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Schaumburg Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Villadonga & Villadonga Defends Your Rights with Dedication and Exceptional Legal Representation

Recently, the Village of Schaumburg reported a crime index of 127. This figure is roughly half the national average. Despite this, Schaumburg’s crime rate was higher than 58.9% of other U.S. cities. Interestingly, there was a 12% decrease in crime from 2019 to 2020. Over the past half-decade, there’s been a noticeable uptick in violent incidents, while property crimes have been on the decline.

Have you been charged with an offense in Schaumburg, Illinois? The repercussions on both your personal and professional lives can be profound without experienced legal representation. From traffic violations to misdemeanors and severe felonies, our Schaumburg criminal defense attorneys stand ready to devise a powerful legal defense for you. We pledge to aggressively protect your legal rights and handle your case with genuine empathy and skill.

Villadonga & Villadonga is a seasoned criminal defense law firm that serves the greater Chicago metro and surrounding counties. Our criminal defense lawyers possess the experience necessary to protect your legal rights. If you or someone you love has been arrested, contacting our firm as soon as possible is critical. We represent clients facing charges in various areas of criminal defense, including but not limited to:

If you or someone you care about is being questioned by law enforcement or has been charged with ANY crime, do not delay speaking with our attorneys. To schedule your free consultation, contact our law firm today by calling 847-298-5740.

Understanding Crime Classifications in Illinois: Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

Understanding legal terms can be challenging, especially words like ‘misdemeanor’ and ‘felony.’ Both are types of crimes, but they’re different in how serious they are, especially in Illinois. We will explain the two classifications in Illinois to help you understand their differences.

Basic Legal Definitions

Misdemeanor – In the simplest terms, a misdemeanor in Illinois is a lesser offense, typically involving less grievous actions. While it can lead to legal penalties and fines, it doesn’t bear the weight of a felony. Examples might range from certain traffic violations to theft of items below a stipulated value.

Felony – On the other end of the spectrum, felonies represent graver offenses in the Illinois legal framework. Think of crimes like homicide, aggravated assault, or substantial financial fraud. The consequences of a felony are understandably more severe, given the nature of the offense.

The Consequences and Classifications of Crimes Under Illinois Law

Misdemeanors: Generally, an individual convicted of a misdemeanor in Illinois faces a maximum jail time of 364 days, often served in a county facility. Additionally, penalties could involve fines, probation periods, or community service. Illinois categorizes misdemeanors into three classes:

Class A Misdemeanors. The most severe, with potential jail time at 364 days maximum and a fine of no more than $2,500.

Class B Misdemeanors. Moderate offenses, with jail time up to 6 months and a fine of up to $1,500.

Class C Misdemeanors. The least severe misdemeanors, with up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $1,500.

Felonies: A felony conviction is a serious matter. It can result in extensive prison sentences, typically carried out in state prisons. Felonies in Illinois are split into five classes:

Class X: Class X felonies are the most severely punished crimes. These crimes can result in lengthy prison sentences of 6-30 years, hefty fines, and other punishments. Some Class X offenses come with mandatory minimum prison sentences and a mandatory supervised release period after completion of the jail sentence. These crimes include: home invasion, aggravated battery with a firearm, and armed robbery.

Class 1: Class 1 felonies have a prison sentence of 4-15 years. There is a two year mandatory supervised release.

Class 2: Class 2 felonies carry a prison sentence of 3-7 years and can be extendable by 7-14 years.

Class 3: Class 3 felonies are punishable by up to 2-5 years in prison and one year mandatory supervised release.

Class 4: Class 4 felonies are punishable for 1-3 years in prison and one year of mandatory supervised release.

The Long-term Impact of a Criminal Conviction

Beyond immediate penalties, misdemeanors can result in life-long consequences. A misdemeanor on your criminal record can negatively impact employment prospects, educational opportunities, and even housing applications. Some criminal convictions may require public registration, such as certain sexual offenses.

Felonies, given their seriousness, lead to profound life-long consequences. A person with a felony record might lose certain rights such as voting or firearm possession. Moreover, the societal stigma associated with felony convictions may hinder personal and professional growth.

Criminal Record Expungements in Illinois

Illinois law provides avenues for expunging or sealing certain criminal records, making them inaccessible to the general public.

Misdemeanors. Many misdemeanors can be expunged, but eligibility often hinges on the nature of the crime and the time elapsed since the conviction.

Felonies. Expungement for felonies is more complicated. While some felonies can be sealed or expunged, most felonies remain on an individual’s criminal record permanently.

Both misdemeanors and felonies in Illinois are violations of the law, but they’re not the same. The penalties and long-term effects for each can be very different. Understanding these differences and retaining experienced legal counsel is crucial.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Process

The Illinois criminal justice system is designed to protect the rights of all defendants and be a fair and equitable process. The following is a brief overview of Illinois’ criminal case process:

  1. Accusation and Arrest – The police have the authority to take an individual into custody if they have probable cause to believe someone has committed a crime or an arrest warrant has been issued by a judge.

  2. Initial Court Hearing – After the accused has been taken into custody, the individual is presented in court for the first time. The Court will set a bond, and review the allegations to determine if the police did in fact have probable cause to make the arrest. The defendant will formally enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

  3. Bail – Bail is a set amount of money that a defendant can pay as a guarantee to return for court proceedings, allowing them to be released from custody pending their criminal trial. The judge will consider factors such as the severity of the alleged crime, the defendant’s past criminal history, and the accused’s ties to the community.

  4. Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury Proceedings – For more serious criminal offenses, there’s either a preliminary hearing where a judge assesses the strength of the evidence, or the case goes before a grand jury. The grand jury deliberates whether there’s enough evidence to indict criminal charges.

  5. Formal Charging – At this point in the process, the defendant is officially charged.

  6. Pre-Trial Motions and Plea Discussions – Before the criminal trial begins, both the defense and the prosecution will introduce motions. For example, the defense might file a motion to suppress specific evidence. The defense and prosecution might also engage in negotiations concerning a possible plea agreement.

  7. The Criminal Trial – If no plea agreement is reached between the parties, the case proceeds to trial. The prosecution is responsible for proving the individual’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If a jury or a judge decides that the defendant is not guilty, they are released. A finding of guilt leads to the next phase, which is sentencing.

  8. Sentencing – Depending on the crime, the court determines appropriate penalties and punishments, which can vary from imprisonment and fines to probation.

  9. Appealing the Verdict – If the individual believes there were legal errors during their trial, they can appeal the decision in a higher court through a written appeal.

  10. Post-Conviction Petitions and Post-Conviction Relief – Even after a verdict is made, the individual has the opportunity to challenge the judgment or the sentencing using methods such as post-judgment petitions.

Navigating the Illinois criminal justice system is stressful, but with the right knowledge and guidance, defendants can better understand their legal rights and this process. Seeking advice from our attorneys and staying informed is key to ensuring a fair and just experience within the Illinois criminal justice system.

Contact Our Schaumburg Criminal Defense Attorneys Today!

If you have been arrested for any criminal charge in Schaumburg, Illinois, you need immediate legal representation to mitigate potential adverse outcomes. The law firm of Villadonga & Villadonga aggressively represents individuals charged with various crimes in Illinois, including traffic violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. Don’t hesitate to contact our Schaumburg criminal defense attorneys today by calling 847-298-5740.

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