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Archive for the ‘gun charges’ tag

Illinois Gun Crime Laws: Parts of the Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon Statute May Be Unconstitutional

March 3rd, 2015 at 5:56 am

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, weapons charges,Thousands of people have been prosecuted in Illinois for having guns. Up until the last couple of years, Illinois was the lone holdout state that did not even allow for concealed carry permits. Our gun crime laws are harsh. However, in addition to being harsh, as it turns out, some of them are also unconstitutional. When a criminal law is held unconstitutional, then prosecutors are no longer allowed to prosecute people under that law.

What Gun Law is Unconstitutional?

Illinois law includes a crime called “aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.” This statute makes it illegal to possess a firearm under various different sets of circumstances. Some of this law is still enforceable. But other portions of it are unconstitutional because they violate the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. For example, the portion of the law that makes it always a crime to carry an uncased, loaded, immediately accessible firearm on your person or in a vehicle goes too far. It acts as a comprehensive ban on the use of firearms for self-defense outside the home, thus rendering it unconstitutional. Similarly, the part of the law that prohibits all carrying of such guns on public ways is unconstitutional for the same reason.

Reasonable Restrictions are Permitted

While these outright bans on gun possession are not constitutional, the other portions of Illinois gun law that act more as restrictions on the right to bear arms are usually held to be constitutional. Under Illinois law this includes things like the requirement that a gun carrier have a FOID card and prohibitions on 19- and 20 year-olds receiving the documentation required to possess firearms. It also includes common exceptions to the right to bear arms such as laws that say people with felony convictions, people with certain mental health histories, intoxicated people, and fugitives of the law cannot lawfully possess guns. People who are or have recently been subject to an order of protection are also usually prohibited from having guns both under state law and federal law.

What is a FOID Card?

A FOID card is not the same as a concealed carry permit. FOID cards are somewhat unique to Illinois and they are used to identify those individuals who are eligible to possess and obtain firearms and ammunition. Illinois residents who own or possess firearms generally are required to have a FOID card. There is a separate application process from the concealed carry application process. Once one has a FOID card it is good for 10 years, assuming the applicant remains otherwise eligible to possess firearms.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a crime, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney on your side. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We are here to fight for you. Reach out to us today at (847)394-3200.

Concealed Carry Applications being Rejected by Illinois Police

August 19th, 2014 at 7:00 am

concealed carry, Chicago criminal defense attorney, concealed carry applications, concealed carry permits, gun charges, Illinois gun crime, Illinois gun laws, person’s arrest recordWe previously discussed Illinois’ new law on concealed carry permits in a past blog post. Since the law went into effect at the beginning of 2014, there has been a significant amount of controversy surrounding it. As a recent news article reported, there are now questions being raised and lawsuits being filed over the denial of applications for concealed carry permits.

Denying Applications

Some Illinois citizens who have applied for concealed carry permits and were subsequently denied are filing lawsuits against local law enforcement agencies. The reasons the applications were denied were allegedly not clear, but rather came in the form of objections from police that were reportedly kept relatively secret. As a result, the Illinois State Police announced that it plans to task a state review board with producing more information about why applications were rejected. Part of the board’s job will be to notify an applicant if it is likely their applications will be rejected so they have an opportunity to argue against the objection. Specifically, they will be notified of a credible objection and the basis of it, and will be notified of the agency that brought it. Their response is required within 10 days. These new rules have already taken effect in Illinois.

Previously, the system was made up of a seven-person review board, which considered concealed carry permit applications in private. They took into account any objections to an application that were raised by local law enforcement, which may have included a person’s arrest record or history with police that did not end in a criminal conviction. If the review board agreed with law enforcement and sustained the objection, they notified the applicant of the denial by mail. The denial did not include any further explanation of the board’s decision. Applicants had no other recourse but to take the matter up in court if they chose to do so, which resulted in over 200 denied applicants filing suit. In addition to the changes mentioned above in connection with the new system, the board’s hearings will also now be recorded and applicants will have the opportunity to obtain transcripts of the hearings.

Skepticism

Despite the new rules going into effect relatively quickly after the lawsuits being filed, many remain skeptical about their effects on the process overall. Previous proposed fixes to the process have not been successful, so many gun rights activists are reserving judgment on whether these new rules will have a positive effect until they have been in place for a little while. Further, it remains unclear as to how the new rules will affect cases that are currently in the courts as a result of already having been denied permits. Others continue to voice concern that the new rules fail to address a more serious problem: law enforcement’s consideration of information outside an applicant’s criminal record.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime in the state of Illinois, hiring an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney is critical. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we have successfully represented clients in a variety of criminal cases, including those charged with gun crimes.

City to send Police Patrols Overnight in Chicago Parks

December 6th, 2013 at 11:26 am

family in parkOfficials in the city of Chicago are aware of the prevalence of violent crime in Chicago parks.  Four days after the FBI claimed that Chicago was the murder capital of the United States, more violence broke out in the city.  An outburst of shooting occurred on September 20th at Cornell Square Park on the south side of Chicago.  Waves of gunfire left 13 people wounded including a couple of teenagers and three year old boy.  The shooting was considered to be gang-related as some of the victims were known gang-members.

In response to these violent crimes, the police department of Chicago started paying overtime to officers in high crime neighborhoods of the city for an initiative called “Operation Impact”.  Overtime pay for 2013 is estimated to be around $100 million.

More recently, the police department instituted a new plan to keep the parks safe through the night.  Off-duty police officers are to be paid overtime wages for patrolling 20 of the city’s most dangerous parks.  The names of the parks have not been released yet, but will be decided based on the last three years of crime statistics.   This new initiative started in November of 2013.  Paying overtime to existing officers seems cheaper than hiring a large amount of rookie officers according to a statement by Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has agreed that the safety of Chicago’s parks is a top priority of his.  He even stated that “The parks in the city of Chicago belong to families of Chicago, the streets of the city of Chicago belong to families of Chicago, the front stoops of our homes belong to the families of the city of Chicago.  You go out there and enjoy our city.”

If you have been arrested for a crime then it is important to have a legal professional to protect your rights.  Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the effects can be life altering.  You could lose your job, be rejected by colleges, or worse spend time in prison.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cook County today to review your case.

Teen Arrested at Gang Funeral

January 9th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

A 17-year-old boy was arrested for possession of a gun at a gang funeral in mid-December, according to the Chicago Tribune. Roosevelt J. Yarber’s arrest comes as part of a new police crackdown on possession of weapons and possible conflicts at gang funerals. According to the Tribune, “Yarber was carrying a .44-caliber Magnum handgun with six live rounds when he was arrested,” and has been charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon. Area North Deputy Chief John Escalante told the Tribune that “it just highlights the need for us to be out, monitoring these wakes and funerals.” Teen Arrested at Gang Funeral

The crackdown comes after one man was killed and another wounded at the funeral of a gang member on the South Side in early December, and was initiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help curb the explosion of gang violence that has rocked Chicago in 2012. The Gangster Disciples, according to a different article in the Chicago Tribune, were responsible for “more than a quarter of the city’s nearly 400 slaying victims through September 25” of this year. The funeral at which Yarber was arrested was for a member of the Gangster Disciples, but Yarber is not believed to be a member. He was, however, with six other men—“five of them members of the Four Corner Hustlers and one a member of the New Breed gang, which is in a gang conflict with the Gangster Disciples.” Police stopped Yarber and the men he was with because they were not believed to be Gangster Disciples.

Escalante said that at least four people have been arrested at gang funerals since implementation of the new strategy. “Everyone has a right to attend a funeral or a wake, especially one at a church,” he told the Tribune, “and not expect to be the victim of gun violence.”

If you or someone you know has been accused of gang violence or are facing weapons charges, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago-area criminal defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Man Arrested after Accidentally Discharging Gun at Son

October 29th, 2012 at 8:00 am

In the evening of Saturday, October 20th, a father and son argued about a handgun.  The gun itself belonged to the father, a convicted felon, named Charles Johnson.    According to police reports, Johnson had originally hidden the gun in his garage but it had gone missing nearly 6 months ago.  The problem arose when his 17-year-old son left the gun on his desk in his room.  The confrontation took a turn for the worse as the two started to wrestle for control of the weapon.

This occurred at their home near the 1300 block of West Estes Avenue in the Rodgers Park neighborhood of Chicago.  “It appears the son had (the gun) and he was trying to take it away from him,” Police News Affairs officer Robert Perez reported. “It discharged in the process.”  The teenager was shot in the head by his father’s gun.  The wound was located around his right check.  He is currently in critical condition as late as Monday morning after the event.  He is being treated at Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston.

Due to the fact that Johnson was a convicted felon, he is not allowed to own a handgun.  As such, he was charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon.  He was scheduled to appear in bond court in Cook County on Monday to hear about his charges.  Unfortunately for Johnson, his attempt to protect his son ended up harming him and landing him in custody.  To ensure the most favorable outcome of any unsavory crime, get the legal help that will make the difference.  Contact a credible criminal defense attorney in Cook County today to review the specifics of your case.

Two Teenagers Bring Handgun to Elementary School

June 27th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

A recent report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago police officers arrested two teenagers for possessing a handgun at Finkl Academy, an elementary school on Chicago’s Southwest Side. After a student privy to the incident reported that they had witnessed a 14-year-old girl handling a gun at school, school officials called the girl into the school office. The girl surrendered the gun to school officials without incident, while claiming that she was holding the gun for a male 15-year-old student until after school. Both teenagers now face gun possession charges in juvenile court.

With countless reports of school violence across the nation these days, school officials and law enforcement authorities cannot afford to take reports of a student possessing a gun at school lightly. As a result, the potential consequences for a minor facing gun possession and other gun-related charges can be quite severe. Not only can these children face expulsion from school, but they may face other penalties through the juvenile court system, including a period of incarceration. Whenever any person is charged with a gun-related criminal offense, you must take these charges seriously, even if the alleged offender is a juvenile.

A Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney who has experience handling juvenile criminal charges is best situated to evaluate your case. They can also provide legal representation to a minor charged with a criminal gun offense. Do not delay in contacting a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as an arrest occurs.

West Side Man Charged with Felony Theft

May 19th, 2012 at 11:04 am

According to the Chicago Tribune, law enforcement officials executing a search warrant for guns in a West Side home found over $100,000 of stolen electronics and other goods, including computer software, bicycles, DJ equipment, construction equipment, and musical instruments. Police also found a handgun, three shotguns, and three rifles in the residence. As a result, 50-year-old homeowner Willie Sutton was arrested and charged with several counts of unlawful usage of a weapon and possession of firearms, failing to register firearms, failure to have a valid FOID card, and felony theft. The investigation was coordinated by the Chicago Police Department’s Narcotics Division, bureau of organized crime, and tactical officers

Police are currently displaying the stolen goods at the Chicago Police Department’s Austin District station and using the media in an attempt to have the public identify the owners of the obviously stolen goods. Alleged victims of the thefts are encouraged to contact the Chicago Police Department in order to view the stolen items.

Theft charges in the state of Illinois can be extremely serious, especially when the value of the items involved in the alleged theft is substantial. If you are convicted of theft, you could face jail time, fines, restitution, and other serious penalties. Additionally, you may have a permanent criminal history that you will have to disclose to employers for the rest of your life.

If you or a loved one has been accused of theft or a theft-related crime, you must contact a
Chicago area criminal defense attorney immediately so that you can prepare the best defense to these charges, and get the advice that will be crucial to you in this matter.

Chicago Police Arrest 12 in Satan Disciple Gang Investigation

May 5th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, law enforcement officials have charged 12 people with various firearm and drug charges following a three-year investigation in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. The joint investigation by the FBI and Chicago Police, called “Operation Devil’s Playground,” was focused on drug and gun trafficking in the Satan Disciple gang. The drugs involved reportedly were cocaine and methamphetamine. During the arrests, police recovered 11 guns and over $15,000 in cash.

cocaine

Federal authorities named five of the 12 people arrested in federal criminal complaints, as well as a sixth man who is still at large. Two of the defendants face prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life, two more face 10-year sentences, and another defendant faces a 20-year sentence. The other people arrested were charged with state criminal law violations.

While this story is an extreme example of the criminal charges that can result from drug usage, many Chicagoans suffer from drug dependency that eventually gets them into trouble with the law. With the current “war on drugs” in full force, you must take any drug charges seriously from the minute you are charged. The penalties for a drug conviction are severe, and can negatively affect your family, your job, your freedom, and your future.

Should you or a loved one be charged with a drug crime, you should immediately contact a top Chicago, Illinois drug crime defense attorney for assistance. Do not risk a criminal conviction that may follow you for the rest of your life; enlist the help of an experienced drug charge defense lawyer who may be able to successfully defend you against these serious criminal charges.

Cook County Prosecutor Drops Gun Charges Against Englewood Illinois Resident

April 5th, 2012 at 10:22 am

Law enforcement officials recently arrested 80-year-old Homer Wright for unlawful possession of a handgun after he shot and wounded an intruder who had broken into his Englewood home and tavern, which he has operated for over 40 years. The Chicago Tribune reported that Wright kept a gun to protect himself and his wife after experiencing multiple break-ins at his tavern, and having also been robbed at gunpoint. Unfortunately, Wright is a convicted felon due to two decades-old weapons convictions, one in 1994, and the other in the 1960s.

Amid uproar by community leaders and activists, Cook County prosecutors dropped the charges against Wright, “in the best interests of justice,” according to a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office. In a community that has grown increasingly dangerous and violent over the years, the public overwhelmingly came out in favor of Wright, believing that Wright acted solely in self-defense in a dangerous situation.

This case renews the gun law debate in Illinois, especially in light of the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida by a neighborhood watchman. Illinois has arguably the most restrictive law in the nation when it comes to citizens and their guns, as Illinois is the only state in the nation in which it is illegal to carry handguns in public. However, Illinois does have a so-called “castle law”, which allowed Wright to defend his home with potentially deadly force if a burglar enters his home through violence or force. It seems that prosecutors concluded that Wright’s only crime was illegally possessing the handgun – not using it to defend himself.

As you can see from Wright’s case, restrictive gun laws in the state of Illinois often result in criminal charges for otherwise law-abiding citizens. If you find yourself in such a situation, you will need the assistance of a Cook county criminal lawyer in order to defend against these charges. It’s critical that you retain the services of a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney who can provide the legal assistance that you need and deserve.

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