Criminal law in Illinois is a complicated and multi-faceted system. If you have been accused of a crime in Sycamore, you may be at a loss as to how you can prove your innocence or ensure that you do not face serious penalties.
At Hirsch Law Group, we are here to help you with all of your criminal defense needs. The criminal defense attorneys at our law firm have practiced law for many years and have a huge amount of experience with criminal cases. We have law offices in Sycamore and all throughout Illinois, and we can assist you with any of your legal issues.
Our priority is protecting the rights of criminal defendants and fighting aggressively to ensure that those rights are protected.
Schedule a free consultation with the Dekalb County criminal lawyers at our law office today by calling 815-880-1134.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With a Criminal Offense in Sycamore, IL?
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Illinois, there are certain things you need to do to ensure that you do not face any further criminal charges and that you get the best possible chance of winning your case.
- Do not resist – The most important thing to do following an arrest is to comply with the orders of the law enforcement officer arresting you. If you resist an arrest, you can risk facing extra charges or harsher penalties. Even if you are innocent and do not understand why you are being arrested, you should comply with all orders and request your lawyer as soon as possible.
- Stay quiet – In Illinois, all those accused of a crime reserve the right to remain silent at all times. Police are often extremely skilled at negotiation, and they will use multiple different tactics to try and get information out of you. Be aware that police are rarely ever on your side, and they will attempt to guide you towards admitting guilt. Keeping silent is always the best thing to do during your arrest until you have access to your lawyer. They can then offer you legal advice on how to proceed, and they will speak on your behalf.
- Know your rights – As a person accused of a crime, you have certain rights that need to be respected by police officers and all officials that you come into contact with during your arrest and afterward. Police only reserve the right to detain you for 72 hours without charges, you have the right to a Dekalb County criminal lawyer, and you have the right to face a judge for bail after being charged. You should also ensure to comply with the arrest and arraignment process and refrain from resisting standard procedure.
If you have been arrested for a crime, you should contact one of our Sycamore, IL, criminal defense lawyers immediately. The moment from your arrest to when you face trial is the most important and crucial moment in any criminal case. A defense lawyer will do all communication with police officers and prosecutors on your behalf during this time to ensure that you are not coaxed into giving self-incriminating information and that you can have a fair trial.
The Criminal Justice System in Sycamore, IL.
Navigating the criminal system can be difficult for those who have no prior experience with criminal law and dealing with criminal charges. Even for lawyers, the criminal process is sometimes complex and confusing, and national and federal courts are often high-pressure environments. Prosecutors usually spend a lot of time building evidence against defendants before they bring charges in order to ensure a conviction.
The process of bringing criminal charges and defending a criminal accusation usually goes as follows:
Firstly, a prosecutor or law enforcement agency will begin to investigate your case. If it is a federal felony case, a federal organization will be responsible for investigating your case, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Some things they will do during your investigation include speaking with witnesses, looking at any video footage or images, consulting evidence, and speaking with any victims.
Once there is sufficient evidence against the accused to make an arrest, the prosecutor will seek an arrest warrant from a county judge and then make an arrest. It is important to know your legal rights during the arrest process and to ensure that the law enforcement officer arresting you reads your rights.
In the event that there has been no prior investigation, and you were arrested due to being caught ‘red-handed,’ for example in possession of a controlled substance, you are still guaranteed the same rights, including the right to remain silent, and the right to legal representation.
The law enforcement officers should discuss with you the basic legal issues involved in your case and explain why you have been arrested. During this time, you reserve the right to contact a Dekalb County criminal lawyer, which is strongly recommended.
Following the arrest and subsequent questioning by police, you will then be brought to court to enter your plea. By this point, you should have spoken with your criminal defense lawyer and discussed your best options for the case.
An experienced criminal defense attorney should have spoken with the prosecutor by this point regarding your charges. The judge will usually post a bail amount that you will need to pay in order to be released from jail while you await trial. If the judge does not post bail for you, based on the circumstances of your case, you will need to remain in county jail to await trial.
4. Plea Bargain
Most clients want to avoid a lengthy criminal trial where possible. If you are happy to plead guilty to a lower charge to receive a lighter sentence, your criminal defense lawyer will try to negotiate a fair plea bargain on your behalf. A premium Dekalb County criminal lawyer that has extensive skills will be able to reduce your penalties substantially.
If your criminal defense lawyer was unable to reach a fair plea bargain or you decided to plead not guilty to all charges, your case will go to trial, where the decision will be up to a judge or jury. During the trial, criminal defense lawyers must submit motions, cross-examine witnesses, present evidence on your behalf, and fight to prove your innocence.
It is important that you hire a criminal defense lawyer that has experience going to trial and can effectively fight on your behalf. In our law firm, we have lawyers who have presented cases at the supreme court and have extensive experience defending criminal charges in Illinois.
Following the submission of all evidence to the court, and after all of the witnesses have given their statements in court, the judge or jury will reach a verdict. If it is a not-guilty verdict, you are free of all charges. However, if it is a guilty verdict you can appeal your decision to a higher court and try to get the decision overturned. Your criminal defense lawyer will usually bring an appeal based on a particular legal issue in the case or based on a problem with evidence.
Penalties For Criminal Convictions in Sycamore, IL.
If you are convicted of a crime in Illinois, you will receive a sentence based on the sentencing guidelines for the particular charge and certain factors decided by the judge. These factors include aggravating factors, such as a hate crime or membership of an organization or gang, and mitigating factors, including no previous criminal record or no threat to members of the public. The judge will also consider your previous criminal history.
If you are convicted of a more serious crime, the penalties you receive will be much more severe than if you are convicted of a minor crime. For example, with a misdemeanor charge, such as theft, you will receive a lighter sentence than a felony charge for aggravated domestic violence. An experienced Dekalb County criminal lawyer can help minimize the penalties you receive.
Examples of penalties for crimes in Sycamore, IL. include:
- Class A misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. Crimes in this category include DUI and aggravated assault.
- Class B misdemeanor – Up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,500. Crimes in this category include trespassing and some traffic law violations including aggravated speeding.
- Class C misdemeanor – Up to thirty days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,500. Crimes in this category include disorderly conduct and assault.
- Class 4 felony – One to three years in prison. Crimes in this class include theft and possession of a controlled substance, depending on the amount.
- Class 3 felony – Two to five years in prison. Crimes in this class include assault and battery.
- Class 2 felony – Three to seven years in prison. Crimes in this class include cannabis trafficking and burglary.
- Class 1 felony – Four to fifteen years in prison. Crimes in this class include criminal sexual assault by force and residential burglary.
- Class X felony – Up to 60 years in prison which can be extended to life imprisonment if there were certain aggravating factors. Crimes in this category include aggravated arson and armed robbery.
Regardless of how serious your crime was, you should always contact a criminal defense lawyer the moment you are brought into custody. They can ensure that if you do receive a penalty, it is as minimal as possible and that your freedoms are not taken away.
What Skills Should an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Have?
To win a criminal case in Illinois, you need a good criminal defense attorney by your side. Even for minor charges, you will need to argue your case with a solid criminal defense and have extensive knowledge of the criminal law system. When searching for a criminal defense attorney, you should consider the following:
First and foremost, you should ensure that your criminal defense lawyer has the requisite qualifications. This includes a law degree from a reputable school, peer recognition, endorsements from legal organizations, and registration with their respective state bar association.
Your Dekalb County criminal lawyer should have extensive experience with criminal law and criminal defense law. We believe that an attorney that has experience in multiple practice areas, such as civil law, personal injury law, or experience as a former prosecutor, will be a superior choice. Your legal counsel should actively practice law and deal with criminal cases on a regular basis.
Next, you should ensure that your attorney has experience negotiating plea bargains and deals with prosecutors and judges. If there is sufficient evidence to amount to a guilty verdict, your criminal defense lawyer will need to negotiate a fair deal that reduces your sentence and minimizes the penalties you receive.
A huge part of being a criminal defense attorney is communicating with the parties involved including the lawyers, the judge, and most importantly, the client. Good communication skills are necessary for writing legal documents and submitting motions to the court. As a client, your legal counsel should communicate with you frequently about issues with your case. It is important that you are always kept up to date with the ongoing of your case.
Attorneys practicing criminal law should have strong investigation skills. An experienced criminal defense attorney should carry out independent research into your case and try to find witnesses and evidence that helps prove your innocence. They can then use this evidence when building a strong criminal defense strategy on your behalf and bring it to trial.
Having a compassionate criminal lawyer is one thing that will make this process much less stressful for you. You want to have a lawyer that listens to your needs, takes the time to understand your case, and fights your case based on the information they have given you. Good criminal lawyers in Dekalb County should understand how stressful this process is for you, and offer you support when possible.
In addition to experience with criminal defense law, your attorney should have extensive experience with bringing cases to trial. In the event that you want to plead not guilty or to bring your case to court, you will need an experienced trial lawyer to argue your case. The lawyers at Hirsch Law Group are highly experienced in going to trial and our managing attorney, Gordon H. Hirsch, has been recognized as one of the Top 100 National Trial Lawyers in the United States.
If you are facing criminal charges in Sycamore IL, you want to ensure that your attorney is practicing law within the state of Illinois. Criminal defense lawyers that work across multiple states may be unaware of how the local criminal system works in Illinois and will be unfamiliar with the local judges and prosecutors. They may also be unavailable to meet you in person as frequently as you need. We have law offices in Sycamore and all over Illinois, so we know how the justice system works locally.
If you have been charged with a crime in Sycamore IL, you want to ensure that you have an effective criminal defense attorney who can defend your case to their full potential. Our law firm has a team of outstanding lawyers who will fight aggressively to protect your rights and ensure that you receive a favorable outcome in your case. Schedule a free consultation with our Dekalb County criminal lawyers today.
Criminal Defense Lawyers at Hirsch Law Group
Facing criminal charges in Sycamore, IL can be a scary and stressful experience. Being convicted of a crime can result in a permanent criminal record, time in prison, and having to pay huge fines. On top of this, it can tarnish your reputation and have an effect on your mental health and family life.
At Hirsch Law Group, we prioritize protecting the legal rights of those accused of committing crimes. Our law office values the importance of the right to innocence until proven guilty and we believe that all defendants have a right to a fair trial. As former prosecutors, our criminal defense lawyers are highly experienced with criminal law, and we know how the criminal system works. We can predict arguments that the prosecutor may make in your case and use this to our advantage.
Our priority is proving your innocence and ensuring that your life is not impacted by a criminal conviction. Our law office offers a free consultation so that you can come and discuss your case with our criminal lawyers in Dekalb County with no strings attached.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a Sycamore IL criminal defense lawyer from our firm at 815-880-1134.