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Archive for the ‘Illinois criminal defense attorney’ tag

Severe Consequences for Fatal DUI Driver

April 21st, 2014 at 2:22 pm

drug crimes, lawyer, attorney, criminal defense lawyer, criminal defense attorney, Illinois, ChicagoMany people struggle with addiction and as a result, many criminal cases involve the use, possession, or other acts that occur while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. While these cases alone are often troubling, combining the use of illicit substances and deciding to operate a vehicle can significantly compound a tragic outcome. Such was the case for a man who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison after being responsible for a fatal accident while under the influence of drug and alcohol.

The Criminal Case

The defendant was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, heroin, and alprazolam at the time of the crash that occurred when he rear-ended a car, killing an 11-year-old boy and severely injuring another car occupant. The car struck was stopped in a line of other vehicles because of an earlier accident that occurred on the road.

After the accident, a urine analysis determined that the defendant had heroin and alprazolam in his system in addition to an illegal amount of alcohol while driving. He pleaded guilty late last year to two counts of aggravated DUI, which meant he would face a maximum sentence of 14 years of incarceration. He was sentenced last week to 12 years jail time, plus a $4,500 fine. Illinois law will require him to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

The Dangers of Heroin Use

This case represents just one of the dangers of heroin use. Not only was the incident that claimed the life of an 11-year-old completely preventable, but the defendant will have to deal with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. The prosecutor on the case used the defendant’s sentencing hearing as an opportunity to expand on the potential repercussions of using the drug. He stated that heroin in particular is a highly addictive drug that quickly leads users to uncontrollably self-destruct. While the issue of addiction is one that deserves attention, it takes a back seat when that addiction gives rise to criminal behavior that has permanent, devastating effects on other people.

This case represents one of the most tragic outcomes possible for those who participate in drug use. Cases involving the illicit use of drugs and alcohol commonly bring up addiction and treatment issues for the perpetrator of the crime, but in cases like these, where a life is lost senselessly, the needs of the defendant are often secondary to the interest in public safety. If you have been charged with a crime involving drugs, it is crucial to speak to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney about your options and rights. The attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley have successful experience representing clients charged with drug offenses in the Chicago area. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

The Basics of Shoplifting in Illinois

April 14th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

shoplifting, theft, retail theft, Illinois criminal law, criminal defense, lawyer, ChicagoShoplifting is typically a crime committed by citizens who follow the majority of other laws. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reported that between 2001 and 2006, roughly 10 million people were caught shoplifting. It is also estimated that almost 10 percent of all Americans shoplift.

The National Self Help & Support Center defines shoplifting as “theft or stealing of any kind from a retail store…taking merchandise from a retail store without paying for it or without intending to pay for it.”

What’s important to know is that shoplifting laws are different in every state and many laws also vary between each local jurisdiction as well. This post is specific to Illinois

If you have been caught shoplifting for the first time, you should call a criminal attorney to help you get a lighter penalty for your first offense. Many factors will be considered when the court decides what your sentence will be including if you have completed an education program and if you have shoplifted previously.

Information from the store where you have been accused of shoplifting will also be accounted for such as what you stole and what occurred when you were caught. Whether or not you had a proper ID when you were caught will also be included.

Another detail that is taken into account it how much you shoplifted, the value of the item(s) that were stolen. Typically, the offense is less serious and only considered a misdemeanor if it costs under $500. However, if the cost exceeds $500, the charge may escalate to a felony and have more serious consequences.

It is possible to get community service, be sentenced to an education program related to shoplifting, or some other form of sentence other than prison if the charge is not extreme.

Also note that you do not have to be the person who actually took the merchandise from the store to be charged if you are with someone when they have shoplifted. You may be seen as an assistant to the shoplifter.

Lastly, shoplifting occurs in many forms including changing the price tag on an item and buying for an incorrect price. You can also be charged for shoplifting if you are sampling foods that you have not paid for as you shop. For example, if you are walking through the produce section of a grocery store and you pick a few grapes off of the bunch and eat them that is a chargeable offense.

If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact a criminal attorney to help you in an Illinois court today. Even if you have been wrongly accused or the charge is small, an attorney can help you get a better or alternative sentence today.

Do Crime Dramas Promote Police Violence?

March 31st, 2014 at 7:00 am

crime shows, Criminal Defense Attorney, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosle, promote violence, television violence, criminal justice, Chicago Police Department, Chicago PD, police violence, crime dramasThere is no shortage of crime dramas on television today. On almost any day, at almost any hour, you are practically guaranteed to find such a show being aired on at least one network. Most of these shoes involve any variety of law enforcement officers solving a crime and apprehending a suspect before the hour is up. And in many instances, the officers depicted use whatever means necessary to catch the perpetrator to or get a confession. The overarching theme suggested is that police violence, even when extreme, is an acceptable way to battle crime.

Recently, an interesting article explored this idea in depth as it specifically related to a particular crime show, “Chicago PD.” While not every idea posed by the article is mentioned here, a handful of topics the article discussed are especially relevant to criminal defense and criminal defendants in the Chicago area.

Shifts in Public Opinion

The popularity of such crime dramas seems to indicate that the public at large is accepting of police abuse. Social events in past decades have perpetuated the threat of crime to the forefront of  an individual’s mind across the nation. As a result, the media responded by promoting crime dramas that feature severely predatory criminals against noble police officers. The reality is that these shows provide much of the public’s knowledge about crime and criminal justice. Not only do the shows often fail to depict an accurate picture of the reality of criminality, but they also serve to shield the police from having their actions inspected and held accountable by the public in real life.

The Real Chicago PD

No matter how virtuous police characters in crime dramas are portrayed, the reality is that in the last 14 years, there have been 102 criminal convictions of Chicago police officers. While this number may seem staggering, it represents only a small fraction of those incidents that were investigated where charges were filed and pursued. Between 2002 and 2004, not even two percent of complaints against the police for excessive force, illegal searches, racial abuse, and false arrests against civilians led to any type of legal action.

It is well known that in the 1970s and 1990s, officers of the Chicago Police Department regularly used torture tactics on suspects to elicit confessions, tactics that their authority figures knew about and ignored. Since the news broke in 1990, there have been attempts made to give victims justice, but this was not achieved in all cases. Many blame the systematic torture and later cover-up by a “Code of Silence” that seems to be ingrained into the department as a whole, which allows officers to behave in any way they wish without threat of being sanctioned. While the show of the same name denies attempting to reflect violence as it exists in Chicago or how the Chicago PD deals with it, the problem lies in the fact that many viewers may see the show as doing just that.

Viewer’s Perception of Criminal Justice

According to the article, a study revealed that those who regularly watch crime dramas are overall more likely to fear crime. This corresponds to a perception of police effectiveness and a tendency to cause a desire for punishment in sentencing against criminal perpetrators. The logic is that the punitive sanctions will reduce the number of offenders of certain crimes, which also reduces the fear of crime in general. In short, the research suggests that even if the public realizes that media is not reality, it still works to shape its worldview.

Crime dramas mostly encourage the idea that crime is an individual choice without recognizing that in reality, the majority of crime stems from social, structural, and economic factors that influence people into situations in which crimes occur. But instead, the public at large believes that evil people are the root of all crime, as evidenced by the current system of mass incarceration that reflects the idea of harsh penalties when it comes to imposing punishment on those convicted of a crime. Crime dramas act to validate the notion that the only solution to crime is to allow the police to have more power, which is neither realistic nor desirable in society today, and has the capability of leading to serious civil rights violations.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

Many social topics are at play here, and history has proven that social opinion and thinking is an ever changing notion that evolves over time. However, regardless of societal views, there are laws and protections afforded to criminal defendants and suspects of a police investigation. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights is imperative. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation. Our offices are located in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and we handle cases in Cook County.

Learning Curve as Concealed Carry Law goes into Effect in Illinois

January 30th, 2014 at 3:03 pm

One of our more recent blog posts discussed the new concealed carry law that went into effect in Illinois starting in the New Year. Now, many news outlets are reporting on some of the obstacles and challenges the implementation of that law is bringing up in practice. Lawmakers are proposing bills that provide for harsher punishments for carrying guns in prohibited zones such as schools, penalize instructors who fail to train properly, and decrease the age for legally carrying a weapon.

 concealed carry law IMAGEPenalties for Carrying in Prohibited Zones

Some were surprised to learn that the new law changed the penalty for possessing a firearm in a school from a felony for the first offense to a misdemeanor the first two times an individual is charged with the crime. Changes propose increasing the penalty associated with having a gun in school, in addition to other places where they are prohibited by law, including libraries, parks, and on mass transit vehicles, as well as adding places of worship.

Advocates of gun rights are not so enthusiastic about the increased measures. They point out that any law will likely only matter to those law-abiding citizens who choose to follow it. They suggest letting the law play out for a while and seeing how the new law works, before going ahead with any suggested changes to the legislation.

Gun-Safety Training

Even those who have expressed opposition to increased penalties for those caught having a firearm in a prohibited zone are on board with stricter regulations for gun safety instructors. Other proposed legislation seeks to change punishments for those gun-safety instructors who falsify their training records. Instructors are required to give 16 hours of instruction on gun safety procedures. If they falsely allege they did so, they may serve jail time and face losing their own license to carry a weapon.

Lowering the Legal Age to Carry

Currently, the law allows for those citizens over the age of 21 to apply for a license to carry. Another proposed change to the law would include lowering that age to 18.

In addition to these changes, many are also expressing concerns over how the law will apply to those with mental health issues. Some representative are saying that these concerns are coming directly from citizens, who are wondering what protections the law affords to ensure those who suffer with mental illness are not getting access to guns.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand new laws, the consequences of violating them, and how they apply to you. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving a firearm in Illinois, we can advise you of your rights. Contact us today.

Domestic Abuse in Illinois: No Laughing Matter

November 20th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Among all the crimes in Illinois, domestic abuse is among those treated most seriously by prosecutors and judges. Domestic abuse is defined by two elements. First, there is an act of violence. This can be an assault or a battery. That means that there does not necessarily need to be any force or physical touching involved. It is possible to get an assault charge for merely making threats to someone.

Domestic abuse charges are serious- contact an attorney for help with your case.For example, each of the following can be considered domestic abuse:

  • Spousal abuse

  • Child abuse

  • Criminal violations of Orders of Protection

  • Assault

  • Battery

  • Stalking

  • Harassment/telephone harassment

  • Threats

The second element of a domestic assault charge is the victim. What makes domestic abuse “domestic” is the victim. In Illinois there are several types of victims that qualify as domestic abuse victims, they are:

  • Family or household members

  • An adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member

  • Any minor child in a defendant’s care; and

  • Any person residing or employed at a private home or public shelter which is housing an abused family or household member.

Punishments for Domestic Violence Go Beyond Jail Time

If you are convicted of a domestic abuse crime, you will likely be looking at least some time in jail and a significant fine. However, you will also experience other collateral punishments from the conviction. For instance, if you are convicted of a domestic abuse crime, you may lose visitation rights with your children (or custody), have a protective order issued against you by your spouse and/or children, and in some cases have parental rights terminated altogether.

 To learn more about the specifics of this issue, take a look at the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. The law discusses ancillary matters like orders of protection, the responsibilities of law enforcement officers, and the role of health care providers in domestic violence cases.

Have You Been Charged with a Domestic Abuse Crime in Illinois?

If you have been charged with a domestic abuse crime in Illinois you need to ensure you have a passionate, experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney at your side. With so much at stake, you should do everything you can to ensure that you exit the criminal justice system as quickly as you can and with as few collateral consequences as possible. Click here to contact Christopher Cosley, a Chicago criminal defense attorney with the experience and dedication you need.

Chicago Police Create Social Media Tool to Stop Crime

October 16th, 2013 at 7:00 am

chicago-gang-social-media-toolAccording to Reuters, Chicago continues to boast the highest murder rate in the country, in spite of a 22 percent drop earlier this year. Most of this Illinois criminal violence is attributed to gang wars. It is currently estimated that there are as many as 630 different gang factions fighting for territory within the city of Chicago. In an effort to reduce the number of gang-related crimes within the city, Chicago police are now turning to a new social media tool.

Chicago police worked closely with local sociologists in order to develop the tool, which is known as “network analysis,” according to Governing magazine. It works similarly to Facebook’s graphic search tool, and allows members of the Chicago Police Department to map the relationships between the city’s most active gang members and predict their behavior based on a number of factors. This prediction tool allows them to not only see which gang members are most likely to become violent; it allows them to see which ones are likely to become victims as well.

Based on information gained from the new analysis tool, Chicago police have begun visiting with not only potentially violent gang members, but people determined to be influential to them such as close family members and friends as well. In addition to having conversations with these people, they leave a letter that serves as a reminder of what could happen should they be arrested again. Additionally, the police department has changed the way they respond to crimes; instead of flocking to the scene of a recent murder, they deploy officers around the locations and individuals where the tool suggests the next violence will occur.

Though this tool is meant to prevent crime, no tool is perfect. Crime can still occur, and mistakes can be made. If you or someone you know has been accused of a violent crime, don’t try to deal with it on your own. Contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney right away.

What is Statutory Summary Suspension in Illinois?

October 7th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Illinois Statutory Summary SuspensionA term frequently used to discuss driving under the influence (DUI) charges in the state of Illinois is that of statutory summary suspension. According to the 2013 Illinois DUI Fact Book, if the you have received your first DUI or you’re not sure what the term means, educating yourself about the process can be helpful in moving forward in your DUI case. The best way to prepare for your DUI case in court is to hire the services of a talented criminal law attorney.

A statutory summary could apply in your situation if you refused to take or failed to complete chemical testing. Chemical testing is used to determine the level of alcohol in an individual’s blood, and failing refers to a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher at the time of testing.

The suspensions of driving privileges are automatic and they go into effect on the 46th day following the date of a suspension notice. It is important to remember that statutory summary suspensions doesn’t replace any criminal penalties that might be associated with the DUI. If you would like to challenge the arrest, you can request a judicial hearing to initiate that process, but this request doesn’t stop the suspension from going into effect on the appropriate day.

The terms of the suspension depend on your circumstances at the time. Failing chemical testing on your first offense leads to suspension of driving privileges for six months whereas your second or further offense within five years leads to suspension for a period of 1 year with no driving relief opportunities. If you refuse to submit to the chemical testing on your first offense, you can have your driving privileges suspended for 12 months. On your second or subsequent offense, you can have your driving privileges suspended for three years with no opportunity for driving relief. The circumstances of your situation and arrest are critical for understanding your consequences. Speak to an experienced Illinois DUI attorney today to discuss the details of your case.

Illinois state police receive Robbins rape kits dating back to ‘86

June 7th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

The United States seems to have a great government and justice system, but it can only be kept that way if the people working for our country are kept in check just as any business would keep its employees in check. Recently, Illinois found that it had a bit of work to do to keep it’s law enforcement system running smoothly when it was found that evidence from rape cases were not being submitted for testing in labs.

The Illinois State Police were sent 51 sexual assault kits from previous cases to the Illinois State Police for investigation after being found untested in the Robbins Police Department evidence room according to Tom Dart, Cook County Sheriff.

Dart said, “The victims should know they will have their cases heard, and they will be treated like they should have been treated. My goal is to bring justice to these folks.”

He added that the untested kits date back as far as 1986 and they were found alongside guns that were supposed to be sent into the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace the ownership for cases as well.

LucyThis case, which began a few months ago was just the beginning of a national problem, spreading across the country to Denver, Col. as well as other areas of Illinois.

When the Downers Grove Police Department also found untested rape kits in their storage facility, Deputy Chief Kurt Bluder argued, “If every department sent in every piece of evidence to be examined we’d bring the system to its knees.”

Blunder also said that he thinks it best to first see where the case is headed before sending in the rape kits to be tested only when it is absolutely necessary.

The Denver Police Commander, Ronald Saunier, responded to the issue similarly, saying that many of the kits collected are merely for documentation of the incident and there is never an intention of sending those in for tests.

The CALL7 Investigators from the ABC Denver news station did a little research of their own on this incident and found that nearly 72 percent of the rape kits collected since 2007  have never been tested.

The Robbins Police Department is buckling down, trying to eliminate the possibility of evidence going without testing. If you have been accused of a crime, contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney to help you fight the evidence. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal attorney for assistance now.  Christopher M. Cosley and attorneys at his office will fight for you in Rolling Meadows, Ill. today.

 

Image courtesy of Stoonn/Freedigitalphotos

Joliet Crash Kills Plainfield Man

June 23rd, 2012 at 2:35 pm

The Chicago Tribune has reported that a June 9th motor vehicle accident on I-80 near Joliet has claimed the life of a 25-year-old Plainfield motorcyclist. Juan Juarez Del-Angel was riding his motorcycle on I-80 west of I-55 when a Kia sport utility vehicle driven by 42-year-old Aaron Pointer of Joliet lost control when merging onto I-80 from I-55 and drove directly into the path of Del-Angel’s motorcycle. Del-Angel, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at a Joliet hospital.

At the time of the crash, Pointer was driving on a suspended license and had no insurance coverage. Authorities also ticketed Pointer for improper lane usage.

As you can see, what started as a few relatively minor offenses has resulted in the death of another person. While it is unclear in this case why Pointer lost control of his vehicle, the reality is that he was violating the law in choosing to drive his SUV, and therefore caused a fatal accident. As a result, depending on the circumstances that the investigation into this crash reveals, Pointer could theoretically face much more serious criminal charges.

When you face even minor criminal charges such as traffic offenses, you should ensure that you have the best defense possible. Minor charges can often turn into major criminal charges overnight in certain situations. Therefore, it is essential that you contact a qualified Cook County criminal defense lawyer for assistance when you are charged with any type of crime.

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