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 laws’ tag

Crying Wolf Can Be Grounds For Disorderly Conduct in Illinois

September 13th, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Crying Wolf Can Be Grounds For Disorderly Conduct in IllinoisEveryone has heard the story of the little boy who cried wolf. Repeatedly the little boy made false assertions that a wolf was nearby, alarming everyone else in the town. But in truth, there was no wolf. Finally, others stopped believing the boy, and when the boy saw a wolf that posed a real threat to those in the town, no one would heed his warnings because he had developed a reputation as a liar. The moral of this children’s story is that it is not a good idea to report false threats and place groups of people into a state of alarm unnecessarily. A similar premise underlies Illinois disorderly conduct law.

Falsely alerting groups of people of danger is a serious offense in Illinois. When there is no real threat of danger, there is no need to alert others. Alerting others to a false danger can place these people in a state of panic or distress, and can cause them to act in an alarmed way unnecessarily. In effect, false reports of danger put people on edge, and cause them to do things that they might not normally do because they feel like they are in danger, and these false reports of danger can cause disruptions of the peace. Some examples of offenses that can warrant a disorderly conduct charge include:

  • Crying “fire” in a crowded place where there is no real threat of a fire;
  • Reporting to 911 a false call for help, such as calling police to a scene where there is no crime being committed or calling for an ambulance when none is required;
  • Falsely making a report of a bomb or other dangerous explosive; or
  • Making a false report about an abused or neglected child.

Any one of these instances where someone falsely reports a situation or danger, causes dozens of others to be mobilized into action. For instance, if “fire” is shouted in a club, the club patrons will take steps to exit the building, which is unlikely to occur in a safe and considerate fashion since the patrons are likely going to panic. Patrons might get hurt while trying to exit the club, such as being trampled by the crowd or being struck by someone who is panicking. Not only that but if the alleged fire is called into 911, fire trucks will come to the club where there is no real fire, taking these firefighters away from other calls.

It is important to keep the public safe, and that means protecting the public from false reports of danger. That is why Illinois law takes such a firm stance against acts of disorderly conduct. When police, fire, medical services, and child protection services are falsely called to a situation where there is no real threat of harm to anyone, it is a waste of these people’s time and attention.

Contact Us for Professional Representation

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct for falsely reporting a dangerous situation, you should speak with an experienced disorderly defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys are eager to assist you today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K26-1

Different DUI Standards for Medical Marijuana Patients

May 13th, 2015 at 11:56 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, drug crimes, Illinios drug laws, Illinois is slowly limping into the age of medical marijuana. While getting the system up and running is taking some time, there are some very good things in the state’s medical marijuana laws. One of those good things has to do with how medical marijuana patients will be treated when it comes to DUI charges.

Illinois DUI Marijuana Charges for Non-Medical Marijuana Users

People who choose to use marijuana in Illinois without the protections that are afforded to medical marijuana users run serious risks if they are ever pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. Under Illinois statute, a person can be found guilty of DUI if he or she drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in his or her blood, breath, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis. Now, as most marijuana users are aware, certain metabolites of marijuana can remain in a person’s system for days or even weeks after the drug has been used and the effects of the drug have worn off. This means that technically a person who uses non-medical marijuana in Illinois and then drives two or three weeks later can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs, even though all of the science indicates that the marijuana would be having no effect on the person’s driving at that time.

Illinois DUI Marijuana Charges for Medical Marijuana Patients

Fortunately, medical marijuana patients will be treated differently. The Illinois law that deals with this particular type of DUI specifically exempts people who are patients licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. This does not mean, however, that medical marijuana patients will be allowed to drive while high. A different part of the DUI statute makes it a crime to drive while under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs to a degree that the person is rendered incapable of safe driving. So a urine test showing marijuana metabolites will not be enough to convict a person of DUI, but evidence of marijuana intoxication at the time of driving will suffice. One way the State may try to prove intoxication in these cases is through the use of drug recognition experts, or DREs. You may be aware of the standard field sobriety tests that cops perform on suspected drunk drivers. DREs are law enforcement officers who have been trained to administer a longer battery of tests that allegedly indicate whether someone has been using a drug other than alcohol, and if so, what type of drug they have been using.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Christopher Cosley has spent his career defending the rights of people like you. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M . Cosley at (847)394-3200.

Law to Require Videotaped Interrogations a Plus for Police

August 8th, 2014 at 7:13 am

Christopher M. Cosley, criminal defense, Illinois laws, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, videotape police interrogations, videotaped interrogations, record interrogations, digital interrogationA proposal to legally require videotaped interrogations of offenders who are suspected of certain crimes has been passed. A recent news article reports that even though the proposal was originally intended to focus, at least in part, on suspects’ rights, police are seeing it as a positive change for them, as well.

Momentous Change

Cook County has seen about 100 wrongfully convicted criminal offenders be exculpated in the previous approximately 25 years. The most recent examples of this came fairly recently when the convictions of two men for a double murder in 1992 were thrown out and a $40 million settlement was revealed to the public in the case of five men who were wrongfully convicted of a 1991 rape and murder. Both of these cases were tried before a 2003 law made it mandatory to videotape police interrogations of homicide suspects. This and other reforms since have acted to reduce the risk of false confessions by criminal suspects. Other factors, such as a cultural shift in police behavior and improved technology, are also credited with ensuring the correct person is prosecuted for a particular crime.

The Effects

Police practices have changed since the early 1990s, and the state’s attorney reported that that is a good thing. She said that the reforms that have been put in place are working and that a difference is visible. Others, including defense attorneys and civil rights lawyers, say it is too early to determine whether the measures that have been put in place are working, but believe the measures are a positive step in the right direction. They say that it often takes decades for wrongful convictions to emerge and it takes time for inmates to further claims of innocence. According to this group, perhaps false confessions are still being taken and just have not yet been revealed. National statistics support the claim that there is often a lag of 10 years between a false confession and wrongful conviction being overturned.

Years Past

In years past, before any measures were signed into law regarding videotaping confessions, false confessions were not only the product of unethical police tactics, but some say that the high crime levels of the 1980s and 1990s also contributed. Detective units were spread thin because of the high number of crimes, and police tactics were less sophisticated and at times heavy-handed, while forensics were not as reliable as they are today.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can discuss your case with you and advise you of your rights. Contact a Cook County criminal defense attorney today to schedule a consultation.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules on Recorded Conversations

April 25th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

recorded conversation, privacy, divorce, child support, Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled on the constitutionality of a statute regarding the legality of audio-recording a conversation. According to that law, any person who records a conversation without the consent of all parties involved in the conversation commits a crime. The law as written is broad, and defines a conversation as any oral communication between two or more people, regardless of whether one of the parties intends for the conversation to be private.

Facts of the Case

The facts giving rise to the case that was eventually heard by the Illinois Supreme Court involve a pro-se party to a child support proceeding. That party recorded a hearing that was held in open court during which a court reporter was not present. He also recorded a conversation between himself and opposing counsel prior to the start of the hearing. The recording was the pro-se party’s only record of the proceedings, in which he participated without the benefit of counsel or a court reporter keeping a record. He was charged with violating the aforementioned statute as a result of these actions.

Court’s Holding

The Illinois Supreme Court held that the above statute violates the First Amendment, as the law places a greater burden on speech than what is required to protect the interest in conversational privacy. The Court reasoned that the statute criminalizes a broad range of conduct regarding recording all conversations, even those that may not be considered private under any circumstances, including any conversation that is loud enough to be overheard by a third party, whether in a public or a private setting. Not all conversations implicate privacy interests, but the law as written failed to distinguish that fact, despite the fact that the law did contain several exceptions. The Court stated that recordings of truly private conversations would remain under the scope of the statute, as a narrower interpretation of law better serves the intent in enacting it.

In addition, the statute criminalized conduct that, seen another way, is perfectly legal. For example, if a person overheard a conversation without recording it and later quoted a portion of the communication in a publication, no law would be broken. However, if the same person merely recorded a conversation without having published any of its contents, the act would be a crime.

The Court concluded that the statute went too far in trying to protect a citizen’s interest in private conversations, and that it put more burden on free speech than necessary to serve its interests. The Court deemed the statute overly broad and, therefore, unconstitutional.

In addition to the enactment of new laws, laws that have been on the books change and are tested in Court regularly. While every member of the public may not be aware of this fact, it is an attorney’s responsibility to keep informed of new laws and changes to existing ones. That is why hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights is so important. If you have been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, contact the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation.

Could Marijuana Possession be Decriminalized?

March 18th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

marijuana decriminalization, marijuana possession, Illinois criminal law, criminal defense, laweyr attorneyIn an effort to address the problem of ever-growing prison populations, a recent article reported that an Illinois lawmaker is proposing lower penalties for offenses involving small amounts of some drugs. The proposal includes decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession in favor of punishing the offense with a citation comparable to a traffic ticket.

The Proposal

The proposed change, coming from Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Democrat from Riverside, is part of a recent interest in realigning the criminal justice system in order to decrease the population of inmates in prisons across Illinois. He said his plan would also include lessening the penalty for possession of small amounts of other drugs, including heroin and cocaine. The proposal as it relates to marijuana would impart a $250.00 fine for the first such offense.

According to Zalewski, the plan would not only reduce prison populations, but would also lessen the burden for law enforcement labs to test substances related to criminal cases that may get dismissed anyway. He has been a recent advocate of a number of bills aimed at reducing sentences for certain criminal offenses, in spite of his previous efforts at tougher penalties for violations of gun control laws.

Committee Approval

Although the Judiciary Committee heard Zalewski’s proposals, they did not take a vote. Zalewski is beginning to gauge support for the proposals by speaking with colleagues, and has not yet stated when he will ask for panel approval.

Prison Overpopulation

Currently, there are 49,000 individuals imprisoned in Illinois’ correctional system, which was built to hold just 32,000. State prisons regularly house about 4,500 more inmates than they are suited to hold. The proposals outlined above, as well as other similar measures, take aim at those crimes that account for a large number of inmates in state prison. Not only would the measures allow for the reduction of the prison population, but would also pave the way for harsher penalties to be enforced for more serious crimes, such as gun offenses, something Zaleski also supports.

Not only does the overpopulation of prisons pose the realistic problem of space, but also the financial and budgetary problem of overspending on the prison system. Some estimate that the amount spent is about $1.3 billion – which is a great sum, but not even enough to adequately meet the needs of the inmates currently in the system.

Working out the Details

Zaleski refrained from describing the measure as the decriminalization of marijuana, the details of which are still being defined. He said it was more of a restructuring of the criminal justice system as it related to these offenses.

Even though the proposal has not been put into legislation yet, representatives from the narcotics bureau of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said those arrested for possession of about an ounce of marijuana would face a $250.00 fine for their first offense. Previously, they would have faced up to one year of incarceration. Possession crimes involving heroin, cocaine, or other drugs will have a three-year prison term associated with them instead of four.

Drug crimes can be serious offenses. It is beneficial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois to protect your rights. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation about your specific matter.

Back to Top Back to Top Back to Top