Criminal Law in Illinois
Ask the bar association or friends for referrals or simply Google, “How to find a Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney” to find a criminal defense lawyer. Once you get the name and number and call right away. In the world of criminal law, the stakes are too high to wait and see what happens or to try to go it alone.
If you or a loved one have been questioned in or arrested for an Illinois crime,this article was written for you.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Illinois specific criminal laws;
- What you need to know about criminal defense in Illinois; and
- How to work with your Illinois criminal defense attorney.
Illinois Criminal Laws
The goal of criminal laws is to protect people, animals, and society, as a whole. Actions or inactions that are considered to be dangerous are criminalized.
Punishments are doled out in an effort to rehabilitate, punish, provide retribution, and protect society.
Illinois criminal laws are found in the Illinois Criminal Code. There are hundreds of crimes listed in the Illinois Criminal Code, including DUI, child neglect, making and using coin slugs, hazing, identity theft, arson, drug possession, disorderly conduct, hit and run, shoplifting, theft, reckless driving, and drug distribution.
Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred. If the statute of limitations has passed in your criminal defense case, this provides a complete defense and the charges will be dropped.
For example, in Illinois, the statute of limitations for:
- Any misdemeanor is 18 months.
- Murder is unlimited.
- Incestual sexual conduct or penetration of a minor is 1 year after the victim turns 18.
Ask your criminal law attorney what the statute of limitations is in your particular case.
If you’re like most people, the threat of criminal punishment is at the forefront of your mind. “What could happen to me?” “Will I go to jail?” “How will I take care of my family?” These are questions criminal law attorneys answer every day.
Your attorney will analyze the charges against you and the circumstances of the alleged crime; he or she will let you know what punishment you can expect if convicted.
For example, in Illinois, sentencing guidelines call for:
- One year or more of jail time if you are convicted of a felony.
- Less than one year of jail time if you are convicted of a misdemeanor.
- No jail time will be awarded if you are convicted of a petty misdemeanor or an infraction.
Restitution such as fines, community service, counseling, and educational awareness programs may be part of any criminal sentence.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
Bottom line: Get help from an Illinois criminal defense attorney.
- You need a lawyer, immediately. The sooner, the better.
- Even if you think something will make you look bad, disclose it to your attorney.
- Ask the police if you can leave the station or wherever you are. If they respond, “yes”, leave; if they say, “no”, ask for an attorney.
How to Work with an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer
Throughout your representation, you need to be your own advocate and a team player. Be on your best behavior and:
- When your lawyer gives you advice, take it.
- Be completely honest and open with your defense lawyer.
- Even if you think something will make you look bad, disclose it.
- Return all telephone phone calls promptly.
- Provide all requested information promptly.
- Stay in contact with your lawyer’s office. Update your address and phone number if either changes.
- To get all the facts, formulate your defense, or prepare you for court, your attorney may ask your difficult questions or challenge you. That’s okay.
- To put forth your best interest, your attorney may be polite and cooperative with the alleged victims, police officers, investigators, and the prosecutor. That’s okay.
Bottom Line: You need individualized advice and aggressive legal representation.
Google “How to find a Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney” and get help immediately.