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Felony Defense Attorneys
It is in your best interest to obtain legal counsel who concentrates in criminal defense.
Let the lawyer work on your behalf to:
- Inform you on the law and legal procedures involved in your case and possible outcomes.
- Investigate and obtain all reports and interview witnesses.
- Negotiate/argue a favorable settlement.
- Try your case at a jury trial or bench trial.
- You probably are not an experienced trial lawyer with the required knowledge and skill to defend you case;
- You may be too personally involved in the case to look at your case objectively and may not be able to look at all sides of your case;
- The lawyer will advise you his opinion on the possible outcome of your case based on experience and the law;
- The lawyer will be a buffer between you and the State and Judge to speak on your behalf;
- Your case result will probably be much better with a lawyer due to their experience in criminal cases.
Formal Felony Charges
Even though you have been arrested, the State formally charges you by way of an Indictment or complaint for indictment and preliminary hearing. You can waive your right to either. A judge decides after a preliminary hearing, whether there is enough evidence for the charge to stand after evidence is presented by the state through witnesses. An indictment is a process by which the State’s Attorney presents evidence before 12 secret grand jurors who deliberate whether or not there is enough evidence to charge you with a crime.
- 1. RIGHT TO TRIAL
- 2. DEFENDING THE CASE
- 3. PLEAS WITHOUT TRIAL
- 4. FELONY SENTENCING
- 5. SPECIAL CASE SENTENCING
- 6. FELONY PROGRAMS
- You have the right to have either a jury trial or a bench trial.
- A jury trial is where either 6 or 12 people decide your guilt or innocence. If found guilty, the judge, not the jury, sentences you.
- A bench trial is where the judge decides your guilt or innocence, and sentences you if he/she found you guilty.
- You are not required to go to trial. Instead, you may enter into a negotiated plea with the prosecutor or enter a “blind” plea before the court and let the judge sentence you.
The following is a list of possible defenses which could be used at your trial:
- You didn’t commit the crime
- Self Defense
- No intent to commit crime
- State Cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt
- Lack of evidence/ Lack of witnesses
There are many ways to defend a case prior to trial on a motion. Motion to Suppress Evidence:
- Did the officer violate your rights (against illegal stop, search or seizure, etc.)?
Motion to Suppress your Statements:
- Did the officer violate your Miranda rights or other constitutional rights?
- Can the state prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt?
- Blind Plea: You can make a blind plea by entering a plea of guilty before a judge without an agreement with the State If you enter a blind plea of guilty, you will be sentenced by the court after a sentencing hearing.*
- Sentencing Hearing : The Court may hear factors in aggravation and factors for mitigation before the judge decides on the appropriate sentence at a sentencing hearing.
- Negotiated Plea Agreement/Plea Bargain: An agreement between the State and the defendant wherein the defendant agrees to plead guilty under certain terms and conditions. Since both the State and the defendant risks losing everything should the case go to trial, plea agreements are means to arrive at a reasonable disposition without necessity of a trial. All plea agreements are subject to the judge’s approval.
- An agreement reached between yourself and the State as a recommended sentence for the Judge’s approval.
Due to the vast nature of charges, each type of sentence varies according to the type of charge. Most felony sentences carry the possibility of probation,* or Conditional Discharge (a type of probationary sentence that is similar to probation). Some conditions of probation:
- Fines, costs, probation fees;
- Community service/ sheriff’s work alternative;
- Evaluation and Counseling; Alcohol, Drug, and Psychiatric
- Jail, periodic imprisonment;
- Home confinement/ankle bracelet
- Random drug tests
- Restraining orders
- No new violations
General Classification of offenses : Again, most classifications carry the possibility of a period of probation or conditional discharge with the possibility of jail to be served in the local county jail. But, a person can get sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections generally as follows. Multiple offenders may be eligible for enhanced or extended terms.* Illinois Department of Corrections Sentencing:
- Class 4 Felony – 1 to 3 years;
- Class 3 Felony – 2 to 5 years;
- Class 2 Felony – 3 to 7 years;
- Class 1 Felony– 4 to 15 years;
- Class X Felony- 6 to 30 years;
- First Degree Murder – 20 to 60 years to life
Illinois Law allows a first time simple possession offender a chance to complete a special term of probation called “410 or 710 Probation” that allows the case to be dismissed without a conviction (very important to those seeking jobs).You may be able to expunge the case and have the records sealed after waiting the statuary time period. T.A.S.C: A treatment program and probation that allows with permission of the court your plea to be vacated and dismissed.*
Each county may have a special program for different type of cases. For drug related cases, certain counties offer Drug Court for people with drug addictions that if completed could result in your sobriety and other benefits such as reduction or avoidance of jail or dismissal of your case. There exist beneficial programs including second chance programs and drug or theft school, in most counties, call for details.* Felony Enhancement: The State’s Attorney’s Office can enhance certain misdemeanors to felonies even though they start out as misdemeanors. It is in their discretion only. Some common examples include:
- Multiple offenders of the same offense*
- Over $300 worth of damage.
- Over $300 theft or retail theft over $150.
- Causing great bodily harm.
- Offenses to government supported property.
- Offenses against law enforcement, medical or educational personnel.
For more information and more complete explanation of your rights, please call our Majer, Sheen & Piereth, P.C. at 630-553-7788 for a free telephone or office consultation. You may also reach us by email.