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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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Rolling Meadows criminal law attorney

Not all crimes are created equally. Some crimes, like assault or murder, are much more serious than lesser crimes, such as theft or traffic violations. Illinois, like all states, has a system for classifying crimes. Crimes are placed into categories of felonies and misdemeanors, of which there are varying “classes” of severity. What many people do not know is that there are also certain factors that can increase or mitigate the severity of the punishment that is imposed on someone who is convicted of a criminal offense. It is important to understand the factors that are commonly used by the prosecution to enhance the charges to “aggravated” in Illinois.

Aggravating Factors in Illinois

Even if someone is convicted of a crime, that does not automatically determine the sentence that he or she will receive. Under Illinois law, a sentencing hearing will occur after the conviction in which a judge will review the case and make a decision as to what the appropriate sentence would be for the specific situation. In some cases, this is when the prosecution has the chance to present any aggravating factors that may be present, which could influence the judge to impose a more serious sentence. Illinois lists 32 unique aggravating factors that could affect a defendant's sentence. Some of the most common factors include:

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Rolling Meadows, IL DUI defense attorney

Alcohol is a common source of trouble for teens. Underage drinking is fairly typical in the United States, but it can result in significant criminal charges and even life-threatening problems. For young adults, unintentional injuries are the most common cause of death, with the majority of those injuries related to car accidents. When you add alcohol use into the mix, the likelihood of a vehicle crash is even higher. This is why the laws pertaining to underage drinking and alcohol possession are so strict and carry such serious consequences. Teens and underage young adults can face severe punishments for violating certain alcohol-related offenses, including driving under the influence (DUI). 

Underage Drinking

You must be 21 or older to legally purchase or consume alcohol in the United States. If you are under the age of 21, you are not permitted to consume alcohol, or you could be charged with underage drinking. If you are convicted of underage drinking, you face a six-month driver's license suspension, unless you were sentenced to court supervision, in which case you face a three-month driver’s license suspension. A second conviction may result in a one-year suspension, and further convictions can result in a revocation.

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Rolling Meadows, IL defense lawyer

Appearing in court can feel like you are back in high school, everyone looking at you, scrutinizing your every move and word, and judging your appearance and behavior. Unlike in high school, where a misstep might make you a temporary laughingstock, one wrong move in the courtroom can leave you with a potentially devastating outcome. 

When you are in court, the judge, the opposing attorney or prosecutor, and the jury are all judging your appearance and examining your behavior to determine your credibility. Here are a few tips to help you be at your best when you have a criminal court hearing:

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Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneyIf you have ever watched a crime show on television, then you probably believe that forensic and DNA evidence is the gold standard in courtrooms. Your perception is further reinforced by the number of people who have been exonerated by DNA evidence and the high-profile cases in which DNA or other forensic evidence lead to a conviction. Unfortunately, what no one will tell you is that these forms of evidence are not foolproof. In fact, some are downright faulty, and others are riddled with errors that lead to the conviction of the wrong person.

If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charges case and there is DNA or forensic evidence against you, do not give up the fight. Instead, learn how to defend yourself against such evidence. Above all, ensure you protect your rights, before things start to spiral out of control. The following information explains further.

The Truth About DNA Evidence

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