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Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer

What You NEED to Know if You've Been Charged With a Crime in Illinois: Advice From a Chicago Criminal Lawyer

A good criminal defense lawyer should have a deep understanding of the criminal justice system, experience fighting for defendants’ rights, and the expertise necessary to fight criminal charges in court. If you have been charged with a crime in Chicago, IL, you will need a highly qualified criminal defense attorney to fight on your behalf.

Criminal law is multifaceted and often complicated. Trying to navigate the system alone, without legal representation, can be difficult. You need somebody that has a complex understanding of criminal laws and statutes in Chicago which they can use to build a strong case on your behalf. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor charge or serious criminal charges, your reputation, and future may be at risk of being harmed.

At Hirsch Law Group, we have the criminal law expertise necessary to win your case. Our law office consists of a team of highly experienced criminal defense lawyers, some of which have been former prosecutors. All of our criminal defense attorneys have a vast amount of experience negotiating deals, investigating criminal cases, and fighting at trial.

Our criminal defense law firm offers a free consultation for you to come in and discuss your case with no strings attached. We prioritize justice at Hirsch Law, and we will fight aggressively on your behalf.

Call today at 312-967-0275 to schedule a free consultation.

What Can a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Do For Me?

When you are charged with a criminal offense in Chicago, the prosecutor has to prove that you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if you can demonstrate your innocence to a jury or judge through a criminal defense, you can be found innocent of the criminal charges.

As a layperson, however, it is difficult to create a strong criminal defense without strong knowledge of how the criminal justice system works. This is why the constitution guarantees the right to an attorney. The court will automatically assign you a lawyer, however, public defenders often have a lot of cases on their desks, and they may struggle to allocate sufficient time to your case.

By hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney, you are ensuring that you have the strongest criminal defense possible when you go to court. A defense lawyer that has the requisite experience and skills will be able to dedicate sufficient time to your case and ensure that your defense is infallible. Some of the things a criminal defense attorney will do for you include:


To bring criminal charges against a person in Chicago, a prosecutor must have sufficient evidence to support these charges. However, in many cases, the evidence they bring forward does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to introduce doubt to the mind of the jury or judge, a criminal defense lawyer must bring forward their own evidence and witnesses to demonstrate your innocence or reduce your sentence.

A good criminal defense attorney will thoroughly investigate your case, which includes examining the evidence brought forward by the prosecuting attorney, speaking with law enforcement officials, contacting any witnesses to the incident(s), and researching the laws on your alleged crime. They will then use the evidence they found in their investigation to build a robust criminal defense strategy on your behalf.


If your attorney believes that the prosecuting attorney has sufficient evidence to amount to a guilty verdict, the skill they will use the most is negotiation. A skilled criminal defense attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor to achieve a plea bargain or to reduce your charges where possible.

In most cases, prosecutors do not want to go through a lengthy criminal trial, and a good Chicago criminal defense lawyer will be able to minimize your sentence substantially through negotiation. Your attorney may also negotiate with the judge regarding your bail or any other factors that need to be considered in your case.


Many people accused of committing criminal offenses often complain that they are kept out of the loop by their lawyer on matters surrounding their case. It can be extremely frustrating if you do not know how your criminal case is progressing and whether negotiations are taking place.

An experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer will always communicate effectively with their client to ensure that they are kept up to date on all case matters. From the get-go, your criminal lawyer should communicate their legal opinion on the case, listen to any concerns you may have, and give you regular updates about the progression of your case.

At Hirsch Law Group, we pride ourselves on our attorney-client relationship. We know how stressful criminal cases are and how important it is to know what your attorney is doing. Our Chicago criminal defense lawyers always ensure to communicate effectively with their clients and listen to their concerns.


The main thing you want from a Chicago criminal defense attorney is effective and strong legal representation. This means that your lawyer should represent you at all stages of the criminal case including the arrest, arraignment, investigation, hearings, and trial. Your attorney should listen to any needs you have, understand your case completely, and represent you as best they can.

Effective representation should mean a full commitment to your case including investigating all avenues thoroughly, exploring all possible arguments that could be brought against you, and fighting aggressively on your behalf in front of a judge or jury.

You should hire a Chicago criminal lawyer that has experience on both sides of the criminal justice system and that has experience in multiple practice areas.

Criminal Defense Lawyers at Hirsch Law

Hirsch Law Group prioritizes protecting the rights of those that have been accused of crimes in Chicago and all throughout Illinois. We know how difficult it can be to be accused of a crime and to have to navigate through the criminal law system. Often, those accused of a crime have no previous experience dealing with lawyers and have no idea how to build a strong defense.

For this reason, we always ensure to take the burden of your case off of you and manage your case completely. We want you to know that when you hire us as your legal representatives, we will do all the investigating, researching, communication, and representation on your behalf. We pride ourselves on having extensive knowledge and experience in many areas of the law, with a primary focus on criminal law.

Our law office has a number of attorneys that have worked as former prosecutors, so they have knowledge of how both sides of the justice system work. One of our attorneys, Melanie Fialkowski has spent 13 years as a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Additionally, our managing attorney, Gordon H. Hirsch, has worked as a former prosecutor and has experience with criminal, civil, and personal injury cases. He is also included in America’s Top 100 Attorneys list, so you know that you are dealing with the best.

Our law office in Chicago, IL offers a free consultation, so you can come in and discuss your case with no commitment necessary.

Criminal Charges That We Handle at Hirsch Law Group

Our law offices in Illinois handle all types of criminal charges, ranging from minor misdemeanors to more serious criminal charges such as murder and sex crimes. The lawyers in our law firm have been practicing criminal law for a long time, and we are well-versed in the ins and outs of the criminal justice system.

Some of the criminal cases we handle in our law firm include:

  • Misdemeanor Charges – Class A, Class B, Class C
  • Felony Charges – Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4, Class X
  • DUI’s – Suspended Driver’s License, Revoked Driver’s LicenseReckless Homicide, Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Weapons Charges – Unlawful Use of Weapons (UUW), Armed Habitual Criminal, Aggravated Discharge of a Weapon, FOID Card Issues, PossessionAggravated Vehicular Hijacking, First Time Gun Charges
  • Drug Charges – Possession, Distribution, Manufacturing, Trafficking, Prescription Forgery
  • Domestic Violence / Battery Charges – Assault Crimes, Trespassing, Order of ProtectionStalking OrdersFight an Order of Protection
  • Theft / Burglary
  • Embezzlement
  • Homicide / Murder – Reckless Homicide, Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Traffic Offenses – Speeding Tickets, Commercial Driver’s License Violations, Reckless Driving
  • Expungements
  • Sex Offenses

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is considered a serious crime in Chicago and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. An accusation of domestic violence may come from your ex-spouse, partner, children, roommate or ex-roommate, or anyone that you have a close relationship with.

At Hirsch Law Group, we know how damaging an accusation of domestic violence can be to a person’s reputation and to their future employment and life prospects. Even without a conviction, an accusation alone can cause a huge amount of damage.

If the accusation brought against you was false or if you had to break a restraining order for a certain reason, for example, we can help ensure that the charges brought against you are thrown out and that you do not have to face time in jail or pay huge fines for a domestic violence conviction.

A compassionate criminal lawyer will listen to your case, try to understand why an accusation was brought against you, speak with witnesses, and petition the court for your innocence or to get your sentence reduced.

Drug Crimes

Although the medical and recreational use of marijuana has been legal in Chicago, IL. since 2020, prosecutions for other controlled substances within the city are still high. Law enforcement officers take drug crimes seriously, and those who are convicted often face harsh penalties.

Often, those who are charged with a drug-related crime, particularly drug possession, are caught red-handed. As such, it can be difficult to argue with a prosecutor that you are not guilty of the crime. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help minimize your sentence in this type of case to ensure that you do not receive time in prison or huge fines.

The penalties for drug-related crimes usually depend on the quantity of a controlled substance that is found in your possession. So, if you are found with a significant amount of drugs on your possession, you could be facing up to 50 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000. Further, if you were charged with drug trafficking, you may be coming up against federal prosecutors, which places the stakes even higher.

Whether you were charged with drug possession, trafficking, distribution, or manufacturing, a drug crime lawyer from our firm can help build up a strong criminal defense on your behalf.

White Collar Crimes

White collar crimes are typically brought against individuals who are wealthy or are in a position of power. These crimes usually occur for a financial purpose and common examples include fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, racketeering, and Ponzi schemes.

Being charged with a white-collar crime is sometimes enough to ruin your reputation in Chicago, IL. Claims may have been brought against you by former employees or colleagues which you haven’t yet had the chance to disprove.

At Hirsch Law Group, we have a lot of experience dealing with financial crimes such as money laundering and embezzlement. Our criminal defense lawyers in Chicago will do everything in their power to ensure an acquittal or reduce your charges if a guilty verdict is inevitable. A conviction of this nature can ruin your reputation, leave you bankrupt, and result in serious prison time.

Weapons Charges

Laws on weapons and gun crimes in Illinois are quite strict and are prosecuted aggressively. Charges of unlawful use of weapons (UUW) and aggravated or reckless discharge of a firearm can be brought against defendants at the state or federal level. The charge of armed habitual criminals is always brought as a class X felony charge, which is the most serious charge a person can face in Illinois.

Weapons charges are regarded as highly serious due to the risk of violence associated with them. As such, you could be looking at a long time in prison and huge fines if you are convicted of a serious weapons charge. A criminal conviction of this nature can have a huge impact on your life and your freedom, which is why you should seek assistance from a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.


Murder is often regarded as the most serious crime an individual can commit in Chicago, IL. If a person is convicted of this crime, they can spend the rest of their life in prison and have all of their freedoms taken away. As this crime is so serious, the investigation and trial process is often complex and involves a lot of legal issues and medical matters.

If you are facing a murder charge in Chicago, you will need to hire strong legal counsel immediately. Timing is the most important thing in murder cases and a lawyer will need as much time as they can get to prevent a criminal conviction.

Because murder is such a serious charge, the burden of proof can often be high. A criminal lawyer that has significant trial experience will try to introduce an element of guilt into the minds of the jury members. By using robust evidence and cross-examining the state’s witnesses, they can do everything in their power to achieve a not-guilty verdict.

Sex Crimes

As with domestic violence charges, an accusation of a sex crime can have a damaging effect on a person’s reputation and future prospects in education, employment, and more. Some examples of sex crimes include sexual battery, sexual assault, rape, statutory rape, public indecency, and soliciting a minor.

Sex crimes are taken very seriously in Chicago, and can be charged as a felony charge depending on the level of seriousness. Crimes of this nature are usually investigated for a long time and a lot of evidence is collected, as they can be difficult to prove. As such, when a prosecutor brings charges against you, they will likely have a strong case for conviction.

If you are convicted of a sex crime, the penalties can be severe. You could face a lengthy prison sentence, fines, registration as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years, and a permanent criminal record. Having a Chicago criminal lawyer to defend you against sex crime charges is extremely important.

What Are Federal Criminal Charges in Chicago, IL?

As a resident of Chicago, IL., you have a duty to follow both state laws and federal laws. If you commit a crime on federal property, cross state lines while committing a crime, or if your crime is serious enough to be charged at a federal level, you will have to face trial in federal courts.

Federal crimes are considered much more serious as they are governed by the federal government. As such, the penalties for a federal felony conviction are far more serious than crimes at the state level. If you are convicted of a felony offense, you could be sentenced to time in a county or state federal prison and have to pay huge fines. Prison sentences under the federal system can range from one year to life imprisonment.

Examples of felony charges include drug trafficking, aggravated battery, bank robbery, murder, and aggravated assault. If the crime is illegal under state law and federal law, the charges brought against you will depend on the particular circumstances of the crime and the level of seriousness.

If you are facing federal charges, it is important that you have an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney present at all stages of the criminal process. The federal legal system is much more complicated to navigate than the state system, and prosecutors are often aggressive and highly skilled in what they do.

What Defenses Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Use In My Case?

The legal defense that an attorney will use in your case will depend entirely on the particular circumstances of your case. Depending on your situation, you may want to plead guilty to your charges and get your sentence reduced, or you may plead not guilty to try and avoid any sort of conviction.

Some defense strategies that our lawyers have used in the past include:

  • Affirmative defense – Your lawyer can use this defense if you committed the alleged crime under circumstances that no longer rendered the act illegal. The primary examples of this defense are self-defense and the defense of property. So, if someone attacked you walking down the street, and you hit them back to protect yourself, you can claim self-defense.
  • Innocence – If you did not commit the crime you are accused of, your lawyer will argue that you are innocent of the crime. In these cases, your case will likely have to go to court, so it is important that you have an experienced trial lawyer.
  • Duress or coercion – If you carried out an act because you were threatened with unlawful force by another person or group of people, you could argue that you were under duress or coerced into committing the alleged crime.
  • Alibi – To use the alibi defense, you must demonstrate that you could not have committed the crime in question because you were not present at the time the act was carried out. For example, if you are accused of murder in Chicago yet you have evidence to show you were in Cook County when the murder was carried out, you can use this as your alibi defense.
  • Statute of limitations – For a criminal prosecution to be successful, the charges must be brought within the time period specified within the statute of limitations. If charges are brought against you outside of this time period, they will not be valid under the law.

As noted above, the defense that your Chicago criminal defense lawyer will use for your case will depend on the type of crime you have been charged with, the circumstances surrounding your crime, and the story that you provide them with. Schedule a free consultation with our law offices today to see what criminal defense we can use for your case.

How Is Bail Determined in Chicago, IL?

All individuals charged with crimes in Chicago are held in jail until their criminal trial commences. However, the court in most cases will set a bail amount that can be paid to the state for your release. This money will then be refunded once you appear in court on the scheduled date.

Bail is not granted in all cases, however, and if the judge determines that you pose a risk to society, to the victim, or a flight risk, then you will have to remain in jail until your trial. This is also the case with certain weapons charges, when you are facing potential life imprisonment, and with certain felony charges.

The amount of bail is determined on a case-by-case basis and usually, the judge will consider the following factors:

  • The financial situation of the accused.
  • Whether the accused person can meet the requirements of the bail bond.
  • Whether the bail amount is oppressive to the accused.
  • In drug cases, the street value of the drugs found in the accused’s possession or the amount they were trafficking.

Although the judge has the ultimate decision, your Chicago criminal defense lawyer will argue to ensure that your bail is the minimum amount possible. Often, the prosecutor will argue circumstances that are not true, and you could be faced with a high bail bond. An experienced attorney can petition the court to ensure that you do not have to wait for your trial in county jail.

Contact a Chicago IL Criminal Defense Lawyer from Hirsch Law Group Today!

If you are facing criminal charges in Chicago, IL., you should speak with an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Time is precious in criminal cases and it is important that you have an attorney present at all stages of your case. From the moment you are arrested to the moment you go to trial, you should have a criminal defense attorney by your side.

Here at Hirsch Law Group, we know how daunting and stressful the criminal legal system can be. Whether you are facing a serious or minor criminal charge, the most important thing is that you have good legal representation. Our passion is criminal defense law, and we are highly dedicated to all of our client’s cases.

We pride ourselves on having experience in multiple practice areas and some of our attorneys have worked as former prosecutors in Illinois, meaning they know both sides of the criminal legal system. As such, you will be in the best possible hands if you choose us as your legal representatives.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 312-967-0275.