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Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadow criminal defense attorneys’ tag

What Turns a DUI Into an Aggravated DUI?

June 12th, 2019 at 5:14 pm

Illinois defense attorney, IL criminal lawyerIt was in February of 2019 that a woman was convicted of an aggravated DUI after crashing into a stalled vehicle on the Murray Baker Bridge in 2017, killing another woman. She faced up to 14 years in prison, but recently was sentenced to three years. Under her no contest plea, she is eligible for appeal and probation, but must serve at least 85 percent of her sentence.

Any DUI is considered a serious offense in the state of Illinois. An aggravated DUI however, involves certain factors that upgrade the crime to something more serious.

Misdemeanor DUI vs. Aggravated DUI

Most DUIs in Illinois are considered Class A misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison. Many first offense misdemeanor DUIs do not involve any jail time. When there are certain other factors involved in the crime, known as aggravating factors, the charge of DUI is upgraded to a felony or an aggravated DUI.

When a person is convicted of an aggravated DUI, the minimum sentence is a minimum of 10 days in jail or 480 hours of community service. Aggravated DUIs differ from misdemeanors mainly due to the fact that maximum sentences exceed one year. Sentences for aggravated DUIs are typically between at least one and three years.

Types of Aggravated DUI Offenses

There are many different circumstances that can result in a DUI becoming an aggravated DUI. They include:

  • Prior offenses: When the driver has two or more prior DUIs, any others that follow are considered aggravated DUIs
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license: When the driver’s license is suspended or revoked for prior DUIs, leaving the scene of an accident, or reckless homicide
  • Driving without a valid license: When the driver does not have a valid driver’s license, learner’s permit, or restricted driving permit
  • Driving without valid insurance: When the driver knew, or should have known, the vehicle they were driving was not covered by proper liability insurance
  • An accident occurred that resulted in great bodily harm: The prosecution will likely press aggravated DUI charges, even if the drunk driver was not at fault for the accident
  • Accidents resulting in bodily harm to those under 16: When those injured are minors, any extent of injury will result in an aggravated DUI
  • Accidents resulting in death: These aggravated DUI charges count as one felony, regardless of the number of fatalities. Unlike other instances, the drunk driver must have contributed to the accident.
  • Drunk driving in a school zone: If a drunk driver harms anyone while driving through a school zone, they will face aggravated DUI charges. Serious injuries are not required but if an accident does result in great bodily harm, the charges and associated penalties will likely increase.
  • Driving a school bus with passengers under the age of 18: Even one passenger can result in an aggravated DUI charge, and the incident does not have to involve an accident.
  • Prior DUI convictions under certain circumstances: These include carrying a passenger under the age of 16 and previous convictions for an alcohol-related homicide offense.

When facing charges for any type of aggravated DUI, those accused must speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer that can help.

Charged with a DUI? Call Our Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with any type of DUI, contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer today. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we want to help you build a solid defense that will have your charges dropped or reduced so you face as few penalties as possible. These charges are serious, and you need someone with experience to help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today at 847-394-3200 or fill out our online form for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.pjstar.com/news/20190424/dunlap-woman-sentenced-for-2017-fatal-dui-accident

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

What Is a Class X Felony in Illinois?

May 23rd, 2019 at 4:59 pm

IL defense lawyerRecently in Macon County, a man was found guilty of delivering heroin, which is a Class X felony. While many people understand what a Class 1 or Class 4 felony is in the state, what exactly is a Class X felony in Illinois?

Other than first-degree murder, which is not classified, a Class X felony is the worst charge a person can face. It has mandatory jail time, and sentences are typically for a long period of time. Due to this mandatory sentence, negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the Class X felony charge is very difficult. Anyone charged with this type of felony in Illinois must speak to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney to give them the best possible chance of success in court.

Class X Felonies in Illinois

Under Illinois law, there are ten different charges classified as a Class X felony. These include:

  • Aggravated kidnapping;
  • Aggravated battery with a firearm;
  • Aggravated battery of a minor;
  • Home invasion;
  • Aggravated criminal sexual assault;
  • Predatory criminal sexual assault of a minor;
  • Armed robbery;
  • Aggravated vehicular hijacking;
  • Aggravated arson; and
  • Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

Penalties for Class X Felonies

The penalties for a Class X felony are some of the harshest in the state. If convicted, those accused face a minimum sentence of six years in prison. The maximum sentence is 30 years. This jail time is in addition to a maximum fine of $25,000. Due to the minimum sentencing requirements for these types of felonies, even first-time offenders will face jail time if convicted.

While the maximum sentence is 30 years, judges are given the discretion to add more jail time if certain aggravating factors were part of the crime. If a judge decides aggravating factors were present, they can sentence a defendant to 30 to 60 years in prison. Some aggravating factors include:

  • When the defendant has been convicted of any crime in the past;
  • When the victim of the crime was over the age of 60 or disabled;
  • When the crime was committed based on discriminatory factors such as the victim’s race, religion, or sexual orientation; and
  • When the defendant caused or threatened serious harm to the victim.

It is also important that anyone facing charges understands that probation is not possible with a Class X felony charge.

Negotiating with the Prosecution

Due to the mandatory sentencing requirements, it is typically very difficult to negotiate with the prosecution when the defendant faces a Class X felony. The State’s Attorney’s office typically chooses the best prosecutors to try a case involving a Class X felony. In addition, due to the fact that a defendant will face jail time no matter what if convicted, the prosecution does not often have reason to negotiate with the defendant.

However, negotiating with the prosecution is the only way probation is possible. If the prosecution is willing to reduce the charge, there is still a likelihood the defendant will face jail time if convicted, but they will also be eligible for probation in many cases.

Charged with a Class X Felony? Speak to a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

Class X felonies are the worst charges a person could face other than first-degree murder. Due to this, and the possibility of extremely harsh penalties, anyone charged with this type of felony must speak to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for immediate legal assistance. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we know how to negotiate with the prosecution in any case. We will work hard to ensure your rights are upheld and that, when possible, your charges are reduced. No one should leave these types of cases in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. The stakes are simply too high. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation so we can begin discussing your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-4.5-25

https://newschannel20.com/news/local/decatur-man-found-guilty-of-delivering-heroin-to-springfield-resident

 

Defenses for Domestic Violence Charges

June 20th, 2018 at 9:40 am

domestic violence charges, domestic violence defense, Rolling Meadow criminal defense attorneys, mistaken identity, domestic violence allegationsDomestic violence is a major problem across the state. In general, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act provides remedies available to those who might be victims of domestic violence. When appropriate, abusers must face consequences for their actions. However, not everyone charged with domestic violence is guilty.

Overall, while the law is meant to protect victims, some individuals may choose to falsely allege domestic violence in order to advance their agenda. If you have been charged with domestic violence in the state, it is imperative that you fully understand the scope of the crime and how to mount a solid defense.

False Allegations

One of the greatest concerns in domestic violence situations is determining who is telling the truth. Situations can turn into a “he said, she said” battle that is hard to handle. With sympathy usually going to the alleged victim, the best way to prove the allegations are false is to poke holes in that person’s story. If you find inconsistencies and false statements that can be corroborated, it may be easier to prove that the alleged victim is making false accusations. False allegations are often used in child custody cases and divorce to get a more favorable outcome.

Self-Defense

Illinois law justifies the use of force against another when someone reasonably believes that type of conduct is necessary to defend themselves or someone else against another’s imminent use of illegal force. If the alleged victim was also attacking you or otherwise using force, alleging self-defense might be applicable.

Insufficient Proof

A prosecutor must meet his or her burden of proof for a defendant to be convicted of a crime. Providing evidence that prevents the prosecutor from meeting his or her burden of proof is a great strategy to get charges reduced or dropped altogether. In domestic violence proceedings, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty. Beyond a reasonable doubt means that there is no other explanation that can be arrived at from the set of facts of the case.

Mistaken Identity

Along with a defense of false allegations is the defense of mistaken identity. If the alleged victim blamed the wrong person, a defendant can introduce evidence that proves he or she was not even present or responsible for the abuse.

Consent

In very rare circumstances, an alleged victim might have consented to certain activity. In these cases, if you can prove that the alleged victim voluntarily consented, it could serve as a defense.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need an attorney who will advocate for your rights and use every possible defense. It is important to note that while there are defenses available, there is no guarantee that any of these defenses would guarantee acquittal or charges being dropped. While there is no guarantee any given defense will work, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can ensure you are putting the best foot forward. Our passionate Rolling Meadow criminal defense attorneys possess the skills, knowledge, and experience to achieve the best possible outcome for your circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2100&ChapterID=59

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=8200000&SeqEnd=9700000

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