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Archive for April, 2018

When Can the Police Search My Vehicle?

April 26th, 2018 at 9:53 am

Illinois traffic offenses, Illinois traffic stops, police search, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, searches and seizuresThe Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution grants us the right be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Searches are scrutinized to make sure that an individual’s constitutional rights are not infringed upon.

There are numerous cases in which a person is pulled over for a seemingly routine traffic stop, but it results in the search of the individual’s car and a potential arrest if illegal behavior or substances are found. However, a police officer does not always have the right to search your vehicle at just any traffic spot.

Ultimately, if you have been stopped by the police and placed under arrest, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney immediately. To be sure, an experienced lawyer can examine the specifics of your case and begin mounting an aggressive defense.

Valid Police Search of Your Vehicle

There are various scenarios in which a police officer has the right to search your vehicle, as described below. This is not an exhaustive list of circumstances, but these are the most common instances that arise and result in a legal search of your vehicle.

  • Consent. If you consent to a search, the police are able to search your vehicle. After you give consent, any evidence that is found during the search will be admissible in future court proceedings.
  • Probable Cause.  In order for the police to search your vehicle during a traffic stop, the police need to have probable cause that there is some sort of criminal activity happening. For example, if the police smell marijuana, they are able to search the vehicle for the substance. Police are able to bring drug sniffing dogs to smell the area around your vehicle; however, they must not excessively prolong the traffic stop.
  • Incident to an Arrest. If you are arrested, the police generally have the right to search your vehicle. Indeed, you are already being arrested for a potentially valid reason, and the police may need to conduct further investigation. The police can search for weapons and any evidence that is incident to the arrest.
  • With a Search Warrant. Since traffic stops are spur-of-the-moment events, police likely will not have a warrant to search your vehicle. However, if you are under suspicion for a crime and a judge grants a search warrant for your vehicle, a police officer will be able to search your vehicle.

If there is not a legitimate reason to pull a vehicle over, then the results of that traffic stop are not valid.  Any evidence seized or found during an illegal search is inadmissible in court.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have been charged with any criminal offense, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office is equipped and ready to tackle your case and make sure you receive the justice you deserve.

Source:

http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/what-does-0

What Makes Me a Trespasser?

April 24th, 2018 at 4:30 pm

trespasser, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, Illinois trespassing, trespassing defenses, criminal trespass, electronic tracking deviceIn Illinois, trespassing can occur in several ways and include trespass to vehicles, trespass to real property, and trespass through the use of electronic tracking devices. Generally, trespassing is a misdemeanor crime. However, some properties hold a felony charge. One such example is trespassing on government buildings. Trespassing on government buildings will likely result in a felony trespassing charge. The intention behind the trespassing is also considered when assessing the severity of the crime and the appropriate punishments to follow.

Types of trespassing crimes in Illinois include the following:

  • Criminal Trespass to Vehicles: Criminal trespass to vehicles is defined as a person entering any part of, or operating, any vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or snowmobile. The individual must knowingly enter the vehicle and must not have any authority to do so.
  • Criminal Trespass to Real Property: Criminal trespass to real property occurs when a person: (1) enters a building knowingly and without authority; (2) enters land of another without permission; and (3) continues to stay on another’s property after having been told to leave.
  • Trespassing Through an Electronic Device: Trespassing using an electronic device is using an electronic tracking device to “determine the location or movement of a person.” There are exceptions to this rule. It is not illegal to place an electronic tracking device if the owner of the vehicle has given his or her consent, or the vehicle comes with a built in tracking device. Further, companies tracking employees company-wide are exempt, as well as government vehicles.
  • Criminal Trespass to State Land: Criminal trespass to state land is entering and remaining on property after being told to leave or that it was prohibited, or trespassing on land that is funded by the state of Illinois.
  • Criminal Trespass to Safe School Zone: Criminal trespass to a safe school zone is continuing to enter school property after you have been told you are not allowed to be on the school grounds.

Defenses to Trespass

Much like every facet of the law, there are exceptions to trespassing, as well as various defenses.

  • If land is open to the public, generally criminal trespass to land will not occur. Further, there may be a defense to criminal trespass of land if you reasonably believe that the land is open to the public;
  • If a building has been unoccupied or abandoned for at least one year, a person who enters the land to beautify it is not trespassing. In addition to being abandoned for one year, the taxes must not have been paid for two years; and
  • A person can enter land for emergency purposes. There must be a danger or imminent danger or destruction for the entrance to be excused from criminal trespass to land.

We Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with any type of criminal trespass, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has the knowledge and passion to defend your case to a favorable outcome.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+21&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=64500000&SeqEnd=66800000

What is Disorderly Conduct in Illinois?

April 20th, 2018 at 8:44 am

Disorderly Conduct, misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, misdemeanor charge, skilled legal defense

Facing charges of disorderly conduct can be a truly frightening experience. To be sure, you may not understand the charges, nor how to effectively deal with the criminal justice system. If you find yourself in this situation, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney immediately. A legal professional can advocate aggressively on your behalf to help protect your rights throughout each step of the process.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Under Illinois law, there are 12 instances in which you can be charged with disorderly conduct. These actions are:

  1. Acting in way that disturbs another and provoke a breach of peace;
  2. Reporting, or inciting another to report a fire when the individual knows that there is no fire;
  3. Reporting a bomb or other explosive device when the individual knows that there is no threat of a bomb or explosive device and Reporting a bomb threat to a school when there is no threat;
  4. Reporting a crime to an officer knowing there is none;
  5. Falsely reporting a public safety issue;
  6. Calling 911 when there is no need to call;
  7. Making a false report of child abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Family Services;
  8. Falsely reporting to the Department of Public Health under the Nursing Care Act, Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Act, the ID/DD Community Care Act, or MC/MD Act. This is essentially falsely reporting elder abuse;
  9. Falsely reporting the need for an ambulance or fire department service;
  10. Reporting a false report under Article II of Public Act 83-1432;
  11. Entering the property of another for a lewd or unlawful purpose through a window or opening. This also covers “peeping” into another’s window; and
  12. Harassing, annoying, or intimidating an alleged debtor while impersonating a collections officer.

Punishments

The severity of the punishment for disorderly conduct depends on which category of disorderly conduct is performed. Disorderly conduct charges can be both a felony and misdemeanor.

  • Misdemeanor – Generally, a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge can carry a 30-day, six-month, or one-year jail sentence.
    • Class A: Reporting a false threat to public safety and entering another’s property for unlawful conduct are considered Class A Misdemeanors. These are the most serious types of misdemeanors. There is a possibility of a one-year jail sentence and a fine up to $2,500.
    • Class B: Falsely reporting the crime of elder abuse is considered a Class B misdemeanor. There is the potential of six months in jail.
  • Felony – A felony carries a much more serious penalty.
    • Class 4: Making a false report of a fire, a false report of a threat to a school, or making a false emergency services call is considered a Class 4 felony.  This carries the potential of a one to three-year prison sentence.
    • Class 3: Reporting a fake bomb threat is a Class 3 felony that carries the possibility of two to five years in prison. In addition, there is a potential for a fine up to $10,000.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, our office can help you. Passionate Rolling Meadows defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley has the knowledge and skill to represent you and achieve the best possible outcome. Call 847-394-3200 today.

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1999&ChapterID=55

Can I Get a DUI on a Bike in Illinois?

April 17th, 2018 at 8:59 am

DUI on a bike, Rolling Meadows DUI attorney, DUI conviction, aggravated DUI, DUI penaltiesAfter drinking too much, the worst decision is to get into a vehicle and drive. Taking a cab, ride share, or otherwise getting a ride home is the best option. However, some people may want to ride their bike home after having a bit too much to drink. This option is safer than driving a car; however, there are safety risks to riding a bike under the influence. Additionally, while there are certainly dangers to riding a bike under the influence of alcohol, and other states give DUIs to bike riders, you will not receive a DUI charge.

Illinois DUI Laws

Illinois DUI statute states that “a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle” while having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more. The definition of vehicle under Illinois law is a device that transports a person or property, “except devices moved by human power.” By definition, a bike is not categorized as a vehicle. A bike is “moved by human power.”

In order to receive a DUI on a bike, the bicycle must be motorized and capable of traveling greater than 20 miles an hour. That being said, while you cannot get a DUI while riding a bike, riders are still subject to the same laws as motor vehicle drivers in Illinois.

Even if you cannot receive a DUI while riding a bike, you can definitely still receive a DUI while operating your car. Driving under the influence is dangerous, but it does happen. Moreover, you need to be aware of what can happen if you are charged with a DUI.

If you are convicted of a DUI, you can face hefty penalties. The more DUIs you have on your record, the more severe the consequences get. In Illinois, one DUI can lead to a license suspension for three months, or even more. A second DUI conviction carries the possibility of a one-year suspension of your license. Receiving a third DUI can lead to the suspension of your license for up to 10 years. The penalties rise from there. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions are possible, as well as a charge of an aggravated DUI.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need a dedicated and experienced Rolling Meadows DUI attorney who can fight for you. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we are uniquely qualified to handle your DUI defense. Do not hesitate to contact us today for help.

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K1-217

What Does it Mean to be “In Custody”

April 12th, 2018 at 6:10 pm

in custody, miranda rights, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, self-incrimination, custodial interrogationThe Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution give an individual the right to avoid self-incrimination and to consult an attorney. While these rights are in the Constitution, they were not always enforced or followed strictly.

In the Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona, the Court reinforced that an individual has the “right to remain silent” and to consult an attorney. These rights are more commonly known as your “Miranda Rights.”

If the police take you into custody, they must inform you of your rights. There is no question that the rights must be read; however, the idea of a suspect being “in custody” is a vague term. Custody has come to mean being questioned or interrogated by the police after being taken into custody or otherwise deprived of freedom of action in any significant way.

Ultimately, if you believe your rights were violated by police officers in Rolling Meadows, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney for help. To be sure, a legal professional can potentially use this information as a defense in your case and have the charges against you dropped.

Custodial Interrogation

Being in handcuffs could be a sign that you are being taken into custody, but it is not the only situation in which someone can be considered in custody. Since “custody” is so broadly defined and has a lot of gray areas, the court in criminal proceedings is tasked with determining if an individual was in custody or not. Courts will look to the “totality of the circumstances” to determine if an individual was in suspect. This means that the court will examine a wide variety of factors to determine whether the actions of the police amount to the suspect being in custody.

There are different factors that the court will look to when police are interrogating an individual. These include:

  • Line of Questioning: The court will look to the types of questions asked, who was asking the questions, or if there weapons were present that could be deemed as intimidating a suspect to answer the questions.
  • Initiation of the Questioning: The court will look to whether the questioning was voluntary, who started the questioning, and the physical surroundings of the questioning.
  • Circumstances of Questioning: Both the length of questioning and time of day of questioning are examined by the court.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with a crime and question if your Miranda Warnings were given properly, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley is here to help. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley will investigate each element of the arrest and questioning to make sure your rights were not infringed upon.

Sources:

http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-miranda-v-arizona

https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1028&context=book_chapters

What is the Process for Expunging a Juvenile Record in Illinois?

April 11th, 2018 at 6:49 am

expungement, juvenile crimes, juvenile detention centers, juvenile records, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyChildhood should be a time of growth and learning. Unfortunately for some children, their childhood is spent in and out of courthouses and juvenile detention centers. The premise behind rehabilitating those who commit crimes is to give them a second chance in life. With this thought in mind, who deserves a second shot more than a child?

A juvenile is someone who is under the age of 18. Each time a person is arrested, a record is created and consists of a police report, computer database reports, or any other court document that is created in connection with the arrest or charge. All law enforcement and court records with cases involving juveniles are sealed.

A sealed record means that most people are not able to view the records, as they may be able to with adult records. Even though the records are sealed, there are various instances where potential employers could see the records. However, one way to avoid sealed records being seen is through a process called expungement.

What is Expungement?

An expungement is a court-ordered process through which a record is essentially erased in the eyes of the law. After a record is expunged, a person will usually not have to disclose an arrest or convictions on a job application, or other situations in which criminal records are disclosed or a background check is run.

Certain juvenile records are automatically expunged. First, arrests that did not result in conviction are automatically expunged after one year. However, there cannot be any other arrests or charges within the six months before the expungement occurs. Additionally, arrests and court records are expunged when they result in a dismissal, finding of no delinquency, supervision that is terminated successfully, guilty verdicts of Class B or C misdemeanors, petty business offenses, and guilty verdicts for Class A misdemeanors or non-violent felonies.

In the case of the Class A misdemeanors or non-violent felonies, the expungement will happen two years after the case is closed. Additionally, there must be no other pending cases or guilty findings.

Automatic expungements do not occur for every juvenile crime. In the event that there is no automatic expungement, there are paths to trying to get expungement. You must file a petition with the court and attend a hearing in front of an appointed judge. Law enforcement or the state’s attorney has 45 days to object to the expungement. The hearing takes place after the 45-day period.

Contact Us Today for Legal Assistance Today

If you have a child with a juvenile record, or you have a prior juvenile record that needs expunged, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has a proven track record representing juvenile clients. Let us help you throughout each step of your case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=070504050K5-915

What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

April 5th, 2018 at 5:40 pm

assault and battery, Rolling Meadows defense attorney, aggravated assault, Illinois criminal law, aggravated battery chargeIf you watch any crime television show, it seems like the words assault and battery are always used at the same time, interchangeably. However, these are different crimes with different definitions and characteristics. Knowing the difference between the two is essential if you are charged with one or both of these crimes.

Battery

Illinois law defines battery as causing bodily harm to another or making physical contact that is insulting or provoking to another. The perpetrator must know that he or she is causing the offensive touching and has no legal basis in which to do so.

The most common form of battery is hitting, bunching, or otherwise engaging in harmful physical contact with another. However, a battery can also be an offensive touching to another—physically ripping a purse from someone. The purse is considered an extension of the person who was battered.

Not only can one face a battery charge, but also an aggravated battery charge. Aggravated battery is when a person, while committing a battery:

  1. Causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement;
  2. Uses a caustic or flammable substance, poisonous gas, biological agent, chemical agent, explosive, or radioactive substance to cause severe bodily harm;
  3. Causes great bodily harm to an officer or fireman;
  4. Causes great bodily harm or disfigurement to someone that is over the age of 60; or
  5. Strangles another person.

Assault

Illinois law says that an assault occurs when someone knowingly places another in “reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” Essentially, it is a battery without the touching requirement. The victim must be placed in reasonable apprehension that there is imminent violence coming. An example is someone who is visibly upset and looks like he or she is going to hit or strike another person. Signs of an “imminent threat” could be the hands going into a fist, raising the fist as if to strike another, or even saying something in a menacing manner that leads another to reasonably think they are in danger.

Just like battery, there is also a situation in which an aggravated assault can occur. An aggravated assault can be:

  1. Assaulting someone in a public place or way;
  2. Assaulting someone who is disabled, a teacher or school employee on school property, park district employees, a peace officer, community policing volunteers, correctional officers, an employee of the state, and other individuals;
  3. Discharging a firearm from a car;
  4. Concealing identity with the use of a hood or robe;
  5. Flashing a laser gun at another or in their vicinity;
  6. Using a firearm against an officer;
  7. Operating a vehicle in a way that makes another think they are in danger of being struck by the car; or
  8. Placing a passenger in danger with your driving.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with assault, battery, or both, contact the office of talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Our legal team will defend you with the requisite skill and knowledge. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+12%2C+Subdiv%2E+5&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=21300000&SeqEnd=23400000

Defenses to Theft

April 3rd, 2018 at 10:45 am

defenses to theft, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, theft, Illinois theft, theft crimesThe crime of theft is common in Illinois. Moreover, there are several different types of theft with which an individual can be charged. If you have been charged with any type of theft in the state, it is imperative that you reach out to a talented attorney for help with your case.

Definition of Theft in Illinois

Under Illinois law, a person commits theft when he or she knowingly:

  • Takes unauthorized control over another’s property;
  • Deceives another to gain possession of their property;
  • Threatens another to gain possession of their property;
  • Has possession over stolen property with knowledge it was stolen, or should have known that the property was stolen; or
  • Exerts control over property of law enforcement, or someone acting on behalf of law enforcement, who inform the individual it was stolen property. Or, law enforcement/a person acting on behalf of law enforcement leads the individual to believe the property was stolen.

Common types of theft include retail theft, identity theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, burglary, and online theft.

Defense to Theft Crimes

If you have been charged with a theft crime, there are a number of defenses that may be available under Illinois law.

  • Entrapment is “the act of government agents or officials that induces a person to commit a crime he or she is not previously disposed to commit.”  When entrapment is a factor, it is when an individual is induced to commit an act that he or she otherwise would not have. In a theft case, entrapment is used as a defense when there is evidence that the intent to steal came from the person who ‘entrapped’ the defendant, convincing them to commit the crime. The defendant is tricked into committing the theft to apprehend and prosecute the individual.
  • A defendant can claim right or ownership of property. If the defendant can show that he or she truly believed that the property was his or her own, or he or she had a valid claim to the property, it can be a defense to theft. There must be more than the defendant saying “I think it is mine.” There will need to be corroborating evidence that the defendant owned, or had a right to ownership.
  • Return of property is a tricky defense. Generally, giving back stolen property does not negate the theft. A defendant that intended to return the property might be able to use this as a defense by asserting that the property was “borrowed.”

Whatever the theft charge, an experienced attorney can make an enormous difference in your case. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have years of experience defending clients from petty to felony theft. Christopher Cosley is an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who is prepared to explore and utilize every possible defense. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-606

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