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Archive for May, 2019

Scott’s Law: Move Over or Possibly Lose Your License

May 30th, 2019 at 5:09 pm

IL traffic attorneyIn the first two and a half months of the year, 13 State Troopers have been hit by vehicles while working on the side of the road. In early January, one was fatally struck and killed while working the scene of an accident. The number is too high in the state, and Illinois State Police are trying to change that. With a blitz on social media, they are reminding all drivers about Scott’s Law, and what can happen if they fail to comply and reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Scott’s Law

According to 625 ILCS 5/11-907, Scott’s Law requires all motorists to move to another lane when approaching an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. The law was named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen, a firefighter with the Chicago Fire Department that lost his life after being struck by a passing vehicle while he was working the scene of an emergency. It is also sometimes called simply the “Move Over Law.”

The law applies to any vehicle that has flashing lights, a siren, or both. Police vehicles are the most common emergency vehicles seen along the side of the road, but the law also applies to ambulances, firefighters, and even tow trucks in some cases. Construction vehicles could also fall under the definition of emergency vehicle according to Scott’s Law definition. Motorists wishing to keep safe, and avoid penalties, should simply move over when approaching flashing lights ahead.

The law only states that drivers must move to another lane if the lights or siren on the emergency vehicle are activated. When changing lanes is unsafe, drivers are expected to slow down and proceed with due caution past the emergency vehicles.

Penalties for Violating Scott’s Law

Drivers found in violation of Scott’s Law will face mandatory fines. The minimum fine is $100, but that cost could increase to $10,000, depending on the nature of the violation and if the driver caused an accident when failing to move over.

However, drivers found in violation of this law will face more than just fines. They could potentially lose their license for a long time, depending on the circumstances.

If the driver caused an accident that involved property damage, the Secretary of State will revoke the driver’s license for 90 days. If the driver caused an accident resulting in injury, the driver will lose their license for 180 days. If the driver caused a fatal accident, the driver’s license is suspended for two years. They could also face other charges as well, such as involuntary manslaughter.

Contact a Rolling Meadows License Reinstatement Lawyer to Get Your License Back

If you have had your license revoked due to Scott’s Law or any other traffic violation, you need to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we are very familiar with the state’s system for revoking, and reinstating, licenses. We want to put that experience to work for you and help you get your license back as quickly as possible. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation and we can begin discussing your case.

 

Source:

https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/03/19/illinois-police-report-troopers-struck/

What Is a Class X Felony in Illinois?

May 23rd, 2019 at 4:59 pm

IL defense lawyerRecently in Macon County, a man was found guilty of delivering heroin, which is a Class X felony. While many people understand what a Class 1 or Class 4 felony is in the state, what exactly is a Class X felony in Illinois?

Other than first-degree murder, which is not classified, a Class X felony is the worst charge a person can face. It has mandatory jail time, and sentences are typically for a long period of time. Due to this mandatory sentence, negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the Class X felony charge is very difficult. Anyone charged with this type of felony in Illinois must speak to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney to give them the best possible chance of success in court.

Class X Felonies in Illinois

Under Illinois law, there are ten different charges classified as a Class X felony. These include:

  • Aggravated kidnapping;
  • Aggravated battery with a firearm;
  • Aggravated battery of a minor;
  • Home invasion;
  • Aggravated criminal sexual assault;
  • Predatory criminal sexual assault of a minor;
  • Armed robbery;
  • Aggravated vehicular hijacking;
  • Aggravated arson; and
  • Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

Penalties for Class X Felonies

The penalties for a Class X felony are some of the harshest in the state. If convicted, those accused face a minimum sentence of six years in prison. The maximum sentence is 30 years. This jail time is in addition to a maximum fine of $25,000. Due to the minimum sentencing requirements for these types of felonies, even first-time offenders will face jail time if convicted.

While the maximum sentence is 30 years, judges are given the discretion to add more jail time if certain aggravating factors were part of the crime. If a judge decides aggravating factors were present, they can sentence a defendant to 30 to 60 years in prison. Some aggravating factors include:

  • When the defendant has been convicted of any crime in the past;
  • When the victim of the crime was over the age of 60 or disabled;
  • When the crime was committed based on discriminatory factors such as the victim’s race, religion, or sexual orientation; and
  • When the defendant caused or threatened serious harm to the victim.

It is also important that anyone facing charges understands that probation is not possible with a Class X felony charge.

Negotiating with the Prosecution

Due to the mandatory sentencing requirements, it is typically very difficult to negotiate with the prosecution when the defendant faces a Class X felony. The State’s Attorney’s office typically chooses the best prosecutors to try a case involving a Class X felony. In addition, due to the fact that a defendant will face jail time no matter what if convicted, the prosecution does not often have reason to negotiate with the defendant.

However, negotiating with the prosecution is the only way probation is possible. If the prosecution is willing to reduce the charge, there is still a likelihood the defendant will face jail time if convicted, but they will also be eligible for probation in many cases.

Charged with a Class X Felony? Speak to a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

Class X felonies are the worst charges a person could face other than first-degree murder. Due to this, and the possibility of extremely harsh penalties, anyone charged with this type of felony must speak to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for immediate legal assistance. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we know how to negotiate with the prosecution in any case. We will work hard to ensure your rights are upheld and that, when possible, your charges are reduced. No one should leave these types of cases in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. The stakes are simply too high. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation so we can begin discussing your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-4.5-25

https://newschannel20.com/news/local/decatur-man-found-guilty-of-delivering-heroin-to-springfield-resident

 

What Are the Penalties for Heroin Possession in Illinois?

May 16th, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Illinois defense attorneyA Du Quoin man was found in possession of a small amount of heroin in early April. That was a violation of his parole and he was sent back to the Illinois Department of Corrections to serve out the rest of his sentence on previous charges.

Heroin possession is considered one of the most serious drug crimes in Illinois. Those convicted will have a criminal record for the rest of their life and could face several years in prison, as well as extremely high fines. While the penalties for heroin possession are extremely harsh within the state, a criminal defense lawyer can help those charged and give them the best chance of a successful outcome in court.

Illinois Law on Heroin

Heroin is classified as a Schedule 1 drug on the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and is illegal for anyone to possess, manufacture, or distribute. The specific classification of being on Schedule 1 means that heroin is considered a “hard” drug. In the eyes of the law, this is the most serious designation and as such, law enforcement and the prosecution pursue these cases aggressively.

Narcotics listed within the Schedule I are believed to have a high potential for abuse. They have no accepted medical benefits or uses, and there is no protocol that allows someone to use the drug safely, even under medical supervision. Due to this very strict classification, those charged with heroin possession face very serious penalties.

Penalties for Heroin Possession

All heroin possession charges in Illinois are considered felonies. This means they have some of the harshest penalties for those convicted. However, the actual sentence will depend on the amount of heroin a person had at the time of arrest. The amounts and associated penalties for heroin possession are:

  • 15 to 100 grams: 4 to 15 years in state prison, or a maximum fine of $200,000, or both.
  • 100 to 400 grams: 6 to 30 years in state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $200,000 or the street value of the drug.
  • 400 to 900 grams: 8 to 40 years in state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $200,000 or the street value of the drug.
  • 900 grams and over: 10 to 50 years in state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $200,000 or the street value of the drug.

In certain circumstances, these penalties are increased. For example, those caught in possession of heroin with 1,000 feet of a school, park, movie theater, or church can have their sentences doubled. This is also true for those found in possession of heroin and a firearm.

The penalties for heroin possession are certainly some of the harshest of all Illinois drug crimes. Those facing charges need the help of an attorney that can build a solid defense for their case.

Call Our Rolling Meadows Drug Crime Attorney Today

If you are facing heroin possession charges, or have been accused of any other drug crime, call a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We can represent you if you are questioned by the police and challenge searches of your vehicle or home, all to create a strong defense for your case. Learn more about how we can help by calling or filling out our online form for your free case evaluation today.

 

Source:

https://thesouthern.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/du-quoin-man-gets-prison-time-for-possessing-heroin/article_4f926a6e-312c-5974-992d-8407edb1d927.html

Illinois Considers Reducing Minimum Sentences for Certain Charges

May 9th, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Illinois criminal lawyerIllinois lawmakers want to change the laws on mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes. In mid-April, the Illinois House of Representatives voted on legislation that would give judge’s more discretion during sentencing. If recent House Bill 1587 becomes law, judges could consider further reducing minimum mandatory sentences for individuals convicted of drug possession, retail theft, and driving on a revoked license because of unpaid fines, child support, and other financial obligations.

The Court System and the Proposed Law

Currently, when a defendant is convicted of a crime, a judge has a range of sentences to choose from during sentencing. Each crime has a minimum mandatory sentence, as well as a maximum mandatory sentence. Judges are granted some discretion, but they cannot move outside of that range. A judge will consider a defendant’s past criminal history, and the nature surrounding the crime and determine what sentencing within that range is fair.

Under the proposed law, however, judges would have much more discretion in cases involving certain revoked licenses, retail theft, and drug possession charges. For example, if an individual was convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana and had no criminal history, a judge may not impose the minimum sentence, but reduce the sentence even further.

Current Penalties for Crimes

If the proposed law is passed, it will be a huge move for the criminal reform so many have called on Illinois legislators to make. Currently, those convicted of these non-violent crimes face severely harsh penalties and in many cases, jail time that many argue is unnecessary when the person poses no threat.

Some of the current penalties in Illinois for these crimes include:

  • Marijuana possession in an amount between 10 and 30 grams: Up to one year in jail;
  • Meth possession in an amount of fewer than five grams: Minimum two years in prison;
  • Misdemeanor retail theft (value less than $300): Up to one year in county jail;
  • Felony retail theft (value over $300): One to three years in prison; and
  • Driving on a revoked license for financial obligations: Minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.

As the lawmakers have been arguing, clearly some of these minimum sentences need to change. However, with lawmakers on either side debating the issue, some have raised concerns about the proposed bill. Some believe the criminal justice system is not broken, and so there is no reason to fix it.

Still, the bill passed the House of Representatives by a very narrow margin. In order for the bill to be passed, the Senate would have to debate it within the next coming weeks.

Facing Criminal Charges? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

This new proposed law is good news for those convicted of certain crimes, but it is one that will still only apply after someone is convicted of those crimes. Those facing criminal charges still need the help of a criminal defense attorney for help ensuring their case does not make it that far.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We will help you build a solid defense so you can retain your freedom and beat the charges. In some cases, we may also negotiate with the prosecution and make solid arguments in court to have charges or sentences reduced. If you are facing criminal charges, do not try to go it alone. Call us today or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation.

 

Source:

https://www.northernpublicradio.org/post/legislation-would-let-judges-depart-mandatory-minimums-only-few-crimes

 

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