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Lake County IL Criminal Defense Lawyer: Expert Representation for Your Case

Lake County criminal defense lawyers need to have significant experience and expertise to come up against the criminal justice system. The criminal defense attorney that you choose to represent your case should have significant experience with criminal defense law, unique skills to build a defense strategy, and a passion for defending legal rights.

In any criminal defense case, the most important thing to ensure is that your voice is being heard and that your best interests are being protected at all costs. Here at Hirsch Law Group, our priority is defending the rights of the accused and ensuring that your future is not ruined by a criminal conviction. Our criminal defense law firm has a team of highly experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyers who aggressively pursue the best outcome for every criminal case they deal with.

In our law firm, we have a team of former prosecutors that use their experience to build unique and skilled criminal defense strategies. Through our dedication and aggressive representation, we have built up a strong attorney-client relationship with our clients. Our law office has been ranked among the top 40 in Illinois by and our criminal defense lawyers have received multiple awards and recognitions.

Call our Lake County criminal defense law firm today to schedule a free consultation at 815-880-1134.

Criminal Law in Lake County, IL

The Lake County criminal justice system has jurisdiction over all state misdemeanor and felony criminal cases. This means that any charges brought against an individual by state police officers and local prosecutors will be tried in the Lake County criminal court. State criminal cases can include assault, drug offenses, murder, domestic violence, and theft.

The Lake County criminal court will also hear some traffic offenses such as driving under the influence (DUI) however minor traffic violations such as speeding tickets will be tried in a traffic court.

Under criminal law, there are two main types of criminal charges, which differ due to their level of seriousness and type of penalty; misdemeanors and felonies.

Misdemeanor Charges

Misdemeanor charges will be brought against individuals accused of committing less serious crimes, such as a first-time DUI, assault, possession of a small quantity of low-risk drugs, aggravated assault, and aggravated speeding. There are three classes of misdemeanors, based on the level of seriousness of the crime. For each category of criminal offense, there are different penalties.

  • Class A Misdemeanor – The most serious type of misdemeanor, for criminal offenses such as DUI and aggravated assault. Penalties for a criminal conviction include $2,500 in fines, up to one year of jail time, or up to two years of probation.

  • Class B Misdemeanor – Criminal charges in this category are less serious than class A misdemeanors however being convicted can result in up to six months in jail, fines of up to $1,500, or probation for two years.

  • Class C Misdemeanor – The least serious type of misdemeanor charge in Lake County. Class C misdemeanor crimes include disorderly conduct or assault. For a conviction, you could face thirty days in jail and fines of up to $1,500.

Although misdemeanor criminal charges are generally regarded as less serious than a felony charge, being convicted can have long-lasting consequences. For example, if you are convicted of a drug-related misdemeanor, you may face difficulties applying for housing. Also, being convicted of the same crime more than once within a certain period of time may result in your charge being raised to a felony.

If you are facing misdemeanor charges in Lake County, a criminal defense attorney can help ensure that you do not face serious penalties or try to get your case thrown out. By having a strong criminal defense lawyer, you will increase your chances of a more favorable outcome.

Felony Charges

Serious crimes in Lake County are charged as felonies. Because felony crimes are more serious in nature, the penalties for these crimes are usually more severe and can result in a permanent criminal record. Some examples of felony crimes in Illinois include gun possession, drug offenses, criminal sexual assault, aggravated DUI, and felony burglary.

Like misdemeanors, felonies are divided into classes based on their level of seriousness. In Lake County, class X felony charges contain the most serious crimes, such as first-degree murder and weapons charges. Being convicted of a felony can have a major impact on your life and can result in serious time in prison, huge fines, and a criminal record that affects your future opportunities.

Class X Felonies

The most serious criminal offenses will be charged as class X felonies in Lake County, such as murder, sixth-time DUI conviction, and vehicular hijacking. If convicted of a class X felony, you could face up to thirty years in prison, and sixty for first-degree murder.

Class 1 Felonies

Examples of class 1 felonies include criminal sexual assault and second-degree murder. The penalties for a conviction are up to fifteen years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Class 2 Felonies

Felonies in class 2 can include kidnapping, arson, and burglary. Being convicted of a class 2 felony can result in fines of up to $25,000 and seven years in prison.

Class 3 Felonies

Felonies in class 3 are considered lower-level offenses. Crimes in this category include involuntary manslaughter, perjury, aggravated stalking, and forgery. A conviction can result in between two and seven years in prison and fines of up to $25,000

Class 4 Felonies

Class 4 felonies are the least serious type of felony charge, and crimes in this category can include reckless discharge of a firearm, criminal sexual abuse, and possession of a controlled substance. If convicted of a class 4 felony, you could face between one and three years in prison.

Felonies are regarded as serious criminal convictions in Lake County, IL, and with a felony criminal record, you will likely face difficulties getting housing, applying to university or college, getting employed, voting, and much more. An experienced criminal defense attorney from our law firm will do everything to ensure that your life is not impacted by a federal conviction.

Federal Criminal Charges in Lake County, IL

Citizens of Lake County, IL, are required to abide by not only state criminal laws but also federal laws set out by the government. Many acts are regarded as criminal offenses under both state and federal law however the federal government will step in to charge the crime under federal law in the following circumstances:

  • The crime was committed on federal or state property.

  • The crime occurred across state lines or in multiple states, such as drug trafficking or fraud.

  • The criminal offense was sufficiently serious to warrant being charged at a federal level.

  • The crime was committed against a member of the state or federal government.

  • The crime involved a state agency, such as the national post service.

  • Financial crimes involving national banks and institutes, or government institutes.

The process for a federal criminal charge is significantly different to state criminal cases. Federal crimes are investigated by federal government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). As such, the evidence brought against defendants in a federal criminal case is usually extensive, which is why the conviction rate for federal crimes is above 90%.

If you have been charged with a federal crime in Lake County Illinois it is imperative that you contact a good criminal defense attorney with experience trying federal cases. The criminal defense attorneys at Hirsch Law Group have helped many clients defend federal criminal cases by building up a strong criminal defense and negotiating a fair plea bargain to reduce the sentence.

Criminal Charges That We Handle in Lake County, IL

Our Lake County law firm handles a wide range of criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys have helped clients with murder cases, class X felonies, assault, DUI, financial crimes, drug crimes, and much more. When coming up against the criminal justice system, the most important thing is to have a strong and robust criminal defense. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you get a not-guilty verdict or reduce your penalties substantially.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence offenses can be charged at either the felony or misdemeanor level, depending on the seriousness of the crime, your criminal history, and the victim in question. At Hirsch Law Group, we know how stressful it can be to face a domestic violence charge and the impact that such a charge can have on your life. It is important that you hire an experienced Lake County criminal defense lawyer if you are facing domestic violence charges.

Some examples of domestic violence cases we handle in our law office include:

  • Violation of a protection or barring order.

  • Stalking.

  • Aggravated stalking.

  • Attempted sexual assault.

  • Assault.

Traffic Violations

Many traffic violations are dealt with in the traffic court, such as speeding violations, DUI, and traffic tickets. Proceedings in the traffic court are similar to criminal trials in that the defendant must make a court appearance to put forward a plea and argue their innocence. However, the traffic court is distinct from a state criminal court and criminal traffic proceedings will usually be dealt with in the criminal court.

If you are charged with a DUI traffic offense, you will be required to attend a criminal court. The penalties for a DUI can be quite serious and will increase to a felony charge for a third DUI conviction. DUIs can impose mandatory minimum sentences in prison, huge fines, probation, a criminal record, and revocation of your driver’s license.

Our law firm deals with DUI charges frequently and our criminal defense attorneys know how to reduce these charges to ensure the case is thrown out or the penalties are minor. One of our attorneys, James Brzezinski, specializes in DUI cases and major traffic offenses, and he has what it takes to win your case.

White-collar Crimes

White-collar crimes are crimes that are committed for a financial purpose through non-violent means. These crimes can be committed by an individual or group and can be done on a small scale or a much larger scale, including crimes that stretch across multiple states and countries. The most common financial crimes that our law offices deal with include consumer and customer fraud, money laundering, racketeering, and embezzlement.

It is common for larger-scale financial crimes to be charged at the federal level and to undergo an investigation by a federal agency such as the FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). White-collar crimes are typically committed by individuals or groups with large financial assets, or by people who are in a position of power. However, there has been an increase in recent years in online financial crimes such as internet and email scams.

Being convicted of a white-collar crime can have serious penalties, such as time in federal prison, fines, restitution to victims, probation, and a permanent criminal record. Our IL criminal defense lawyers have significant experience handling financial crimes cases and we have helped many clients achieve a not guilty verdict or get their penalties reduced substantially.

Drug Offenses in Lake County, IL.

Although marijuana possession has been legalized for Lake County residents (up to thirty grams), the state of Illinois still imposes strict criminal laws on possession and use of other controlled substances. In Lake County, it is a crime to possess, distribute, manufacture, cultivate, traffic, or deliver a controlled substance.

Controlled substances or illegal drugs are divided into categories depending on their medical benefits and the risk of harm they pose to the public. The penalties for drug crimes will depend on the type of drug found in your possession, the quantity, your previous criminal history, and any aggravating factors. The schedules for drugs are as follows:

  • Schedule I – Highest drug schedule which contains drugs that pose the highest risk of harm to members of the public. Substances in this schedule include opiates and hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD.

  • Schedule II – Drugs in this schedule pose a high risk of harm and little medical benefit. Examples of schedule II substances include coca leaves, codeine, and oxycodone.

  • Schedule III – Drugs in this schedule are less harmful and are prescribed by medical professionals in some circumstances. Schedule III drugs include ketamine, buprenorphine, and some steroids.

  • Schedule IV – Drugs in this schedule are often prescribed by medical professionals however they still pose some risk of harm and addiction. Examples include benzodiazepine and tramadol.

  • Schedule V – The lowest drug schedule in Lake County with the lowest risk of harm and addiction. Prescription drugs that contain opioids are usually contained in this schedule.

Being convicted of a drug crime will massively impact your life. With a criminal record, you will face difficulties accessing education and housing, applying to jobs, and getting child support. Our criminal defense attorneys can help build a strong defense strategy on your behalf to win your drug case in Lake County.

Misdemeanor Drug Charges

The penalties for a misdemeanor drug charge in Illinois are up to one year of jail time and maximum fines of $2,500. With a misdemeanor conviction, it will be easier to get your record expunged however you may still face some difficulties with a criminal record, such as accessing public housing.

Examples of misdemeanor drug charges include:

  • Possession of drug paraphernalia.

  • Attempted unauthorized possession of a prescription form.

  • Attempted possession of a controlled substance.

Felony Drug Charges

Most drug crimes in Lake County are charged as felonies. As such, the penalties for drug crimes are quite severe and can result in lengthy prison sentences, huge fines, probation, court-mandated attendance at a drug or alcohol program, and a permanent criminal record. If you are facing felony drug charges, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal counsel from an experienced Lake County criminal defense attorney.

Some examples of felony drug charges in Illinois include:

  • Possession of a controlled substance (class 4 felony).

  • Delivery of prescription drugs (class 3 felony).

  • Possession with intent to deliver less than one gram of a controlled substance (class 2 felony).

  • Delivery of a controlled substance (class 1 felony).

  • Drug trafficking (class X felony).

Our Lake County criminal lawyers have helped clients with a wide range of drug charges. We place a high priority on felony drug cases due to the harsh penalties that result from a conviction. Our priority is ensuring that your legal rights are protected and that you are afforded the highest standard of legal representation possible.

Can I Go To Jail For Prescription Drug Possession in Lake County, IL?

In Lake County, IL, many prescription drugs are classed as controlled substances under criminal law. This means that without a valid prescription from a licensed medical practitioner, you can face criminal charges for having prescription drugs in your possession.

In recent years, due to the rise in opioid addiction in Illinois, law enforcement take a strict approach to those found in illegal possession of prescription drugs, such as tramadol, Xanax, oxycodone, or Ritalin. As these drugs are contained within Schedule III, IV, and V of the controlled substances list, you can be charged with a class 4 felony for illegal possession. The penalties for a class 4 felony include up to one to three years in prison and maximum fines of $25,000.

What Can I Expect After a Drug Conviction in Lake County, IL?

The penalties for a drug conviction in Lake County can be quite severe, particularly if you were unable to negotiate a fair plea agreement with the prosecutor. You could be facing time in prison, huge fines, probation, and more. With a drug conviction, however, there are often further consequences that will continue after the conviction, such as:

  • Criminal record – A drug crime conviction will result in a criminal record. This record will be public which means that employers and universities will be able to access it on request. As such, you will likely face difficulties getting employed or accepted to a university.

  • Housing – Public housing agencies take a strict approach towards drug users and those with drug convictions. If you are in public housing, you may get these privileges revoked following a drug conviction. You may also face difficulties applying for public housing afterward.

  • Voting – Individuals who have been convicted of a felony get some of their legal rights stripped away, such as the right to vote.

  • Rehabilitation – Our criminal defense lawyers will try and push for a court-ordered rehabilitation program instead of a jail sentence. With court-mandated rehab however you are required to attend at all times until the end of your sentence. Failure to attend may result in further penalties.

The criminal justice system makes it difficult for individuals convicted of a crime to move on and begin a new path. However, our criminal defense lawyers can assure you that moving on is possible and we will offer you guidance on how best to proceed following a drug conviction.

Can I Expunge a Drug Conviction in Lake County, IL?

The best way to move on from a drug conviction in Lake County is to get your criminal record expunged. Expungement is a process by which criminal records can get ‘clean’ and inaccessible to the public. With an expunged record, the only evidence will be a sealed copy accessible by law enforcement agencies in certain situations.

In order to get a record expungement, you will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. With misdemeanor convictions, you can get your record expunged after a certain time period provided that certain requirements are met. Felony charges however are in most cases ineligible for expungement. There are some rare situations in which you are able to get a felony expungement, which our criminal defense lawyers can advise you on.

The state of Illinois does however allow those with a criminal conviction to get their records sealed, which is similar to expungement. A sealed record will not be visible on standard criminal background checks and most people and organizations will not have access to your record. As such, it will be much easier to apply for jobs and education with a sealed record.

The expungement and sealing process can be quite complex and it requires a deep understanding of criminal law. Our criminal defense lawyers have significant experience expunging and sealing criminal records, and they can help you get your record sealed and start a new chapter in life.

How Drug Use and Addiction Negatively Impacts Your Life in Lake County, Illinois

In addition to numerous health problems, drug use and addiction can have a frightening impact on an individual’s life. For many people with substance abuse problems, it can be difficult to live a normal life and focus on work, relationships, and everyday tasks. Some ways drug addiction can impact your life include:

  • Psychologically – Drug use impacts not only your physical health but also your mental health. Many people who suffer from addiction suffer from other mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and severe loneliness.

  • Career – It can be difficult to hold down a steady job while depending on drugs. Many drug users struggle to get to work on time or stay focused while at work.

  • Relationships – Like employment, trying to maintain a relationship while addicted to drugs can be extremely difficult.

  • Legal issues – Many drug users get into legal issues due to their addiction and substance abuse problems. Whether this is being caught in possession of drugs, forging a medical prescription, stealing to get money to pay for drugs, or committing crimes while under the influence.

If you are struggling with drug addiction it is important to know that you are not alone. There are many avenues for you to seek help and Lake County support services are available.

Why You Should Go To Rehab After a Drug Conviction in Lake County, IL

Many people charged with drug possession or a drug-related crime are dealing with substance abuse problems or suffer from drug addiction. Attending a rehabilitation center after a drug conviction is important not only for helping you overcome your substance abuse problems but also for moving on to a new chapter of life. We strongly advise our clients to consider attending rehabilitation if suffering from drug addiction, when charged with a drug crime, or after conviction.

If a criminal defense attorney can demonstrate that your crime was non-violent and that you suffer from drug addiction, they can help you in the following ways:

  • They can negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor before the trial begins to allow you to attend a rehabilitation center for a certain amount of time as part of your criminal penalty.

  • Negotiate with the judge to get addiction treatment or rehabilitation as part or all of your sentence.

  • Get your case heard in a drug court rather than a Lake County criminal court.

Going to rehab after a drug conviction is the best way to overcome drug addiction and to ensure that your life is not further impacted by future drug charges. If you are able to attend a rehabilitation center while awaiting trial, this may also help your criminal case. Some rehabilitation centers in the Lake County area include:

If you need help getting on the right track with your criminal charges in Lake County, call one of our criminal defense lawyers today.

Lake County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Hirsch Law Group

Having excellent legal counsel is essential when fighting criminal charges in Lake County, Illinois. Your criminal defense attorney will need to defend your legal rights, investigate your case thoroughly, negotiate a fair plea bargain if you want to plead guilty, and fight aggressively on your behalf in court.

Hirsch Law Group has been helping clients win their criminal cases for many years and we pride ourselves on our dedication to protecting our client’s rights and fighting tooth and nail to get the best possible outcome. Our law firm is managed by Gordon H. Hirsch, who has worked as a former prosecutor and used his expertise to become an aggressive criminal defense attorney. He has been ranked among America’s Top 100 Attorneys and has an AVVO score of 10.0, which is based on peer recognition and achievements.

All of the lawyers in our firm are highly experienced with criminal defense law and have the skills necessary to win your case in Lake County, Illinois. You can be assured that all of our criminal defense attorneys have been recognized by their respective state bar associations and have significant experience fighting criminal cases in Illinois. We value the importance of having strong legal representation and our IL lawyers will protect your rights at every stage of your case.

Contact a Lake County IL Criminal Defense Lawyer at Hirsch Law Group Today

The Lake County criminal justice system can be overwhelming and confusing for individuals facing criminal charges. The prospect of being convicted of a crime and getting a criminal record is daunting, particularly if you are facing felony charges. It is essential that you do not rely on a public defender for your Lake County criminal case, and that you seek qualified legal assistance from an aggressive criminal defense attorney.

At Hirsch Law Group we have a team of criminal defense lawyers that can help you fight your criminal case in Lake County, Illinois. Our legal team has a deep understanding of criminal defense law and we have experience with all types of cases, including misdemeanors, felonies, and federal criminal defense charges. Our attorneys will use their legal knowledge and experience with criminal defense work to ensure that you get the best result possible for your case.

We have built up a strong attorney-client relationship through our many years of dedication and aggressive legal representation for our clients, and we want to help you win your criminal case in Lake County, IL. Our law office believes that we have the best criminal defense lawyer to represent your case, and we will always fight with your best interest at the core.

Call us to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney at 815-880-1134.

33 N County St #201


Waukegan, IL 60085