time between pulling the driver over and determining if he or she is in fact under the influence of one or more drugs.

Furthermore, these tests are quite expensive. In contrast, the new drug test that is about to be rolled out in Illinois can be administered on the side of the road, will be less expensive and will tell police officers how much of a particular drug is present in a driver’s system (rather than simply indicating whether or not a drug is present).    

Need Legal Advice?

If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Illinois and are looking to protect your legal rights, contact experienced Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer Christopher Cosley without delay. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley we defend clients from all walks of life against DUI charges. You do not have to take on the daunting task of fighting your DUI charge alone. Contact us today for help.

Source:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/ct-met-police-drug-driving-test-20171205-story.html

Illinois to Ban “Gay Panic Defense” in Criminal Cases

January 3rd, 2018 at 7:11 pm

gay panic defense, homicide cases, homosexual orientation, Illinois crime, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyerWith the new year’s arrival, a slew of new laws are poised to take effect in Illinois and a few old ones are about to be repealed. Fox News reports that one old law that will be removed from the Illinois Compiled Statutes in 2018 is the so called “gay panic defense.”

What Was the Gay Panic Defense?

A gay panic defense is a legal defense that is available in homicide cases (or occasionally in other violent cases) that a defendant can use to justify violent acts against a homosexual victim if his or her violence was provoked by unexpectedly learning of the victim’s sexual orientation.

According to a report issued by the American Bar Association in 2013, gay and trans panic defenses were implemented by states across the U.S. years ago back when widespread public aversion to LGBT individuals was the norm and a victim’s sexual orientation was seen as justification for a defendant’s violent reaction towards them.

The Associated Press notes that gay panic defenses were usually passed in order to provide a legal defense for an individual who unknowingly engaged in a flirtation with a gay individual and then, upon discovering their homosexuality, violently attacked the gay individual in a sort of passionate involuntary response.

The American Bar Association’s report also notes that gay panic defenses have been used over the decades to mitigate murder charges down to the lesser charges of manslaughter or justifiable homicide in the following three different ways:

  1. Insanity or Diminished Capacity: Via the gay panic defense defendants have claimed temporary insanity or diminished capacity by arguing that learning of the victim’s sexual orientation triggered a nervous breakdown in the defendant. In the past this type of reaction was known as a “homosexual panic disorder” but the American Psychiatric Association discredited this order back in 1973.
  1. Sufficient Provocation: The gay panic defense has also been used to bolster defense of provocation arguments put forth by murder defendants. In essence these defendants argued that, although completely non-violent, the victim’s sexual advance was sufficient provocation to induce the defendant to kill.
  1. Self-Defense: Murder defendants have also argued that, due to their victim’s homosexual orientation, they reasonably believed that the victim was about to cause them serious bodily harm.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with a crime in Illinois, it is critical that you consult with a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer about your legal options without delay. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we represent both adult and juvenile criminal defendants accused of committing a wide variety of crimes across Illinois including; driving under the influence (DUI), shoplifting, burglary, domestic battery, drug possession and dealing, disorderly conduct, and criminal trespass, just to name a few. To find out what our firm can do for you, schedule a confidential initial consultation at our Rolling Meadows office today.

Sources:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/12/28/activists-to-copy-illinois-gay-panic-defense-ban-elsewhere.html

http://lgbtbar.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2014/02/Gay-and-Trans-Panic-Defenses-Resolution.pdf

https://apnews.com/9dc24f2031c8465081d790152f6efbd8/Activists-to-copy-Illinois-‘gay-panic-defense’-ban-elsewhere

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