Felony Defense Attorney
Felony Charges and Convictions Defense Lawyer in Kane, DuPage, Will, Kendall, DeKalb, Boone, Winnebago and Cook County.
The content below is intended to give basic information regarding a felony charge. For more information and more complete explanation of your rights, please call Scott Sheen and Associates at 630-443-6200 for a free telephone or office consultation.
Our criminal defense lawyers have served Kane, DuPage, Cook, Kendall DeKalb, Boone, Winnebago and Will Counties, for more than 24 years.
Even though you have been arrested, the State formally charges you by way of an Indictment or complaint for indictment or preliminary hearing. You can waive your right to either. A preliminary hearing is when a Judge decides, after a hearing, decides whether there is enough evidence for the charge to stand after evidence is presented by the state through witnesses. An indictment is a process by which the State’s Attorney presents evidence before a 12 secret grand jurors and they deliberate whether or not there is enough evidence to charge you with a crime.
Pleas of Guilty or Not Guilty
1. RIGHT TO TRIAL
- You have the right to have either a jury trial or a bench trial before a Judge.
- A jury trial is where either 6 or 12 people decide your guilt or innocence. If found guilty, the judge, not the jury, sentences you.
- A bench trial is where the judge decides your guilt or innocence, and sentences you if he/she found you guilty.
- You are not required to go to trial. Instead, you may enter into a negotiated plea with the prosecutor or enter a “blind” plea before the court and let the judge sentence you.
- A negotiated plea is a negotiated settlement between the prosecutor and defense.
- A “blind” plea is an open plea before a Judge and the Judge sentences you at their own discretion after a hearing.
2. DEFENDING THE CASE *
- You didn’t commit the crime
- Self Defense
- No intent to commit crime
- State cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt
- Lack of evidence/ Lack of witnesses
- Defenses in the law affirmative defenses such as consent constitutional defenses. There are many ways to defend a case prior to trial on a motion.
Motion to Suppress Evidence: Did the officer violate your rights (against illegal stop, search, detention, or seizure).
Motion to Suppress your Statements: Did the officer violate your Miranda rights or obtain a statement illegally?
Pleas of Guilty Without Trial
- Blind Plea: A blind plea of guilty is when you enter a plea of guilty before a judge without an agreement with the State If you enter a blind plea of guilty, you will be sentenced by the court after a sentencing hearing.*
- The court may hear factors in aggravation and factors for mitigation before the judge decides on the appropriate sentence.
- Sentencing Hearing: The Court may hear factors in aggravation and factors for mitigation before the judge decides on the appropriate sentence at a sentencing hearing.
- Negotiated Plea Agreement/Plea Bargain: An agreement between the State and the defendant wherein the defendant agrees to plead guilty under certain terms and conditions. Since both the State and the defendant risks losing everything should the case go to trial, plea agreements are means to arrive at a reasonable disposition without necessity of a trial. All plea agreements are subject to the judge’s approval.
- An agreement reached between yourself and the State as a recommended sentence for the Judge’s approval.
Due to the vast nature of charges, each type of sentence varies according to the type of charge. Most felony sentences carry the possibility of probation,* or Conditional Discharge (a type of probationary sentence that is similar to probation).
Some standard conditions of probation:
- Fines, costs, probation fees;
- Community service/ sheriff’s work alternative;
- Evaluation and Counseling; Alcohol, Drug, and Psychiatric
- Jail, periodic imprisonment;
- Home confinement/ankle bracelet.
- Random drug drops
- Stay away orders
- No new violations
General Classification of offenses:
Mandatory Sentences to the Illinois Department of Corrections
Again, most classifications carry the possibility of a period of probation or conditional discharge with the possibility of jail to be served in the local county jail. Further, a person can get sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections based on their criminal history or being a multiple offender. A person can also be eligible for enhanced or extended terms. * Many Illinois criminal law violations carry minimum sentence in the Illinois Department of corrections. Example possession with intent to deliver cocaine by a church, school or park or armed violence, both charges are a minimum of 6 to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Illinois Department of Corrections Sentencing:
- Class 4 Felony – 1 to 3 years;
- Class 3 Felony – 2 to 5 years;
- Class 2 Felony – 3 to 7 years;
- Class 1 Felony – 4 to 15 years;
- Class X Felony – 6 to 30 years;
- First Degree Murder – 20 to 60 years to life
The State’s Attorney’s Office can enhance certain misdemeanors to felonies even though they start out as misdemeanors. It is in their discretion only.
Some common examples include:
- Multiples offenders of the same offense *
- Over $300 worth of damage.
- Over $300 theft or retail theft over $150.
- Causing great bodily harm.
- Offenses to government supported property.
- Offenses against law enforcement, medical or educational personnel.
Felony Drug Sentencing
Special Drug Cases Sentencing and First Time Offender Cases
Illinois Law allows a first time simple possession offender a chance to complete a special term of probation called “410 or 710 Probation” that allows the case to be dismissed without a conviction (very important to those seeking jobs).You may be able to expunge the case and have the records sealed after waiting the statuary time period. Conditions of 410 or 710 probation include fines, court costs, counseling, random drug drops and 230 hours of public service. This type of sentencing is not a conviction under Illinois Law.
T.A.S.C: The benefit of T.A.S.C. probation is that it is a specialize probation that a defendant has to qualify for. T.A.S.C treatment program and probation that allows with permission of the court your plea to be vacated and dismissed, if you complete the conditions of the sentence. * A conviction is entered upon the plea.
Felony Programs Offered By Counties
Each county may have a special program for particular type of cases. For drug related cases, certain counties offer Drug Court for people with drug addictions that if completed could result in your sobriety and other benefits such as reduction or avoidance of jail or dismissal of your case. There exist beneficial programs including second chance programs and drug or theft school, in most counties, call for details.*
A felony drug sentence can include normal terms of probation. Conditions of probation include fines, court costs, probation fees, counseling and random drug drops.
Why hire a lawyer?
It is in your best interest to obtain legal counsel who concentrates in criminal defense.
Let the lawyer work on your behalf to:
- Inform you on the law and legal procedures involved in your case and possible outcomes.
- Investigate and obtain all reports and interview witnesses.
- Negotiate/argue a favorable settlement.
- Try your case at a jury trial or bench trial.
- You probably are not an experienced trial lawyer with the required knowledge and skill to defend you case;
- You may be too personally involved in the case to look at your case objectively and may not be able to look at all sides of your case;
- The lawyer will advise you his opinion on the possible outcome of your case based on experience and the law;
- The lawyer will be a buffer between you and the State and Judge to speak on your behalf;
- Your case result will probably be much better with a lawyer due to their experience in criminal cases.
* Important restrictions and conditions may apply. Please call for more information: 630-443-6200 or toll free at 1 866 NO WORRY (669-6779).