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Posted on in Criminal Law

arlington heights criminal defense lawyerIf you are facing criminal charges, you may feel like you have no options and no control over the process. You may have gotten a letter telling you to be in court at 9am and you must show up or face arrest. If you are put on pretrial supervision, you must comply with everything some probation officer tells you to do. For example, if you get a phone call telling you to come in for a drug test, you must stop whatever you are doing and comply. It is easy to feel like you have little agency left. However, you have options. You probably have more options than you think. One of the biggest decisions you will need to make is whether to accept a plea bargain or go to trial. There are benefits and drawbacks to both decisions. While your lawyer can guide you and give you a better understanding of your specific situation, the choice is ultimately yours. 

Trial, Risk Tolerance, and Extreme Outcomes

If you are only facing one charge, trial can be an all-or-nothing event. If you are acquitted after a trial, that is it - you are free to go. You can walk out of the courthouse with no conviction on your record, and you will not have to worry about your case anymore. 

However, if you are convicted, you may face harsher sentencing. Your conviction will be for the original offense you are charged with, not a lesser charge that may have been offered during plea bargaining. The judge sentencing you may have heard testimony from your victim, if there is one, and may be more inclined to throw the book at you. You should also know that if you testify, the prosecutor will be able to question you, and they will probably not be easy questions.

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arlington heights criminal defense lawyerAs much as we would like to think that only guilty people get arrested and wind up charged with a crime, this is very much not the case. Every year, a significant number of innocent people find themselves having to plead “not guilty” at arraignment because they really did not commit the crime they are charged with - at least not knowingly. This can be a terrifying situation to be in. We have all seen documentaries about people who spent decades in prison only to be exonerated. Of course, most false charges are far less serious than homicide. Domestic violence, theft, and drug possession are very common crimes that people in Illinois must fend off erroneous accusations. If you have found yourself charged with a crime that you did not commit, it is critical that you find a tough criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom and reputation. 

Why do These False Arrests Happen?

The decision to arrest is typically made on the spot by police officers, who are human and make mistakes. Often, innocent people are arrested simply because the police walked into a situation they did not understand. Common reasons that people get charged with crimes they did not commit include: 

  • False accusations - This is very common in domestic violence and assault cases. 

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Arlington Heights Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you were convicted of a criminal offense, you know just how much a criminal conviction can influence your life. Criminal records are often available to the general public, which means that your friends, family members, and neighbors can view the record if they want to. Furthermore, potential landlords and apartment complexes may review criminal records before leasing a house or apartment to someone. If you have a felony conviction on your record, this may prevent you from securing suitable housing. Employers may also review candidates’ criminal records through a background check before offering a job. It can be difficult to impossible to be hired if you have certain convictions on your record.

Fortunately, some people are able to hide their criminal records from most employers, landlords, lenders, and the general public by sealing their criminal records.

Record Sealing and Expungement in Illinois

Record expungement is the process of erasing a criminal record completely. If you were arrested but never criminally charged, found “not guilty” of the charges, or the charges were dismissed, you may qualify for expungement.

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Arlington Heights BUI Defense LawyerSummer is approaching and many people are excited to enjoy summer activities like swimming, fishing, and boating. Alcohol and summer fun often go hand in hand. However, criminal charges for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol can bring summer enjoyment to an abrupt halt. If you are an Illinois resident, it is crucial that you understand state laws prohibiting boating under the influence (BUI) and the penalties associated with a BUI conviction.

Illinois Laws Regarding Drug and Alcohol Use on a Boat

Illinois Conservation Police report that 16 individuals lost their lives in boating accidents last year. Four of those fatalities involved impairment by drugs or alcohol. Although many people see drinking while boating as less dangerous than drunk driving, both are associated with increased risk of injuries and fatalities.

To reduce the number of boat accidents and injuries, Illinois penalizes BUI harshly. Under Illinois law, it is illegal to be in “actual physical control” of a pontoon, fishing boat, jet ski, or other watercraft if:

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Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerAssault occurs when someone makes someone else afraid of impending violence. Battery is the actual physical conduct between the two people. Criminal charges for assault or battery may follow a bar fight, domestic disturbance, or even an argument that got out of hand.

Criminal penalties for assault and battery can include jail time and a permanent criminal record. If you or a loved one were charged with assault, battery, or another violent offense, it is important to explore your defense options. One way to fight criminal charges for assault or battery is to argue self-defense.

What Counts as Self-Defense?

Most people will stand up for themselves if they are provoked. Unfortunately, some people find themselves facing criminal charges for simply defending themselves. However, successfully arguing self-defense during a criminal case is easier said than done. There are limited circumstances in which injurious force is justified in Illinois law.

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