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Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadows defense attorney’ tag

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

Are Tenants that Refuse to Leave Criminally Trespassing?

January 11th, 2019 at 9:58 pm

IL defense lawyerBeing a landlord in Rolling Meadows, regardless of whether it is of a single family home or a huge apartment building, is not easy. There is maintenance to worry about, collecting rent from tenants, and of course, possibly evicting them when they fail to make those payments. What happens though, when a tenant refuses to leave after being evicted? Can the landlord have them charged with criminal trespassing?

Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/21-3

The definition of criminal trespassing is outlined in Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/21-3. Essentially, the statute states that criminal trespassing has occurred when someone enters or remains on land after the owner or occupant has asked them to leave.

This sounds like it would cover a situation in which a tenant will not leave after being evicted, or asked to leave, by their landlord. However, it does not. The statute has some exceptions.

One of these is when the person being asked to leave is living on the land. Furthermore, anyone invited onto the land by the tenant that will not leave is also not considered to be criminally trespassing, even if the owner has asked them to vacate the premises. For these reasons, a person is most often charged with criminal trespassing when they have unlawfully entered, or refused to leave, a business or public area, not when they are in their home.

In the case of a person criminally trespassing, the property owner has to phone the police and have the person arrested. Police cannot simply show up and arrest tenants that refuse to leave. If they did so, they could be held liable for unlawfully evicting a person from their home.

Illinois Code of Civil Procedure

This does not mean that landlords do not have any options when it comes to removing unwanted tenants. It simply means that they must follow the civil, not criminal, procedures outlined in the Eviction Act. According to Illinois statute 735 ILCS 5/9-209, a landlord can notify a tenant of eviction if the tenant has not paid rent five days after it was due.

Of course, it is more time-consuming to follow the requirements set out in the Act. It is though, the only legal recourse a landlord has. The process of eviction in Rolling Meadows also is not one that takes as long as many people think. From the time notice is provided by the landlord to the time the eviction is final takes approximately one month.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that Can Help

The idea of criminal trespassing, and all it encompasses, can become confusing. This charge is not always appropriate simply because someone is on someone else’s property, even if they have been asked to leave. For this reason, people are sometimes charged with criminal trespassing when they are not guilty of the crime.

If you have been charged with criminal trespassing, do not try to fight the charges on your own. Contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney that can help. The penalties for criminal trespassing if convicted can include up to one year in jail, in addition to the permanent mark on your criminal record. Our office offers a free consultation so call us today at 847-394-3200 so we can start reviewing your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K9-209

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K21-3

 

What Is Aggravated Speeding in Rolling Meadows?

January 8th, 2019 at 9:54 pm

IL defense lawyerFor most drivers in Rolling Meadows, a speeding ticket is little more than an annoyance. These tickets often do not result in anything more than a fine. There are instances when a speeding ticket can result in much more. This is when the driver is charged with aggravated speeding. An aggravated speeding charge is very serious. Anyone charged with this crime should speak to a criminal defense lawyer in Rolling Meadows right away.

What Is Aggravated Speeding?

According to Illinois statute 625 ILCS 5/11-601.5, aggravated speeding consists of driving 26 miles per hour, or more, over the posted speed limit. At one time, traveling at these speeds was considered the same as a minor speeding ticket. However, due to the fact that driving at such speeds poses an increased threat to public safety, lawmakers in the state increased the penalties for aggravated speeding in 2011.

Aggravated speeding is still considered to be a misdemeanor offense. When a driver is traveling between 26 and 34 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. The charge becomes more serious when a driver is traveling over 35 miles per hour the posted speed limit. In these cases, drivers can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Penalties for Aggravated Speeding

When a driver is charged with aggravated speeding, the penalties are much more severe than simply being charged with lesser speeding offenses. In most cases, the driver will have their driver’s license suspended temporarily. In the worst case scenarios, a driver can actually have their license revoked, which means they are permanently prohibited from driving in the state.

Fines and jail time are also real possibilities when a person has been charged with aggravated speeding. Fines can be up to $2,500, in addition to court costs, and a person may be sentenced to spend up to one year in jail.

Court Supervision for Aggravated Speeding Charges

Court supervision is a more desirable penalty for aggravated speeding. Whether or not court supervision is sentenced will be left to the judge’s discretion.

Court supervision requires a person charged with a crime to comply with certain conditions that the judge will specify. These can include community service, attending traffic school, reporting to the court or other person designated by the court, or more. Illinois statute 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1 outlines the full definition and requirements of court supervision within the state.

Court supervision will typically last up to two years. When determining whether or not court supervision is an option, a judge will likely determine whether or not someone is likely to re-offend, if the accused is a threat to the public, and will deem whether or not court supervision is a preferred penalty over other possibilities.

Court supervision can be considered a deferred dismissal of the charge. Upon adequate completion, all of the charges will be dismissed and it will not result in a conviction.

Get the Help You Need from a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

Aggravated speeding is considered to be a very serious crime in Rolling Meadows. If convicted, one could face serious penalties such as spending up to one year in jail. While a judge may offer court supervision as a penalty, it is not a guarantee.

If you have been charged with aggravated speeding, contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation. An attorney will fight for your rights in court and is your best chance at having the charges dismissed, or being sentenced to court supervision. Aggravated speeding is a serious charge and one you certainly do not want to fight on your own.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K11-601.5.htm

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-6-3.1

Aggravated Battery of a Child

December 28th, 2018 at 2:22 pm

IL defense attorneyThe death of a three-month-old baby led to the recent arrest of a Marion, Illinois man. The man was arrested for battery to a child, domestic battery, and aggravated battery. Police responded to a female caller who said that her child was being abused. The mother took her baby to the Heartland Regional Medical Center before police showed up, but the baby died of his injuries, allegedly inflicted by the man arrested for the crime. As of this writing, it is not known whether the man had any relation to the baby, or what his relationship is to the woman who called the police. However, the crimes that he was taken in on are serious felonies, as evidenced by his $1 million jail bond.

Aggravated Battery of a Child Is a Felony

Under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(b), aggravated battery of a child is defined as follows:

  • Knowingly causing serious bodily injury, disfigurement, or disability; or
  • Knowingly causing bodily harm, disfigurement, or disability;

And:

  • The act of injury the child was unjustified;
  • The defendant is 18 years of age or older; and
  • The victim is under 13 years old.

Aggravated battery of a child is a Class X felony in Illinois, which carries a prison sentence of six to 30 years. However, additional years may be applied in the following circumstances:

  • If the defendant was armed with a firearm while committing the crime, 15 additional years can be added to the sentence for a total of 45 maximum years;
  • If the defendant fired a gun while committing the crime, 20 additional years can be added to the sentence for a total of 50 maximum years behind bars; and
  • If the defendant fired a gun and caused great bodily harm, disability, death, or permanent disfigurement to anyone, 25 additional years can be added to the sentence for a total maximum of 55 years in prison.

Aggravated Battery of an Unborn Child

Aggravated battery of an unborn child is a Class 2 felony under Illinois 720 ILCS 5/12-3.1(a-5). If a fetus is injured, disabled, or disfigured due to the battery of the mother, this offense can be added to the offense against the mother. Often it is a more serious crime to cause injury to an unborn fetus than it is to cause harm to another person. However, committing aggravated battery to a pregnant woman is also a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years. As such, it is not uncommon for a defendant who has caused injuries to an unborn child to be charged with two Class 2 felonies, totaling 14 years, and more for an extended term.

Contact a Cook County Attorney for Help Today

Whether you are charged with battery, aggravated domestic battery, battery to a child, or any other crime of violence, you need to contact a Cook County attorney. Call the dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.bnd.com/news/local/crime/article222258500.html

Crimes Against Undocumented Immigrants

December 26th, 2018 at 2:20 pm

IL defense lawyerWith all of the political talk about illegal immigrants coming into the country who may be criminals, it brings another question to mind: what rights do illegal immigrants have when it comes to being protected by the law? Are crimes against illegal immigrants punishable, and if so, are perpetrators penalized to the same extent that they would be had the victim been a U.S. citizen?

Undocumented Immigrants and Workers Fear Retaliation

The National Immigration Project reports that immigrant victims are in fear of “reporting violent crimes and labor violations to law enforcement and working with the criminal justice system will expose them to deportation.” These victims also fear that they will be separated from their children and banished from the U.S. permanently if they do seek traditional victim support systems through law enforcement.

Senate Bill 34 VOICES Act Now Law

Senate Bill 34, the Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors (the VOICES Act), is now law after the Illinois Senate and House both passed over Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto. The law states that police must investigate complaints of abuse and assault in a timely manner when the victim or alleged victim is an undocumented immigrant. By filing a report, immigrants can use them to work towards citizenship and visas. Opponents of the law argue that some undocumented immigrants will report crimes simply to further their chances of receiving citizenship. On the other side, proponents argue that undocumented immigrants and workers suffer fear of retaliation from their employers and fear of being deported if they speak up about a crime that was committed against them or a crime that they witnessed happen to another person and that this law will help remedy those fears.

What if I Have Been Charged with a Crime Against an Immigrant?

The most common crimes committed against undocumented workers include the following:

  • Human trafficking;
  • Robbery and theft;
  • Assault;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Battery;
  • Domestic violence; and
  • Workplace crimes.

If you have been accused of committing any of these offenses, you need to speak with an attorney. In some rare cases, alleged offenders are charged with hate crimes if there is evidence that the offense was committed because of the victim’s race or national origin. A hate crime can add potential serious jail or prison time to any offense that you are charged with.

Call a Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Crimes against undocumented immigrants are treated just as severely as crimes committed against U.S. citizens. As such, it is dangerous to enter the mindset that the allegations made against you are not serious. Make no mistake, you need to contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Call 847-394-3200 to reach the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://rockrivertimes.com/2018/11/28/illinois-house-overrides-voices-act-veto/

https://www.nationalimmigrationproject.org/victims.html

 

Police Brutality

December 21st, 2018 at 2:21 pm

IL defense attorneyMost law enforcement officers conduct themselves professionally and treat those who they are arresting with as much respect as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Police brutality affects people of all demographics, though minorities are disproportionately the victims of unnecessary police violence. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was hit more than 50 times by police batons, and the police who administered the beating were acquitted. A black undercover police officer himself fell victim to police violence when he was disguised as a protester — his duty being to monitor illegal acts within the crowd to make arrests later — during a St. Louis demonstration in 2017.

Residents had taken to the streets in a planned protest over the acquittal of a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man, then planted a weapon on him after he was dead. The undercover officer, who was wearing a shirt that revealed his waistband — indicating that he was not armed — was beaten with batons for no reason by three police officers. Earlier text messages between the officers revealed that they had planned on carrying out such beatings. When they discovered that the man they had chosen to beat with riot batons was an undercover cop, they destroyed his phone, tried to contact witnesses to influence their testimony, and lied to a federal grand jury. The officers are facing four offenses, one of which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence, while the other three crimes carry sentences of 20 years each.

Were You the Victim of Police Brutality?

In situations where you were arrested without probable cause or police used unnecessary violence to subdue and handcuff you, your civil rights were violated. In such scenarios, you stand a good chance to have the charges placed against you dropped, depending on what those were for. It all depends on what you were arrested for. In many cases of police brutality, law enforcement was simply carrying out a routine traffic stop, was performing a stop and frisk, or was trying to disperse a crowd during a protest. In such instances in which you, both the defendant and the victim, were not arrested for a crime of violence, charges may be dropped if there is enough evidence to support your claims of police brutality. A Cook County criminal defense lawyer can help you compile evidence to submit a compelling case that police brutality did occur. Cell phone footage, police body cameras, surveillance cameras, and witnesses can all be used to prove the truth.

Contact a Cook County Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Illinois has a long history of police brutality, just like every other state in the country. For justice and to clear your name of wrongdoing, you need to work with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/30/us/st-louis-officers-undercover-assault/index.html

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/long-painful-history-police-brutality-in-the-us-180964098/

 

Can Juvenile Records Be Expunged in Illinois?

December 19th, 2018 at 2:19 pm

IL juvenile defense lawyerA criminal record can be devastating for a minor. It can prevent them from obtaining future employment, and could even result in them losing a scholarship or not getting accepted to a certain university or college. For this reason, it is very important that juveniles charged or convicted of a crime speak to a Rolling Meadows juvenile crime lawyer that can help them get their record expunged.

What Is an Expungement?

When a criminal record is expunged, it is removed from all public government files and destroyed. Any information related to the criminal record including fingerprints, reports of the arrest, photographs, and any other evidence will also be destroyed. Essentially, it provides the juvenile with a clean slate and after expungement, they will no longer have a criminal record.

Often the terms ‘expungement’ and ‘sealed records’ are used interchangeably. However, it is important that minors, and their parents, understand that these are two different terms that have different meanings. When a record is sealed, it is still available and can be seen by certain individuals. Expunging a record means it is as though the record never existed.

When Can Juvenile Records Be Expunged?

Almost any case that was tried in juvenile court can be expunged, with two exceptions. Those exceptions are when the crime involved first-degree murder or was a felony sex offense. The instances in which a juvenile record may be expunged include:

  • When the minor was arrested but not charged with committing a crime;
  • The minor was found not guilty of a crime, and a petition of delinquency was not filed;
  • A minor was charged, but those charges were later dismissed;
  • The minor adequately completed supervision; or
  • The minor was found guilty of a Class B or Class C misdemeanor.

Minors found guilty of a crime may still have their record expunged in certain cases. There are, however, certain crimes that are considered to be disqualifying. When one of those disqualifying crimes has been committed, the record may not be expunged. Aggravated battery, robbery, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon are a few examples of crimes that could disqualify a record from being expunged.

Juvenile Records that Cannot Be Expunged

The Office of the State Appellate Defender outlines when juvenile criminal records may not be expunged. The first is when a juvenile case began in juvenile court, but was moved to adult court.

Certain offenses are also not eligible to be expunged from juvenile records. These include driving under the influence, first-degree murder, and any sex offenses that would be considered felonies if an adult committed them.

How to Apply for an Expungement

In order to obtain an expungement, a petition needs to be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. This is particularly necessary when a record is not eligible for automatic expungement.

Anyone that wishes to have a criminal record expunged for themselves or their child should speak to a juvenile crime lawyer in Rolling Meadows. The Office of the State Appellate Defender states it is not necessary to use an attorney to get an expungement, however, having a lawyer can be of great help. An attorney can advise on whether or not an expungement is possible. They can also ensure that paperwork is filed correctly so that the expungement is obtained as soon as possible.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Juvenile Crime Lawyer Today

If you or your child has a juvenile criminal record you would like to get expunged, contact a passionate Rolling Meadows juvenile defense attorney at our office today at 847-394-3200. One mistake should not follow you around for the rest of your life, and there are steps that can be taken to ensure it does not. Call us today to schedule your free consultation so we can start reviewing your case as soon as possible.

 

Source:

https://www2.illinois.gov/osad/Expungement/Documents/Juvenile%20Exp%20Guide/JuvenileExpungementGuide.pdf

Criminal Record Expungement and Sealing

December 14th, 2018 at 2:17 pm

IL defense lawyerBeing convicted or charged with a crime has implications that last long after the prison or jail sentence has been served. A criminal record will undoubtedly haunt you for the rest of your life as you seek employment, apply for certain types of loans, find housing, and try to fit in with society again. Employment, in particular, can be difficult to procure if you have a criminal record, as employers often eliminate all applicants with records simply to protect themselves from negligent hiring lawsuits. Sadly, even innocent people are treated like criminals if they were arrested for a crime, but then never convicted. There are steps to take if you were arrested for a crime or convicted of a crime, such a expungement and sealing of criminal records, and a Cook County attorney may be able to help you in this process.

Record Sealing

Record sealing is the process of making a criminal record invisible to employers and the general public. Law enforcement, judges, and some other governmental entities may be able to access your criminal record even if it is sealed, however. And, not all crimes can be sealed. In fact, very few felony offenses can be placed under seal. Most misdemeanor crimes, however, can be sealed from public view. Although, misdemeanor offenses involving driving under the influence (DUI crimes), crimes of violence, and sexual crimes cannot be sealed, according to the Office of the State Appellate Director.

Record Expungement

Having an arrest record expunged is similar to having a criminal record sealed, except that in expungement, you are only seeking to have the arrest record erased so that public entities and employers can no longer see it. No matter what type of crime you were charged with, arrested for, interrogated about, and placed on trial for, it can be erased from the public record if you were found innocent. Your arrest record includes your fingerprints, mug shot, and more. Unfortunately, even an arrest record can seriously harm your future career and social standing within your community. Additionally, juvenile offenses, some probations, and some supervisions can be expunged from the public record as well. Record expungement involves complete destruction of the charges and offenses, unlike record sealing.

Contact a Cook County Record Expungement and Record Sealing Attorney

Record sealing and record expungement are long, complicated processes. Many people are denied simply because they became overwhelmed and did not understand how to properly file. Others are denied because their offenses are crimes that cannot be sealed, and they wasted time, money, and energy on a task that was doomed to fail. Whether you have recently been charged with a crime and need a criminal defense attorney, or you were previously charged and either convicted or proven innocent, the Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can provide the legal assistance that you need. Call us at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www2.illinois.gov/osad/Expungement/Documents/Crinminal%20Exp%20Guide/ExpungementSealingOverview.pdf

Is Theft from a Garage Burglary?

December 12th, 2018 at 2:15 pm

IL defense lawyerBurglary is a serious felony offense, regardless of the value of the property taken, unlike theft, which is often a misdemeanor crime if the value of the property taken was low. For example, stealing a bike would be considered a misdemeanor of petty theft if the value of the bike was only $300, as per Illinois statute 20 ILCS 5/16-1. If that same bike was stolen out of someone’s residential garage, the crime would automatically be upgraded to a felony. Why is this? Burglary is considered a crime of violence, and the offense is punishable as such.

Types of Buildings, Structures, and Vehicles that Involve Burglary

Burglary is defined as knowingly entering, or without authority remaining, in any of the following:

  • Building;
  • House trailer (such as an RV);
  • Aircraft;
  • Watercraft; or
  • Motor vehicle.

The second element to burglary is that the defendant entered one of the above places or vehicles with the intent to commit any felony or any degree of theft. Examples of these felonies include arson, destruction of property, vandalism, assault, sexual assault, homicide, and more. Or, if any theft occurs or the defendant’s goal was to commit a theft, then burglary has occurred. As such, wandering into someone’s open garage to notify the owner that their car is being towed is not burglary. Breaking into their garage or entering it without permission to steal a bike or any other object is burglary.

Residential Burglary Is a Class 1 Felony

Committing burglary of a residential building, including a garage, is a Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison, as per Illinois 720 ILCS 5/19‑3.

Criminal Trespass Is a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class 4 Felony

Criminal trespass is a much lower level offense than burglary. The only elements that are different include that the defendant did not have any intention to commit, and did not commit, a felony or theft when the knowingly entered the residence of another person. Criminal trespass is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail if a defendant knowingly entered or remained in a residence (without intent to commit a felony or theft). If a defendant entered a residence and knew or had reason to believe that another person was in the residence, and the defendant remained in the home after knowing this, then the offense is raised to a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison.

Reach Out to a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

Theft, burglary, and criminal trespass are all three very different crimes, with burglary being the most serious. If you have been charged with an offense, an attorney may be able to reduce the charges against you, have the charges dropped, fight for a fair plea deal, or take your case to court and win. Call the Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1

Violating the Open Meeting Act

December 7th, 2018 at 11:19 pm

IL defense attorneyThe university president and board of trustees to Western Illinois University are currently under investigation for violating the Open Meeting Act, which mandates that all public entities, such as government bodies and public universities, hold meetings in the open for the public’s right of access. The University Professionals of Illinois has requested that the McDonough County State Attorney’s Office pursue a criminal investigation into the president and board’s actions after an audio recording revealed their closed meeting discussion. Among the violations alleged by the University Professionals of Illinois are:

  • Planning illegal closed meetings;
  • Discussing public business in closed meetings;
  • Scripting public meetings;
  • Failure to release closed session meetings; and
  • Circumventing the law with “2 plus 2″ meetings.

Furthermore, the University Professionals of Illinois believes that there were at least 21 closed meetings within the last three years. But what exactly is the Open Meeting Act and how does it apply to those with public positions?

The Purpose of the Open Meeting Act

The Open Meeting Act under statute 5 ILCS 120 has two main objectives. The first is to keep citizens informed about the conduct of public bodies. This is made possible by enforcing open meetings. No public entity can conduct meetings behind closed doors. The second objective is to allow citizens advance notice of public meetings and the right to attend these meetings. The Act is designed to thwart corruption and other actions that would corrode society’s best interests.

What Is a Public Body?

The Open Meeting Act of Illinois covers all “public bodies.” Public bodies include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Legislative, executive, administrative, and advisory bodies of:
    • The State;
    • Counties;
    • Townships;
    • Cities;
    • Villages;
    • Incorporated towns;
    • School districts; and
    • Other municipal corporations, boards, bureaus, committees, and commissions of the State.

What Are the Consequences of Being Found Guilty of Violating the Open Meeting Act?

While a Class C misdemeanor is the lowest type of criminal offense, it does not come without serious consequences. A Class C misdemeanor involves a fine and a criminal record if the defendant is found guilty. Such a charge will undoubtedly follow a professional or public official throughout the rest of the lives and will surely diminish the future of their career, their social status within their community, and their personal relationships. Moreover, every violation of the Open Meetings Act can be charged as an offense by itself, meaning that if a defendant allegedly violated this law dozens of times, they could be charged with dozens of offenses. Only an experienced Cook County criminal defense attorney can help you navigate these criminal charges.

Contact a Cook County Criminal Attorney Today

Violations of the Open Meeting Act are serious and are pursued with extreme vigor by the prosecution and media. Your career, reputation, and finances are at serious risk if you have been charged with this offense. We urge you to contact dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation at once.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=84&ChapterID=2

https://wqad.com/2018/11/19/wiu-board-admits-to-breaking-the-law/

 

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