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Archive for the ‘violation of rights’ tag

Common Defenses to Drug Charges in Rolling Meadows

January 29th, 2019 at 7:02 pm

IL defense lawyerBeing charged with a drug crime, whether it is a simple possession charge or the more serious charge of drug trafficking, can have serious consequences. If convicted, a person may face high fines, jail time, loss of child custody, and loss of immigration rights. After a conviction, individuals also have a permanent criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their life.

While the situation may seem hopeless, it is not. There are several common defenses to drug charges, and a qualified attorney will use them to help anyone accused of committing a drug crime.

Entrapment

Due to numerous television shows and movies that have focused on entrapment, people are often unsure whether or not this can actually be used as a defense. In Illinois, it can. Entrapment occurs whenever a law enforcement officer, or other authority, incites or induces a person to commit a crime. However, if it can be proven that the person was going to commit the crime without any interference from the officer, this defense cannot be used.

For example, if a person sells drugs to an undercover police officer, that would not be considered entrapment. The person was likely to sell the drugs anyway and just happened to sell them to a police officer. That same person, however, may have prescription drugs in their possession that were prescribed to them. If an undercover officer repeatedly asked to buy the drugs and the person declined numerous times before finally giving them the drugs, that may be considered entrapment.

Informant Credibility

Police officers often rely on the public to solve crimes. They rely on eyewitness testimony and informants to provide them with the information they would to otherwise have. In some instances though, these informants are not always credible. An informant may have reason to turn over an innocent person to the authorities, such as in divorce proceedings or if the informant is simply acting out of revenge. When an informant is not credible, the information they are giving to the authorities is not considered credible either, and this can help build a solid defense.

Violation of Legal Rights

When someone is arrested for committing a crime, they have several legal rights. One of these is the right to a lawful search and seizure, as protected by the Fourth Amendment. When officers or other authorities violate this right, any evidence obtained through that search and seizure can be thrown out of court. The same is true for Miranda warnings, and many other rights those accused of committing a crime are entitled to.

Presence of Drugs

When an individual is arrested and charged with a drug crime, law enforcement officials must seize the drugs in question. If the prosecution cannot produce these drugs as evidence during trial, the charge will likely be dropped. In a case involving drug crimes, the presence of the actual drugs in question is one of the main pieces of evidence the prosecution has. Without it, there is often no case.

Addiction and Mental Health Issues

Substance abuse addictions and mental health issues are serious problems and are also often a part of many drug crimes case. When these issues are present, often those accused may be eligible for treatment rather than harsher penalties, such as being sentenced to jail. Some of these programs, such as court supervision, allow the accused to complete a program. Upon successful completion, the case is dismissed and a criminal conviction is avoided. That allows individuals to move on with their life without a criminal record following them throughout it.

A Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Provide a Proper Defense

It is one thing to know the possible defenses available in drug crime cases. It is another thing altogether though, to argue those defenses in court in order to get charges dropped or reduced. A passionate Rolling Meadows drug crimes lawyer though, can help those accused build and argue a strong defense. If you have been charged with a drug crime, call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. Many people have addictions, were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or are completely innocent of a crime and have still been charged. A proper defense will show this, so you can move on with your life. Contact us today for your free consultation and we will start reviewing your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K7-12.htm

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fourth_amendment

Privacy Rights Upheld in Recent Supreme Court Case

September 14th, 2018 at 8:31 am

Chicago criminal defense lawyer unreasonable search and seizureIf you are facing a criminal charge, this does not mean that you are not entitled to the same rights and protections afforded to other individuals in the United States, including the right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution affords citizens the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Search warrants are used to ensure that if a search is being conducted, then there is a legitimate reason and cause for conducting the search. There are exceptions to this rule, however. Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the right to privacy for suspects regarding warrantless searches.

Collins v. Virginia

In the case of Collins v. Virginia, the defendant was suspected of being in possession of a motorcycle that had been stolen. The motorcycle was parked under a three-walled enclosure that was covered with a tarp. This enclosure was located at the defendant’s girlfriend’s house. The house also had a traditional garage that could completely block the inside of the garage from outside view. The police suspected that this motorcycle was parked at the defendant’s girlfriend’s home and therefore went to examine the scene. Instead of obtaining a search warrant, the police officers proceeded up the driveway to where the motorcycle was parked under the tarp. The motorcycle turned out to be the stolen property they were looking for, and the defendant was arrested.

At trial, the defendant argued that his fundamental right to privacy that is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment was violated because the police did not have a valid search warrant for the property. The state argued that finding the motorcycle without a search warrant fell under the automobile exception. The automobile exception states that police are allowed to search a vehicle when there is probable cause that the vehicle contained some type of evidence or contraband.

The Court found that the automobile exception was not applicable in this case. Instead, the three-walled tarp enclosure could be considered a part of the home. As a part of the home, it receives the same type of heightened rights to privacy as the living area of the home. The Court went on further to state that the automobile exception applies only to situations where the alleged evidence or contraband is inside of a vehicle, not sitting underneath a tarp on someone else’s property.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with a criminal offense and are concerned your rights have been violated, contact experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Attorney Cosley is dedicated to using every possible defense applicable under the circumstances, including improper searches due to lack of a search warrant. We know that just because you might be charged with a crime, you should not lose your rights. Contact us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation.

Sources:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/automobile_exception
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1027_7lio.pdf

Drug Testing as Part of the War on Drugs

June 26th, 2014 at 6:38 am

Christopher M. Cosley, drug crimes, drug screening, drug testing, employer drug testing, Rolling Meadows criminal attorney, violation of rights, war on drugsDrug abuse and addiction is a problem affecting virtually every geographical location across the country to some extent. In an effort to combat drug use, the government has declared a “war on drugs” in the past, seeking to charge individuals with drug crimes that carry harsh penalties as a way to remedy the problem. While intentions may have been noble, a recent article discusses drug testing as one of the byproducts of the war on drugs and its unintended consequences.

Employer Drug Testing

One of the scenarios most common for drug testing is in the workplace. Whether it is in applying for a job, or before officially starting a new job, many candidates are forced to submit to drug testing in order to be considered for a position. The problem, some employers are pointing out, is that the requirement of passing a drug test may be automatically screening out the best candidates for a given position. On the other hand, the testing requirement may have benefitted others, particularly minorities, by allowing them to prove they were not using drugs to potential employers. While drug testing is only necessary for government employees, other well-known employers are following suit across the nation.

Acceptable Requirement or Violation of Rights?

While there are some obvious benefits to the practice, opponents of employer drug testing argue that the requirement is an infringement on Fourth Amendment rights. They say that blanket testing equates to a search of the individual submitting to the test without probable cause. Further problems with the testing requirement include a low efficacy rate, the failure to detect certain types of new synthetic drugs, and the lack of proof that it actually curbs drug use. It is important to note that despite repeated Fourth Amendment challenges in past decades, the Supreme Court has ruled that drug testing is not a violation of constitutional rights. Congress followed with legislation in line with the Court’s opinion which provided the basis for widespread use of drug testing in employment.

Statistics

As a result of the legal precedent, companies took advantage of drug testing. It is estimated that today, approximately 57 percent of U.S. employers rely on drug testing as part of their employment practices. Some point out that the cost of $50.00 per screen is a hefty one to pay for virtually no benefit to justify it.

The Fight Continues

The American Civil Liberties Union continues to fight against the practice of drug testing in the workplace, as it has done for the last three decades. The ACLU argues that testing infringes on privacy rights and disproportionately affects the underprivileged. They say it is a procedure that does nothing to address the problem it seeks to solve, and actually may cause more harm than good for the individuals who are forced to submit to the testing in order to maintain employment.

Criminal Defense Attorney

It will be interesting to see if the use of drug testing by employers will dramatically change in the future. For now, the problem of drug use is an ongoing one. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime, contact the experienced defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Chicago and the surrounding area.

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