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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney

For every crime, there is an equivalent range of acceptable penalties that comes along with it when you are convicted. There are different types of felony and misdemeanor crimes that vary in severity, from a low-level Class C misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail, to the most serious charge of them all, a Class X felony charge, which carries between six and 30 years in prison. Sentencing guidelines for crimes that are committed in Illinois vary and offer a range for which sentences are considered acceptable, meaning not everyone who is convicted of the same crime will necessarily receive the same sentence. There are many different factors that can affect the severity of your sentence, both positively and negatively. Focusing on the factors that could potentially reduce the severity of your sentence can greatly benefit you in the long run.

Factors in Mitigation

When it comes time to sentence you for the crime of which you have been convicted, the prosecution will have a chance to present a case as to why the judge should impose a penalty that is more severe. Once they are finished, your attorney will have the opportunity to argue why your sentence should be more lenient, mitigating the factors brought up by the prosecution. Depending on your situation, your attorney may use the following factors in mitigation:

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Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense attorney court supervision

It can be a scary experience when you or a loved one has been charged with a crime. There are many parts of the criminal justice system that are confusing, overwhelming, and at times just downright frustrating. Much of this frustration and anxiety stems from the initial uncertainty of the outcome of the situation and how it will affect the rest of your life. Certain criminal offenses carry stigmas with them and a conviction on your record could mar it forever. Some crimes even result in consequences that could impact you for the rest of your life, such as if you were convicted of an offense that will never be eligible for expungement. Fortunately, your fate is not set in stone when you are charged with a crime. There are also a variety of sentencing options that are available for the judge to choose from in many cases, including court supervision.

What Is Court Supervision?

In Illinois, the courts allow judges to sentence certain misdemeanor criminal offenders to court supervision, which then suspends the judgment in the case for a specified amount of time. Felony offenders are not eligible for court supervision and must be sentenced to conditional discharge, probation, or prison. Rather than immediately doling out a conviction, court supervision basically puts the case on pause until your period of supervision has concluded. Court supervision also functions very similarly to probation, as the judge can choose to include certain provisions in the order for supervision that you must follow or face further punishment.

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney

In the state of Illinois, there are hundreds of crimes that you could be accused of committing, ranging from petty traffic violations to serious felony offenses that could change your life forever. Depending on the severity of your case, the prosecutor will determine what kind of evidence he or she needs to build a case against you. Evidentiary items, such as specific objects, weapons, or even DNA are typically taken from the scene where the crime was alleged to have taken place. However, in many cases, the police may opt to search your home or even your vehicle if you are charged with a crime. Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, each person has certain rights and protections with regard to searches and seizures. If those rights are violated, the validity of the evidence obtained during the search and seizure may become compromised. 

Issuing the Search Warrant

The right against an unreasonable search and seizure is one of the most basic rights awarded to every person in the country. In most cases, police almost always need a search warrant to enter and search your home. A search warrant is issued by a judge and contains information about a location that police are to search for evidence or for individuals connected with the crime. The warrant should describe the location of the objects that are meant to be seized and the actual object or person they want to seize.

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Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense attorney

In recent years, the term “criminal justice reform” has been touted day in and day out as something that is desperately needed across the country. Many groups have been calling for major changes to multiple elements of the criminal justice system, though no such law had been passed until now. Recently, both the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate passed HB3653 and sent the legislation off to the desk of Illinois State Governor J.B. Pritzker for a final signature. HB3653 contains many new laws that help those who have been charged with or arrested for a crime.

Cash Bail to Be Eliminated

One of the biggest changes that HB3653 brings is the elimination of the cash bail system. Bail is the current system that is used to release individuals who have been charged with a crime from jail before their trial, while still ensuring they will return to their court hearings and appearances. However, cash bail is often far-fetched for many people, even when only 10 percent of the amount is required to be posted. This resulted in prisons being overcrowded with individuals awaiting trial simply because they could not afford to get out of jail. By eliminating cash bail, non-violent offenders can await trial in their own community and violent offenders must remain in jail, regardless of their ability to pay. 

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Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney

When it comes to the people responsible for a crime, in some cases, it can be more than just the offender who is held responsible for the commission of the crime. This is the basic idea behind the concept of criminal accountability. In the state of Illinois, it is legal for a person to be arrested and charged for simply knowing about a crime that someone else committed. While this may seem unfair, the law of accountability has actually helped Illinois law enforcement with the prosecution of criminal organizations and gang members. However, the law of accountability can also unfairly and unjustly convict innocent people of crimes that they did not commit and should not be accountable for.

What Is the “Law of Accountability” in Illinois?

Many states across the country, including Illinois, have created laws that are known as accountability laws, which allows the state to convict individuals of crimes that they did not commit, but that they were “accessories” to or “passive participants” in. Specifically, the Illinois Criminal Code states that a person is legally accountable for the actions of another person when they have the intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime and they aid, abet, agree, or attempt to aid another person in the planning or commission of the offense.

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