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Archive for the ‘criminal defense’ tag

What Is Grand Larceny?

September 27th, 2018 at 9:38 am

Chicago theft and larceny defense attorneyLarceny, more commonly referred to as theft, occurs when a person knowingly obtains the property of another with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of their property, as per 720 ILCS 5/16-1. The degree of larceny or theft that an individual is charged with depends on the value of the property taken. Larceny charges do not include robbery, armed robbery, burglary, carjacking, or other crimes of violence, which are punished more severely than larceny offenses.

“Grand” larceny or “grand” theft is commonly thought of as the threshold between a misdemeanor and a felony charge, though in Illinois that language is not specifically used. Illinois law classifies various degrees of larceny on a scale described below, with the highest felony classification for theft being a Class X felony, which can result in decades behind bars.

  • Class A Misdemeanor – The property taken is valued at $500 or less. Punishment includes a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Class 4 Felony – The property taken is valued at $500 or less and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence of one to three years, with a maximum fine of $25,000.
  • Class 3 Felony – The property taken is valued at $500 to $10,000. Punishment includes a prison sentence between two and five years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 2 Felony – The property taken is valued at $10,000 to $100,000, or it is valued at $500 to $10,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between three and seven years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 1 Felony – The property taken is valued at $100,000 to $500,000, or it is valued at $10,000 to $100,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between four and 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class 1 Felony Non Probationary – The property taken is valued between $500,000 and $1 million. Punishment includes a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Class X Felony – The property taken is valued at over $1 million, or it is valued at more than $100,000 and was taken from a school or place of worship. Punishment includes a prison sentence between six and 30 years a fine of up to $25,000.

Restitution

In addition to the fines listed above, the victim can also seek repayment for the value of the property that was stolen and the financial losses they suffered as a result of larceny. This is referred to as restitution. For example, a victim whose pickup truck was stolen may have lost $4,000 in revenue because their small landscaping business went without a truck for a month, and they may have lost $4,000 in productivity during the time period it took to purchase a new vehicle or have theirs returned to them. Thus, they may claim restitution of $8,000.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Larceny Defense Attorney

Theft is one of the most prevalent offenses in Illinois, and here in Cook County, there are over 1,800 counts of theft per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Illinois State Police. Those charged with any degree of theft need to protect themselves by contacting a skilled attorney. We urge you to contact dedicated Cook County criminal defense lawyer Christopher M. Cosley for assistance today. Call our office at 847-394-3200 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:
http://www.isp.state.il.us/docs/cii/cii16/cii16_SectionI_Pg11_to_246.pdf
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1

Understanding the Consequences of Prescription Forgery in Illinois

September 25th, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Cook County drug charges defense lawyerPrescription drug abuse is on the rise, and police and prosecutors are becoming increasingly vigilant about cracking down on those who they believe are breaking the law by using falsified prescriptions to obtain controlled substances. Because of the opioid epidemic, which has resulted from over-prescribed pain medications pushed by pharmaceutical companies and physicians, hundreds of thousands of Americans are looking for any means to get their hands on narcotics. Obtaining opioids by falsifying a prescription may seem safer than buying drugs on the street, but make no mistake—prescription forgery is a serious crime in Illinois.

What Illinois Law States About Prescription Forgery

According to 720 ILCS 570/406.2, a person commits prescription forgery (known as “unauthorized possession of prescription form”) if they have altered a prescription, possessed a form not issued by a licensed practitioner, possessed a blank prescription form without authorization, or possessed a counterfeit prescription form. Examples of prescription drug forgery include the following:

  • Changing the dose amount on a prescription written by a doctor.
    Stealing a prescription pad off a doctor’s desk.
    Writing a prescription for yourself.
    Using a computer to create a fraudulent prescription form.

The Consequences of Prescription Forgery

Shockingly, even a first time prescription forgery offender can be fined up to $100,000, and they may be sentenced to between one and three years in prison. If a person is charged with their second prescription forgery offense, they may be fined up to $200,000 and sentenced to between two and five years in prison.

It is common for a person who is charged with prescription forgery to be facing other drug charges at the same time, such as burglary, possession of an illegal drug, or an intent to traffic drugs. All of these offenses can add up to considerable time behind bars and fines that would be impossible to pay back in a lifetime of full-time work—something that would become extremely difficult to accomplish with a felony record.

Defending Medical Professionals

Medical professionals are not immune to prescription forgery charges. Doctors have been known to use their license as an opportunity to write friends or family members a prescription without reason, or to prescribe opioids to addicted patients who pay them cash under the table. If you are a physician or pharmacist, you will lose your professional license in a heartbeat if you are found guilty of prescription forgery.

A Cook County Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Can Help

More than 115 Americans die every day from overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Instead of taking steps to combat addiction and help self-medicated individuals overcome or manage their mental or physical ailments, our criminal justice system sends its best prosecutors to lock up victims of opioid addiction. If you have been charged with prescription forgery, you need a strong defense that will help you avoid the consequences of a conviction. Contact dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072005700K406.2

Defending Against Sex Crime Charges in Illinois

September 18th, 2018 at 11:15 am

Cook County sex crime defense attorneyAll criminal charges need to be taken seriously. That being said, because of the penalties associated with sex crimes, those facing these charges are encouraged to seek professional representation immediately. Individuals who are charged with or convicted of a sexual offense, such as sexual assault or possession of child pornography, are likely to have a negative reputation that can follow them around forever. The stigma around alleged sex offenders is so powerful that it can be hard to shake this bad reputation, even if the defendant has been cleared of all charges. In the event a defendant is convicted of a sex crime, the consequences can be even worse. Sex crime convictions can carry a host of consequences, including significant jail time and being listed on the sex offender registry for the rest of your life. As such, you need an aggressive defense attorney who can protect your rights and your reputation.

Suppressing Evidence

Without evidence, there is generally no criminal case. Every crime and charge is different, but a criminal defense attorney will work tirelessly to suppress any evidence that is improperly collected against a defendant. Regardless of the crime or suspicion, everyone is entitled to their Constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution gives individuals the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the collection of evidence violated your rights, this could be a large factor in preventing criminal charges from being brought.

Improper Police Conduct

In addition to making sure that a police officer has the proper search warrants to collect evidence, the police have other conduct-related requirements that they must follow. For example, entrapment can often be a defense in sex crime cases. Entrapment is a complex area of the law, but your attorney may be able to show that if the police had not enticed you to commit a crime, you would not have committed the alleged offense.

Challenging Witness Testimony

Evidence in many cases comes from eyewitness testimony. However, not every witness is credible. Being able to poke holes in a witness’s story or credibility can discredit the witness enough to make their testimony unusable.

Another way to discredit a witness is by finding reasons that they might be lying about their memory or account of events. In some instances, people might be willing to lie to help out a family member or friend or because of a vendetta against the alleged offender. Exposing these lies is often key in defending against sex crime charges.

Contact a Cook County Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

Reputation is important. It follows you for the rest of your life, and it is hard to change other people’s perception of you. As such, criminal charges for sexual offenses can have a devastating impact on the rest of your life. You need an attorney who is willing to provide an aggressive defense and work hard to avoid the consequences of a conviction. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here for you. Attorney Cosley is committed to providing the best defense possible under the circumstances. Contact us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation.

Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?docname=072000050hart%2E+11&actid=1876&chapterid=53&seqstart=14300000&seqend=20800000

Privacy Rights Upheld in Recent Supreme Court Case

September 14th, 2018 at 8:31 am

Chicago criminal defense lawyer unreasonable search and seizureIf you are facing a criminal charge, this does not mean that you are not entitled to the same rights and protections afforded to other individuals in the United States, including the right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution affords citizens the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Search warrants are used to ensure that if a search is being conducted, then there is a legitimate reason and cause for conducting the search. There are exceptions to this rule, however. Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the right to privacy for suspects regarding warrantless searches.

Collins v. Virginia

In the case of Collins v. Virginia, the defendant was suspected of being in possession of a motorcycle that had been stolen. The motorcycle was parked under a three-walled enclosure that was covered with a tarp. This enclosure was located at the defendant’s girlfriend’s house. The house also had a traditional garage that could completely block the inside of the garage from outside view. The police suspected that this motorcycle was parked at the defendant’s girlfriend’s home and therefore went to examine the scene. Instead of obtaining a search warrant, the police officers proceeded up the driveway to where the motorcycle was parked under the tarp. The motorcycle turned out to be the stolen property they were looking for, and the defendant was arrested.

At trial, the defendant argued that his fundamental right to privacy that is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment was violated because the police did not have a valid search warrant for the property. The state argued that finding the motorcycle without a search warrant fell under the automobile exception. The automobile exception states that police are allowed to search a vehicle when there is probable cause that the vehicle contained some type of evidence or contraband.

The Court found that the automobile exception was not applicable in this case. Instead, the three-walled tarp enclosure could be considered a part of the home. As a part of the home, it receives the same type of heightened rights to privacy as the living area of the home. The Court went on further to state that the automobile exception applies only to situations where the alleged evidence or contraband is inside of a vehicle, not sitting underneath a tarp on someone else’s property.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with a criminal offense and are concerned your rights have been violated, contact experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Attorney Cosley is dedicated to using every possible defense applicable under the circumstances, including improper searches due to lack of a search warrant. We know that just because you might be charged with a crime, you should not lose your rights. Contact us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation.

Sources:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/automobile_exception
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1027_7lio.pdf

The Timeline of a Criminal Charge in Illinois

September 11th, 2018 at 10:43 am

Cook County criminal defense attorneyFacing criminal charges can be a truly scary prospect. The process for how these charges are handled might seem tricky and confusing, but if you know the timeline and what to expect, it can ease your worries – at least a little. While every case is different and should be considered independently, there is a general framework of how the system works in Illinois. The following includes a general timeline of criminal charges in Illinois that you may encounter when facing the criminal justice system with the help of a skilled attorney:

The Offense and Arrest

A charge cannot be made unless a person is reasonably suspected of committing criminal activity. This suspicion may be determined through an extensive police investigation into an individual’s activities or through something as simple a traffic stop. However, the police must have probable cause in order to make an arrest. After being arrested, a suspect must be read their Miranda rights, informing them that they have the right to remain silent and contact an attorney.

Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury

If the offense in question is a felony charge, a preliminary hearing or grand jury hearing will be used to formally charge the suspect. In these hearings, the prosecution must present a summary of the evidence against the defendant. The judge in a preliminary hearing or the jury in a grand jury hearing will decide whether there is enough evidence to charge the defendant with the crime.

Arraignment

At arraignment, a defendant is formally read the charges against them and given the option to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” A defendant has the right to be represented by an attorney at the arraignment, and if necessary, the arraignment can be postponed while the defendant finds an attorney.

Trial Preparation and Trial

After arraignment, trial preparation begins. A defendant has the option to enter into a plea bargain and avoid a trial altogether. The defendant and their attorney will often enter into negotiations with the prosecution in an attempt to avoid trial. If no plea bargain is reached, then a trial will take place. Before trial, the defense attorney will contact witnesses, review documents or evidence obtained through discovery, and strategize the best options for success. At trial, both sides will present their case, and the judge or jury will decide on a verdict.

Verdict and Sentencing

The verdict will be read at the conclusion of the trial. If the defendant is found guilty, a separate sentencing hearing will be scheduled to determine the proper sentence. A sentencing hearing will also occur if a defendant decides to plead guilty at any time before a verdict is reached.

Appeal

A defendant has the right to appeal their case. To be successful, there must have been errors made during the trial, an unfair or improper sentence, or some other issue that greatly impacted the verdict and/or sentence.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with a crime, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process and determine your best options for defense. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer Christopher M. Cosley can help you through all stages of a criminal charge. Contact us today at 847-394-3200 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:
http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/Rules/Art_IV/ArtIV.htm#411
http://www.icjia.state.il.us/assets/pdf/ResearchReports/Policies_and_Procedures_of_the_Illinois_Criminal_Justice_System_Aug2012.pdf

Detained for Shoplifting? Know Your Legal Rights in Illinois

December 5th, 2017 at 3:55 pm

allegedly shoplifting, private person arrest statute, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, shoplifting, criminal defenseDid you know that when a security guard at a mall in Illinois detains someone who is suspected of shoplifting, the guard is actually making a citizen’s arrest? In other words, he or she is acting as a private citizen and is therefore bound by our state’s private person arrest statute just like anyone else who makes a citizen’s arrest.

Citizen’s Arrests: The Basics

In Illinois, our private person arrest statute is codified in code section 725 ILCS 5/107-3 and states, “Any person may arrest another when he has reasonable grounds to believe that an offense other than an ordinance violation is being committed.” Therefore, a store’s security guard (or any other person for that matter) is legally within his or her rights under Illinois law to arrest you if he or she reasonably believe that you are shoplifting.

In order for his or her suspicion to be reasonable, he or she generally must have seen you take merchandise, or have been alerted to the fact that you have merchandise on your person when a security tag sounded.

However, it should be noted that what the court finds to be a reasonable belief in one situation may not hold up under different circumstances and that a local criminal defense lawyer should review the facts of your case in order to determine whether or not your detention was proper.

Your Rights

If you are detained for allegedly shoplifting, remember that you have rights and try to keep your wits about you no matter how stressful the circumstances may be. For instance, do not feel pressured to sign anything. Those who detain you may try to pressure you into signing a statement admitting your guilt; you are under no legal obligation to sign such a document. Furthermore, if the person who detained you did so without possessing the requisite legal grounds, then you may be able to file a claim against them for false imprisonment.

Additionally, if the police are ultimately called remember that you have the right to remain silent. They can ask you questions; however, beyond identifying yourself, you are not legally obligated to answer them. Also, keep in mind that if you are arrested by the police you have the right to speak to a lawyer and that if you are under 18 you have the right to have a parent or legal guardian present when you talk to the police.

Need Legal Advice?

Accused of shoplifting in Illinois? If so, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley without delay. Shoplifting is often thought of as a minor offense for which violators are given only a slap on the wrist, but be warned that in Illinois that is not always the case!

Depending on the facts surrounding your arrest a shoplifting conviction could mean spending significant time behind bars. Do not bury your head in the sand; be proactive and contact our office to schedule a consultation with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney today.

Source:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/citizens_arrest

Criminal Defenses: Having an Alibi for Criminal Accusations

December 21st, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, Criminal charges are based on some sort of evidence that was found at the scene of the crime, that tends to point to a particular person. The evidence might not necessarily confirm that a suspect committed the crime, but the evidence suggests that the suspect has some relationship to the crime, such as having been present at the scene of the crime at some point in time or that the suspect had ties to the victim, etc. Alibis are a powerful tool for criminal defense as they can refute criminal accusations.

What Are Alibis?

When a suspect has an alibi, it means that the suspect was somewhere else, doing something else, or was with someone else at the time the alleged crime was committed. A valid and confirmable alibi provides evidence that the suspect/defendant is not the person who committed the crime because he or she was somewhere else or doing something else. An alibi is not an affirmative defense in Illinois, meaning even if the criminal defendant can prove the alibi, the jury is still tasked with making the decision as to whether to convict or not. However, a strong alibi is difficult for the prosecution to refute and the jury to ignore.

Evidence to Support an Alibi

Evidence of an alibi can vary depending on what the alibi is and who or what can be used to prove it. A few types of evidence that are helpful in supporting an alibi include:

  • Video footage or photographs of the defendant somewhere else at the time of the crime. Time stamped security tape or surveillance footage from businesses or other establishments is often used to support an alibi. Video and photographic evidence is good for an alibi because it is objective evidence – short of a forgery, video footage and photographs do not lie;
  • Documentary evidence of the defendant being somewhere else. When a defendant can provide documentary evidence that he or she was somewhere else it helps to support the alibi. Receipts, intake records (if defendant was admitted to a hospital, or other institution), telephone and GPS location records, and credit card swipe records can show that the defendant was somewhere else at the time the crime was committed. Documentary evidence is good for alibis since it is usually impartial and objective evidence; and
  • Witness testimony supporting the alibi. Many criminal defendants offer an alibi through witness testimony. This evidence is most powerful when the witness is a person who was with the criminal defendant at the time of the crime. The more witnesses who can vouch for the defendant’s whereabouts, the better. Witnesses are subjected to examination and cross-examination while on the stand, so a witness that does not know the defendant, i.e., doesn’t have a personal relationship with the defendant, is going to be a stronger witness than someone who has a relationship with the defendant. An unbiased witness is good for an alibi. A witness that is close to the defendant might be biased and there are more opportunities to discredit a witness that is close to the defendant.

When a criminal defendant plans to use an alibi as a defense, the prosecution must be notified of the defense’s intentions. Asserting an alibi as a defense to an alleged crime shifts the burden of disproving your alibi to the prosecution. The prosecution must do so beyond a reasonable doubt.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are facing criminal charges and you have an alibi, you will need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can discuss what options are available to you. Please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows defense attorney immediately at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is 847-394-3200.

 

Source:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/supremecourt/rules/art_iv/artiv.htm

Unlike Television, First Degree Murder Does Not Require Premeditation

May 11th, 2015 at 8:51 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, lawful justification,Many people base most of their knowledge of the criminal justice system on what they see on television. Some of the information on television is accurate, particularly when it comes to news reporting on police misconduct and other related issues. But many people’s beliefs about criminal justice come from fictional crime procedural shows, and often the information provided by these shows is inaccurate. People do not realize that their understanding is mistaken until they find themselves in need of the help of a criminal defense attorney. One such common misconception regards what constitutes first degree murder.

The Misconception: First Degree Murder Requires Premeditation

Television shows, books, and conventional wisdom leave many Americans with a mistaken belief regarding first degree murder. Most people believe that in order to be convicted of first degree murder the prosecutor must prove that the murder was premeditated — that the defendant planned it out or thought it out ahead of time. A perfect example of a premeditated murder would be one where a person hired an assassin to commit a murder for profit. This sort of premeditation is absolutely not required in order for someone to be convicted of first degree murder in Illinois. Premeditation may very well be required in some states, but each and every state has its own criminal code and its own definition for each crime.

What is Actually Required for First Degree Murder in Illinois?

Like other crimes, first degree murder is defined in Illinois by statute. There are actually three separate ways that a person can commit first degree murder in our state. All three of them require that the accused kill an individual without lawful justification. Lawful justification means a legal defense, like self defense or defense of others. Those justifications are not simple common sense justifications. Instead they are each defined very specifically by other statutes. The three types of unjustified killings that constitute first degree murder in Illinois are:

  1. Killings where, in performing the acts which caused the other person’s death the defended either intends to kill or do great bodily harm or knows that his or her acts will cause death to that individual or another;
  2. Killings where the defendant knows that his or her actions create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another; and
  3. Killings where the defendant is attempting or committing a forcible felony (other than second degree murder).

Notice that none of these type of murder require premeditation. In fact, some of them don’t even require that the state prove that the defendant even intended to kill the deceased.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a crime, you will need the help of a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. When you call we can schedule an appointment to go over the details of your situation and figure out how we can best be of help.

Criminal Intent: All about a State of Mind

April 14th, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Illinois defense attorney, mens rea, Illinois criminal lawyer, Many crimes are made up of two parts: an action and a mental state. One example is where one person kills another. Depending on the person’s mental state when he or she kills the other person, he or she could be guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, or maybe no crime at all. When it comes to certain crimes, much of what a criminal defense attorney winds up doing at trial is showing a judge or jury that the defendant did not have the required mental state to commit the crime. Each of these mental states has a specific legal definition set out by state statute.

Acting Intentionally

One mental state is “intent” or “acting intentionally.” For a person to be found guilty of a crime that requires that he or she have intent or act intentionally, he or she must have the conscious objective or purpose of accomplishing the result of that crime or engaging in the conduct of that crime.

Acting Knowingly

Acting knowingly or knowing something is a slightly less overt mental state than acting intentionally. A person acts knowingly if one of two possible scenarios apply to him or her. These scenarios are:

  • A person acts knowingly or with knowledge of the nature or attendant circumstances of his or her conduct when he or she is consciously aware that his or her conduct of that nature or that those circumstances exist.
  • A person acts knowingly or with knowledge of the result of his or her conduct if he or she is consciously aware that the result is practically certain to be caused by his or her conduct.

It is important to note that if a statute requires a “knowing” state of mind but the evidence establishes the defendant acted “intentionally,” then that is good enough. If someone has acted intentionally they have also acted knowingly under the law.

Recklessness

Legally speaking, a person is reckless if he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances will exist or a result will follow and that disregard is a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in that situation. In other words, a person is reckless if he or she consciously ignores a major obvious risk and in doing so does not exercise the same level of care that a normal person could be expected to under the circumstances.

Negligence

If a person fails to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or a result will follow and that failure constitutes a substantial deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise, then that person has acted negligently.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love is being investigated for or has been charged with a crime, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200. Christopher Cosley has spent his career fighting for people like you.

How Do You Fight for Your Fourth Amendment Rights in Court?

March 25th, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, your rights,Some people charged with crimes are innocent. Other people charged with crimes are guilty. Both deserve a passionate and skilled defense. But in some cases, the court should never even get to the issue of guilt because a more serious issue arises. There are cases where the government violates the United States Constitution, the foundation of our entire justice system. In those cases, more than any other, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. One of the most common parts of the United States Constitution violated by the government is the Fourth Amendment.

What Does the Fourth Amendment Say?

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your right not be be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. This includes searches of your person, searches of your home, and searches of your stuff. This is the part of the constitution that requires police to get a warrant in order to perform a search unless either (1) you consent to a search or (2) certain exceptions to the warrant requirement are met. Unfortunately, the list of exceptions to the warrant requirement keeps growing and growing, chipping away at our constitutional rights, and each one of them is complicated enough to warrant its own article or articles. But, on a basic level, the Fourth Amendment is the part of the constitution that says the police cannot search you, your home, or your property just because they feel like it. The amendment also prevents unreasonable seizures, or takings, both of you and of your property.

How Can I Assert My Fourth Amendment Rights?

The most important way you can assert your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures is to speak up. When a police officer asks you permission to take a look around, you can say no. When an officer asks you to sign a permission to search form, you can say no. Now, in some circumstances this is not possible. If police do not ask for permission, you do not have a chance to say no, and putting up a physical resistance will undoubtedly end up in criminal charges, so do not do that. And if they have a warrant, you absolutely have to let them search. But when a police officer gives you the option to say no, you can use it. They may threaten that going and getting a warrant will make things more difficult for you, but they may very well be bluffing because they may not have grounds for a warrant, which is why they are asking for permission in the first place.

Once My Fourth Amendment Rights Have Been Violated, How Does that Affect a Criminal Charge?

Of course, usually you do not get a chance to say no. The police conduct the unlawful search or seizure and you are left wondering what you can do about it. A constitutional violation like this does not lead to your case automatically being dismissed. Instead it can give you the opportunity to file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search. This is allowed under the exclusionary rule. Under this rule, evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure is inadmissible in court. This means it cannot be used against you. In some cases, like many drug possession cases, this may result in all or almost all of the government’s evidence against you being thrown out.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a crime, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who is ready to fight for your constitutional rights. You should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Christopher Cosley has the experience, knowledge, and passion to fight for you. Our phone number is (847)394-3200.

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