The Importance of Legal Representation When You Are Charged With a Crime

July 20, 2017

 
 
 

If you have been charged with a crime it is important to obtain legal representation to ensure that the rights granted to you by Constitutions and Statutes of the United States and Illinois are protected.

WHY LEGAL REPRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT

The Constitutions and Statutes of the United States and Illinois provide every citizen arrested and charged with a criminal offense certain fundamental rights and privileges.  For example:

  • The right to remain silent,
  • The right to an attorney,
  • The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses,
  • The right to trial, and
  • The privilege against self-incrimination.

Without legal representation, you may give up one or more of these rights or privileges, which could have serious consequences in a subsequent criminal prosecution.  

Law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office investigate and prosecute crimes, respectively.  Neither represents an individual charged with a crime.

Without a lawyer, you are on your own to navigate a complex legal system that has its own procedural and evidentiary rules.

WHEN SHOULD YOU RETAIN A LAWYER TO REPRESENT YOU IN A CRIMINAL MATTER?

Immediately after an arrest, or as soon as possible thereafter;

If you are the subject of a criminal investigation.

GENERAL PENALTIES FOR CRIMINAL OFFENSES IN ILLINOIS

Felony Offenses:       

  • Class X:  6-30 years (DOC), no probation, 3 years parole, $1.00 - $25,000.00 fine
  • Class 1: 4-15 years (DOC), probation, 2 years parole, $1.00 - $25,000.00 fine       
  • Class 2:  3-7 years (DOC),  probation, 2 years parole,  $1.00-$25,000.00 fine
  • Class 3:  2-5 years (DOC), probation, 1 year parole, $1.00-$25,000.00 fine
  • Class 4:  1-3 years (DOC), probation, 1 year parole, $1.00-$25,000.00 fine              

In certain circumstances, the term of imprisonment and/or fines can be increased.  Certain offenses require a longer term of parole.  Some crimes require registration with law enforcement authorities for a specific period of time or for life.  Probation may require drug and/or alcohol counseling, a mental health evaluation and treatment and numerous other terms and conditions that are mandatory.  There are also other sentencing alternatives besides those listed above.  DOC means the Department of Corrections.

Misdemeanors

  • Class A:  less than one (1) year (jail), probation, fine not to exceed $2,500.00
  • Class B:  less than six (6) months (jail), probation, fine not to exceed $2,500.00
  • Class C:  less than thirty (30) days, (jail), probation, fine not to exceed $2,500.00

There are also other sentencing alternatives besides those listed above.  Multiple convictions of certain misdemeanors can result in a felony charge.

D.     THE PROCEDURAL STEPS

  • Arraignment
  • Preliminary Hearing (Felonies)
  • Pre-Trial Appearances
  • Negotiated Dispositions
  • Trial
  • Post-Trial Motions

The lawyers at Erickson, Davis, Murphy, Johnson & Walsh, Ltd., will provide you with competent and professional legal representative throughout each of the above steps for an agreed fee.  No outcome can ever be guaranteed, but you will receive advice and counsel from trained and experienced trial attorneys until your case is resolved.  Appeals, if necessary, are handled on a separate basis.


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Mike Walsh, Erickson, Davis, Murphy, Johnson & Walsh, LTD. 132 S. Water St., Suite 610 Decatur, Illinois 62523 (p) 217-428-0948 (f) 217-428-0996.


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