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Archive for the ‘Assault & Battery’ tag

Illinois’ Hate Crime Law

July 8th, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Illinois defence attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, felony crimes,In the wake of the tragedy in Charleston, S.C., there has been a great deal of public discourse about the reasons why people commit violent crimes. Those of us who handle these cases understand that a whole host of sociological, psychological, and physical factors come in to play and that in some cases it is simply impossible to know why these things happen. There is certainly some evidence that the shooter in the Charleston case may have been motivated by racism. But it is impossible for us to know if that was this young man’s exclusive motivation, and we will not understand his true mental state unless and until he undergoes psychiatric evaluation.

When race, or some other sensitive characteristic, such as gender or religion, plays a role in a crime, it often gets called a hate crime. Hate crimes have a very specific definition under the law, and it is important to understand exactly what a hate crime is.

What Is a Hate Crime in Illinois?

In Illinois, hate crimes are defined by statute. Under Illinois law a person commits a hate crime if, “by reason of the actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin” of a person or group of people that person commits one of the following crimes:

  • Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Aggravated assault;
  • Misdemeanor theft;
  • Criminal trespass to residence;
  • Misdemeanor criminal damage to property;
  • Criminal trespass to vehicle;
  • Criminal trespass to real property;
  • Mob action;
  • Disorderly conduct;
  • Harassment by telephone; or
  • Harassment through electronic communications.

Of course, there are some obvious hate crimes missing from this statute. This statute takes crimes that would otherwise be relatively minor, and turns them into serious felony offenses because of the defendant’s motive. It is important to note that extremely serious felonies like murder and rape are not included on the list. Perhaps this is because of the harsh sentences that already result from those offenses. However, while murder itself cannot qualify as a hate crime in Illinois, a person could be charged with both murder and a hate crime at the same time.

For example, imagine the defendant who is accused of murdering someone and in the course of the crime he or she also breaks some of that person’s property, and he or she is motivated by one of the protected characteristics when he or she does so. That person could be charged with and convicted of both murder and a hate crime. It is important to understand that the federal government also has its own hate crime laws, so if a person is charged in federal court, those laws, not the Illinois law, would apply.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are facing criminal charges then you have many important decisions to make. Perhaps the most important decision you will make will be when you choose a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We have the experience and the tenacity to handle your situation the way it should be handled. Call us today at (847)394-3200.

Assault and Battery Law in Illinois

June 28th, 2014 at 6:49 am

battery, Assault & Battery, Chicago criminal defense attorney, Christopher M. Cosley, Cook County criminal defense lawyer, Rolling Meadows, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, Class C misdemeanor, assault crime, aggravated assault, Class 4 felony, aggravated batteryAssault and battery are two serious offenses that are treated as such in criminal courts in the state of Illinois. Those charged with such crimes are advised to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect their rights. Below are some of the basics regarding relevant assault and battery laws in Illinois.

Assault

In the state of Illinois, an assault charge is usually graded as a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties associated with such an offense are a maximum of 30 days incarceration and up to $1,500 in fines. Typically, the facts that give rise to such a charge involve engaging in conduct or acting in a way that places another in fear of harm. It is important to note that the crime of assault does not necessarily involve physical contact with the victim; a verbal threat or threat of physical harm is enough to meet the law’s requirements.

Certain circumstances warrant a charge to be elevated to an aggravated assault. This usually happens when a deadly weapon is involved, the defendant is disguised when committing the crime, or the alleged victim is within a certain class of individuals, including but not limited to teachers, law enforcement officials, and firemen. Aggravated assaults are graded as Class A misdemeanors, which carry a maximum one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $2,500. If the victim falls within the designated class of individuals, the crime becomes a Class 4 felony and carries a maximum three-year prison term and a maximum $25,000 fine.

Battery

Under Illinois law, it is considered battery if a person causes bodily harm to another or makes insulting or provoking contact with another. Pushing someone could be the basis for a battery charge. Because the crime invokes physical harm, it is generally treated more seriously than assault. Battery is graded as a Class A misdemeanor and can invoke a maximum jail term of one year or a fine of up to $2,500.

Aggravated battery is charged when the victim suffers significant bodily harm or permanent disability. The use of a firearm could also support a charge of aggravated battery. This crime is graded as a Class 3 felony and carries a maximum five-year prison term as well as fines that could reach up to $25,000.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Depending on the circumstances, assault or battery charges could have serious consequences for those accused of them. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully defended a number of clients charged with assault and battery. Contact us today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We can listen to the facts of your specific case, advise you of your options, and protect your rights.

Five Indiana Men Sentenced in Tinley Park Attack

January 21st, 2013 at 8:00 am

Ashford House BrawlBrothers Dylan, Cody and Jason Sutherlin along with two other members of the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement decided to drive together to Tinley Park to confront a group of alleged white supremacists.  The brothers along with Alex Struck and John S. Tucker wanted to go to a local restaurant to peacefully protect the meeting yet the scene erupted in violence.  Surveillance footage showed at least 18 men enter the Ashford House brandishing weapons and wearing masks.  After the attack, these five men were arrested as part of the mob in the May 19th melee.

Altogether, each of the men were charged with 37 separate felony counts including aggravated battery, property damage and mob action.  The prosecution was pushing for maximum sentencing on the most serious charge of armed violence.   All five decided to enter guilty pleas to reduce the counts from 37 down to 3.

“We were ready to go to trial,” said Brian Barrido, the pro-bono lawyer for Dylan Sutherlin. “I was very surprised when they said they wanted to take the plea … but I think they did the math, and if the trial didn’t start for a year or six months, they might be out just as soon.”  Jason Sutherlin was sentenced to 6 years, Dylan and Cody received 5 years each, while Stuck and Tucker received 3-1/2 years.

It is typical for those accused of battery charges to seek plea deals in order to reduce their sentences or other alternatives which don’t involve criminal convictions.  The sentencing can be reduced to court supervision, paying fines, community service or counseling.  Whether you want to plead guilty to a crime or go to court, you shouldn’t have to do it by yourself.  Contact an effective criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows who can work for the result you want.

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