Misdemeanor Offenses and Charges, Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal Defense Lawyers serving Kane, DuPage, Cook, Kendall, DeKalb, Winnebago, Boone and Will counties.
This basic information only is to answer some questions regarding misdemeanor cases. For more information and a more complete explanation of your rights, please call attorney Scott Sheen today at 630-443-6200 for a free telephone or office consultation.
Our criminal defense attorneys serve Kane, DuPage, Will, Kendall, DeKalb, Winnebago, and Cook Counties.
- Class A misdemeanors are punishable up to 364 days in the county jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.
- Class B misdemeanors are punishable up to 6 months in jail and a $1,500 fine.
- Class C misdemeanors are punishable up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.
PLEAS OF GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY
- 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.
- You never give up your right to plead guilty and can do so at any time.
- Nolle Prosequi: A formal entry in the record by which the prosecutor declares that he or she “will no further prosecute” the case.
- Acquittal: A legal judgment, based on either a jury or a judge that an accused is not guilty of the crime for which he or she has been charged and tried.
Defending the Case
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: The degree of proof needed for a jury or judge to convict an accused person of a crime.
Defenses at Trial: *
- 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
- There are many ways to defend a case prior to trial on a motion.
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/SENTENCING
Blind Pleas of Guilty:
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.
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.
Court supervision is a preferred sentence that allows you to avoid a conviction on your permanent record if you satisfy all the terms or conditions of the sentence. Typically, supervision lasts for 1 year, but can last up to 2 years or only for a matter of months. If you satisfy all of the terms of your supervision, your case will be dismissed following the period of supervision. Certain cases if you can wait the statutory time period can be expunged off the public record. *
Expungement: A legal procedure in which if the expungement order is entered by the county allows your case records, finger prints, and photos to be destroyed or returned to you. The public record at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office is stricken and public access is denied.* Further case files are sealed. This is best for background searches for future employment. *
Terms of supervision
Possible terms of supervision include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Payment of fines, court costs and statutory fees
- Completion of community service or sheriff work alternative program
- Counseling: Alcohol, Drug, or Psychological
- Evaluation and counseling.
- Payment of restitution to victim
- Avoid contact with victim
You must not violate any laws while on the period of supervision. If a subsequent violation occurs, the court can revoke your supervision and impose a new sentence on the offense that you originally received court supervision for.
Some types of crimes carry mandatory sentences on a plea or finding of guilty that do not allow a disposition of court supervision and will result in a conviction on your permanent record.* Sometimes it is possible by plea agreement with the state to amend the charge to a lesser charge that allows supervision.
CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE/ PROBATION
Both types of sentences result in a conviction on your permanent record. *
Normal conditions of probation/conditional discharge include fines, court costs, probation/conditional discharge fee, restitution. A sentence can also include but not limited to GPS bracelet, SCRAM bracelet, jail, community service.
SENTENCING FOR DRUG OFFENSES
Upon a plea or finding of guilty you may receive one of the following sentences if you are a first time offender.
- Supervision: a judge has discretion to grant supervision on drug or possession cases as mentioned above.
- Or sentence a person to: 710 probation. This is another type of sentence for cannabis and a first time offender that avoids a conviction on your permanent record.
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia 1st offense if you plead or are found guilty, there is a minimum fine of $750.00. If caught with paraphernalia without cannabis or if caught with cannabis a civil fine only of a minimum of $100.00 to $200.00 dollars.
- Misdemeanor Cannabis: Possession of cannabis less than 10 grams is punishable by a civil fine of $100.00 to $200.00 dollars. Possession of 10 to 30 grams of cannabis is a class B misdemeanor; possession of 30 to 100 grams is a class A misdemeanor.
Second Chance Programs if applicable are programs offered by the state that allow your case to be dismissed if you complete the terms of the program.
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 worth of theft or retail theft over $150.
- Causing great bodily harm.
- Certain offenses to government or state supported property.
- Offenses against law enforcement, medical or educational personnel.
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 your 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).