Illinois Criminal Lawyer

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Illinois criminal defense lawyers represent clients who have allegedly committed a crime, providing legal assistance that ensures a just outcome in a court of law. Anybody who has been accused of a crime is entitled to an attorney irrespective of age, social status, income level or other factors. If the accused is under the age of eighteen, the crime is deemed as a delinquent act and the case will originate in the juvenile district court. In the event that the accused cannot afford a lawyer, the state will appoint a public defender.

A 'crime' has been defined as any act, or omission of an act, in violation of a public law forbidding or requiring that act. Though there are some common law crimes, most crimes in the United States are established by local, state, and federal governments. Criminal laws vary significantly from state to state, but all states recognize a distinction between felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the most serious of the crimes, and are generally punishable by one year or more in a state or federal prison, with the most heinous felonies, such as rape and murder, being punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole, or even by the death penalty in those states where it remains legal. Other felonies include white-collar crimes such as tax evasion, fraud, forgery and embezzlement.

Misdemeanors are less serious offenses such as vandalism, public intoxication, prostitution, trespassing, traffic violations, petty theft and burglary. Misdemeanors are most often punished by fines, community service, rehabilitation or educational programs, or a combination thereof. Repeat offenders may be subject to a jail term of less than one year in a local or county jail, however.

The only thing worse than being accused of a crime is being accused of a crime you did not commit. Whether or not you are guilty, if you have been charged with a crime, you need the best criminal attorney you can afford on your side. In the United States justice system, you will have an public defender assigned to you if you cannot pay.

The benefits of experienced legal counsel are many. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in the state of Illinois, consult a local criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and that justice is served.

Depending on whether the crime committed is a misdemeanor or a felony, the defense counsel will proceed with the case in a certain manner. For instance, if you are charged with a misdemeanor, you can plead guilty or not guilty at the time of the arraignment. First-time offenses such as drug possession may result in a plea deal, which stipulates counseling but also results in dismissal of the charges on completion of the counseling sessions.

An experienced criminal attorney will advise on the course of action in case you are accused of committing a felony. Felonies are crimes usually punishable by more than a year of imprisonment. A defendant will typically have the right to a jury trial when charged with a felony crime. The common felonies are rape, armed robbery, kidnapping, treason and other highly serious crimes including murder. To obtain a conviction, the state or the prosecutors must prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The criminal attorney will then attempt to plant adequate doubt in the jury's minds to make the proof of this impossible.

If you've been charged with a crime, consult a qualified Illinois criminal lawyer attorney who possesses thorough knowledge of the criminal justice process in the state. Access to the website of the American Bar Association (ABA) is always free and can aid you in finding a professional lawyer in your location.