Facebook Twitter Our Blog
The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
24 HOUR ANSWERING | 847-394-3200

1855 Rohlwing Road, Suite D, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008


Archive for the ‘criminal trespass’ tag

Are Tenants that Refuse to Leave Criminally Trespassing?

January 11th, 2019 at 9:58 pm

IL defense lawyerBeing a landlord in Rolling Meadows, regardless of whether it is of a single family home or a huge apartment building, is not easy. There is maintenance to worry about, collecting rent from tenants, and of course, possibly evicting them when they fail to make those payments. What happens though, when a tenant refuses to leave after being evicted? Can the landlord have them charged with criminal trespassing?

Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/21-3

The definition of criminal trespassing is outlined in Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/21-3. Essentially, the statute states that criminal trespassing has occurred when someone enters or remains on land after the owner or occupant has asked them to leave.

This sounds like it would cover a situation in which a tenant will not leave after being evicted, or asked to leave, by their landlord. However, it does not. The statute has some exceptions.

One of these is when the person being asked to leave is living on the land. Furthermore, anyone invited onto the land by the tenant that will not leave is also not considered to be criminally trespassing, even if the owner has asked them to vacate the premises. For these reasons, a person is most often charged with criminal trespassing when they have unlawfully entered, or refused to leave, a business or public area, not when they are in their home.

In the case of a person criminally trespassing, the property owner has to phone the police and have the person arrested. Police cannot simply show up and arrest tenants that refuse to leave. If they did so, they could be held liable for unlawfully evicting a person from their home.

Illinois Code of Civil Procedure

This does not mean that landlords do not have any options when it comes to removing unwanted tenants. It simply means that they must follow the civil, not criminal, procedures outlined in the Eviction Act. According to Illinois statute 735 ILCS 5/9-209, a landlord can notify a tenant of eviction if the tenant has not paid rent five days after it was due.

Of course, it is more time-consuming to follow the requirements set out in the Act. It is though, the only legal recourse a landlord has. The process of eviction in Rolling Meadows also is not one that takes as long as many people think. From the time notice is provided by the landlord to the time the eviction is final takes approximately one month.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that Can Help

The idea of criminal trespassing, and all it encompasses, can become confusing. This charge is not always appropriate simply because someone is on someone else’s property, even if they have been asked to leave. For this reason, people are sometimes charged with criminal trespassing when they are not guilty of the crime.

If you have been charged with criminal trespassing, do not try to fight the charges on your own. Contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney that can help. The penalties for criminal trespassing if convicted can include up to one year in jail, in addition to the permanent mark on your criminal record. Our office offers a free consultation so call us today at 847-394-3200 so we can start reviewing your case.




Is Theft from a Garage Burglary?

December 12th, 2018 at 2:15 pm

IL defense lawyerBurglary is a serious felony offense, regardless of the value of the property taken, unlike theft, which is often a misdemeanor crime if the value of the property taken was low. For example, stealing a bike would be considered a misdemeanor of petty theft if the value of the bike was only $300, as per Illinois statute 20 ILCS 5/16-1. If that same bike was stolen out of someone’s residential garage, the crime would automatically be upgraded to a felony. Why is this? Burglary is considered a crime of violence, and the offense is punishable as such.

Types of Buildings, Structures, and Vehicles that Involve Burglary

Burglary is defined as knowingly entering, or without authority remaining, in any of the following:

  • Building;
  • House trailer (such as an RV);
  • Aircraft;
  • Watercraft; or
  • Motor vehicle.

The second element to burglary is that the defendant entered one of the above places or vehicles with the intent to commit any felony or any degree of theft. Examples of these felonies include arson, destruction of property, vandalism, assault, sexual assault, homicide, and more. Or, if any theft occurs or the defendant’s goal was to commit a theft, then burglary has occurred. As such, wandering into someone’s open garage to notify the owner that their car is being towed is not burglary. Breaking into their garage or entering it without permission to steal a bike or any other object is burglary.

Residential Burglary Is a Class 1 Felony

Committing burglary of a residential building, including a garage, is a Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison, as per Illinois 720 ILCS 5/19‑3.

Criminal Trespass Is a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class 4 Felony

Criminal trespass is a much lower level offense than burglary. The only elements that are different include that the defendant did not have any intention to commit, and did not commit, a felony or theft when the knowingly entered the residence of another person. Criminal trespass is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail if a defendant knowingly entered or remained in a residence (without intent to commit a felony or theft). If a defendant entered a residence and knew or had reason to believe that another person was in the residence, and the defendant remained in the home after knowing this, then the offense is raised to a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison.

Reach Out to a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

Theft, burglary, and criminal trespass are all three very different crimes, with burglary being the most serious. If you have been charged with an offense, an attorney may be able to reduce the charges against you, have the charges dropped, fight for a fair plea deal, or take your case to court and win. Call the Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation.



What Makes Me a Trespasser?

April 24th, 2018 at 4:30 pm

trespasser, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, Illinois trespassing, trespassing defenses, criminal trespass, electronic tracking deviceIn Illinois, trespassing can occur in several ways and include trespass to vehicles, trespass to real property, and trespass through the use of electronic tracking devices. Generally, trespassing is a misdemeanor crime. However, some properties hold a felony charge. One such example is trespassing on government buildings. Trespassing on government buildings will likely result in a felony trespassing charge. The intention behind the trespassing is also considered when assessing the severity of the crime and the appropriate punishments to follow.

Types of trespassing crimes in Illinois include the following:

  • Criminal Trespass to Vehicles: Criminal trespass to vehicles is defined as a person entering any part of, or operating, any vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or snowmobile. The individual must knowingly enter the vehicle and must not have any authority to do so.
  • Criminal Trespass to Real Property: Criminal trespass to real property occurs when a person: (1) enters a building knowingly and without authority; (2) enters land of another without permission; and (3) continues to stay on another’s property after having been told to leave.
  • Trespassing Through an Electronic Device: Trespassing using an electronic device is using an electronic tracking device to “determine the location or movement of a person.” There are exceptions to this rule. It is not illegal to place an electronic tracking device if the owner of the vehicle has given his or her consent, or the vehicle comes with a built in tracking device. Further, companies tracking employees company-wide are exempt, as well as government vehicles.
  • Criminal Trespass to State Land: Criminal trespass to state land is entering and remaining on property after being told to leave or that it was prohibited, or trespassing on land that is funded by the state of Illinois.
  • Criminal Trespass to Safe School Zone: Criminal trespass to a safe school zone is continuing to enter school property after you have been told you are not allowed to be on the school grounds.

Defenses to Trespass

Much like every facet of the law, there are exceptions to trespassing, as well as various defenses.

  • If land is open to the public, generally criminal trespass to land will not occur. Further, there may be a defense to criminal trespass of land if you reasonably believe that the land is open to the public;
  • If a building has been unoccupied or abandoned for at least one year, a person who enters the land to beautify it is not trespassing. In addition to being abandoned for one year, the taxes must not have been paid for two years; and
  • A person can enter land for emergency purposes. There must be a danger or imminent danger or destruction for the entrance to be excused from criminal trespass to land.

We Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with any type of criminal trespass, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley has the knowledge and passion to defend your case to a favorable outcome.


Criminal Trespass in Illinois: The Basics

August 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am

criminal trespass, private property, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers, trespassing, vehicle trespassLandowners and occupants in Illinois have the right to exclude people from trespassing on their property. Therefore, entering onto someone else’s private property without permission to do so can constitute a civil trespass as the trespasser violated the owner/occupant’s exclusive possession of the land.

However, in Illinois a trespasser can also be charged with criminal trespass under some circumstances. Three of the most commonly charged forms of criminal trespass in Illinois are outlined below.

Criminal Trespass to Real Property: Code Section 720 ILCS 5/21-3

Here in Illinois the crime of criminal trespass to real property is defined in section 720 ILCS 5/21-3 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes and states that an individual is guilty of criminal trespass when he or she:

  • Enters or remains in a building knowingly and without the lawful authority to do so;
  • Enters the property of another after receiving notice from the owner or occupants forbidding entry;
  • Remains on another person’s land after being told by the owner or occupant to depart;
  • Presents false documents or misrepresents his/her identity in order to falsely obtain permission to enter or remain on another person’s property;
  • Intentionally removes a posted notice from residential real estate early; or
  • Enters or remains in a field that could be used to grow crops, a fenced area or building that contains livestock, or an orchard in a motor vehicle after being told by the owner or occupant that doing so is forbidden.

Criminal trespass to real property is generally charged as a Class B misdemeanor in Illinois and is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Criminal Trespass to a Residence: Code Section 720 ILCS 5/19-4

Additionally, the Illinois Compiled Statutes also contains a more specific statute that criminalizes trespass to a residence. Under section 720 ILCS 5/19-4 an individual commits criminal trespass to a residence when he/she (1) knowingly enters or remains in a residence without the authority to do so, or (2) knowingly enters or remains in someone else’s residence without the authority to do so while knowing (or having reason to know) that at least one person is home.

Criminal trespass to a residence can be charged as either a Class A misdemeanor or as a Class 4 felony.

Criminal Trespass to Vehicles: Code Section 720 ILCS 5/21-2

Under section 720 ILCS 5/21-2 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes an individual commits criminal trespass to vehicles when he/she knowingly enters a vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, or snowmobile without the authority to do so.

Criminal trespass to vehicles is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois.

Contact Us for Help Today

If you have been accused of criminal trespass in Illinois contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley without delay. Our team of experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers defend both adults and minors against criminal trespass charges as well as a wide array of other criminal allegations across Illinois.


Types of Criminal Trespass and Attempted Criminal Trespass in Illinois

January 16th, 2017 at 7:00 am

criminal trespass, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyTrespassing is a serious offense, and many people in Illinois are charged with criminal trespass every year. If you are facing criminal trespassing charges, you should not delay in speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can help you assess your legal options and can assist you with building a defense strategy.

Criminal trespassing under Illinois law occurs when a person unlawfully and without authority knowingly enters the property of another or remains on the property of another without permission. Criminal trespass exists in several forms including:

  • Criminal trespass to a residence. Under 720 ILCS 5/19-4, the crime occurs whenever you knowingly and without permission enter the residence of another. Alternatively, it can be criminal trespass to a residence if you enter someone’s residence with permission, but then stay longer than you were authorized to stay. Criminal trespass to a residence might occur if you may have been invited to someone’s home for a party, but then you did not leave when you were asked to leave and you stayed in the home after your permission to be there had expired or been revoked.
  • Criminal trespass to a vehicle. Under 720 ILCS 5/21-2, the crime of criminal trespass to a vehicle occurs when you access a vehicle belonging to someone else. The vehicle could be an automobile, a snowmobile, or a watercraft. It is also criminal trespass to a vehicle to operate someone else’s vehicle without permission. Carjacking or car theft is sometimes reduced to criminal trespass to a vehicle.
  • Criminal trespass to real property. Under 720 ILCS 5/21-3, the crime of criminal trespass to real property happens when you enter property belonging to someone else without permission. It is also criminal trespass to property if you were permitted to be on the property, but are then asked to leave but you do not. This offense is common in situations where bar or restaurant patrons are asked to leave a bar or restaurant for being disruptive or fighting, but they do not leave the premises. It is also common for people to be charged with criminal trespass to real property when there are posted signs prohibiting entry onto someone’s property but the signs are ignored.

When the prosecution is unable to establish every element required to convict you of criminal trespass, of either a residence, vehicle, or real property, it might be possible to reduce the charges against you to attempted criminal trespass. This means that there was evidence to suggest you were trying to commit a criminal trespass but did not successfully complete the trespass.

Criminal Trespassing Charges Need A Defense Lawyer

Criminal trespassing charges can truly affect your future in a negative manner. You need the help of an experienced professional who will be able to help you through the legal system. Do not hesitate and reach out to an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.


Criminal Trespass Charges: When You Are Asked to Leave But You Do Not

November 16th, 2016 at 10:33 am

criminal trespass, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyAll too often individuals are faced with criminal trespass to real property charges, under 720 ILCS 5/21-3, when they were asked to leave a place but do not do so. This scenario plays out a handful of different ways:  

  • A patron might be asked to leave a bar, club, or restaurant after becoming too intoxicated and rowdy, or getting into a fight with another patron or employee of the establishment;
  • An individual might be causing a dramatic and disruptive scene in a business establishment in view of other patrons;
  • An individual might have conducted him or herself inappropriately, but not necessarily in violation of the law, in a business establishment, and is then asked to leave;
  • An individual might ignore posted signs saying “do not enter” or “authorized personnel only beyond this point”; or
  • An individual might knowingly go into a restricted area after being warned not to go into that area.

Knowingly staying on property when you do not have the authority to do so, or if your presence on the property has been forbidden, can land you in hot water with law enforcement. You will likely be charged with criminal trespass to real property. Similarly, knowingly entering an area of real property where you do not belong can also get you charged with criminal trespass.

Criminal Trespass is a Misdemeanor Offense

Criminal trespass to real property is a misdemeanor offense, but that does not mean that you should take criminal trespass charges lightly. Punishment for a criminal trespass conviction can range anywhere from six months to a year of jail time. However, in some situations a criminal defendant can get court supervised probation instead of jail time. Additionally, you can also face a fine of a few thousand dollars and civil liability for your offense. These punishments can wreck havoc on your life, and that is why you need a criminal defense lawyer by your side helping you fight your charges.

If you are arrested for criminal trespass to real property, you should refrain from telling the police anything by exercising your right to remain silent. As soon as it is possible for you to do so, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation. A knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you fight the charges you are facing and will hopefully get the charges against you either dismissed or reduced.

Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Anyone who is facing criminal trespass charges should be concerned about his or her defense. These charges are serious and pose potential consequences that can severely impact your life. A conviction for these charges can jeopardize your freedom, which is why it is so important that you get into touch with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as quickly as you can after being charged.


Overstaying Your Welcome Could Become Criminal Trespass

February 9th, 2016 at 7:00 am

criminal trespass, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneySometimes party guests find themselves facing criminal trespass charges when things get out of hand at the party. Maybe a guest becomes intoxicated and becomes belligerent, upsetting other guests, or even the host or hostess. The police are likely to be called.

Once a guest is asked to leave, if he or she remains on the property, he or she could be charged with criminal trespass. While the guest was initially invited to the property, as a guest, if he or she is later asked to leave and refuses to do so, it can constitute criminal trespass according to 720 ILCS 5/21-3.

Permission/Consent to be on the Property

The crime of trespassing largely revolves around whether the person who is committing the trespass has permission to be on the property in question. In the case of a guest who has outstayed his or her welcome, the guest may have started the party with the property owner’s (i.e., host or hostess) permission to be on the property, but that authorization was revoked during the guest’s stay on the property.

Having the owner’s consent to be on the property can be a defense to criminal trespass charges. Consent can be either expressly given, meaning the owner made it clear verbally or in writing that someone else may be on the property.

  • Verbal express consent could include the following phrase: “Hey I am having a party at my house. You are invited to join!”
  • Written express consent could include a letter or email asking, “Could you come over to my house and check the heating unit? I think it’s broken.”

All of these examples expressly consent to the recipient to gain access to the property of the owner.

Houseguests vs. Tenants or Co-Owner of the Property

Sometimes a domestic dispute gets out of hand and one partner in the relationship calls the police to report a criminal trespass against the other partner. However, if a person is a tenant or co-owner of the property, he or she may not technically be trespassing on the property. For instance, if a boyfriend and girlfriend are having a fight, and the girlfriend calls the police to report that the boyfriend is trespassing, without some other reason to remove the boyfriend (i.e., accusations of assault and battery, existing protection order, etc.), the boyfriend cannot be removed from the property if he is a tenant or co-owner of the property.

Contact Us for Assistance

Guests get booted from parties that they were invited to all the time, and sometimes the authorities are called and charges are pressed against a guest who is reluctant to leave when asked. If you are facing criminal trespass to real property charges, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. We are available to assist you today.


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.

Back to Top Back to Top Back to Top