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What Are Possible Defenses to Criminal Trespassing Charges?

March 4th, 2016 at 8:00 am

criminal trespassing charges, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerThere are a number of reasons why an individual might find him or herself facing criminal trespassing charges under 720 ILCS 5/21-3. The defendant might have overstayed a invitation to be on the property, the defendant might have knowingly been trespassing on the property of another, or the defendant might have been forced into committing the trespass. Whatever the case may be, criminal trespassing charges are serious, and if you are facing criminal trespassing charges in Rolling Meadows, it is important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Your criminal defense lawyer will be able to analyze your case and identify any potential defenses that you might have to the charges that you are up against. The three main defenses to criminal trespassing charges in Illinois include:

  1. You had consent to be on the property. Your alleged trespassing might not be trespassing at all if you had consent to be on the property of another, or if you had permission to use a piece of property, such as a car. If you have permission, then you cannot legally be trespassing. Consent can take many forms, including spoken words, writing, actions or gestures. In some cases, silence or inaction on the part of the property owner can qualify as consent as well, depending on the facts of the situation. Consent must be legal, meaning that the person who gives consent must legally be able to give it. Children, intoxicated persons, and incompetent individuals are incapable of giving consent. Additionally, consent must be rightfully obtained—consent cannot be obtained through fraud or deception, trickery or lies.
  2. You were trespassing but to reclaim your own property. If someone took your property and you go to get it back, then your actions cannot be trespassing. The property is rightfully yours. This defense works best when your property has been stolen or taken, or there is a dispute as to who owns the property. The property is usually a thing, such as a car or an item (for example, your car was stolen by your nephew, or your patio table umbrella is blown into your neighbor’s yard during a storm and you entered your neighbor’s property to get your umbrella), and is not usually real property.
  3. You were trespassing out of necessity. Sometimes circumstance forces your to trespass on the property of another. Necessity as a defense to criminal trespass exists in two forms.
    • Public necessity exists when people are facing immediate danger and someone must commit a trespass in order to keep the public safe. The trespass must be committed in good faith. When many people must commit a trespass to stay safe, the property owner is unlikely to recover any damages from the people who trespassed.
    • Private necessity exists when a person commits a trespass in order to stay safe. When a person must commit a trespass to stay safe, the trespasser may not be held criminally liable for the trespass, but may be held civilly liable for any damage that he or she may have caused to the property.  

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are facing criminal trespassing charges, please do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Reach out to our office today and let us provide you with assistance.


New Law to Aid in Criminal Offenders’ Employment

August 28th, 2014 at 9:50 am

It seems criminal justice and related reform is on the minds of many Illinois officials as of late. According to a recent news article, Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a new law into effect in the state of Illinois that is aimed at helping criminal offenders obtain employment. On July 19th, he signed the Best Candidate for the Job Act, which reflected his latest efforts addressing issues that many prior defendants run into long after their criminal cases have concluded.

The New Law

Governor Quinn said the legislation is meant to help ex-offenders obtain jobs with private employers, which is essential to them becoming more productive members within the community. The new law requires job applicants to be seen as qualified for a job and selected for an interview before a potential employer can run a criminal background check. This act comes about a year after a similar measure was passed, offering the same protections to those applying for state employment.

The news article reported Governor Quinn as stating that everyone should get a second chance when it comes to getting a job. Further, he touted the new law as ensuring that people in Illinois will get a fair chance at reaching their full potential, taking into account their skills and other qualifications, and not their past history. Additional benefits are expected to include reducing recidivism, fighting poverty, and preventing violence by helping people find work.

By requiring applicants to have an interview with a potential employer before their background is called into question, it gives them a better chance of not being labeled as a poor match for employment due solely to their criminal history. Helping this particular group of individuals to gain employment will go a long way in making them more responsible, and even giving them an opportunity to further their education. Overall, it will better the lives of a significant population, reaching not only defendants but their families, and will give them opportunities that may have previously been out of reach.

The new law will not apply to all jobs, as some require employers to exclude those with a criminal history from the pool of applicants. The legislation is expected to take effect on January 1st.

The Latest Effort

This new law is just one of multiple pieces of legislation that has been signed into effect recently regarding the state of criminal law in Illinois. Governor Quinn also signed a law to automatically clear the records of arrest for less serious non-violent matters involving juveniles. In addition, he also furthered a law that allows a broader range of felonies for which records may be sealed, and includes criteria for courts to consider when deciding to issue an expungement. Last year, other efforts were taken that included “ban the box” prohibitions, second chance probation options, and the streamlining of the criminal record sealing and expungement process.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal matter in Illinois, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.

Law to Require Videotaped Interrogations a Plus for Police

August 8th, 2014 at 7:13 am

Christopher M. Cosley, criminal defense, Illinois laws, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, videotape police interrogations, videotaped interrogations, record interrogations, digital interrogationA proposal to legally require videotaped interrogations of offenders who are suspected of certain crimes has been passed. A recent news article reports that even though the proposal was originally intended to focus, at least in part, on suspects’ rights, police are seeing it as a positive change for them, as well.

Momentous Change

Cook County has seen about 100 wrongfully convicted criminal offenders be exculpated in the previous approximately 25 years. The most recent examples of this came fairly recently when the convictions of two men for a double murder in 1992 were thrown out and a $40 million settlement was revealed to the public in the case of five men who were wrongfully convicted of a 1991 rape and murder. Both of these cases were tried before a 2003 law made it mandatory to videotape police interrogations of homicide suspects. This and other reforms since have acted to reduce the risk of false confessions by criminal suspects. Other factors, such as a cultural shift in police behavior and improved technology, are also credited with ensuring the correct person is prosecuted for a particular crime.

The Effects

Police practices have changed since the early 1990s, and the state’s attorney reported that that is a good thing. She said that the reforms that have been put in place are working and that a difference is visible. Others, including defense attorneys and civil rights lawyers, say it is too early to determine whether the measures that have been put in place are working, but believe the measures are a positive step in the right direction. They say that it often takes decades for wrongful convictions to emerge and it takes time for inmates to further claims of innocence. According to this group, perhaps false confessions are still being taken and just have not yet been revealed. National statistics support the claim that there is often a lag of 10 years between a false confession and wrongful conviction being overturned.

Years Past

In years past, before any measures were signed into law regarding videotaping confessions, false confessions were not only the product of unethical police tactics, but some say that the high crime levels of the 1980s and 1990s also contributed. Detective units were spread thin because of the high number of crimes, and police tactics were less sophisticated and at times heavy-handed, while forensics were not as reliable as they are today.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can discuss your case with you and advise you of your rights. Contact a Cook County criminal defense attorney today to schedule a consultation.

The Use of Stingrays: Lines between Public and Private Life Unclear

July 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am

Christopher M. Cosley, citizens’ rights, constitutional rights, Cook County criminal lawyer, private life, Stingrays, violation of citizens’ rightsTechnology is expanding and being developed at a more rapid pace than ever. In light of this, it is perhaps not surprising that numerous instances involving police searching practices are presenting issues about the violation of citizens’ rights. More specifically, the argument centers around whether the police tactics are an invasion of privacy or whether the information would otherwise be available to the public. A recent article discussed this issue within the context of law enforcement use of a specific type of surveillance technique.

The Use of Stingrays

Illinois State Police allegedly began using devices called Stingrays around 2008. This is only one of the law enforcement agencies in the majority of states across the country that have decided to employ the use of such devices. Stingrays are mobile devices that obtain and record information from cell phones when the phones connect to mobile towers. The practice is considered by many to be less than ethical in conducting surveillance. Even more troubling is that this information was supposedly previously unknown until it was discovered through a Freedom of Information Act Request.

The Stingrays essentially work as hacking devices by appearing as if they were a base station, which causes any cell phone in the area to disable its encryption, allowing the Stingray to gather a large amount of data from the phone, excluding communication content. Not all cell phone companies or wireless providers use networks that would be compatible with Stingray technology, but some popular wireless providers may be making the switch in the near future.

Violation of Rights?

According to the article, an increasing number of law enforcement agencies are employing the use of Stingray devices. Despite this growing use, there is an issue as to the violation of civil liberties since the activity is essentially a warrantless search of targeted individuals, and an acquisition of all signals within a certain area, including those of innocent bystanders. Surveillance techniques can also include downloading a specific mobile tower’s entire activity over a set period of time, which would include information related to every mobile device that connected to the tower during that time period.

In some instances, the acquisition and use of the Stingray devices has been tied to anti-terror grants and the overall war on terror effort. While this connection may be authentic in some cases, it is questionable whether anti-terrorism efforts are the true reason behind the use of Stingray devices, particularly when such use is increasing and widespread.

Court rulings on the issue of whether rights are violated by law enforcement’s use of these devices are split. The practice involves unwarranted mass surveillance, but the use of the Stingray devices usually involves a high level of secrecy. Both the manufacturer and police agencies have a history of being uncooperative with requests for information from different groups and organizations. They have attributed this, in part, to the desire not to compromise ongoing or future investigations. The concern of many is for courts to determine what the parameters of reasonable use is involving such surveillance devices, along with clearly defining personal versus public space.

Cook County Criminal Defense Attorney

All U.S. citizens have a certain expectation of privacy and deserve protection from infringement on those rights. If you have been charged with a crime and believe your constitutional rights may have been compromised in the process, please contact an experienced Cook County criminal lawyer at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation. Our office is located in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

Proposed Law Regarding Accessibility of DNA Testing

July 21st, 2014 at 7:00 am

DNA testing, criminal charges, DNA evidence, innocent person, criminal justice system, Christopher M. Cosley, legal representationThe Chicago Tribune recently published an article that discussed a proposed law in the state of Illinois that would allow inmates who have previously pled guilty to have access to DNA testing that would prove their innocence.

The Legislation

The proposed law, which many are speculating that Governor Pat Quinn will sign into effect, represents a small but substantial change in the current law regarding DNA testing. The proposal would give inmates new access to DNA testing in order to prove their innocence after they have previously pled guilty to criminal charges. On the national level, exonerations are overall on the decline as inmates’ appeals based on DNA evidence are moving through the court system. Illinois would follow in the footsteps of 44 other states that have allowed inmates who pled guilty to seek DNA testing.

The legislation is meant to recognize the fact that some of the defendants who end up pleading guilty in a criminal case are actually innocent of the charges, and at times take this action just to avoid a harsher penalty than if they took the matter to trial. The law contains a requirement that there be a reasonable probability that a favorable DNA testing result would have led to an acquittal at trial; the inmate must establish this before being granted access to DNA testing.

Supporters of the law say that it is worth implementing even if it leads to just one exoneration of an innocent person being released from prison. This is especially relevant in cases where a confession was never made and there is a lack of physical evidence linking a defendant to a particular crime. In addition, cases based on events that occurred decades ago before DNA testing was widely available may have questions answered and issues resolved that were previously impossible to do. The changes in the law and in the science gives individuals new access to techniques that could produce important exculpatory evidence.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Many believe that the criminal justice system in America was founded on the proposition that it is better to let guilty men go free than imprison even a single innocent man for a crime he did not commit. This new proposed law would not only be pivotal and potentially life changing for some prisoners, but seems to echo the same beliefs that shaped our criminal justice system.

It is important for anyone who has been charged with a crime to contact an experienced Chicago criminal attorney. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and obtain legal representation in order to protect your rights. We serve clients in Cook County, DuPage County, and the greater surrounding area.

Gun Violence Seen by Some as Public Health Concern

July 10th, 2014 at 7:43 am

gun violence, mental health, mental health system, public health crisis, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, fatal shootings, felony, Christopher M. CosleyIn light of the many recent fatal shootings in the media, not to mention the countless mass shootings marring our nation’s recent past, it is perhaps not surprising that many are trying to pinpoint the true root of the problem of gun violence, and attempt to come up with ways to address it. A prior blog post discussed the treatment of the gun problem as more of a mental health issue. Now, according to an article published by CBS News, experts are suggesting the mass violence is more properly considered and treated as a public health crisis.

Gun Violence as a Disease

The article suggests that it is essentially a waste of time to continue debates about gun reform and a flawed mental health system. Rather, a more effective way of ending the cycle of gun violence is to treat it as a disease and enlist the help of healthcare workers in fighting it. Experts say that a health-based system is necessary for gun violence prevention.

Research from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health shows that violent behavior usually exhibits the characteristics of an epidemic disease in that it clusters and spreads. It not only directly impacts the health of those involved, but also negatively impacts the well-being of those exposed to it. Many medical organizations agree that the healthcare community is imperative to treating the issue of gun violence.

Getting Physicians Involved

Some groups who are advocating treating gun violence like a disease are even encouraging physicians to counsel patients in gun safety and to join efforts to restrict the sale and ownership of guns. This idea has been met with some resistance, however. The prospect of including a gun violence prevention course in the American Medical Association’s Continuing Medical Education program was met with mixed opinions and an ensuing debate. Some support the idea of integrating medical professionals into combatting violence, while others say it puts too much of a social worker role on doctors who should be focused on attending to patients. There is also ongoing debate about how involved a physician should get in asking a patient background questions regarding firearms.

Federal Health Agencies

These groups are also encouraging federal health agencies to join in on tackling the issue. This includes the Surgeon General and the CDC, among others. Supporters of treating gun violence like a disease say that these agencies and others should be working to protect the public from deaths and injuries from gun, just as they do from other dangers. Many gun rights activists are opposed to this, as it would involve federal health officials in gun control efforts.

Criminal Defense Attorney

While the specific ways to address this issue from a disease perspective are continuing to be argued, some are simply pointing out that those healthcare workers with access to the population should be part of the effort in educating communities about the dangers of gun violence. However, in many ways, the problem of gun violence continues despite the efforts aimed at curtailing it.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a felony crime involving a firearm in the state of Illinois, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley for a consultation.

Teen Drinking Targeted by Officials

July 2nd, 2014 at 7:00 am

Christopher M. Cosley, high school graduation, juvenile law attorney, Rolling Meadows criminal lawyer, teen drinking, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, underage drinking, Chicago juvenile crime lawyerThe end of a school year brings graduation and all of the celebrations that go along with the occasion. Many high school students are undoubtedly eager to enjoy the milestone and excitedly look forward to the next part of their lives. However, it is an unfortunate fact that many event celebrations for  teens involve underage drinking, or at least the opportunity to do so. A recent article discusses law enforcement officials’ response in Pontiac, Illinois.

Underage Drinking

Police officers are aware of a correlation between the incidence of underage drinking and warmer weather in the summertime. Their concern, however, is that teens do not appreciate the fact that choosing to participate in underage drinking and risking an arrest can have long lasting and damaging effects on their lives in the future.

School officials also side with law enforcement, saying that students partaking in celebrations is to be expected. But, it is also important that such celebrating be done in a responsible way. School representatives encourage students to enjoy their graduation with friends and family in a smart and safe way. The local school in Pontiac offered a safe and legal alternative celebration that they hosted, called Operation Graduation. It was an all-night event allowing teens to celebrate in a drug and alcohol-free environment.


Potential consequences of an underage drinking arrest include suspension of the individual’s driver’s license for at least six months due to the state of Illinois’ zero tolerance policy. Other consequences include a probationary sentence, community service, the imposition of a curfew, and potential ramification from school administration, like restrictions on extracurricular activities.

If convicted of a higher graded Class A misdemeanor, an individual faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Both the age of the individual and whether they have any prior criminal history are factors that are considered in order to determine whether the person will be sentenced to a period of incarceration, a period of probation, and/or any fines imposed.

Other criminal offenses involved with teen drinking could include an arrest for driving under the influence. Minors are subject to the same testing as adults, including breath, blood, and urine screenings. In addition to losing their license, teens could be sentenced to probation time or fines.

Of course, some may argue that the legal consequences of underage drinking pale in comparison to the personal tragedy that can occur. Poor judgment and decision making that results from underage drinking could have potential life-long consequences if such behavior results in a crash, death, or other significant injury.

Juvenile Law Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with underage teen drinking or any other criminal offense as a juvenile, the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can assist in your defense. Contact us today for a consultation. We serve clients in DuPage and Cook Counties and surrounding areas.

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.


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.


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.

Drug Testing as Part of the War on Drugs

June 26th, 2014 at 6:38 am

Christopher M. Cosley, drug crimes, drug screening, drug testing, employer drug testing, Rolling Meadows criminal attorney, violation of rights, war on drugsDrug abuse and addiction is a problem affecting virtually every geographical location across the country to some extent. In an effort to combat drug use, the government has declared a “war on drugs” in the past, seeking to charge individuals with drug crimes that carry harsh penalties as a way to remedy the problem. While intentions may have been noble, a recent article discusses drug testing as one of the byproducts of the war on drugs and its unintended consequences.

Employer Drug Testing

One of the scenarios most common for drug testing is in the workplace. Whether it is in applying for a job, or before officially starting a new job, many candidates are forced to submit to drug testing in order to be considered for a position. The problem, some employers are pointing out, is that the requirement of passing a drug test may be automatically screening out the best candidates for a given position. On the other hand, the testing requirement may have benefitted others, particularly minorities, by allowing them to prove they were not using drugs to potential employers. While drug testing is only necessary for government employees, other well-known employers are following suit across the nation.

Acceptable Requirement or Violation of Rights?

While there are some obvious benefits to the practice, opponents of employer drug testing argue that the requirement is an infringement on Fourth Amendment rights. They say that blanket testing equates to a search of the individual submitting to the test without probable cause. Further problems with the testing requirement include a low efficacy rate, the failure to detect certain types of new synthetic drugs, and the lack of proof that it actually curbs drug use. It is important to note that despite repeated Fourth Amendment challenges in past decades, the Supreme Court has ruled that drug testing is not a violation of constitutional rights. Congress followed with legislation in line with the Court’s opinion which provided the basis for widespread use of drug testing in employment.


As a result of the legal precedent, companies took advantage of drug testing. It is estimated that today, approximately 57 percent of U.S. employers rely on drug testing as part of their employment practices. Some point out that the cost of $50.00 per screen is a hefty one to pay for virtually no benefit to justify it.

The Fight Continues

The American Civil Liberties Union continues to fight against the practice of drug testing in the workplace, as it has done for the last three decades. The ACLU argues that testing infringes on privacy rights and disproportionately affects the underprivileged. They say it is a procedure that does nothing to address the problem it seeks to solve, and actually may cause more harm than good for the individuals who are forced to submit to the testing in order to maintain employment.

Criminal Defense Attorney

It will be interesting to see if the use of drug testing by employers will dramatically change in the future. For now, the problem of drug use is an ongoing one. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime, contact the experienced defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Chicago and the surrounding area.

Proposed Legislation to Ease Penalties for Drunk Drivers

June 19th, 2014 at 7:00 am

penalties, ease penalties, anti-drunk-driving groups, Chicago DUI lawyer, Christopher M. Cosley, drunk drivers, DUI laws, DUI offenses, DUI penalties, redemption bill, repeat DUI offendersAccording to an article recently published by the Chicago Tribune, one Illinois lawmaker is going against past trends of increasing penalties provided for by state law associated with driving under the influence (DUI) offenses. Instead, the representative is attempting to build support for a measure that would somewhat ease penalties faced by repeat DUI offenders.

Redemption Bill

The representative decided to sponsor what is known as the “redemption bill” after being confronted by an individual from her district. The man told his story, and the representative took a first hand look at his treatment, which proved to her that the man had turned his life around since his offense. Her measure would change the existing DUI laws in a limited way. The proposal would apply to those people found guilty of a fourth DUI offense who would have otherwise permanently lost their licenses and allow them a limited permit to only drive to and from work.

In addition, the proposal would carry various conditions. In order to get driving privileges restored, offenders would have to go through a five-year waiting period since their last conviction. Offenders would also have to successfully complete rehabilitation, pass three years worth of screenings, and request the permit from the Secretary of State. If approved for the permit, the offender would be required to equip his or her vehicle with a breath-testing device that would lock the steering wheel if attempted to operate while intoxicated.


There are those who have voiced opposition to the measure. They argue that being charged with a fourth DUI indicates a serious problem, and allowing such a person to get behind the wheel poses a threat to society. Others, including anti-drunk-driving groups, are split on their support of the measure.

Although repeat DUI offenders pose a serious risk to the community, the ultimate goal is to rehabilitate offenders and the legislation gives them the opportunity to prove themselves. Some point out that a portion of repeat offenders do change and learn from their mistakes. The ones that are able to turn their lives around should not be punished for the rest of their lives for past mistakes.

Criminal Defense Attorney

It remains to be seen whether this measure will garner enough support to make it into law. However, old DUI penalties remain in effect while it is pending. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have experience representing many clients who have been charged with various levels of DUI offenses. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We have represented clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

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