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Archive for March, 2018

Should I Take a Plea Deal?

March 26th, 2018 at 6:47 pm

criminal cases, plea deal, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, criminal case negotiation, pleading guiltyMany people have seen an episode of a legal drama on television. A crime is committed, the suspect is arrested on charges, and then he or she is either found guilty or takes a plea deal.

Television dramas make it seem like these scenarios are very black and white—the accused is either found guilty or takes a plea deal. Plea deals are offered to the accused frequently, but rarely are they discussed in detail.

In reality, taking a plea deal is a huge consideration in a criminal case. A plea deal is a negotiation between the defendant and his or her attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other side. The defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest to some crimes, in return for a reduction of the severity of the charge or the dismissal of some of the charges. Or, the prosecutor recommends a reduced sentence that would be given after a trial.

Considerations for a Plea Deal

Being charged with a crime in Illinois is stressful. Do not let that stress cloud your judgment regarding what needs to be considered if a plea deal is offered. First and foremost, you need to contact an attorney. An attorney will be able to guide you through the entire process and help you determine your options in relation to a plea deal. He or she will know if the deal is a desirable one or if you have a better chance going to trial.

Factors that will be taken into consideration regarding a plea deal include the following:

  • Your chances at trial. Every case is unique. You must look at the evidence on both sides of the case to assess the risk of going to trial.
  • Variables at trial. It is impossible to know the end result going into trial. To be sure, many unexpected variables can arise in the trial stage.
  • Consequences of the plea. When you take a plea deal, you are pleading guilty or no contest to a crime. You need to consider the implications of having this on your record versus the chance of not having anything on your record should you succeed at trial.

It is Important to Contact an Attorney Today

Ultimately, there is no clear answer when a plea deal should be taken. It is up to you, the accused, to decide whether you will take it or not. However, having an experienced defense attorney can help. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley will take the time to explain your options and the consequences of those actions. Choose the attorney who will take the time to advocate for you and realizes the risk involved in criminal cases. Contact us today for assistance.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=53&ActID=1876

Should I Challenge an Order of Protection?

March 23rd, 2018 at 1:45 pm

order of protection, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, victim rights, emergency order of protection, plenary order of protectionDomestic violence is a serious issue in the United States. In Illinois, victims have remedies and options available to them through the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. One such remedy of this is act is an order of protection, also referred to as a restraining order. The court will grant an order of protection to protect the victim. With any system, though, there are flaws. Orders of protection can be granted inaccurately, severely impacting the life of the accused.

Types of Orders of Protection

Illinois law provides three different types of orders of protection:

  1. Emergency orders. An emergency order is issued, much like it sounds, when there is an emergency. The court does not need to hear testimony from the accused. The accused does not even need to be given notice of the hearing/potential order. These emergency orders last for 21 days. After 21 days there is a hearing in which the accused can attend and respond to the allegations that caused the order.
  2. Plenary orders. A plenary order is issued after there has been a hearing. The accused must be given notice and the opportunity to appear before the judge. A plenary order can last up to two years.
  3. Interim orders. An interim order is issued in between an emergency and plenary order. If there is a gap between the emergency order of protection expiring before there is a full hearing, the court can issue an interim order of protection for up to 30 days.

You’ve Been Served: Now What?

Being served with an order of protection may be a complete shock and surprise to you. However, it is in your best interest to comply with the order. Noncompliance can lead to more serious criminal charges and penalties. There are limited opportunities to challenge the order of protection. Be proactive and contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Challenging the Order of Protection

Not challenging an order of protection can affect your life in the long term. If you are going through a divorce or custody proceeding, the order can affect the outcome of those hearings. If you want to challenge the order, you will file a motion to modify the order. After you file this motion, the court will decide if there should be a hearing. Often, a judge is hesitant to lift or modify an order of protection. This is because of the circumstances in which an order is granted, a judge wants to keep all parties safe.

If you have been served with an order of protection and wish to challenge it, you need a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney to help you. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley is duly equipped to fight to get an order lifted or modified. Our legal team has years of experience to investigate the remedies available to you. Contact us for a free consultation today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2100&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=500000&SeqEnd=4200000

What Does it Mean to Plead “No Contest?”

March 20th, 2018 at 6:29 am

charged with a crime, guilty plea, plead no contest, pleading guilty, Rolling Meadows defense attorneyIf you have been charged with a crime, you must enter a plea to the court. Generally, people think of “guilty” or “not guilty.” However, there are other options, such as “no contest.”

Under Illinois law, a defendant is brought into open court and read the charges against him or her. The defendant then makes a plea pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/113-4, by either pleading guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or not guilty. The statute does not specifically point to the plea of no contest. Because no contest is not stated in the statute, a defendant does not have the right to plead no contest in every criminal case. However, a judge can allow the defendant to make the no contest plea.

What is “No Contest”

No contest comes from the phrase “nolo contendere,” which means “I will not contest.” A no contest plea is very similar to a plea of guilty. In a no contest plea, the defendant does not disagree with the facts of the case, or his or her role in the crime. The defendant is, however, not admitting guilt. When a defendant pleads guilty, he or she is admitting their guilt in the crime. The plea of no contest is essentially the defendant accepting the penalties for the crime, but without admitting guilt.

Consequences of “No Contest”

While it appears that a guilty plea and a no contest plea are the same, there is one substantial difference. A guilty plea will follow a defendant to other cases. A defendant who pleads guilty can have that conviction be used as evidence in future trial, crimes, or proceedings. A no contest plea cannot be used against a defendant in later proceedings.

For example, if an individual caused an injury while driving under the influence of alcohol, a plea of no contest could protect him or her from additional civil proceedings.  If a defendant pleads guilty to the DUI and injuries, the injured party could use that admission of guilt in a civil suit. A plea of no contest would not allow the injured party, or the injured party’s representatives, to use the plea in a future lawsuit. Since the defendant did not admit guilt through the no contest plea, it cannot be used against him or her in the future.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

Figuring out what plea to enter in a crime is tricky. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorney who knows how to help. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley will inform you of your options and help you decide what the best course of action is. Our legal team wants to advocate for your rights and provide the best possible defense. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072500050HArt.+113&ActID=1966&ChapterID=54&SeqStart=25200000&SeqEnd=26200000

Illinois Automobile Insurance

March 16th, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Illinois automobile insurance, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, types of auto insurance, property insurance, bodily injury insuranceIf you are pulled over, one of the first questions a police officer will ask is to see your license, registration, and proof of insurance. It is essential to carry all three of these items with you in your vehicle. However, what happens if you forget to bring your insurance? Or, what if you do not have automobile insurance?

What Insurance Does Illinois Require?

There are three types of auto insurance required in Illinois. A driver must have both property and liability/bodily injury insurance. Additionally, a driver must carry uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance. The property insurance component of auto insurance is for covering the cost in case you damage another’s property in your vehicle. Most often, this is to cover the damages to another vehicle. Occasionally, however, other property can be damaged. Your insurance policy must cover at least $20,000 of property insurance.

The liability/bodily injury auto insurance is to cover the costs that will arise if you injure or kill someone in an accident. If you have caused a crash where someone is injured or killed, it is almost certain that a claim against your insurance to be compensated for sustained injuries will be filed. Compensation could be for medical bills, doctors visits, treatments, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. Even passengers in your own vehicle can file claim to your insurance for their injuries in a crash. You must purchase at least $25,000 of liability insurance for the injury or death of one person and at least $50,000 for the death of more than one individual per accident. Aside from the minimums, there is also the possibility of buying more coverage.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance is insurance to protect you if you are involved in a crash with another vehicle that does not have insurance You are required to have $25,000 in coverage for one person in the accident and at least $50,000 for two or more individuals in an accident.

What if I Do Not Have Insurance?

If you are unable to provide proof of insurance to a law enforcement officer when asked, then you are breaking the law. You will receive a ticket for driving without insurance. If you are convicted or plead guilty, you will receive a minimum fine of $500 and your license plates will be suspended until you comply with the law on your first offense. Subsequent offenses result in harsher penalties.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have been charged with driving without insurance, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can defend you. There are defenses available to driving without insurance. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has years of experience and will investigate and explore every defense that might be available to you. Contact us for a free consultation today.

Source:

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/vehicles/mandatory_insurance.html

What is an Aggravated DUI?

March 12th, 2018 at 3:39 pm

aggravated DUI, DUI charge, felony DUI, Illinois automobile insurance, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneysIn Illinois, the more a person is charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the harsher the penalties get. The different types of DUI charges that are possible in Illinois are outlined in 625 ILCS 5/11-501.

A DUI can be classified as both a felony and misdemeanor. An aggravated DUI is a felony DUI. You can be charged with a felony DUI, even if it is your first DUI arrest or charge.

Proving an aggravated DUI is the same as proving a misdemeanor. The prosecutor must show that the defendant broke a law in some way, most often driving with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 percent.

In addition to proving a violation of law, there are 11 circumstances that can elevate a misdemeanor DUI to an aggravated DUI. The following are the circumstances that make a DUI a felony:

  • The charge is the 3rd or subsequent DUI charge. A DUI arrest will always be a felony if you have two or more prior DUI convictions;
  • Driving a school bus with children under the age of 18 on board;
  • Driving under the influence that results in a car accident with a victim who suffers permanent disability to great bodily harm. This injury must be caused because you were driving under the influence;
  • Having a reckless homicide conviction on your record because of intoxication or impairment;
  • Having an accident in a school zone where another person suffered bodily harm;
  • The DUI being the proximate cause of death of another;
  • Being arrested for a DUI while having a suspended or revoked license. The suspended or revoked license must be the result of a prior DUI, statutory suspension, or reckless homicide.
  • Not having a valid license at the time of the DUI offense;
  • Driving a car that you know is not insured;
  • Being the proximate cause of bodily harm to a child; and
  • Committing a DUI with a passenger that is under the age of 16 and you already have another DUI.

How Serious is an Aggravated DUI?

Any kind of DUI conviction can be detrimental to you and your family, but an aggravated DUI can create many more problems. A misdemeanor DUI has a maximum sentence of less than one year. A felony offense can carry a much higher jail or prison sentence. A felony DUI carries a prison sentence of one year or more. In addition, there is a maximum fine of $25,000.

Reach Out to an Attorney for Help

If you are facing criminal charges, you should contact an attorney immediately. Choose an attorney with the experience and skill to represent you. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can defend you zealously in an aggravated DUI case. Our Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can provide an effective defense. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Source:

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

Do I Need to Participate in a Field Sobriety Test?

March 9th, 2018 at 7:18 am

drunk driving, DUI charge, field sobriety test, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, DUI attorneyRed, white, and blue represent freedom in the United States, but those take on a completely different meaning when you see them flashing in the rearview mirror of your car. Being pulled over can be scary and you might not be sure what to expect. If a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, a simple traffic stop turns into much more.

Illinois Field Sobriety Tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study to determine what sobriety tests are the most effective in determining if a suspect is driving under the influence. Illinois uses “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” on individuals to determine their intoxication. It is imperative that individuals understand what these tests are so that they are better equipped should a situation arise when they are faced with the question of participating in them.

  • Walk and Turn: This is a test that officers use to judge your balance and if you stagger while you walk. This test requires that you walk in a straight line, heel to toe, for nine paces and then turn around and walk back to the start. Arms are kept at your side, and the officer may instruct you to count the steps (one through nine) out loud.
  • One Leg Stand: This test also judges your balance and ability to follow directions. You will stand with your legs together and then the officer will instruct you to lift one leg off of the ground and stand there. Usually, the officer will instruct you to lift your foot six inches off the ground for up to 30 seconds.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: This is a more “complex” test and it produces the most reliable results of the field sobriety tests. The officer will look for involuntary jerking of your eyes that is linked to alcohol consumption. The officer will move his finger, or a pen, from side to side and instruct you to follow it with your eyes.

Participation Requirements

Illinois law does not require you to participate in field sobriety tests. You are allowed to refuse any field sobriety test that the officer wants to conduct. There are no penalties for refusing the sobriety test. This is different than other states that will use this refusal to participate in a field sobriety test against you in further charges. Again, it is likely that you will be arrested after refusing a field sobriety test, but there are no further penalties associated with the refusal.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI, or submitted to field sobriety tests, but wish you had not, contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we will explore every option and defense that is available to you. Reach out to a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office today for immediate help with your case.

Source:

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

White Collar Crime: An Overview

March 5th, 2018 at 7:41 am

Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, white collar crime, check fraudX embezzelment, insurance fraudMany people in Illinois have heard the term “white collar crime,” although they are unsure of its true definition. In this case, some think of investment bankers embezzling millions from their corporate office. Or, others may think of someone forging a document. Ultimately, white collar crime includes a wide variety of crimes. Due to the severity of the penalties, it is imperative that you reach out to an attorney immediately for help if you are facing white collar crime charges.

What is white collar crime?

The FBI characterizes white collar crime by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust. There is no need for there to be a threat of physical force or violence. White collar crime usually involves theft or retrieval of financial assets with the intent of personal gain. This includes the theft or retrieval of data, too, not just monetary assets.

Technically, white collar crime is not a formal category in the law, but an assignment to a group of crimes that share similar characteristics. White collar crime is usually attributed to professionals who commit a crime in a business setting. Examples of white collar crime include the following:

  • Theft, including identity theft;
  • Bribery;
  • Check fraud;
  • Counterfeiting;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Tax evasion; and
  • Insurance fraud.

There are more crimes that fall under the umbrella of white collar crime, but the above are a few of the more commonly committed crimes.

Penalties for Committing White Collar Crimes

Just like other crimes, there are varying degrees of severity in white collar crime. The bigger the crime, the bigger the punishment. Common punishments include probation, fines, community service, restitution, property forfeiture, and imprisonment.  Courts have sentencing guidelines for each crime to give a guide of what the proper punishment should be, with the ultimate goal of having a consistent sentencing policy for the same crime.

Defense to White Collar Criminal Charges

There is a wide range of defenses available, depending on the crime. Common defenses like insanity, duress, incapacity, or intoxication are available. One of the most common defenses is entrapment. Entrapment is when a government actor presents an individual with the opportunity to commit a criminal act. This criminal act would not have otherwise been committed had the opportunity not arose.

725 ILCS 5/7-12 states that a person is not guilty of a crime if their conduct is incited or induced by a public officer, or their agent, for the purpose of obtaining evidence against them.

Speak with an Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Illinois Today

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, you need the support of a legal team that is dedicated to you. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we have the experience and skill to defend you. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley will provide you with an excellent defense. Contact us today for more information.

Sources:

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K7-12.htm

Assault and Battery Defined

March 2nd, 2018 at 1:48 pm

aggravated battery, assault and battery, battery convictions, Class C misdemeanor, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyWhen people hear the term “assault and battery,” they often think of one crime. Assault and battery, however, are two separate crimes under Illinois law. They are related, but still different.

Assault differs from battery in that it is psychological. It usually happens in anticipation of  battery. Assault refers to a threat that can be verbal or physical in nature. For example, if you threaten to kill someone, that can be considered assault. If you swing a bat at someone to scare him or her, but do not make contact,  you can then be accused of assault, but not battery.

Battery involves some form of physical contact. It is a broad term that can mean anything from an unwanted hug to a punch in the face. It can also involve getting hit by an object or getting harmed by a firearm. Determining whether or not an incident should be considered battery can be confusing, though. The actual physical contact must be intentional, but the harmful nature does not have to be. Even poisoning someone’s food or blowing smoke in someone’s face can be considered battery.

Assault and battery do not have to co-exist. There can be assault without battery, and likewise, there can be battery without assault. However, to convict a person of battery, the prosecutor must prove that the person caused bodily harm to the victim or that he or she engaged in provocative or unwanted physical contact.

Assault and Battery Penalties

Under Illinois law, assault is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties include a fine of $1,500 and 30 days in jail. Community service may also be ordered.

When the assault results in severe bodily injury, disfigurement, disability, or death, the charge is elevated to aggravated assault. This can result in a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by 1-3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Battery is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by a $2,500 fine and one year in prison. Aggravated battery can result in 2-5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Most misdemeanor assault and battery convictions are punished by probation rather than imprisonment. Probation typically is not an option for felony charges, however.

Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer for Assistance

While assault and battery charges are often misdemeanors, you could face felony charges in extreme cases. A felony can result in fines and prison time, and can additionallyaffect you for the rest of your life.

If you are facing assault and battery charges, seek legal help right away. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can defend your case. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley will do what it takes to help you avoid a conviction.

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/so-sue-me/201504/the-difference-between-assault-and-battery

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