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Archive for July, 2019

Should Illinois Raise the Age for Juvenile Offenders?

July 31st, 2019 at 10:19 am

IL defense attorney, Illinois juvenile law attorney, The law on juvenile delinquents in Illinois is garnering international attention. Together, the Justice Lab and Juvenile Justice Initiative are meeting with individuals from Germany and Croatia that are involved in the juvenile justice system in their own countries. Among them are prosecutors, judges, and probation leaders. Their hope is to create better strategies to deal with juvenile delinquents in Illinois so the state can see reduced recidivism rates and help enable the state’s youth for a better tomorrow. One of the main factors they are considering is raising the age of juvenile delinquents in the state.

The Current Law

Currently, anyone that is 18 or younger and charged with a crime is considered a juvenile delinquent. Historically, anyone charged with a felony was charged in adult court, regardless of their age. That law was changed in 2014 so that those under the age of 18 and charged with a felony were also considered juvenile delinquents.

However, there are some exceptions. At the court’s discretion, if the crime is considered especially heinous, a juvenile could be tried in adult court. These crimes typically include particularly violent offenses such as rape and murder.

The Proposed Law

At the meeting that involved foreign individuals in the criminal justice system, recommendations were made to raise the age of juvenile delinquents from 18 to 21. State Senator Laura Fine from Glenview has also suggested raising the age from 18 to 21 in Senate Bill 239.

Fine has seen for herself what raising the age does. After visiting Germany, a country that deems anyone under the age of 21 a delinquent, she says she has seen real progress. When introducing the bill, she stated the many benefits the new law would have, and why it is so important in today’s world.

Benefits of the Proposed Law

One argument Fine gave for increasing the age was that those between the ages of 18 to 25 had the highest rate of recidivism. That is, they are the individuals most likely to commit another crime upon their release. This is due to the fact that this younger age group is not as fully developed as older adults and as so, they should not be treated as such.

Fine also pointed to the fact that youths are dealing with so much more today than they were when the law was originally created. They are on social media all the time, are open to new, and much more damaging, forms of bullying, and regularly participate in active-shooter drills at school, leaving them in fear much of the time.

This pressure is too much for many youths to handle. That is the reason so many minors are simply circulated through the justice system time and time again. This is not only extremely damaging to the youth that is going through it, but also to future victims. By placing older youths in the juvenile system rather than trying them as adults, the hope is that they will get the rehabilitation they need instead of strictly punishment.

Was Your Child Charged with a Crime? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

There is no doubt that if Fine’s bill passes, it will do a tremendous amount of good for juveniles in Illinois, and the state as a whole. However, we are not there yet. Today, if your child is charged with a crime, they could still be tried as an adult, which will have an incredibly negative impact on the rest of their lives. That does not have to happen.

If your child has been charged with a crime, contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we will work hard to keep your child in the juvenile justice system and get them the rehabilitation they need so they can live the rest of their life without a criminal record. Call us at 847-394-3200 or fill out our online for your free consultation and learn more about how we can help your family.

 

Source:

https://www.publicnewsservice.org/2019-06-05/juvenile-justice/an-international-view-of-justice-for-illinois-young-adults/a66696-1

 

The Differences Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary in Illinois

July 24th, 2019 at 10:10 am

IL defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Many people use the terms theft, robbery, and burglary when referring to theft crimes. While these crimes do have similarities, they also have their differences. Of these, the most significant are the penalties you will face if charged. Due to this, it is important you understand the differences between these different crimes.

Theft

The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 defines three circumstances that could constitute theft. These include:

  • Unlawfully taking property that belongs to another person;
  • Taking property from another person through deception or threats; and
  • Gaining control of property you know is stolen,

Theft is classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If the property stolen was valued at $300 or less, and was not taken from someone’s person, it is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, those charged face up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

When the property stolen is worth less than $300, but it was stolen directly from someone’s person, the crime is upgraded to a Class 3 felony. Theft is also charged as a Class 3 felony when the property stolen is worth between $300 and $10,000. This charge carries sentences of up to five years in state prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Theft of property valued between $10,000 and $100,000 is a Class 2 felony. The maximum sentence, if convicted, is a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine of $25,000. When the property stolen is worth more than $100,000, the crime is a Class 1 felony. A conviction can result in a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of $25,000.

Robbery

Robbery is a very similar crime to theft. It also involves taking property from a person. The difference with a robbery charge is that this crime also involves the use of force or the threat of force.

A robbery charge is upgraded to aggravated robbery when a person indicates to the victim, either verbally or non verbally, that they have a firearm. For example, if someone stole another person’s wallet while showing them a gun in their jacket, that is aggravated robbery.

Most robberies are charged as a Class 2 felony. If convicted, this charge carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

If the victim is older than 60 years old or has a disability, the crime is considered a Class 1 felony. Aggravated robbery is also charged as a Class 1 felony. Possible penalties include up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Burglary

When people think of the term burglary, they typically think of a crime that involves some type of theft. That is not always necessarily the case, however.

According to 720 ILCS 5/19-1, burglary occurs when a person unlawfully enters a building with the intent to commit a felony or theft. If a person entered a building without permission with the intent to commit sexual assault, that would be considered burglary.

Burglary is always considered a felony and can be charged as a Class 3 to a Class 1 felony. If convicted, a person faces a possible five to 15 years in prison.

Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that Can Help

Although theft, robbery, and burglary are all different crimes, they share one similarity. If convicted of any one of them, you could face serious jail time. If you have been charged with any of these crimes, call our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys for help. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we will help you understand the charges you are facing, and try to get them reduced or dropped altogether. Call us today at 847-394-3200 or contact us online for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www2.illinois.gov/osad/Publications/DigestbyChapter/CH%2049%20Theft.pdf

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-1

 

Four Common Defenses to DUIs

July 17th, 2019 at 10:05 am

IL DUI lawyer, Illinois drunk driving attorney, If you are convicted for driving under the influence, it will have a severe and devastating impact on your life. You will likely have your license suspended, face crippling fines, and possibly even jail time. Even after serving a sentence or paying a fine, a conviction will still remain on your record. That could keep you from gaining employment, housing opportunities, and possibly prevent you from obtaining a professional license or seizing academic opportunities. To avoid these consequences, you need a strong defense for your DUI charges, and a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you with it. Below are some of the most common defenses used against DUI charges.

Illegal Traffic Stop

In Illinois, police must have reasonable cause to pull you over. They cannot stop you simply because they suspect or have a hunch that you are intoxicated. Reasonable cause means they must have seen you violate a traffic law, such as running a red light or driving a car with a broken or missing taillight. If the officer that pulled you over cannot provide a satisfactory reason why they had reasonable cause, the evidence in the case can be suppressed.

Illegal Search and Seizure

Under the Fourth Amendment, the police cannot generally search your vehicle without first obtaining a search warrant. However, this works a bit differently in DUI cases. If you give consent to have your vehicle searched, the search is lawful. The search is also lawful if the police feel it is necessary for their own protection, such as if they are searching for a weapon they feel you may use against them. Lastly, if you are arrested for a DUI during a traffic stop, the police can search your car for evidence pertaining to the arrest, such as beer cans or bottles.

If none of those circumstances apply, the police cannot search your car. For example, they cannot pull you over for a suspected DUI and search your car when you have been cooperative and have not been arrested. If they do, any evidence collected can also be suppressed.

Inaccurate Field Sobriety Test

Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate. They are largely subjective and can be affected by a person’s health condition, or even their mental state after being pulled over. Uneven pavement, flashing lights, and impractical footwear can all also give inaccurate results after a field sobriety test. These can be challenged in court and if successful, that evidence can be thrown out, and a judge may determine the officer did not have reasonable cause to arrest you.

Violation of Fifth Amendment Rights

Under the Fifth Amendment, anyone charged with a crime has certain rights. Law enforcement must inform individuals of these rights, and uphold them. You do not have to answer their questions and as soon as you decline, the police must stop questioning you. If they continue to press you for answers, deny you the right to an attorney, or fail to uphold any of your other rights, evidence obtained can be deemed inadmissible at trial.

Speak to a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been charged with a DUI, a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney will know the defenses available, and the best one to use for your case. If you are facing charges, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation. A charged does not have to turn into a conviction, and we will work hard to prevent it from happening.

 

Source:

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

 

Facing Criminal Charges? Here Is What to Expect

July 10th, 2019 at 9:59 am

IL defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyerWhether you are facing DUI charges, drug possession charges, or any other criminal charge, chances are you are pretty scared. However, the case is not as hopeless as it may seem. Often, those accused are fearful because they simply do not know what is coming next. They do not know what to expect, and they fear the worst. While a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can fully explain the process, below are the basic steps you will go through after being charged.

The Arrest

An arrest does not occur until an officer has detained or restrained you, and taken you to a holding facility. If this occurs, you should say as little as possible. Anything you say can be used against you later in the case. You should speak to an attorney as soon as possible, and a lawyer can speak on your behalf. You should always be advised of these rights. If you are not, the arrest is unlawful and your case could be thrown out.

Bond or Release

Sometimes after an arrest, law enforcement will interview the detainee and any witnesses to piece together what happened. If they do not think you committed the crime after this, they may simply release you. If they do think you are guilty, they will set a bond amount. If this amount is paid, you are released with the expectation to appear in court. You will be assigned a court date within 60 days of your arrest. If bond is not posted, you can be held up to 30 days, or until you can appear in front of a judge for a preliminary hearing.

Arraignment

During the arraignment, you will have a chance to hear the charges against you. A judge will ask if you understand them. You will then enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty.

Pre-Trial or Trial

If you plead not guilty, you will then move into the pre-trial and trial phase. During pre-trial, your lawyer and the prosecutor will move into the discovery phase and submit evidence to the courts that will be used at trial. At trial, a judge or jury will listen to the arguments of your attorney and the prosecution and make a decision on your case.

If you plead guilty at the arraignment, you will move to a sentencing hearing. During this hearing the judge will determine the sentence you will face for the crime. After this point, you will also have a conviction permanently on your record.

Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney for Help with Your Charges

If you have been charged with a crime, the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys will build a solid defense for you and advise on what to do during each step of the criminal justice system. We know charges do not have to turn into convictions, and we work hard to prevent that from happening. Call us today at 847-394-3200 or contact us online for a free consultation to learn how we can help with your case.

 

Source:

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

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