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Archive for the ‘domestic violence’ tag

How to Argue the Evidence in a Domestic Violence Case

February 5th, 2020 at 3:42 pm

IL defense attorney, IL domestic violence lawyerDomestic violence cases pose many problems for both the prosecution and defense. One of the biggest challenges that arise in these cases pertains to evidence. Domestic violence typically takes place behind closed doors in a private home. As such, they are very difficult to prove for the prosecution, and there is always a challenge for the defense when attempting to prove that something never took place. Below are a few types of evidence that the prosecution may use in a domestic violence case, and how a criminal defense attorney may argue against them.

Physical Evidence

In domestic violence cases, the prosecution will rely heavily on physical evidence. This is because juries are more likely to believe facts rather than evidence that may be clouded by a person’s own biases or opinions. For this reason, the prosecution may use photographs of the alleged victim’s injuries, or of property that was used during the alleged act.

Although this type of evidence seems very damaging at first, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will know how to argue against it. For example, injuries depicted in photographs may have been sustained in an accident and not during a crime. Property may have been damaged as a result of being dropped on the ground, and not because it was used to hit another person.

Witness Testimony from Bystanders

Testimony provided by bystanders in domestic violence cases often relies on what a person heard rather than what they saw. Domestic violence rarely occurs out in the open when people can actually see what is happening. However, a neighbor may overhear an argument that they assume is part of domestic violence. When testimony relies on what a person heard, a defense attorney can argue that the event was simply an argument and that no physical violence actually took place.

Witness Testimony from the Alleged Victim

In many cases, the alleged victim may take the stand to testify against the alleged perpetrator. This evidence can seem very damaging at first, as they will likely tell a jury their version of events, and hope to gain sympathy. A criminal defense attorney will know how to refute this testimony as well. They may submit evidence such as text messages or emails that falsely accused the defendant in the past, or other evidence that can prove these claims are false.

Testimony from Police Officer

The police officer that visited the scene at the time of the alleged crime will play a central role in any domestic violence case. The prosecution will likely call the officer to testify about their observations once they arrived on the scene. This testimony is not always as damaging as the prosecution hopes.

For example, if the alleged victim does not testify, but the officer testifies about statements the victim made, those statements could be considered hearsay. Hearsay refers to the act of one person testifying about statements another person heard. Because this is not direct, or first-hand evidence, hearsay is generally considered inadmissible in court, which means the judge will instruct the jury to disregard that evidence.

Facing Charges? Call Our Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

It is never easy to face criminal charges, but those involving domestic violence are some of the worst. They can ruin a person’s reputation and worse for those convicted, they come with harsh penalties such as high fines and jail times. It is for this reason that if you have been accused of domestic violence, you must speak to a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our attorney has the necessary experience to defend against these charges and give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today at 847-394-3200 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=59&ActID=2100

What Are Defenses to Domestic Violence in Illinois?

August 21st, 2019 at 9:53 am

IL defense attorney, IL domestic violense attorney Domestic violence is a problem in Illinois and all across the country. As such, the states have enacted strict laws to protect victims of domestic violence. In Illinois, one such law is the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. This law allows protections and remedies for victims, but sometimes it is used inappropriately. Not everyone accused of or charged with domestic violence is guilty. Unfortunately, even when that is the case, juries tend to sympathize with the victim.

For this reason, anyone facing charges must speak to a Rolling Meadows domestic violence attorney that can build them a solid defense. Some of the defenses most commonly used in domestic violence cases are below.

Self-Defense

Self-defense is one of the most common defenses used in domestic violence cases. Sometimes two people in a household may argue to the point that one becomes aggressive and violent. Even if they do not physically touch the other person, they may throw things or otherwise threaten harm. When this is the case, Illinois law allows a certain amount of force if you are defending yourself or your property. As such, self-defense is a very solid argument for domestic violence charges.

Being Falsely Accused

Arguments in a household can become very heated. Sometimes, they become so heated that one party becomes revengeful and wants to hurt the other person, not physically, but with other consequences. They may call the police and allege domestic violence is taking place. Or, one party may have thought the other was becoming violent when they were not. Again, if the police are called, they may lay domestic violence charges even if the situation had not become violent.

Domestic violence cases are often a case of one person’s word against another’s. These situations tend to happen behind closed doors and with no witnesses. Due to this, it becomes very difficult to determine who is telling the truth. Law enforcement, juries, and judges may automatically favor the victim. For this reason, it is important to raise arguments that contradict the accuser’s story. Perhaps the accused was not even present in the home, or maybe the victim’s story is inconsistent. These arguments raise a good defense in domestic violence cases.

Lack of Proof

In order for the prosecution’s case to be successful, they must present sufficient proof that domestic violence took place. In criminal cases, the prosecution has a very strict burden to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Again, because domestic violence often takes place behind closed doors, this is difficult. The victim’s word is not enough to garner a conviction.

Charged with Domestic Violence? Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

If you are facing charges of domestic violence, you likely feel as though the situation is hopeless. It is not. There are many defenses available to these charges, and a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you determine which one is right for your case. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we know that not every argument is a case of domestic violence, and we are committed to helping those that are innocent retain their freedom. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation so we can start reviewing your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2100

Understanding Domestic Battery in Rolling Meadows

January 18th, 2019 at 10:16 pm

domestic -batteryPeople that live in the same house and are in close relationships sometimes fight and argue. Most often these arguments are vocal, with those involved saying things they did not mean before quickly forgiving each other. Sometimes though, these arguments turn into much more. When that happens, and an argument turns violent, it could result in a domestic battery charge.

It is natural for those charged with domestic battery to be confused about the charges. What exactly does a domestic battery charge involve? What penalties could a person be facing? Here domestic battery in Rolling Meadows is broken down, so anyone charged can understand what they are facing, and get the legal help they need.

The Legal Definition of Domestic Battery

Under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2, domestic battery is defined as causing bodily harm to a person in the same household. Making physical contact with another person in the household can also be considered domestic battery if that contact can be considered provoking or insulting in nature.

The statute states that the individuals involved in a domestic battery case must be living in the same household. However, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act defines others that may be involved in a domestic battery case as well. These individuals include:

  • Spouses, including ex-spouses;
  • People in a romantic relationship or that were previously in a romantic relationship;
  • Parents and children, including stepparents and stepchildren;
  • Couples that have a child together;
  • Blood relatives to a child;
  • Current or former roommates; and
  • Adults and their caregiver.

Under this definition, a person can be accused of domestic battery if they engage in acts of physical violence with family members, those they live with, or those they have a close relationship with.

Penalties for Domestic Battery

Domestic battery is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, a person could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500 for a first offense. Those with previous domestic battery convictions could be charged with a Class 4 felony. This could result in a fine of up to $25,000 and up to three years in jail.

The penalties for a domestic battery charge are severe. Even worse, a domestic battery conviction will remain on a person’s criminal record for the rest of their life. For these reasons, it is crucial that anyone charged with domestic battery understand the defenses that can be used.

Defenses for Domestic Battery

Self-defense is one of the most common defenses used in domestic battery cases. Sometimes arguments become very heated, and one person may try to strike, kick, or otherwise physically injure someone. When this is the case, and the person being injured used reasonable force to defend themselves, it may not be considered domestic battery.

In other cases, a person falsely accuses another person of domestic battery. People sometimes feel resentful or revengeful after a dispute and so, they accuse a person of domestic battery when it simply did not happen. In the best of these instances, a person will often decide to not pursue charges. If the police have already been involved though, that may not be a possibility.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

Domestic battery charges should always be taken very seriously. Being convicted of this crime can result in jail time, high fines, and a permanent criminal record.

If you have been charged with domestic battery, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 and speak to a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney today. An attorney will review your case, help prepare your defense, and make sure your rights are upheld in court. Call us today for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K12-3.2

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2100

How to Fight a Protective Order in Illinois

January 15th, 2018 at 7:40 am

domestic violence, protective order, restraining order, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defenseAn Illinois protective order (also commonly referred to as an “order of protection” or a “restraining order”) is a court ordered civil decree that is designed to prevent future acts of domestic violence from occurring by requiring the individual listed on the order to refrain from engaging in certain enumerated acts (for example, coming within a certain distance of the petitioner, possessing a firearm, harassing, stalking, or intimidating the petitioner, etc.).

If a protective order has been issued against you, it is critical to carefully abide by each provision listed in the order. Failing to do so can land you in a world of legal trouble. To begin, you will have likely committed a Class A misdemeanor and may be sentenced to spend up to one year in jail, and pay a fine of up to $2,500. Therefore, even if you feel that the order of protection that has been issued against you is not justified, it is critical that you abide by its terms and fight the order through the appropriate legal channels.

Fighting an IL Protective Order: The Process

Upon receiving notice that a protective order has been issued against you, there are two options at your disposal; you can either fight the order in court or not. If you choose not to go to court, then you are essentially letting the order stand—the presiding judge will decide the case based solely on evidence presented by your accuser and no one will be there to tell your side of the story.

Alternatively, you can decide to fight the protective order by responding to the court papers that you were served with and telling your side of the story in court. If you decide to take this route, then you will need to progress through the following steps:

  • Step 1 – Read Through Each Document: Start by reading through all of the paperwork that you have been served with and immediately start abiding by each provision contained in the emergency order of protection, if one has been issued against you. Be sure to follow any and all instructions contained in the paperwork that you were served with.
  • Step 2 – Go to Court: When you were served with notice that a protective order petition was filed against you the paperwork that you received indicated the time and place of your court hearing. Go to court as instructed, be sure to arrive early, dress well, and bring your lawyer with you if you have hired one. During the hearing you will have the opportunity to tell your side of the story.
  • Step 3 – Wait for the Court’s Decision: After considering all of the evidence presented the presiding judge will decide whether or not to issue an order of protection against you. The judge may make this decision during the hearing or he or she may take the matter under consideration and inform you of their decision at a later date.

Has a Protective Order Been Issued Against You? Give Us a Call!

If an Illinois protective order has been issued against you, passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer Christopher Cosley is available to help. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we understand that domestic violence is an emotionally charged issue and that there are always at least two sides to every story surrounding an allegation of domestic abuse. If you are interested in fighting a protective order that has been issued against you we would be happy to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the order and discuss your legal options with you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K12-3.4

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders in Illinois: A General Overview

October 9th, 2017 at 9:32 am

domestic violence, protective order, restraining orders, Rolling Meadows domestic violence lawyer, domestic batteryProtective orders (also commonly referred to as restraining orders) are civil orders designed to protect alleged domestic violence victims (and sometimes their family members as well) against future abuse. Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act courts in Illinois are permitted to issue a protective order if any of the following types of domestic violence has likely been perpetrated against the requesting petitioner, or their minor child, by a family or household member:

  • Physical abuse,
  • Harassment,
  • Intimidation of a dependent,
  • Interference with personal liberty, or
  • Willful deprivation.

Who Qualifies as a “Family or Household Member?”

It is important to note that in Illinois a domestic violence protective order can only be issued if the alleged abuser is a family or household member of the petitioner. Code section 750 ILCS 60/103(6) defines “family or household member” as:

  • A former or current spouse,
  • A parent,
  • A child or stepchild,
  • Someone related to the petitioner by blood or marriage (either present or prior),
  • Someone whom the petitioner currently (or formerly) lives with,
  • Someone the petitioner allegedly shares a child in common with,
  • Someone the petitioner shares (or allegedly shares) a blood relationship with through a child,
  • A former or current boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiance, or
  • A disabled petitioner’s personal assistant or caretaker.

What am I Prohibited From Doing if a Protective Order is Issued Against Me?

In Illinois we have three different types of domestic violence protective orders. These include emergency protective orders, interim protective order, and plenary protective orders. The key difference between these orders is the duration for which they can be in effect. Yet while in effect they can all prohibit alleged abusers from engaging in the same actions. It is up to the issuing judge to determine the provisions of a particular protective order but some commonly included provisions are:

  • No harassing, stalking, abusing, or intimidating the petitioner,
  • No contacting the petitioner,
  • No coming within a specified distance of the petitioner, the petitioner’s home, or the petitioner’s place of work, and
  • No possessing firearms.

How Can I Fight a Protective Order?

If you have been served with a protective order, then the first step that you need to take is to stay calm. Do not lash out at the person who served you and definitely do not contact the person who requested a restraining order against you.

What you should do is read through the order and make sure to fully abide by every provision contained in it. Now you are ready to fight the order, if you wish to do so. This can most effectively be accomplished by consulting with a local domestic violence lawyer, although you can technically oppose the order on your own if you like.

In either instance, fighting a protective order generally involves filing a response with the court, gathering evidence in your defense, and appearing in court in order to tell your side of the story.

Consult With a Local Domestic Violence Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing domestic battery or have had a protective order issued against you in Illinois contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley straight away.

Christopher Cosley is a very well respected Rolling Meadows domestic violence lawyer who has extensive experience defending clients throughout the greater Chicago area. Don’t hesitate to contact the office today for help.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2100&ChapterID=59

Charged With Domestic Violence When You Acted in Self-Defense?

November 18th, 2016 at 9:39 am

domestic violence, self-defense, Rolling MeadowsDomestic disputes occur between significant others and family members frequently in Illinois. Sometimes these  get out of hand and rise to the level of domestic violence.  

Under Illinois law, domestic violence generally involves acts of violence or threatening behavior between two people who share a domestic relationship, or used to share a domestic relationship. Domestic violence disputes arise between spouses, exes, significant others, family members who are related by blood or marriage, and people who share a living space, such as roommates.

Even the most minor physical contact can be construed as a battery. If you are concerned that someone is likely to make a false claim of domestic violence against you, you should avoid making physical contact with that person at all costs. But just because you deliberately refrain from physical contact does not mean that someone will not make an attack on you.

Charged with Domestic Violence When You Acted in Self-Defense

There are many cases of domestic assault and battery where the accused is charged with domestic violence when he or she was merely acting in self-defense. While it is unfortunate that charges are being pressed against you for domestic violence, it is fortunate that self-defense could be a potential defense to these charges.

Under Illinois law, a person is justified to use force against another when he or she believes that the use of force is necessary to defend him or herself from imminent harm from another’s use of force. A skilled Illinois criminal defense lawyer can examine the specifics of your case and help ensure the charges are dropped against you if you were acting in self defense.

Defense of Others Might Also be a Defense to Domestic Violence Charges

Not only can you act in self defense, but you can also act in the defense of others. Another common scenario where domestic violence charges are filed involves one person acting violently or threateningly against someone else, where a third party steps in to aid in the defense of the victim. If this occurred in your case, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected.

Let Us Help With Your Domestic Violence Defense

If you are faced with allegations of domestic violence, but you believe that your actions were justified as an act of self defense or the defense of others, you should contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our attorneys can examine the specifics of your criminal charges in Illinois, and utilize our knowledge and experience to help craft a solid defense. Reach out to us today for a consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=59&ActID=2100

New Law Takes Aim at Domestic Violence Offenders

September 19th, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Domestic violence cases often are troubling situations that bring up serious issues. These charges are not limited to one group or a specific type of offender; anyone from any socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic background can be involved in such a scenario. This is further evidenced by a news story that has become popular as of late. Since the official start of the 2014-2015 National Football League (NFL) season, news and other media outlets have been consistently reporting on a notorious domestic violence incident that became public knowledge in February of 2014, but has garnered new and deserving attention since more details of the incident surfaced recently.

Illinois Domestic Violence Law Signed

Even before this news story concerning the professional football player garnered renewed attention, officials in the state of Illinois had their attention turned to the topic of domestic violence. At the end of August, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation known as “Diane’s Law” into effect. The law is meant to provide protection to survivors of domestic violence by allowing courts to order risk assessment evaluations as a condition of bails and to require electronic surveillance via GPS monitoring of those charged with the crime in order to enforce restraining orders. Charges covered by the new law will include domestic battery, kidnapping, stalking, harassment, and attempted murder.

The Governor reported that this action is part of a larger focus on promoting public safety, and that specifically, he intends for the law to protect victims and prevent future tragedies. The law goes a step further by being focused on prevention and not just protection of victims. It is purportedly named after a domestic violence victim who was murdered by a former boyfriend just three days after renewing a protective order against him. The purpose of the law is to strengthen protective orders and give police additional tools in their enforcement, as well as providing for increased penalties for domestic violence offenders. The law, known as House Bill 3744, will become effective January 1, 2015.

The law is one of several signed into effect by Governor Quinn since 2012 regarding domestic violence in Illinois. Other initiatives included classifying domestic violence crimes as a felony if a defendant has a prior conviction, requiring that school boards adopt a policy regarding teen dating violence, protecting victims who may be covered by their abuser’s insurance policies, and allowing prosecutors to use prior domestic violence conditions as evidence in certain murder cases which involve the crime.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Domestic violence cases deserve professional attention. The experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are familiar with the recent changes to domestic violence law in the state of Illinois and are prepared to advise their clients accordingly. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

Domestic Violence in Illinois

June 10th, 2014 at 7:00 am

domestic abuse, domestic violence, domestic violence in Illinois, psychological harassment, Rolling Meadows criminal attorney, victims of domestic abuseThere is no shortage of statistics on the incidence of domestic violence across the United States, though the accuracy of the numbers is questioned due to incidents of domestic violence often being unreported.

According to the Illinois State Police, it is currently estimated that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds across the country. Domestic abuse can happen among all classes and races, and does not discriminate between income level or education. Domestic violence often occurs in a pattern of threats, insults, jealous rages, and temper-fueled outbursts that are aimed at isolating and overpowering the victim.

Illinois Law

At law, domestic violence is defined as any act of abuse committed by a family or household member. The term “family member” includes spouses and former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, persons who formerly shared a home, persons formerly involved in a romantic relationship, parents of a child in common, and disabled persons and their assistants. Of course, there is a broad range of actions that can fall under the law, including everything from physical assaults to causing psychological harm through harassment or threatening behavior.

The Domestic Violence Cycle

Domestic violence is a repeating cycle that occurs when one person tries to control another. It often involves repeating stages of the victim trying to please the abuser, the victim blaming themselves, and the victim believing the abuser’s apologies and forgiving them. It is a fact that once a violent act occurs in the context of a relationship, it is very likely that it will happen again and even get more severe.

Enforcing Illinois Law

According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 and later Illinois Supreme Court rulings, domestic violence laws are enforced now more than ever. It is mandated that law enforcement acts to protect the victims of domestic abuse. This means that police officers must take steps to protect a victim of domestic abuse whenever a family or household member has committed such an act against them. The action taken by police officers includes:

  • Making an arrest when they have enough information to prove a crime has been committed;

  • Accompanying the victim to retrieve personal belongings from a shared home and transporting the victim to a safe place;

  • Informing the victim of the procedures and relief available to them, including their right to file criminal charges against the abuser; and

  • Completing a police report and providing their contact information to victims.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Domestic violence is a serious crime that deserves serious attention. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving domestic violence in the Chicago area, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can provide you with the expert guidance you need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.

What can be Included in a Domestic Violence Order of Protection?

September 27th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you have likely already experienced several challenges in attempting to clear your name. Sometimes victims of an alleged domestic violence act will follow their legal charges with a request for a protective order. Protective orders can have serious consequences for the accused abuser, and it’s important that you hire an attorney to represent you before you lose important privileges and rights as a result of a protective order.

LauraIn Illinois, protective orders are only available to family or household members connected to an alleged abuser. There are many different ways that a protective order can be specified. Depending on what the individual requesting the order articulates, several different requirements may be put into the order, including:

  • A prohibition from any further abuse (harassment or interference with personal liberty also come under this umbrella).
  • A requirement for the alleged abuser to attend counseling courses
  • Stipulations ordering the accused to stay away from the alleged victim
  • Orders to give temporary custody to the alleged victim
  • Orders to block the alleged abuser from accessing children’s records
  • Orders to turn over any weapons in your possession to the police

As you can see, the consequences of an approved order of protection with these kinds of stipulations can have a serious- and immediate- impact on your life, particularly if you share children with the alleged victim. You might lose time spent with those children and temporary custody can even be awarded to the individual making these charges and claims.

If you have been accused of or charged with domestic violence and you believe the alleged victim will seek an order of protection against you, you need the services of a talented Illinois domestic violence criminal attorney. Do not let someone else decide your future for you; hire legal representation today.

 

Chicago Grandmother Accused of Killing Girl

July 16th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

A Chicago grandmother, Helen M. Ford, 51, is being held on no bail and is facing a murder charge in the death of her granddaughter, according to the New York Daily News. According to the Daily News, Ford had been inflicting “abuse for so long that the dead little girl had maggots living in a head wound that had gone untreated.” The girl, Gizzell Kiara Ford, was eight years old. She was dead, and her body had already gone cold, when cops responded to a call of a person not breathing, according to the Daily News. “The girl lived with her grandmother and bedridden father, both of whom were home when the girl died,” reports the Daily News. “Ford initially told cops the girl inflicted the injuries herself, but police found several bruises, burns, and cuts on her body, lying face up in a bedroom in the home.”  Chicago Grandmother Accused of Killing Girl IMAGE

In a shocking case, police revealed that “some of the blunt force trauma happened so long ago that maggots had hatched in a head wound and moved to the front of the girl’s scalp while she was still living… the horrific list of abuse also included deep cuts on her buttocks, ligature marks on her ankles and wrists and possible cigarette burns on her body,” reports the Daily News. The official cause of death, according to the Chicago Tribune, was strangulation and several blunt trauma injuries from child abuse and neglect. According to the Tribune, “Helen Ford told police her granddaughter was upset that her mother was not visiting her and would run into furniture in the apartment and bang her head on things,” which investigators quickly ruled out.

According to childhelp–usa.com, “every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States, involving nearly 6 million children.” That’s the worst record in any industrialized nation in the world, with five child deaths every day due to abuse-related causes.

If you or someone you know has been accused of child abuse, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago criminal defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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