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Your Illinois Criminal Lawyer

When you're facing criminal charges, your future is in jeopardy. Many people panic when they find themselves in this situation and don't do anything. The best thing you can do is get in touch with a reputable defense attorney right away, regardless of your circumstances.

Working with an attorney with a great reputation and knowledge about your specific charges ensures a favorable outcome. The more time the attorney has to prepare the case, the better, so don't delay getting help that you need. We have experienced attorneys working in multiple metropolitan areas like Chicago, Peoria, Aurora, Naperville, Springfield, and Rockford. Get in touch with one of them today for a free consultation!

Make a Good Case

The punishment for a crime can vary significantly. It is well worth taking the time to find a stellar defense attorney because it will increase your chances of getting the least severe penalty available. For example, if your DUI charge is your first offense, an attorney can remind the judge of this fact and request a treatment program or a fine instead of jail time. There may be mitigating factors in your case that can also decrease the severity of your crime, enabling a more lenient setting. An attorney will identify these factors and maximize their potential.

Fight For Your Rights

Every human being has rights, regardless of being innocent or guilty. Attorneys understand the provisions that their clients are legally entitled to and will assist you with getting fair treatment throughout the entire trial process. Citizens of Illinois have the following rights when they are charged with a crime:

  • When a person has to divulge incriminating information (i.e. under threat), he may prevent it from being used in court.
  • A person can make a reasonable number of phone calls within a reasonable period of time of going into custody, including calls to a family member and to an attorney. This right is renewed if the person is moved to a new custody location.
  • After the person has been taken into custody, he has the right to an itemized list of all of the property and money that will be taken away.
  • The person has the right to a reasonable period of time to prepare a defense prior to a court date.
  • A person is not required to testify. If a person makes the choice not to testify, the judge and jury cannot consider silence as evidence of guilt.

Find a Skilled Illinois Defense Attorney

We have a large number of experienced, professional attorneys in Illinois. They have extensive knowledge about many different areas of crime to DUI to domestic violence to fraud. We have highly trained lawyers with specialized skills in defending manslaughter, theft, weapons charges, and more. This means that you'll get the help that you need for your specific charges.

Keep in mind that it is always best practice to contact an attorney as soon as possible when you are facing criminal charges. The longer it takes to secure legal counsel, the less options that will be, no matter what you've done in the past or what type of charges you're facing. Working with an experienced attorney who has extensive knowledge of Illinois state laws will give you a peace of mind. Contact one of our qualified attorneys today.

 

Looking for a top criminal defense attorney in Illinois?

Irrespective of the charges against you or the crime you are alleged to have committed, a criminal conviction will have serious, long-lasting consequences that touch every area of your life. Added to that, simply navigating the legal process and criminal courts can be difficult, stressful, and complicated. Working with an experienced Illinois criminal lawyer is your best option as you work toward alleviating the consequences of criminal charges.

 

Whether or not you choose to be represented by an attorney, it is essential that you understand the basics of criminal law in Illinois as it affects your case. While a multitude of crimes are delineated within the Illinois Criminal Code, they all fall within three broad categories which are classified by severity. Every crime is designated as an infraction, which is the least serious offense; a misdemeanor; or a felony, which is the most serious crime.

 

Misdemeanors and felonies are further broken down into classes, and each class has designated minimum and maximum penalties in the form of fines and periods of incarceration.

 

Illinois criminal attorneys are trained to understand each of these classifications, along with their potential penalties, and the specific ways the Illinois Criminal Code addresses each type of crime. One invaluable aspect of this information is familiarity with all of the possible defenses to each type of crime and how to use that knowledge strategically to build a strong defense based on the specific facts of your case.

 

Locate an Illinois criminal lawyer here.

Five Common Crimes Charged in Illinois

No two criminal cases share the exact same set of circumstances. A good criminal defense attorney will take this fact into account and construct a strong defense tailored to your specific case. In view of these facts, although it may be very helpful for you to possess certain basic information about the commonly charged crimes in Illinois, the only way to truly understand the charges against you and take advantage of the best potential defense is to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Illinois.

Murder

Several Illinois criminal statutes crimes that are categorized as homicides. Two of these statutes deal with murder, which is defined as the unlawful killing of another person with malice. Murder is the most serious crime under Illinois law and, as such, it carries a similarly serious potential penalty. The essential difference between murder and other homicide crimes is intent and, to successfully bring a charge of murder, the prosecution must be able to prove that the act was committed with malice, which is an intent to kill the victim.

 

Illinois law recognizes two degrees of murder, and both of those are designated as Class 1 felonies – the most serious criminal classification under Illinois law.

 

Murder in the first degree is defined as a murder committed with malice and with no lawful justification. First-degree murder is usually premeditated, and this can be proved by demonstrating that the accused person engaged in prior planning, such as by bringing a weapon to the location of the murder, and other evidence. The State of Illinois also charges felony murder – which is defined as murder committed during the commission of a different felony, such as kidnapping or arson – as first-degree murder.  An individual who is convicted of first-degree murder can be sentenced to life in prison.

 

Second-degree murder is a killing with malice, but specific circumstances differentiate this charge from first-degree murder. Unlike many states where heightened and egregious circumstances raise the charge to first-degree murder, Illinois requires the presence of certain mitigating facts to guide the decision of the court in determining that the killing was not first-degree murder.

 

That requirements mean the burden of proving the existence of mitigating circumstances is placed squarely on the defendant. These factors may include the fact that the defendant acted under sudden and intense passion, with no opportunity to “cool down,” that passion was provoked by the victim, or the defendant genuinely – albeit mistakenly – believed killing the victim was justified at the time. An individual who is convicted of murder in the second degree faces four to 20 years in state prison.

 

Find the best Illinois criminal attorneys here.

Possession of Controlled Substances

The Illinois Controlled Substances Act prohibits a number of specific behaviors associated with the manufacture, sale, and possession of controlled substances. In Illinois, the most commonly charged crime is possession of a controlled substance – a felony. Depending on the type and amount of substance found to be in the individual’s possession, and his or her record of prior convictions, a person can be charged with a Class 4 or higher offense.

 

Typically, first-time offenders who are found to be in possession of a small amount of a controlled substance are charged with a Class 4 felony which carries a prison sentence of one to three years. Repeat offenders, and those charged with possession of larger amounts of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony, will be required to serve between four and 15 years in prison.

 

Under Illinois’s Controlled Substances Act, possession of marijuana with no intent to sell is a misdemeanor offense. As a lesser offense, possession of marijuana carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.

 

Find a top Illinois criminal lawyer.

Sexual Assault

The Illinois criminal statutes define sexual assault as a penetrative sexual act committed against the will of the other person or against an individual who lacks the ability to provide consent. Several sets of circumstances can constitute sexual assault, including unlawful sexual penetration through the use or threat of force or violence. Sexual assault may also be charged if the victim was unable to provide consent due to age, being unconscious, or inability to understand the nature of the act.

 

The two classifications of sexual assault offenses are Class 1 and Class X. If charged with a Class 1 offense, the defendant faces four to 15 years in prison. Criminal sexual assault is a very serious, non-probationary offense and, if convicted the defendant must serve a prison term.

 

Aggravated criminal sexual assault is a more serious crime which is charged as a Class X offense. A convicted defendant faces a prison term of between six and 30 years, which may be increased if a firearm was used. To be charged as an aggravated criminal sexual assault, the event must involve aggravated or egregious circumstances such as infliction of bodily harm on the victim, drugging of the victim prior to sexual penetration or committing the act upon a victim who was either physically handicapped or over the age of 60.

 

Find an attorney who is an expert in Illinois sexual assault laws.

Burglary

Generally, burglary is defined as entering the building of another person with the intention of committing a crime. In Illinois, the current statute is broad, and its definition of burglary includes both residential and commercial properties. Conviction requires evidence that the defendant entered the property without permission or overstayed an invitation by either knowingly or purposefully remaining on the property beyond the limit of permission from the owner.

 

A charge of burglary also requires another essential element – intent. It is not sufficient for the defendant to have trespassed; rather, the prosecution must show a specific intent to commit a crime while on the property. Crimes that qualify as burglary include theft and any felony.

 

Burglary is a felony in Illinois, with two classifications whose penalties depend on several factors. If the burglary takes place in a residence, it is deemed to be a Class 1 felony, and conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. Burglary of a daycare facility, place of worship, or certain similar commercial buildings may also be charged as Class 1 felonies; however, burglary of most commercial buildings, aircraft, watercraft, and motor vehicles is considered a Class 2 felony. The maximum term of incarceration for Class 2 felonies is seven years.

 

Find the best criminal defense attorney in Illinois.

DUI

Illinois charges a first-time defendant who is charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or a controlled substance with a Class A misdemeanor and, upon conviction, imposes both criminal and administrative penalties. In addition to having his license suspended for six months, a first-time offender can also face a maximum of six months in county jail, and a fine of up to $1,000. Individuals whose records show multiple DUI convictions face increasingly serious penalties. For example, a third offense or DUI without a valid driver’s license can be charged as a Class 2 felony.

 

For a DUI charge based on consumption of alcohol, the prosecution must show that the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. An individual with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08% can still be charged with DUI if the law enforcement officer provides evidence of impaired behavior. Although certain penalties may be lessened, this lesser conviction will still appear as a DUI on your record.

 

Find the best Illinois DUI lawyer here.

Other Crimes

The lawyers who comprise Criminal Lawyer are well prepared to defend a variety of crimes in Illinois. Rather than being limited to the most common crimes in the state, our experience extends to the defense of federal crimes and appellate level defense. Whether you are seeking a lawyer to defend you against a serious charge such as murder, or a less severe misdemeanor such as petty theft, we can help.

Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Illinois

The process of defending criminal charges is often an emotional experience for the defendant. Tension and the potential consequences of a conviction can severely impair your rational thought and objectivity. In these very challenging circumstances, a criminal defense attorney provides a steadying influence coupled with a strategic, logical approach to defeating criminal charges.

 

An experienced Illinois criminal lawyer can frame the facts of your case, present evidence, and address the jury in a very different manner than a defendant, thereby bringing both credibility and enhanced effectiveness to your defense. This professional approach can often lead to a better outcome for you. For these reasons and many others, your wisest choice is to engage an Illinois criminal lawyer to advise and counsel you throughout your defense against criminal charges.

 

If you find yourself at a loss when it comes to your next steps in building a defense against criminal charges in Illinois, turn to us.

 

[Disclaimer - this is not legal advice.]

Looking for a top criminal defense attorney in Illinois?

Irrespective of the charges against you or the crime you are alleged to have committed, a criminal conviction will have serious, long-lasting consequences that touch every area of your life. Added to that, simply navigating the legal process and criminal courts can be difficult, stressful, and complicated. Working with an experienced Illinois criminal lawyer is your best option as you work toward alleviating the consequences of criminal charges.

Whether or not you choose to be represented by an attorney, it is essential that you understand the basics of criminal law in Illinois as it affects your case. While a multitude of crimes are delineated within the Illinois Criminal Code, they all fall within three broad categories which are classified by severity. Every crime is designated as an infraction, which is the least serious offense; a misdemeanor; or a felony, which is the most serious crime.

Misdemeanors and felonies are further broken down into classes, and each class has designated minimum and maximum penalties in the form of fines and periods of incarceration.

Illinois criminal attorneys are trained to understand each of these classifications, along with their potential penalties, and the specific ways the Illinois Criminal Code addresses each type of crime. One invaluable aspect of this information is familiarity with all of the possible defenses to each type of crime and how to use that knowledge strategically to build a strong defense based on the specific facts of your case.

Locate an Illinois criminal lawyer here.

Five Common Crimes Charged in Illinois

No two criminal cases share the exact same set of circumstances. A good criminal defense attorney will take this fact into account and construct a strong defense tailored to your specific case. In view of these facts, although it may be very helpful for you to possess certain basic information about the commonly charged crimes in Illinois, the only way to truly understand the charges against you and take advantage of the best potential defense is to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Illinois.

Murder

Several Illinois criminal statutes crimes that are categorized as homicides. Two of these statutes deal with murder, which is defined as the unlawful killing of another person with malice. Murder is the most serious crime under Illinois law and, as such, it carries a similarly serious potential penalty. The essential difference between murder and other homicide crimes is intent and, to successfully bring a charge of murder, the prosecution must be able to prove that the act was committed with malice, which is an intent to kill the victim. Illinois law recognizes two degrees of murder, and both of those are designated as Class 1 felonies – the most serious criminal classification under Illinois law.

Murder in the first degree is defined as a murder committed with malice and with no lawful justification. First-degree murder is usually premeditated, and this can be proved by demonstrating that the accused person engaged in prior planning, such as by bringing a weapon to the location of the murder, and other evidence. The State of Illinois also charges felony murder – which is defined as murder committed during the commission of a different felony, such as kidnapping or arson – as first-degree murder. An individual who is convicted of first-degree murder can be sentenced to life in prison.

Second-degree murder is a killing with malice, but specific circumstances differentiate this charge from first-degree murder. Unlike many states where heightened and egregious circumstances raise the charge to first-degree murder, Illinois requires the presence of certain mitigating facts to guide the decision of the court in determining that the killing was not first-degree murder.

That requirements mean the burden of proving the existence of mitigating circumstances is placed squarely on the defendant. These factors may include the fact that the defendant acted under sudden and intense passion, with no opportunity to “cool down,” that passion was provoked by the victim, or the defendant genuinely – albeit mistakenly – believed killing the victim was justified at the time. An individual who is convicted of murder in the second degree faces four to 20 years in state prison.

Find the best Illinois criminal attorneys here.

Possession of Controlled Substances

The Illinois Controlled Substances Act prohibits a number of specific behaviors associated with the manufacture, sale, and possession of controlled substances. In Illinois, the most commonly charged crime is possession of a controlled substance – a felony. Depending on the type and amount of substance found to be in the individual’s possession, and his or her record of prior convictions, a person can be charged with a Class 4 or higher offense.

Typically, first-time offenders who are found to be in possession of a small amount of a controlled substance are charged with a Class 4 felony which carries a prison sentence of one to three years. Repeat offenders, and those charged with possession of larger amounts of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony, will be required to serve between four and 15 years in prison.

Under Illinois’s Controlled Substances Act, possession of marijuana with no intent to sell is a misdemeanor offense. As a lesser offense, possession of marijuana carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.

Find a top Illinois criminal lawyer.

Sexual Assault

The Illinois criminal statutes define sexual assault as a penetrative sexual act committed against the will of the other person or against an individual who lacks the ability to provide consent. Several sets of circumstances can constitute sexual assault, including unlawful sexual penetration through the use or threat of force or violence. Sexual assault may also be charged if the victim was unable to provide consent due to age, being unconscious, or inability to understand the nature of the act.

The two classifications of sexual assault offenses are Class 1 and Class X. If charged with a Class 1 offense, the defendant faces four to 15 years in prison. Criminal sexual assault is a very serious, non-probationary offense and, if convicted the defendant must serve a prison term.

Aggravated criminal sexual assault is a more serious crime which is charged as a Class X offense. A convicted defendant faces a prison term of between six and 30 years, which may be increased if a firearm was used. To be charged as an aggravated criminal sexual assault, the event must involve aggravated or egregious circumstances such as infliction of bodily harm on the victim, drugging of the victim prior to sexual penetration or committing the act upon a victim who was either physically handicapped or over the age of 60.

Find an attorney who is an expert in Illinois sexual assault laws.

Burglary

Generally, burglary is defined as entering the building of another person with the intention of committing a crime. In Illinois, the current statute is broad, and its definition of burglary includes both residential and commercial properties. Conviction requires evidence that the defendant entered the property without permission or overstayed an invitation by either knowingly or purposefully remaining on the property beyond the limit of permission from the owner.

A charge of burglary also requires another essential element – intent. It is not sufficient for the defendant to have trespassed; rather, the prosecution must show a specific intent to commit a crime while on the property. Crimes that qualify as burglary include theft and any felony.

Burglary is a felony in Illinois, with two classifications whose penalties depend on several factors. If the burglary takes place in a residence, it is deemed to be a Class 1 felony, and conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. Burglary of a daycare facility, place of worship, or certain similar commercial buildings may also be charged as Class 1 felonies; however, burglary of most commercial buildings, aircraft, watercraft, and motor vehicles is considered a Class 2 felony. The maximum term of incarceration for Class 2 felonies is seven years.

Find the best criminal defense attorney in Illinois.

DUI

Illinois charges a first-time defendant who is charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or a controlled substance with a Class A misdemeanor and, upon conviction, imposes both criminal and administrative penalties. In addition to having his license suspended for six months, a first-time offender can also face a maximum of six months in county jail, and a fine of up to $1,000. Individuals whose records show multiple DUI convictions face increasingly serious penalties. For example, a third offense or DUI without a valid driver’s license can be charged as a Class 2 felony.

For a DUI charge based on consumption of alcohol, the prosecution must show that the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. An individual with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08% can still be charged with DUI if the law enforcement officer provides evidence of impaired behavior. Although certain penalties may be lessened, this lesser conviction will still appear as a DUI on your record.

Find the best Illinois DUI lawyer here.

Other Crimes

The lawyers who comprise Criminal Lawyer are well prepared to defend a variety of crimes in Illinois. Rather than being limited to the most common crimes in the state, our experience extends to the defense of federal crimes and appellate level defense. Whether you are seeking a lawyer to defend you against a serious charge such as murder, or a less severe misdemeanor such as petty theft, we can help.

Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Illinois

The process of defending criminal charges is often an emotional experience for the defendant. Tension and the potential consequences of a conviction can severely impair your rational thought and objectivity. In these very challenging circumstances, a criminal defense attorney provides a steadying influence coupled with a strategic, logical approach to defeating criminal charges.

An experienced Illinois criminal lawyer can frame the facts of your case, present evidence, and address the jury in a very different manner than a defendant, thereby bringing both credibility and enhanced effectiveness to your defense. This professional approach can often lead to a better outcome for you. For these reasons and many others, your wisest choice is to engage an Illinois criminal lawyer to advise and counsel you throughout your defense against criminal charges.

If you find yourself at a loss when it comes to your next steps in building a defense against criminal charges in Illinois, turn to us.

[Disclaimer - this is not legal advice.]

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