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Theft Crimes That Involve Theft of a Vehicle in Illinois

October 11th, 2016 at 7:00 am

theft of a vehicle, rolling meadows, car hijackingStealing a motor vehicle is a serious offense in Illinois. There are several different theft crimes that involve the unauthorized taking of a vehicle, and state prosecutors do not take kindly to criminal defendants who allegedly take things that do not belong to them. Theft crimes involving a vehicle include stealing a car, trespass to a motor vehicle, carjacking, and failure to return a rental vehicle. If you are facing criminal charges that involve the theft of a vehicle, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Stealing a Car

In Illinois there is no specific statute focused directly on the theft of a vehicle. Instead, when a car is stolen state prosecutors pursue the criminal defendant under the traditional Illinois theft statute. Car theft is committed when a person knowingly takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission and with the intent to deprive the vehicle’s owner of the use of the vehicle permanently.

If a person takes a vehicle belonging to another without permission, but only intends to temporarily deprive the vehicle’s owner of his or her use of vehicle, such as when the vehicle is taken out for a joyride, then the criminal defendant could be charged with joyriding. This offense is also sometimes referred to as criminal trespass to vehicle. While not necessarily as serious as stealing a car, criminal trespass to a vehicle is not a criminal charge to take lightly.

Carjacking

Hijacking a person’s car by force or by the use of threats of force is known as carjacking in Illinois. Carjacking is a serious offense that can be upgraded to aggravated carjacking if certain other circumstances exist at the time of the carjacking incident. For instance, carjacking charges can be enhanced when aggravating factors exist, such as a firearm was used or discharged during the carjacking, a child under the age of 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the carjacking, a victim of the carjacking incident was over the age of 60 years old or was physically handicapped, or a victim of the carjacking was injured or killed by a firearm during the carjacking.  

Failure to Return a Rental Vehicle

Whenever a person rents a vehicle, a term of his or her rental contract is the date and time that the rental vehicle must be returned to the rental agency. When a renter does not return a rental vehicle on time, the renter is in breach of his or her rental contract agreement. But not only that, the renter is also committing theft because he or she is depriving the rental agency of the use of the rental vehicle.

Accused of a Vehicle Theft Offense? Contact a Lawyer

Any theft crime is a serious matter, but theft crimes involving a vehicle are particularly serious.  If you have been charged with the crime involved in the theft of a vehicle, please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. We are available to help you today.

Source:

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

Criminal Pleas in Illinois

January 6th, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, Illinois criminal lawyer, If you are being charged with a crime in Illinois, your charges will be formally read to you at your arraignment hearing. You will be required to enter a plea, or an official statement as to whether you are guilty or not, at this time to the charges you face. You have four plea choices in Illinois: not guilty, guilty but mentally ill, guilty and no contest.

Not guilty, guilty but mentally ill and guilty pleas are specifically provided for under 725/ILCS 5/113-4(a). Pleading no contest is limited to only certain situations, and the court does not have to accept a no contest plea.

In all cases, it is very important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine which plea is best for your particular circumstances. Which plea you choose will play a significant role in how your criminal case will proceed, and your plea choice could also have a lasting effect on your life since pleas are made part of your criminal record.

Not Guilty

When you plead not guilty, you are not admitting guilt for the crime that was allegedly committed. Pleading not guilty means that your case will proceed to trial.

Guilty but Mentally Ill

When you enter a plea of guilty but mentally ill, you are admitting to committing the alleged crime, but you are also asserting that the charges should be mitigated by the fact that you were mentally ill at the time you committed the crime. The court can accept this plea, and must first make a determination on the issue of your mental state at the time of the crime, before proceeding further.

Guilty

Pleading guilty means that you admit to your guilt for committing the alleged crime. The court can enter your guilty plea and move your case forward to sentencing. You will have the guilty plea on your criminal record.

No Contest

No contest is an interesting plea because this plea means that you do not disagree with the facts, but you do not admit that you are guilty. A no contest plea is very rare in Illinois, and in most criminal cases cannot be used; as such, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to see if a no contest plea is available for you in your particular case. It is treated much like a guilty plea, and is entered into your criminal record. The main difference between a guilty plea and a no contest plea is that when you plead no contest, your plea cannot be used against you later if any civil suits arise. The court does not have to accept your plea of no contest, and will likely reject it.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Deciding how to plea in your criminal case is something that needs to be fully considered and discussed with your criminal defense attorney. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and what the consequences of each option might be. Please contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley online. We can also be reached by calling (847) 394-3200.

 

Source:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072500050K113-4

Assault and Battery Law in Illinois

June 28th, 2014 at 6:49 am

battery, Assault & Battery, Chicago criminal defense attorney, Christopher M. Cosley, Cook County criminal defense lawyer, Rolling Meadows, The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, Class C misdemeanor, assault crime, aggravated assault, Class 4 felony, aggravated batteryAssault and battery are two serious offenses that are treated as such in criminal courts in the state of Illinois. Those charged with such crimes are advised to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect their rights. Below are some of the basics regarding relevant assault and battery laws in Illinois.

Assault

In the state of Illinois, an assault charge is usually graded as a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties associated with such an offense are a maximum of 30 days incarceration and up to $1,500 in fines. Typically, the facts that give rise to such a charge involve engaging in conduct or acting in a way that places another in fear of harm. It is important to note that the crime of assault does not necessarily involve physical contact with the victim; a verbal threat or threat of physical harm is enough to meet the law’s requirements.

Certain circumstances warrant a charge to be elevated to an aggravated assault. This usually happens when a deadly weapon is involved, the defendant is disguised when committing the crime, or the alleged victim is within a certain class of individuals, including but not limited to teachers, law enforcement officials, and firemen. Aggravated assaults are graded as Class A misdemeanors, which carry a maximum one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $2,500. If the victim falls within the designated class of individuals, the crime becomes a Class 4 felony and carries a maximum three-year prison term and a maximum $25,000 fine.

Battery

Under Illinois law, it is considered battery if a person causes bodily harm to another or makes insulting or provoking contact with another. Pushing someone could be the basis for a battery charge. Because the crime invokes physical harm, it is generally treated more seriously than assault. Battery is graded as a Class A misdemeanor and can invoke a maximum jail term of one year or a fine of up to $2,500.

Aggravated battery is charged when the victim suffers significant bodily harm or permanent disability. The use of a firearm could also support a charge of aggravated battery. This crime is graded as a Class 3 felony and carries a maximum five-year prison term as well as fines that could reach up to $25,000.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Depending on the circumstances, assault or battery charges could have serious consequences for those accused of them. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully defended a number of clients charged with assault and battery. Contact us today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We can listen to the facts of your specific case, advise you of your options, and protect your rights.

The Basics of Shoplifting in Illinois

April 14th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

shoplifting, theft, retail theft, Illinois criminal law, criminal defense, lawyer, ChicagoShoplifting is typically a crime committed by citizens who follow the majority of other laws. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reported that between 2001 and 2006, roughly 10 million people were caught shoplifting. It is also estimated that almost 10 percent of all Americans shoplift.

The National Self Help & Support Center defines shoplifting as “theft or stealing of any kind from a retail store…taking merchandise from a retail store without paying for it or without intending to pay for it.”

What’s important to know is that shoplifting laws are different in every state and many laws also vary between each local jurisdiction as well. This post is specific to Illinois

If you have been caught shoplifting for the first time, you should call a criminal attorney to help you get a lighter penalty for your first offense. Many factors will be considered when the court decides what your sentence will be including if you have completed an education program and if you have shoplifted previously.

Information from the store where you have been accused of shoplifting will also be accounted for such as what you stole and what occurred when you were caught. Whether or not you had a proper ID when you were caught will also be included.

Another detail that is taken into account it how much you shoplifted, the value of the item(s) that were stolen. Typically, the offense is less serious and only considered a misdemeanor if it costs under $500. However, if the cost exceeds $500, the charge may escalate to a felony and have more serious consequences.

It is possible to get community service, be sentenced to an education program related to shoplifting, or some other form of sentence other than prison if the charge is not extreme.

Also note that you do not have to be the person who actually took the merchandise from the store to be charged if you are with someone when they have shoplifted. You may be seen as an assistant to the shoplifter.

Lastly, shoplifting occurs in many forms including changing the price tag on an item and buying for an incorrect price. You can also be charged for shoplifting if you are sampling foods that you have not paid for as you shop. For example, if you are walking through the produce section of a grocery store and you pick a few grapes off of the bunch and eat them that is a chargeable offense.

If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact a criminal attorney to help you in an Illinois court today. Even if you have been wrongly accused or the charge is small, an attorney can help you get a better or alternative sentence today.

Should Ex-Felons be Able to Vote?

March 3rd, 2014 at 12:47 pm

criminal justice reform, new law, Illinois law, criminal justice system, Chicago criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorneyAn article recently published by MSNBC explored the possibility for formerly incarcerated individuals to have rights restored that were previously made unavailable to them.

Criminal Justice Symposium

According to a speech Attorney General Eric Holder delivered at a bipartisan criminal justice symposium, the attitude toward disenfranchisement of those previously in prison is starting to be considered unnecessary, unethical, and not productive at all. He said that the laws were based on outdated notions rooted in exclusion and fear and, more seriously, have a disparate impact on minorities. The symposium, hosted by the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, is evidence of the push from civil rights groups for reform of the criminal justice system.

Issues Result from Current Criminal Justice System

Part of the problem is the large number, over 1.5 million, of people who are incarcerated in the United States. Almost six million have lost the right to vote as the result of laws that apply to those previously in prison. Legislators are working on laws to lower required minimum sentences at the federal level and grant judges more freedom in handing down extreme sentences.

On the state level, government leaders have made budget cuts by decreasing prison populations. Civil rights groups are hoping that current low crime rates are an indication that the time is right for changes to the criminal justice system.

Criminal Justice Reform a Bipartisan Issue

It seems that criminal justice reform is a subject both political parties can support. Last month, the Smart Sentencing Act was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is means to reduce the federal mandatory minimum sentences associated with certain drug crimes not involving violence, make certain defendants eligible for reduced sentences, and make the law retroactive which reduces the disparity in sentencing conditions for crack and powder cocaine. While the bill’s passing is positive evidence of bipartisan support, there is not as much agreement regarding increased punishment for crimes involving terrorism, domestic assault, and sexual violence against women.

Bipartisan Support may be Fragile

Still, given the current climate of combined low crime rates and economic concerns, this is seen as an opportunity to make changes that some considered long overdue. Not only will changes to the criminal justice system mean direct effects for the system itself, but indirect effects are also certain. For example, the article states that currently, the number of children in the United States with an incarcerated parent is about equal to the population of Chicago. There is a concern that the perceived agreement between parties regarding criminal justice is delicate and may be fleeting if other criminal matters are introduced and considered by Congress.

These and other changes in the criminal justice system and criminal laws in the state of Illinois are important and could affect your rights. An experienced criminal defense attorney is responsible for keeping informed about changes in the law and procedure. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in the state of Illinois, contact us today for a consultation.

Chicago Police Create Social Media Tool to Stop Crime

October 16th, 2013 at 7:00 am

chicago-gang-social-media-toolAccording to Reuters, Chicago continues to boast the highest murder rate in the country, in spite of a 22 percent drop earlier this year. Most of this Illinois criminal violence is attributed to gang wars. It is currently estimated that there are as many as 630 different gang factions fighting for territory within the city of Chicago. In an effort to reduce the number of gang-related crimes within the city, Chicago police are now turning to a new social media tool.

Chicago police worked closely with local sociologists in order to develop the tool, which is known as “network analysis,” according to Governing magazine. It works similarly to Facebook’s graphic search tool, and allows members of the Chicago Police Department to map the relationships between the city’s most active gang members and predict their behavior based on a number of factors. This prediction tool allows them to not only see which gang members are most likely to become violent; it allows them to see which ones are likely to become victims as well.

Based on information gained from the new analysis tool, Chicago police have begun visiting with not only potentially violent gang members, but people determined to be influential to them such as close family members and friends as well. In addition to having conversations with these people, they leave a letter that serves as a reminder of what could happen should they be arrested again. Additionally, the police department has changed the way they respond to crimes; instead of flocking to the scene of a recent murder, they deploy officers around the locations and individuals where the tool suggests the next violence will occur.

Though this tool is meant to prevent crime, no tool is perfect. Crime can still occur, and mistakes can be made. If you or someone you know has been accused of a violent crime, don’t try to deal with it on your own. Contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney right away.

What is Statutory Summary Suspension in Illinois?

October 7th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Illinois Statutory Summary SuspensionA term frequently used to discuss driving under the influence (DUI) charges in the state of Illinois is that of statutory summary suspension. According to the 2013 Illinois DUI Fact Book, if the you have received your first DUI or you’re not sure what the term means, educating yourself about the process can be helpful in moving forward in your DUI case. The best way to prepare for your DUI case in court is to hire the services of a talented criminal law attorney.

A statutory summary could apply in your situation if you refused to take or failed to complete chemical testing. Chemical testing is used to determine the level of alcohol in an individual’s blood, and failing refers to a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher at the time of testing.

The suspensions of driving privileges are automatic and they go into effect on the 46th day following the date of a suspension notice. It is important to remember that statutory summary suspensions doesn’t replace any criminal penalties that might be associated with the DUI. If you would like to challenge the arrest, you can request a judicial hearing to initiate that process, but this request doesn’t stop the suspension from going into effect on the appropriate day.

The terms of the suspension depend on your circumstances at the time. Failing chemical testing on your first offense leads to suspension of driving privileges for six months whereas your second or further offense within five years leads to suspension for a period of 1 year with no driving relief opportunities. If you refuse to submit to the chemical testing on your first offense, you can have your driving privileges suspended for 12 months. On your second or subsequent offense, you can have your driving privileges suspended for three years with no opportunity for driving relief. The circumstances of your situation and arrest are critical for understanding your consequences. Speak to an experienced Illinois DUI attorney today to discuss the details of your case.

Assault and Battery in Illinois

August 11th, 2013 at 9:56 am

Assault and battery is most often heard as a single term and not thought of as two separate criminal offenses, which is what they are. A judge can charge a person with one or the other, although they are typically paired together.

Assault is defined in Illinois law as, “conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving battery.”

Battery can be either “conduct causing bodily harm to another person or insulting, provocation or unwanted physical contact with another person.”

The main difference is that assault does not include physical contact or injury to the victim.

Once it is found that someone is guilty of battery, the court must then determine the degree, such as whether or not the crime was aggravated battery, which is more serious. Aggravated assault may be charged if the victim has a serious injury or if the defendant used a deadly weapon.

LucyIf someone is charged with assault and/or battery, he or she will typically argue one of the following:

  • Self-defense or defense of someone else
  • Defense of property
  • Consent of victim to contact (battery)
  • Lack of reasonable apprehension (assault)

As a Class C misdemeanor, assault usually results in jail time of up to 30 days and/or a fine of up to $1,500 or the defendant may have to perform 30 to 120 community service hours. Aggravated assault, though, is a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony, depending on the prosecutor.

Class A misdemeanor charges result in up to a year in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine. Class 4 felonies, however, are punished much more severely with up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

Battery is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, however, aggravated battery can be charged as a Class 3, Class 2, Class 1 or Class X felony. Class 3 is charged with two to five years in prison, but Class 2, 1 and X are charged with up to 30 years in prison.

Most often, courts decide to sentence defendants with probation instead of jail time, unless they are charged with a Class X felony, which is not eligible for probation.

Even for the same crime, there are many outcomes that can come from a court room, which is why it is important to have a great criminal attorney at your side. Contact attorney Chris Cosley in Rolling Meadows, Ill. for assistance with your assault and battery charges today.

Illinois Teen Accused of Terrorism Pleads Not Guilty

June 22nd, 2013 at 9:51 am

The whole country was turned upside down not too long ago when the Boston Marathon was bombed and there were many injuries and three deaths. The entire nation followed the news and awaited the results of the FBI’s search for those who caused it, then when and if the FBI could catch them and shut down any of their future plans.

LucyAlthough much of the fuss has died down following the Boston Marathon bombings, terrorism has not stopped. Recently in Illinois, a teenager was charged with and pleaded not guilty to terrorism, according to ABC World News.

The 18-year-old boy, Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, is from a Chicago suburb and has supposedly attempted “to join an al-Quaida-linked militant group fighting Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria,” reported ABC news.

The alleged terrorist stood in court recently with his attorney, who pleaded not guilty on his behalf. The criminal act that Tounisi was charged with is attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group and lying about the operation when questioned by federal authorities.

He was arrested at the O’Hare International Airport when he was beginning the first leg of a trip to join Jabhat al-Nusrah.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi faces up to 23 years in prison if he is convicted of this terrorist crime.

Often times, terrorism starts at a young age such as this in foreign terrorist groups, and Tounisi may even count himself lucky for being caught before he actually got into the life of a terrorist. American authorities do what they can to keep the streets safe from terrorists, so be careful if you get yourself mixed up in it.

If you find yourself accused of a crime such as terrorism, or perhaps some other crime, contact a criminal attorney for assistance. Attorney Chris Cosley can help you in your criminal court case in Rolling Meadows, Ill. today.

 

Woman Takes Plea Agreement for Aggravated DUI

June 19th, 2013 at 9:59 am

Being arrested and charged with a DUI can be a frightening experience particularly for a person who had no knowledge that a crime was committed. An incident that took place back in December resurfaces in recent news when a woman takes a plea agreement.

Pam The 34-year-old woman admitted to driving while under the influence. Her actions caused the death of a 60-year-old man driving a scooter. However, she claims she did not know she had hit anyone. She thought she had hit the curb only.

Some might say that she was fully aware of what she was doing, getting behind the wheel under the influence and with a revoked license. In addition, the woman denied driving the vehicle but later confessed.

The police say that the woman ran a red light and hit a man on a motorcycle who later died of his injuries. She was later arrested the day of the incident at about 7:00 am, two hours after the incident. She was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Being intoxicated impairs a person’s judgement. Unfortunately, the person who is drinking does not realize that they are impaired, and they may use poor judgment to drink and drive, putting him or herself and everyone else on the road in danger. One bad decision has the potential to ruin the lives of many.

A DUI arrest is a serious matter. It does not make you a bad person, but if someone is injured as a result of your poor decision, it can be devastating to the victim, their family, and to you. In a DUI case, time is of the essence. It is imperative for the accused individual to have proper legal representation. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DUI, contact a criminal defense attorney in Illinois to discuss your options and the best course of action.

 

Image courtesy of Naypong of freedigitalphotos.net

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