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Archive for September, 2018

What Is Grand Larceny?

September 27th, 2018 at 9:38 am

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

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

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

Restitution

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

Contact a Rolling Meadows Larceny Defense Attorney

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

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

Understanding the Consequences of Prescription Forgery in Illinois

September 25th, 2018 at 1:21 pm

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

What Illinois Law States About Prescription Forgery

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

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

The Consequences of Prescription Forgery

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

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

Defending Medical Professionals

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

A Cook County Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Can Help

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

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

Boating While Impaired in Illinois

September 20th, 2018 at 11:34 am

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

What Is Boating Under the Influence?

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

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

Who Can Test Me?

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

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

Consequences of Boating Under the Influence

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

Contact a Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyer

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

Defending Against Sex Crime Charges in Illinois

September 18th, 2018 at 11:15 am

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

Suppressing Evidence

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

Improper Police Conduct

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

Challenging Witness Testimony

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

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

Contact a Cook County Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

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

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

Privacy Rights Upheld in Recent Supreme Court Case

September 14th, 2018 at 8:31 am

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

Collins v. Virginia

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

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

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

An Attorney Can Help You Today

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

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

The Timeline of a Criminal Charge in Illinois

September 11th, 2018 at 10:43 am

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

The Offense and Arrest

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

Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury

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

Arraignment

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

Trial Preparation and Trial

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

Verdict and Sentencing

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

Appeal

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

Contact Us Today for Help

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

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

Consequences of Resisting Arrest

September 6th, 2018 at 9:10 am

felony charges, Illinois criminal charges, misdemeanor charges, resisting arrest, Rolling Meadows defense attorneyNo one expects, or wants, to be arrested on any given day. There are many stories in the news these days about people resisting arrest and are injured in the process. Even though getting arrested is an inconvenience, it is important to not resist a police officer making an arrest. Resisting arrest in Illinois can result in additional criminal charges.

Resisting Arrest in Illinois

Under Illinois statute, the official title for resisting arrest is “Resisting or Obstructing a Peace Officer, Firefighter, or Correctional Institution Employee.” This title brings about a broad category of people to whom the statute applies. Police officers, peace officers, firefighters, and correctional officers are all considered protected workers under the statute.

Additionally, it is not just resisting an actual arrest that can result in a charge under the statute. In addition to resisting arrest, other acts can result in a charge and include:

  • Hitting a protected worker during the arrest;
  • Not consenting to being arrested;
  • Being hesitant to respond to the arrest or moving too slowly or reluctantly;
  • Acting in a way that results in an officer having to drag you or carry you during the arrest;
  • Running away from an officer while being arrested; and
  • Pulling away from an officer while being arrested.

The statute does not just cover situations where a person “resists” arrest in some way or another. One can also be charged if he or she obstructs the protected worker while doing his or her duties.

Examples of ways one can obstruct a protected worker who is doing his or her job include:

  • Not leaving the scene of a crime after being instructed to do so;
  • Causing an interference in a police investigation;
  • Preventing a protected worker from doing his or her job, like preventing a firefighter from being able to put out a fire;
  • Relaying false information to the police; and
  • Using fake identification when talking to the police.

The charge of resisting arrests can result in a misdemeanor charge. A conviction carries a penalty of at least spending 48 hours in jail or completing 100 hours of community service. There is also the possibility of fines. Resisting arrest can result in a felony charge if an injury is caused to the protected worker while resisting or obstructing.

Contact Us Today for Help

While resisting arrest might not seem like a big issue, it is and should be taken seriously. Criminal charges are serious and should be treated as such. Dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here to defend you no matter how seemingly small the charge. Do not let charges accumulate on your criminal record. Contact us today to get your defense started.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K31-1

What Should I Do if I Am Charged with Credit Card Fraud?

September 5th, 2018 at 6:41 am

Rolling Meadows white collar crime attorney, white collar crime, deceit concealment, credit card fraud, credit card crimesThe Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines white collar crime as crimes characterized by “deceit concealment, or violation of trust” that are also not “dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence.” Usually, motivation behind a white collar crime is some type of financial gain. A common type of white collar crime is credit card fraud, and Illinois treats credit card fraud cases very seriously. 

Credit Card Fraud in Illinois

There are several instances in which a credit card fraud charge could be brought. Essentially, credit card fraud involves the improper use or possession of a credit card, whether it be your own credit card or someone else’s credit card. Examples of credit card fraud include:

  • Using incorrect information or making a false statement in an attempt to receive a credit card;
  • Using another credit card, without permission or consent;
  • Transferring or selling another person’s credit card;
  • Defrauding another individual with a credit card;
  • The use of an expired, revoked, or counterfeit card;
  • Possessing a credit card that you know is lost with the intention of using the card, transferring, or selling it; and
  • Signing another person’s credit card with the intent to defraud.

Penalties

The type of charge associated with credit card fraud (misdemeanor or felony) depends on the amount of fraud at issue. A credit card fraud charge can be a Class 4 felony, Class 3 felony, or a Class A misdemeanor. The more amount of money at issue, the more serious the charge – a felony over a misdemeanor charge. The following are the penalties associated with each type of charge:

  • Class A Misdemeanor results with property values less than $150. A sentence of up to one year, potential fines of $2,500 for each offense, or restitution can result.
  • Class 4 Felony is appropriate when the value of property is between $150 to $300. There is the potential for one to three years in prison, periodic imprisonment, up to $25,000 in fines for each offense, or restitution.
  • Class 3 Felony results when the value of property is over $300. There is a potential for two and a half to five years prison, supervision for one year following release, and potential fines up to $25,000.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with credit card fraud, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Skilled Rolling Meadows white collar crime attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here to help you. Attorney Cosley combines a passion for aggressively defending someone with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to provide the best defense possible. Contact us today to get your defense started.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=56800000&SeqEnd=58900000

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

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