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Archive for October, 2019

Questioning of a Minor Without Parents or an Attorney

October 31st, 2019 at 2:17 pm

juvenile-defenseWhen your child has been arrested for an offense such as underage drinking, the situation can be terrifying. One of the most frightening aspects of this scenario for parents is learning that their child was questioned by police without an attorney, and without either parent being present. So, what does the law say in Illinois about questioning a minor? Are police officers required to ensure the parents or the child’s attorney is present?

What Is the Definition of a Minor?

Under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987, individuals 18 years old or younger are considered minors in Illinois. Even minors charged with a felony are still considered juveniles and are tried in juvenile court. However, if the court views the crime as especially heinous, a juvenile may be transferred and tried in adult court. This process typically only applies to violent offenses such as murder and rape.

How Long Can Law Enforcement Detain a Minor?

Just like with adults, if a police officer suspects a minor of committing a crime, they can take them to the police station for questioning. These questions, and the answers to them, could potentially be used as part of the investigation and considered evidence. The length of time law enforcement can detain minors depends on the age of the minor.

When the child is younger than 12 years old, law enforcement can hold them up to six hours or charge them with a crime. If the child is between the ages of 12 and 18, law enforcement can detain the minor for up to 12 hours if the alleged crime was a non-violent offense. In instances in which the alleged crime was a violent offense, law enforcement can detain a minor for up to 24 hours.

Questioning Without an Attorney or Parent Present

In most cases, law enforcement can question a minor without an attorney or their parents present. However, new legislation was signed into law in August of 2016 that could require an attorney, depending on the circumstances and the age of the minor. The most recent law requires law enforcement to:

  • Ensure an attorney is present when the child is 15 years old or younger and has been charged with a murder or sex offense
  • Read the minor a simplified version of their Miranda rights if the child is under the age of 18
  • Specifically ask the minor if they would like a lawyer present if they are under the age of 18
  • Videotape the interrogation if the minor is under the age of 18 and being charged with a felony offense or a misdemeanor sex offense

The only requirement mandated by Illinois law as it pertains to parents being present for questioning is that law enforcement must make a reasonable attempt to contact them. Unfortunately, the law does not specify what constitutes a reasonable offense, nor does it state the penalties for law enforcement when they do not comply.

Has Your Child been Charged with a Crime? Call Our Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child has been arrested, you need the help of our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We understand that police do not always uphold the rights of minors. When that happens, we know how to get evidence thrown out and craft a solid defense to give your child the best chance of a successful outcome. Do not navigate the juvenile justice system on your own. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation so our attorney can review your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-16

 

Challenging Breath Test Results in Illinois

October 24th, 2019 at 2:14 pm

IL defense attorney, IL DUI lawyerUnder Illinois’ implied consent laws, if you are pulled over for a DUI, you must submit to a breath test if asked by an officer. After the breath test, the officer will tell you what your blood alcohol content (BAC) is, and if you blew over 0.08, which is the legal limit. If you did, the situation may seem hopeless. However, there are ways to challenge these tests and get them thrown out of court, which can be very helpful to your case.

The Results Were Inconsistent

If you blow into a breathalyzer many times and get significantly different readings, it indicates that the machine is not reliable. Some judges have even deemed certain brands as being notoriously unreliable. Additionally, breath tests must be performed until two successive results fall within 0.020 percent of each other. If this range cannot be reached, a judge may determine that the tests are inconclusive.

The Officer Did Not Administer the Test Correctly

Officers must know how to properly administer a breath test, and there is a lot of user error with these machines. If the officer did not know how to use the machine, that shows a lack of training with them and can help prove that errors were made. Also, police officers must perform several tests to confirm that the machine is working properly. If they only performed one test, they did not do it correctly and the results are inadmissible in your DUI case.

The Machine Was Not Calibrated Properly

Breathalyzer machines are notoriously inaccurate. They must be calibrated properly and after being jostled around in a police car for some time, that calibration can easily be thrown off. Law enforcement must also keep proper records indicating when a machine was calibrated and had maintenance performed on it. When they cannot produce these records, an attorney will argue that the machine was not calibrated correctly and therefore, the results cannot be considered in the case.

The Stop Was Illegal

Police officers can only pull someone over when they have reasonable suspicion that a driver is breaking the law, or has broken the law. If an officer did not have reasonable cause to pull a driver over, any evidence obtained from that traffic stop cannot be used in court. This is sometimes the best-case scenario since the prosecution often relies mainly on evidence from gained from the traffic stop to prove that someone was driving under the influence.

Have You Been Charged with a DUI? Call an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI, you are likely imagining the worst-case scenario. However, not all cases get that far. Our dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley has the experience necessary to craft a strong defense for your case. This includes not only getting breath tests thrown out of court, but also challenging the prosecution every step of the way. If you have been charged, call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

What Are Defenses to Reckless Driving in Illinois?

October 17th, 2019 at 10:12 am

IL defense attorney In Illinois, any extremely dangerous driving behavior that puts the safety of others at risk is considered reckless driving. Excessive speeding, tailgating, and changing lanes often and suddenly are all considered forms of reckless driving. This is a very serious offense for those charged in Illinois, and it could even result in jail time. As such, it is important that those accused speak to an Illinois criminal defense attorney that can help prepare a proper defense. Below are some of the tactics a defense attorney may use.

Lack of Intent

To be successful in a reckless driving case, the prosecution must show that the defendant intended to drive recklessly. Intent is difficult to prove in any criminal case because it is challenging to show what a person was thinking at a specific point in time.

In some cases, the original charges do not specifically state that a driver was driving recklessly. A traffic ticket, for example, may only say that the driver was negligent. This is a lack of specificity, and it opens the door for a defense attorney to ask for a Bill of Particulars.

The Bill of Particulars

When a defense attorney motions for a Bill of Particulars, they are asking the state to specify the actions that caused the defendant to be charged with reckless driving. The state must explain either in writing or orally, depending on the judge, what behavior led to the charges. This can include swerving in and out of lanes, excessive speeds, or other forms of reckless behavior.

This is often difficult for the state to do, particularly if there are not a lot of details on the original ticket. After the state presents the Bill of Particulars, the judge must determine if there is probable cause to charge the defendant with reckless driving.

Reducing the Charge

If the state cannot prove the specific actions that led to the reckless driving charge, the court may dismiss the case, or reduce the charges. When the courts take the latter course of action, typically the accused will face charges of negligent driving or aggravated speeding.

Negligent driving is not considered a criminal offense and the penalty is a $500 fine. While jail time is a possibility with an aggravated speeding charge, it is not likely, particularly when it is a first offense. Aggravated speeding is also looked upon much differently by the courts than reckless driving.

Charged with Reckless Driving? Call Our Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with reckless driving, it is important to know there are defenses available. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can provide those defenses and hold the prosecution responsible for proving their claims. We will also ensure your rights are upheld and if they were not during the traffic stop or at any other time, we can also use this in your defense. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation to learn more about how we can help with your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-503

When Is it Illegal to Possess Prescription Drugs in Rolling Meadows?

October 10th, 2019 at 10:08 am

criminal drug charges, prescription drugs, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, prescription drug charges, prescription drug useWhen most people think of criminal drug charges, they often think of those relating to hard street drugs, such as cocaine, meth, and heroin. However, did you know that even if you have a prescription for a drug, you could still face criminal charges under certain circumstances?

In Illinois, there are many offenses associated with prescription drugs, and many residents are not aware of that fact. For this reason, too many people are charged by overzealous law enforcement. When they are, they often do not know what to do. The first step to take is to speak to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney.

Illinois Law on Prescription Drugs

Under the Illinois Compiled Statutes, there are certain offenses related to prescription drugs that have serious consequences. The statutes stipulate that it is against the law to manufacture, distribute, or possess controlled substances, including prescription drugs. The most common of these drugs fall within Schedules 2 and 4 and include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • OxyContin
  • Ritalin
  • Adderall
  • Morphine
  • Valium
  • Vicodin
  • Xanax
  • Darvocet
  • Demerol

When a person is found guilty of any offense relating to these, or any other controlled substances, they face harsh penalties. However, many of those accused do not understand why they were charged.

Types of Illinois Prescription Drug Crimes

Even the smallest act could result in a charge for a prescription drug crime. These most often include:

  • Unauthorized possession: When a person is found in possession of any prescription drug that was not prescribed to them, they could face up to 30 years in prison. This is true even if the person in possession of the drug never used it. For example, two friends are out and one asks the other to hold their prescription drugs in a backpack or purse. The person the prescription is for goes home, forgetting to take their medication with them. Under the law, the person still holding it could be charged with a crime.
  • Sharing: While everyone wants to help their loved ones feel better, sharing even one pill, even when a person suffers from the same condition, could result in criminal charges.
  • Recreational distribution: When a person uses a prescription drug for anything other than treatment of an illness, it is a crime. It is also a crime for doctors to prescribe drugs that are not intended for medical use, or that are in greater quantities than what a person needs.
  • Misrepresentation: When a patient lies to a doctor or misrepresents facts in order to gain a prescription, they may be charged with a crime.

Regardless of the crime a person is accused of, they face serious consequences if they are convicted.

Penalties for Prescription Drug Crimes

The penalties for prescription drug crimes, no matter the alleged offense, are always severe. The prosecution will lay charges ranging from a Class 4 felony to a Class X felony. The sentences for Class 4 felonies range from one to three years in state prison. For those convicted of a Class X felony, the penalties are even worse and can include six to thirty years in state prison.

Additionally, there are also certain circumstances that may enhance these penalties. For example, if a person is found in possession of an illegal prescription drug, and a firearm, a judge may double their sentence.

To avoid these penalties, it is imperative that anyone facing charges speaks to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney that can help.

Call Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

After being charged with a prescription drug offense, those accused are often confused and feel hopeless. The situation may not be as dire as it seems, though. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help. We will scour the law and apply it to the facts of your case to create a solid defense that will give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation to learn more about how we can help with your case.

 

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

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