If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Waukegan, IL, you will need a good criminal defense attorney to help you win your case. Regardless of whether you have been charged with a minor misdemeanor or a felony charge, you should always seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise you on how you should proceed.
Criminal allegations can be daunting and frightening for the accused and can often cause a severe amount of stress. Coming up against prosecutors is not an easy task, particularly if you have little knowledge of the criminal justice system in Waukegan. It is important that you have a strong criminal defense strategy for your criminal case to prevent having to spend time in prison, paying huge fines, or having a permanent criminal record.
At Hirsch Law Group, we have a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys who can help you win your case. Our firm represents clients that are facing criminal charges for all different types of crimes. Our criminal defense attorneys are highly experienced in criminal defense law and have been successful in murder cases, sex crime cases, traffic violation cases, and much more.
Our managing attorney, in addition to other attorneys in the team, has worked as a former prosecutor in Illinois, so we know how both sides of the system work. Our priority is to treat your case with compassion and provide aggressive representation to ensure the best outcome.
If you’re facing criminal charges, you need a Waukegan criminal lawyer on your side. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 815-880-1134.
Do I Need to Hire a Waukegan, IL Criminal Lawyer?
If you have been charged with a crime in Illinois, you have a constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment to have an attorney. Usually, the court will assign you a public defender if you have not already hired a criminal defense lawyer. However, in most cases, public defenders are overloaded with cases and are unable to designate sufficient time and effort to your case.
As such, it is strongly advised that you hire an experienced Waukegan criminal lawyer as soon as possible in order to avoid a criminal conviction. Trying to navigate the criminal legal system alone, without the backing of an attorney, can be extremely difficult. In most cases, you will be coming up against prosecutors that have built a robust case in order to ensure a conviction. As such, you will need to present a strong criminal defense to the court to prevent a criminal conviction or harsh penalties.
A criminal defense lawyer will be able to take over your case entirely on your behalf and do all of the hard work for you. From the get-go, they will investigate the facts and evidence of your case, explain to you how criminal defense law works, speak with any witnesses to the alleged crime, negotiate with the prosecutor and judge for a plea bargain, and build an airtight criminal defense on your behalf.
Criminal Law in Waukegan, IL.
The criminal legal system in Illinois serves to punish those convicted of a crime and offer justice to victims of crimes. As a person accused of a crime, your rights are affected by the criminal law system, meaning that during the criminal process, and sometimes afterward, some rights you have as a legal citizen are taken away.
Criminal law governs all crimes in Illinois, including, but not limited to:
- Traffic violations.
- Juvenile delinquency.
- Sex crimes.
- Driving under the influence (DUI).
- Weapons and firearm crimes.
- Drug crimes, such as drug possession, distribution, manufacture, and trafficking.
- White-collar-crimes, including embezzlement, fraud, and Ponzi schemes.
- Police brutality.
- Murder & manslaughter.
- Assault charges.
Depending on the particular crime and the seriousness of the crime, those who are convicted can face serious penalties such as long prison sentences, huge fines, probation, community service, and a permanent criminal record. If you are facing criminal charges in Waukegan, IL., you should speak with a Waukegan criminal lawyer about your case. They can explain to you how the criminal legal system works and offer you legal advice on your case.
Penalty Considerations For Judges in Waukegan, Lake County
Penalties for criminal convictions in Waukegan, Illinois, vary massively. If you are convicted of a crime, a judge will hand out a penalty after considering the following factors:
- Type of crime – Most crimes have statutes that set out the minimum and maximum sentences that can be handed out for a conviction. Serious and violent crimes have much harsher penalties than minor crimes and misdemeanors, such as traffic violations, for example. The judge will take into account the sentencing guidelines for the crime when handing out a sentence.
- Aggravating factors – If there were additional factors, known as aggravating factors, that made the crime in any way worse, you will face a harsher sentence. Examples of these factors include hate crimes against members of a protected group, vulnerable victims such as children and elderly people, serious harm, whether actual or threatened, an organized crime such as membership of a gang, abuse of power for those in a position of higher authority, and use of a firearm.
- Mitigating factors – Your sentence may be reduced if there were certain factors that lessened your responsibility or made your intention less harmful. Examples of mitigating factors include provocation, lack of consideration, law-abiding citizen prior to committing the crime, unlikely to re-offend, the crime was not violent in nature, having an intellectual disability, and having compensated the victim in some shape or form.
- Criminal history – If you have a previous criminal record that relates to the crime you are accused of, you may face a harsher sentence. This is mainly because the judge deems you unwilling or unable to rectify your decisions.
A good Waukegan criminal lawyer can help ensure that the penalty you receive is minimal and that your freedom is not impacted by a criminal conviction. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today to discuss how we can reduce your penalty in Waukegan, Illinois.
Felony Criminal Cases in Waukegan, Lake County
Many people are unsure about the difference between felony and misdemeanor charges in Illinois. In general, misdemeanor charges are regarded as less serious. However, you can still face time in prison and have to pay fines if convicted. Felonies, however, are considered to be much more serious crimes.
A felony charge can be brought at the state or federal level. For a charge to be brought to the federal level, the crime must meet a certain level of seriousness that it warrants investigation by a federal agency and trial in a federal court. For example, if you traffic drugs across state lines, have involvement in a criminal organization that spreads across multiple states, or traffic/produce child pornography, you can be charged with a federal felony.
Some white-collar crimes are also charged at a federal level, particularly when they involve a large organization, have been committed across state or country lines, or have impacted individuals in more than one state.
In reality, a lot of the crimes that are criminalized under state law are also regarded as crimes under federal law. However, the federal government or governmental bodies will step in to charge defendants in the situations outlined above. At the state level, felonies are divided into certain classes depending on their level of seriousness.
Class X Felonies
Class X felony charges are regarded as the most serious types of felonies. The minimum sentence for a Class X felony conviction is six years in prison and can extend up to 60 years in prison in certain circumstances. If you are convicted of a Class X criminal conviction, you are not eligible for probation or conditional release.
Crimes in this category are usually aggravated crimes or involve a firearm or weapon. Some examples of crimes in this category include aggravated criminal sexual assault, vehicular hijacking, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and aggravated kidnapping.
If you have been charged with a Class X felony, you should seek help from an experienced Waukegan criminal lawyer as soon as possible. You will need a strong criminal defense to fight a serious criminal charge of this nature.
Class 1 Felonies
Crimes in this category are regarded as grave crimes by the court system however the penalties are slightly less severe than felonies in Class X. If you are convicted of a Class 1 Felony, you will be looking at a minimum of 4 years in jail and up to 30 years depending on the circumstances of your case.
Examples of felonies in this category include criminal sexual assault, second-degree murder, and residential burglary.
Class 2 Felonies
Penalties for a Class 2 felony can range from 3 years to 7 years in prison, which can extend to 14 years for an extended term. Like all other felony criminal convictions in Illinois, it will stay on your criminal record permanently, except for in certain situations.
Common examples of Class 2 felonies include robbery, unlawful purchase of a firearm, aggravated domestic violence, and aggravated domestic battery.
Class 3 Felonies
Felonies in this category are considered less serious than the categories listed above however they still carry a prison sentence of 2 to 5 years if convicted. This period can extend to 10 years in certain circumstances.
Some crimes that are considered Class 3 felonies include some narcotics charges such as meth possession under $5,000, aggravated battery, reckless discharge of a firearm, and aggravated stalking.
Class 4 Felonies
Although still serious crimes, Class 4 felonies are the lowest level felony that you can be convicted of. Often, crimes that have not yet been categorized into felony classes will be charged as Class 4 felonies. The penalties for a conviction of this nature can include 1-3 years in prison, extending up to 6 years in certain cases, fines of up to $25,000, 1 year of supervised release, up to 30 months of provisional release or probation, or periodic imprisonment up to 18 months.
Examples of crimes in this category include identity theft, some drug crimes, and selling stolen property online.
Although Class 4 felonies are the least serious of the different categories, a felony conviction will stay on your criminal record permanently and can affect your future employment and education prospects. You should seek the legal services of an experienced Waukegan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are facing felony charges. The sooner you act in these cases, the better chance your case will have.
What Skills Should Criminal Defense Lawyers in Waukegan, IL Have?
When you hire a criminal defense attorney, you want to ensure that they have the requisite experience and skill set necessary to win your case. Facing criminal charges can be daunting, and most people that have been accused of a crime want their lawyer to get them the most favorable outcome possible and to relieve them from the stress they feel.
There are certain skills and assets you should look out for when trying to find the best criminal lawyer in Waukegan for you:
- Relevant experience – You should always ensure that the attorney you hire has adequate experience dealing with criminal law. A good criminal defense attorney will have an in-depth understanding of how the criminal law system works, will be able to analyze different aspects of the law, and will be up to date on all recent statutes and judgments. Added experience is also always desirable, such as experience as a former prosecutor or with different aspects of the law.
- Availability- Your criminal defense lawyer should dedicate all the necessary time and effort to your case, and not rush through it in order to collect a paycheck and leave. In many cases, a public defender will be overloaded with cases and be unable to dedicate sufficient time to your case. As such, it is important that you hire a criminal defense lawyer that is not dealing with too many cases at once, and who always has time to discuss your case with you.
- Qualified – An experienced criminal defense attorney should have the requisite qualifications needed to represent clients adequately. Ensure that your criminal lawyer has a law degree from a reputable law firm, is recognized by the Lake County Bar Association, and whose qualifications are up to date.
- Trial experience – On top of experience with criminal law, your defense attorney should have sufficient experience bringing cases to trial, with both judges and juries. Although you may want to avoid a trial, if you choose to plead not guilty or your lawyer is unable to reach a settlement with the prosecutors, you will need to bring your case to trial. As such, you should ensure to have a highly experienced trial lawyer, such as the criminal defense lawyers from our law firm.
- Understanding – Facing criminal charges is an extremely personal experience. For most people, you want to have a criminal defense attorney that understands your point of view and that believes your story. A lawyer that understands and listens to your situation can then use the information you give them to build up a strong criminal defense on your behalf.
- Good communication skills – Criminal defense lawyers sometimes fail to communicate with their clients about how their case is progressing because of the client’s lack of understanding of criminal law. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney should communicate with you at all stages of the case to ensure that you are up to date. It is important that you are kept in the loop at all times and that you have input into the decisions that are being made on your behalf.
At Hirsch Law Group, our criminal defense lawyers are highly experienced at what they do. We know the importance of having a lawyer who fights aggressively for your case and who deals with all legal issues on your behalf. If you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer, you should schedule a free consultation with our law office today.
Contact a Waukegan IL Criminal Defense Lawyer at Hirsch Law Group!
If you have been charged with a crime in Waukegan, IL, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced Waukegan criminal lawyer. Having legal representation from the first stage of your case is the best way to avoid a conviction and serious criminal penalties.
The lawyers at Hirsch Law Group have what it takes to win your criminal case in Waukegan, IL. Our law office has extensive experience helping clients with their criminal cases and protecting their rights as defendants. We know how important it is to have a strong criminal defense when facing criminal charges, and we will do everything it takes to win your case.
Our lawyers are highly experienced in criminal law, and we have members of the team that have worked as former prosecutors and some that are registered with the Illinois State Bar Association. Our law firm guarantees the highest level of professionalism and care when it comes to your case.
Schedule a free consultation with our firm today by calling 815-880-1134.