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

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

24 HOUR ANSWERING SERVICE

Archive for the ‘Illinois criminal justice system’ tag

Illinois Considers Reducing Minimum Sentences for Certain Charges

May 9th, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Illinois criminal lawyerIllinois lawmakers want to change the laws on mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes. In mid-April, the Illinois House of Representatives voted on legislation that would give judge’s more discretion during sentencing. If recent House Bill 1587 becomes law, judges could consider further reducing minimum mandatory sentences for individuals convicted of drug possession, retail theft, and driving on a revoked license because of unpaid fines, child support, and other financial obligations.

The Court System and the Proposed Law

Currently, when a defendant is convicted of a crime, a judge has a range of sentences to choose from during sentencing. Each crime has a minimum mandatory sentence, as well as a maximum mandatory sentence. Judges are granted some discretion, but they cannot move outside of that range. A judge will consider a defendant’s past criminal history, and the nature surrounding the crime and determine what sentencing within that range is fair.

Under the proposed law, however, judges would have much more discretion in cases involving certain revoked licenses, retail theft, and drug possession charges. For example, if an individual was convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana and had no criminal history, a judge may not impose the minimum sentence, but reduce the sentence even further.

Current Penalties for Crimes

If the proposed law is passed, it will be a huge move for the criminal reform so many have called on Illinois legislators to make. Currently, those convicted of these non-violent crimes face severely harsh penalties and in many cases, jail time that many argue is unnecessary when the person poses no threat.

Some of the current penalties in Illinois for these crimes include:

  • Marijuana possession in an amount between 10 and 30 grams: Up to one year in jail;
  • Meth possession in an amount of fewer than five grams: Minimum two years in prison;
  • Misdemeanor retail theft (value less than $300): Up to one year in county jail;
  • Felony retail theft (value over $300): One to three years in prison; and
  • Driving on a revoked license for financial obligations: Minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.

As the lawmakers have been arguing, clearly some of these minimum sentences need to change. However, with lawmakers on either side debating the issue, some have raised concerns about the proposed bill. Some believe the criminal justice system is not broken, and so there is no reason to fix it.

Still, the bill passed the House of Representatives by a very narrow margin. In order for the bill to be passed, the Senate would have to debate it within the next coming weeks.

Facing Criminal Charges? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

This new proposed law is good news for those convicted of certain crimes, but it is one that will still only apply after someone is convicted of those crimes. Those facing criminal charges still need the help of a criminal defense attorney for help ensuring their case does not make it that far.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. We will help you build a solid defense so you can retain your freedom and beat the charges. In some cases, we may also negotiate with the prosecution and make solid arguments in court to have charges or sentences reduced. If you are facing criminal charges, do not try to go it alone. Call us today or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation.

 

Source:

https://www.northernpublicradio.org/post/legislation-would-let-judges-depart-mandatory-minimums-only-few-crimes

 

What to Expect When Charged with Domestic Violence

April 25th, 2019 at 8:37 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois domestic violence lawyer, Being accused of domestic violence can be terrifying. It is likely that your accuser is someone you love, and there is a possibility you could end up with a criminal record. Not knowing what is going to come next is one of the most frightening aspects of the entire process.

While each domestic violence case is different, there are a few similarities they all share. They all typically begin with a phone call to the police, reporting the domestic violence. It is important for anyone to understand that once this happens, the decision to lay charges does not rest with the alleged victim. When police respond to a 911 call to report domestic violence, they must make an arrest. After the arrest is made, the accused will face a number of hearings and possibly a trial.

The Bond Hearing

When people are accused of committing a crime, they are often able to post bond or bail. This releases them from the police station until they have their first hearing in front of a judge. According to the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure, however, bond is not possible for those accused of domestic violence. At least, not right away.

Instead, defendants must wait for a bond hearing when they will appear in front of a judge. There is no law that states this must happen right away. Often defendants must wait until the following day, or even until the following Monday if there were arrested during the weekend.

At the hearing, a judge will only determine if the defendant is eligible to post bond, how much it should be, and whether or not to issue a protective order. The judge will consider the defendant’s criminal history and the seriousness of the alleged crime.

When a judge allows the defendant to post bond, they still cannot have any contact with the alleged victim for 48 hours. This remains true even if the alleged victim wishes to see the defendant.

The Status Hearing

The status hearing is held to determine if the case is going to trial. The court will call upon the victim to make an appearance. When the victim fails to appear, this is often enough for the courts to dismiss the case. If the court still wishes to speak to the victim, they will sometimes schedule another status hearing.

There are some cases a judge may decide to take a case to trial even if the victim was not present at the status hearing. These include when the defendant has confessed, or there is substantial evidence against the defendant.

The Trial

If an alleged victim comes forward and wishes to testify, the case will most likely move to trial. A judge will set a trial date, but this does not necessarily mean that the case will go before a jury. At this time, the defendant can ask their attorney to negotiate a plea bargain deal with the prosecution. For those that do not want to take their chances at trial, this option allows the defendant to enter a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Charged with Domestic Violence? Call the Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that Can Help

The process after being charged with domestic violence is a lengthy one, and no one should handle their case alone. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help anyone charged build a strong defense and possibly even get all charges dismissed. If you were charged with domestic violence, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. Cases involving domestic violence charges move quickly, and there is no time to waste. Call today for your free consultation so we can start reviewing your case.

 

Source:

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

What Is 410 Probation in Illinois?

January 15th, 2019 at 10:07 pm

IL defense lawyerAccording to the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, a person arrested for possession of certain illegal drugs in the state may face felony charges. This is true even if it is their first offense. However, in Illinois, some defendants may be eligible for 410 Probation. This can allow those facing possession charges to avoid jail time. Few are aware though, of how 410 Probation works in Illinois.

Felony Possession Charges in Illinois

Not every possession charge will be considered a felony in Illinois. In order to be facing felony charges, a person must have been in possession of:

  • 15 grams or more of LSD, morphine, heroin, or cocaine;
  • 30 grams of more of pentazocine, ketamine, or methaqualone; or
  • 200 grams or more of amphetamines, peyote, or barbituric acid.

The most minor of these charges can result in a Class 1 felony charge. If convicted, an individual may face four4 to 15 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. However, individuals that are facing a first offense for felony drug charges may be eligible for 410 Probation.

410 Probation

In order to be eligible for 410 Probation, individuals must meet certain requirements. One of these is that the individual cannot have any previous drug charges, including those involving cannabis. They also could not have been placed on probation in the past.

In order to accept the probation, individuals must plead guilty to the drug charge. After the guilty plea is accepted, a judge will place the individual on probation instead of entering a judgment.

While on probation, the individual will have a number of conditions that must be met. These include:

  • No weapon possession while on probation;
  • No criminal violations;
  • Random drug testing;
  • 30 hours of community service;
  • Possible fines;
  • Possible rehabilitation; and
  • Continued court appearances throughout the probation time.

Once the probation has been completed successfully and the individual has met all the conditions, the court will then dismiss the charge.

The biggest benefit of 410 Probation is that it allows individuals to avoid prison time. Due to the charge being dismissed from their record after probation is completed, the charge will also be cleared from the individual’s public record.

If a background check is done by future employers or landlords, the record will show that the individual was charged with a felony drug charge, but that the charges were dismissed. After five years, individuals that have successfully completed 410 Probation can petition the court to have their record sealed.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that Can Help

While 410 Probation has many advantages for those facing first-time felony drug charges, the program also has some drawbacks. For example, if an individual violates the conditions of their probation, they will not be able to contest the charge in court because they have already pled guilty. In addition, if the court determines the individual has a significant drug problem, they may also deny the possibility of probation.

If you have been charged with a felony drug charge, contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer that can help. We can review your case and determine whether or not 410 Probation is a possibility, and if it is in the best interest of the accused individual. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=5200000&SeqEnd=7900000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072005700K410

What Is Obstruction of Justice?

October 22nd, 2018 at 12:54 pm

Illinois defense lawyerThe news cycle has been full of the phrase ‘obstruction of justice’ in recent months, but while it can be a crime that affects the highest officials in the country, it can also be a crime that an average person is charged with when they become involved in a criminal investigation. If you are less than truthful with law enforcement, you may wind up on the receiving end of obstruction charges if you are not careful, and the penalty can be quite severe.

No Physical Act Necessary

Illinois’ relevant statute defines obstruction of justice as willfully performing certain actions, such as concealing evidence or witnesses, or lying to police, with the intent to “prevent the apprehension of” or “obstruct the prosecution or defense of” any one specific person. In other words, if someone lies to the police or conceals or destroys evidence with the intent to stop a criminal case from going forward, they may (at least in theory) be charged with obstruction of justice.

Historically, obstruction of justice was thought to require a physical act – that is, to physically destroy papers or burn evidence or drive a witness out of state – but recent jurisprudence has given modified that statement. In 2012, the Illinois Supreme Court held in People v. Baskerville that lying to a police officer may constitute obstruction – but it is important to note that it does not always. In many obstruction cases, the decision whether or not to prosecute can be a judgment call, especially if the prosecution of that suspect is later successful (in other words, if the relevant information was discovered by other means).

If You Are Charged

If you are charged with obstructing justice, the penalties can be severe, Most charges of obstruction are processed as Class 4 felonies, meaning that they are punishable by between one to three years in jail and a fine of $25,000. In rare situations it can be charged as a Class 3 felony, usually, if the obstruction is in relation to gang activity, but even if the obstruction is related to gang activity it may be possible to seek a lesser sentence, depending on the specific situation.

In some cases, it may be that prosecutors will seek to charge a person with obstruction related to an investigation if they are unable to mount an effective case for the underlying crime – for example, San Francisco Giants baseball player Barry Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice over his statements to a grand jury regarding steroid use (both his own and other people’s), but prosecutors did not have the evidence to charge him over alleged drug use in his own case. This may also be a means by which a lesser sentence can be sought – providing the information that was being hidden can sometimes make obstruction charges disappear.

Seek Experienced Legal Help

While little actions like telling a white lie or warning a friend that the police are looking for them can feel like good deeds, they can open you up to serious legal liability. If you are charged with obstruction of justice in Illinois, you need an experienced attorney who knows how these types of cases tend to work. The skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can sit down with you and try to figure out a good strategy to go forward. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K31-4

http://illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/SupremeCourt/2012/111056.pdf

Back to Top Back to Top Back to Top