When Should I Hire A Lawyer For Illinois Criminal Charges?

criminal charges

If you were arrested on misdemeanor or felony charges in Illinois recently, you may face severe consequences, such as jail time and heavy fines. Plus, having a charge or conviction on your record could make getting and keeping a job immensely difficult. You need a fierce Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyer fighting for your rights in times like these.

Learn in this blog post about when you should hire an attorney for Illinois criminal charges. Then, talk to one of our attorneys at (847) 298-5740 if you have questions.

Should You Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Many people arrested on a criminal charge in Illinois might think they do not need a lawyer. Perhaps the charge is ‘not too serious,’ or it is your first offense, so you may be able to get a plea deal on your own. Or, if you already have a record, you could think that a criminal defense attorney will not be able to help you. Thinking any of these things is incorrect and could impact your future negatively.

Whether you are facing your first or subsequent charge, you can be helped by an experienced criminal defense attorney. The truth is, even if you face a ‘minor’ misdemeanor charge, there are several valid reasons to hire an Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney:

You Can Go To Jail

There are Class A, B, and C misdemeanors in Illinois. According to 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5.-65, a conviction for a Class C misdemeanor can result in a 30-day jail sentence, while a Class B conviction can bring a six-month jail term. If you are convicted of a felony, you could do at least a few years in prison. Having an attorney negotiating on your behalf when your future is on the line is vital.

You Could Have A Criminal Record

A criminal conviction in Illinois may result in a permanent criminal record. You will then have to go through the process of sealing or expungement which is not an option for all types of cases. Even if you do not go to jail, you could find many aspects of life difficult. For example, many convicted criminals find getting and keeping a good job challenging, at best.

You Do Not Understand The Legal System

An experienced criminal defense lawyer understands state and local laws and how local judges and prosecutors treat various kinds of cases. Your lawyer can provide invaluable legal advice about the Illinois criminal justice process while safeguarding your rights.

In summary, you should be represented by a skilled criminal defense attorney in Illinois if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime. The results you can get without legal representation are almost always worse than with a criminal defense lawyer.

Speak To Our Arlington Heights Criminal Defense Lawyers Now

Being arrested on criminal charges in Arlington Heights can be scary. With so much uncertainty about your future, having a skilled attorney in your corner is critical. The Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyers at Villadonga & Villadonga have the legal tenacity and skill to defend you against various misdemeanor and felony charges.

Call our law offices today at (847) 298-5740 for a confidential consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys have more than 50 years of proven experience and can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.

What Should You Know About Domestic Violence Charges In Illinois

domestic violence

The state of Illinois takes domestic violence seriously. If you were accused of domestic violence, you would face a jail or prison sentence and thousands in fines, plus a permanent stain on your record that makes employment difficult. Learn more about domestic violence charges below, and contact our Illinois domestic violence attorneys if you need legal assistance.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence In Illinois?

For a crime to be domestic violence, the law (725 ILCS 5/112A-3) states that the alleged perpetrator and victim must be household or family members, which is defined in this way:

  • Former or current spouses
  • Parents, children, stepchildren, and others who are related by marriage or blood
  • Individuals who share or once shared a dwelling
  • People who have children together
  • People who have disabilities and their caregivers
  • People who are engaged or dating

The law refers to domestic battery in these situations, which means intentionally causing physical harm to a family or household member or making physical contact in an insulting or provoking nature with a member of the family or household. Domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois and can be punished by one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. However, if the perpetrator has a previous domestic violence record, it can be upgraded to a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to six years in state prison and a $25,000 fine.

The crime is defined as aggravated domestic battery if the perpetrator causes severe bodily harm, disfigurement, or permanent disability. This crime is a Class 2 felony, and if you have one or more previous convictions, you will receive at least three years in prison.

Potential Defenses To A Domestic Battery Charge

The key to the prosecutor’s case is proving that domestic abuse occurred, which is defined in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. They must prove that some type of abuse occurred, such as pushing, hitting, forcing intercourse, or not letting someone leave. Abuse also could be harassing your domestic partner, such as calling or texting them repeatedly, making threats, following them, or keeping them from seeing their children.

If the prosecutor cannot prove that abuse occurred, their case is problematic. Some of the possible defenses to a domestic violence charge are:

Inadequate Evidence

Prosecutors and police must meet the burden of proof to convict someone of a crime. If there is not enough evidence, the case could fall apart. For example, if your ex claims you were harassing him or her in phone calls and phone records show you have not called him or her in months, that could suggest inadequate evidence.

Victim Is Not Telling The Truth

All domestic violence accusations must be taken seriously. However, there are occasions when the alleged victim might not tell the whole story. After a domestic quarrel or breakup, it is not uncommon for one of the partners to wrongfully accuse the other of domestic violence. A skilled attorney can show that the alleged victim could be lying.

Self-Defense

Sometimes the alleged victim was actually the aggressor, and a closer look into this can show the judge what really occurred.

Contact Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyers Now

Being charged with domestic violence in Illinois is serious, but you have not yet been convicted. There are various effective defenses for domestic violence charges, and an experienced attorney is an invaluable resource. Contact our Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Villadonga & Villadonga. We are ready to protect your rights, so contact us at (847) 298-5740.

The Importance Of a Criminal Defense Attorney

Illinois criminal defense attorney

Having a criminal charge against you is a severe situation whether you are innocent or not. The Illinois legal system is complex, and people who are charged must deal with court appearances, pleadings, paperwork, motions, etc. This is not something you want to take on alone. If you have been charged with a crime, a strong defense is essential, so speak to our Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Villadonga & Villadonga today.

Why Get A Criminal Defense Attorney?

A skilled defense attorney should handle most Illinois criminal charges. Under (730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-65) even a relatively ‘minor’ Class C misdemeanor in Illinois can result in up to 30 days in jail, two years of probation, and/or a fine of up to $1,500. Crimes that could result in a Class C misdemeanor conviction include simple assault and disorderly conduct.

Investigate The Charges

Once you retain a criminal defense attorney, they will investigate the charges to see what evidence the police gathered against you. They may visit the alleged crime scene, talk to witnesses, review police reports, and look at the physical evidence. The attorney will review the facts and evidence and look for potential weaknesses in the case and anything that could give rise to reasonable doubt.

Review Law Enforcement Conduct

Even if someone may be guilty of a crime, law enforcement must follow the law and respect a suspect’s constitutional rights. Your attorney will look at how the arrest and questioning were conducted by law enforcement, and if your rights were violated, they could file a motion to have specific evidence suppressed.

For example, if you were arrested for a suspected DUI and the police did not have probable cause for the stop, this could be problematic for the prosecution. Police officers must have probable cause to pull drivers over in Illinois. If you were obeying all traffic laws when pulled over, your attorney might question whether the police had probable cause to stop your vehicle.

Develop A Defense Strategy

Depending on the case, there are many potential ways a criminal defense attorney might develop a defense strategy. If the alleged crime was assault, perhaps it was done in self-defense. If it was a DUI stop, there could be issues with the field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer test.

Help You Make Major Legal Decisions

Some, but not all, criminal cases in Illinois go to trial. If the prosecutor offers you a plea deal, your attorney will review it with you and provide their best recommendation. They also may negotiate with prosecutors to obtain a more favorable plea agreement. Or, they could advise you to take the matter to trial. Ultimately, it is your decision, but an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide essential legal guidance about the best course of action.

Represent You At Trial

Your attorney works for you in the courtroom and offers the best defense. They also will participate in jury selection and potentially object to improper testimony or evidence. While you can legally represent yourself, your chance of a favorable outcome in court rises when a criminal defense attorney represents you.

Contact Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyers Now

Being hit with an Illinois criminal charge is frightening, but an experienced attorney can help you Contact our Illinois defense attorneys at Villadonga & Villadonga. We can provide a solid defense to obtain a favorable case result, so contact us at (847) 298-5740.