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Archive for the ‘pleading guilty’ tag

Should I Take a Plea Deal?

March 26th, 2018 at 6:47 pm

criminal cases, plea deal, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, criminal case negotiation, pleading guiltyMany people have seen an episode of a legal drama on television. A crime is committed, the suspect is arrested on charges, and then he or she is either found guilty or takes a plea deal.

Television dramas make it seem like these scenarios are very black and white—the accused is either found guilty or takes a plea deal. Plea deals are offered to the accused frequently, but rarely are they discussed in detail.

In reality, taking a plea deal is a huge consideration in a criminal case. A plea deal is a negotiation between the defendant and his or her attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other side. The defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest to some crimes, in return for a reduction of the severity of the charge or the dismissal of some of the charges. Or, the prosecutor recommends a reduced sentence that would be given after a trial.

Considerations for a Plea Deal

Being charged with a crime in Illinois is stressful. Do not let that stress cloud your judgment regarding what needs to be considered if a plea deal is offered. First and foremost, you need to contact an attorney. An attorney will be able to guide you through the entire process and help you determine your options in relation to a plea deal. He or she will know if the deal is a desirable one or if you have a better chance going to trial.

Factors that will be taken into consideration regarding a plea deal include the following:

  • Your chances at trial. Every case is unique. You must look at the evidence on both sides of the case to assess the risk of going to trial.
  • Variables at trial. It is impossible to know the end result going into trial. To be sure, many unexpected variables can arise in the trial stage.
  • Consequences of the plea. When you take a plea deal, you are pleading guilty or no contest to a crime. You need to consider the implications of having this on your record versus the chance of not having anything on your record should you succeed at trial.

It is Important to Contact an Attorney Today

Ultimately, there is no clear answer when a plea deal should be taken. It is up to you, the accused, to decide whether you will take it or not. However, having an experienced defense attorney can help. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley will take the time to explain your options and the consequences of those actions. Choose the attorney who will take the time to advocate for you and realizes the risk involved in criminal cases. Contact us today for assistance.


What Does it Mean to Plead “No Contest?”

March 20th, 2018 at 6:29 am

charged with a crime, guilty plea, plead no contest, pleading guilty, Rolling Meadows defense attorneyIf you have been charged with a crime, you must enter a plea to the court. Generally, people think of “guilty” or “not guilty.” However, there are other options, such as “no contest.”

Under Illinois law, a defendant is brought into open court and read the charges against him or her. The defendant then makes a plea pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/113-4, by either pleading guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or not guilty. The statute does not specifically point to the plea of no contest. Because no contest is not stated in the statute, a defendant does not have the right to plead no contest in every criminal case. However, a judge can allow the defendant to make the no contest plea.

What is “No Contest”

No contest comes from the phrase “nolo contendere,” which means “I will not contest.” A no contest plea is very similar to a plea of guilty. In a no contest plea, the defendant does not disagree with the facts of the case, or his or her role in the crime. The defendant is, however, not admitting guilt. When a defendant pleads guilty, he or she is admitting their guilt in the crime. The plea of no contest is essentially the defendant accepting the penalties for the crime, but without admitting guilt.

Consequences of “No Contest”

While it appears that a guilty plea and a no contest plea are the same, there is one substantial difference. A guilty plea will follow a defendant to other cases. A defendant who pleads guilty can have that conviction be used as evidence in future trial, crimes, or proceedings. A no contest plea cannot be used against a defendant in later proceedings.

For example, if an individual caused an injury while driving under the influence of alcohol, a plea of no contest could protect him or her from additional civil proceedings.  If a defendant pleads guilty to the DUI and injuries, the injured party could use that admission of guilt in a civil suit. A plea of no contest would not allow the injured party, or the injured party’s representatives, to use the plea in a future lawsuit. Since the defendant did not admit guilt through the no contest plea, it cannot be used against him or her in the future.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

Figuring out what plea to enter in a crime is tricky. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorney who knows how to help. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley will inform you of your options and help you decide what the best course of action is. Our legal team wants to advocate for your rights and provide the best possible defense. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.


Consequences of Pleading Guilty To A Traffic Citation

September 20th, 2016 at 11:07 am

Consequences of Pleading Guilty To A Traffic CitationMany drivers in Illinois are stopped by law enforcement and issued traffic citations when they allegedly violate one of Illinois many traffic laws. While a ticket could be embarrassing, or might make you mad, you must take some sort of action regarding your traffic ticket.

Consequences of Pleading Guilty to a Traffic Violation

Most tickets are simple to deal with, and many do not even require the driver to appear in court. There are many types of traffic tickets that can simply be paid over the internet or at the courthouse.  Many drivers elect to pay their fine and be done with their ticket. But payment of the ticket fine is effectively the same as pleading guilty to your traffic citation.

Countless Illinois drivers do not realize that this is the case and are surprised to learn that there are consequences for paying the fine and effectively pleading guilty to a traffic offense. For instance, in some cases, it can mean that points will be added to your driver’s license by the Illinois Driver Services Department. If you get too many points on your driver’s license in a certain amount of time, your driver’s license can be suspended. The more points you have on your driver’s license also translates to increased car insurance premium rates.

Paying the fine on your traffic ticket will also create a record of your admission of guilt in your driving record, which is maintained by the Illinois Driver Services Department. This record is communicated to law enforcement and government agencies in other states.

While it is important to deal with your traffic ticket as soon as possible (as traffic tickets always come with a date by which payment is due), you do not have to admit guilt. You can always fight any traffic ticket that is issued to you in court. A skilled Illinois traffic offenses lawyer can help you make your case to the court, and it may be possible to get your charges and fine reduced, if not dropped completely.

What Happens if You Ignore Your Ticket?

Pretending that your traffic ticket never happened is not a good idea either. If you do not pay the fine for your ticket, or you fail to make a scheduled court appearance, it can result in a judgment against you and a warrant could be issued for your arrest. It is also likely that if you ignore a traffic ticket, your driver’s license will be suspended.

Got A Traffic Ticket? Talk To Us

Traffic tickets happen to drivers all the time, and if you believe that you were wrongly ticketed, then you should consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows traffic violations lawyer about fighting your ticket. We are eager to assist you today.


Minorities Affected by Illinois Juvenile Law

May 20th, 2014 at 4:12 pm

juvenile offense, minorities and crime, Chicago juvenile crime lawyer, repeat offender, pleading guilty, juvenile court, Illinois juvenile lawAccording to an article recently published, a study shows that the Illinois law, which required juveniles charged with certain serious crimes to be tried as adults, may be discriminatory.

The imposition of the law also takes away judges’ discretion in these cases while also increasing the likelihood that the same juveniles will become repeat offenders in the future, according to the study.

Juvenile Justice Initiative

As part of the study, the Initiative considered 257 juvenile cases heard in Cook County between 2010 and 2012, in which juveniles were charged as adults in keeping with the law. All but one of the cases involved a defendant who was considered a minority. Out of these juveniles, over half of those that were transferred ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge in adult court, which would not have caused the case to be transferred out of juvenile court had they been originally charged with the lesser offense.

The conclusion of the study found that by transferring a juvenile case to adult court, the offender’s chances at rehabilitation are seriously diminished. Also, the juveniles instead spend their time in adult jail, which correlates to a higher risk for reoffending and taking part in a violent crime. One of the contributing factors to this is that juveniles involved in the adult court process can remain in prison for up to a year before their case is heard, while their counterparts who have pending cases in juvenile court may spend just a month or so in detention.

Future Legislation

As a result of the study’s findings, the Initiative is pointing to legislation that would amend the current Illinois law to avoid an automatic transfer of certain juvenile cases to adult court. Instead, the group wants to focus on legislation that would allow judges to exercise their discretion in determining which cases should be transferred in light of the circumstances and the individual defendant. Advocates tout the inherent advantages of having a judge, who is sitting in the best position to determine the circumstances of a person and a crime and make the decision to transfer a case, instead of a blanket approach instituted by the General Assembly.

Current Law

Illinois is not the only state to keep such a law on its books. The law was enacted in the early 1980s and requires juveniles between the ages of 15 and 17 years old to be automatically transferred to adult court when charged with serious offenses including murder, armed robbery, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated battery with a firearm. Once a juvenile is tried as an adult, future charges will also be heard in adult court, no matter the severity of the offense.

Often, the problem is that juveniles are interrogated by officers without a lawyer present, are charged as an adult. They then plead guilty to a lesser charge as the result of bargaining. There is never an opportunity for the juvenile to be heard in court or have the case tried, which results in a situation in which the juvenile’s fate is essentially sealed at the point of arrest.

Criminal Defense Attorney

While some may consider the need for this change to be obvious, it may take a while to be put into practice if it approved at all. In the meantime, those charged with any criminal offense as a juvenile, but especially those who likely face a transfer to adult court, should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

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