When Should I Call a Belleville Criminal Defense Attorney?
When the criminal justice system threatens your freedom, you must act immediately. If a law enforcement agency arrests you or designates you as a suspect, a Belleville Criminal Defense Attorney works to protect your legal rights. Any arrest is a threat to you, your family, and your future. When you enter a courtroom without strong legal representation, you have no control over what happens next.
Whether you must defend yourself against a felony or a misdemeanor, a court could punish you with jail time, costly fines, and long-term probation. A conviction doesn’t end once you’ve done your time and finished your probation. You endure continued challenges as you attempt to resume your normal life. As a convicted criminal, you may never get the job you want, earn a professional designation, or live in the community you prefer. When you enter the criminal justice system, a Belleville Criminal Defense Attorney works to defend you, protect your legal rights, and change the outcome.
Here is What You Can Expect After Being Charged With a Crime in Illinois
ArrestYou enter the criminal justice system when an officer arrests you at a crime scene, issues a criminal citation, or a prosecutor determines that there’s probable cause to make an arrest: The police department conducts an investigation which may include examining the scene, talking to witnesses, or obtaining a warrant to search your home or car. If the investigation shows probable cause that you committed a crime, the court issues a warrant, and the officer arrests you.
Preliminary ExaminationWhen law enforcement officers arrest you, they fingerprint you, photograph you, and create a complete arrest and disposition record. The arresting police department has 48 hours to decide if they should charge you with a crime. Illinois statutes require that the officers take you before the “…most accessible judge…” for a preliminary hearing. In some situations, they may schedule a remote hearing through remote platforms such as closed-circuit TV or Zoom. At your preliminary hearing, a trial judge hears the prosecutor’s evidence and determines if there is probable cause to charge you with a crime. You have the right to have an attorney represent you. If you don’t have an attorney, the judge will appoint one to represent you during the hearing.
Initial Evidence PresentationAfter listening to the prosecutor and the arresting officer’s evidence, the judge decides if the preponderance of the evidence (more evidence than not) supports the charge. They advise you of any charges, and provide a written copy, and remand you over to the Circuit Court. A preliminary examination does not address guilt, but a Belleville Criminal Defense Attorney plays an important role. Defense attorneys have a chance to hear the arresting officers explain their case. It also allows defense attorneys to see how the arresting officers perform as witnesses. Your attorney can also make a case for releasing you pending trial and for favorable bail conditions.
Bail DecisionAt your preliminary hearing, the judge also determines if you qualify for release on bail. The court evaluates your criminal record and assesses the potential risks involved if they release you pending your trial. If the court decides to release you, they also decide your bond option.
- I-Bond: The court doesn’t see you as a danger or a flight risk. They release you on your personal recognizance, without a cash bail or bond.
- D-Bond: The court determines a bail amount and you pay a 10% bond. For example, if the bond is $10,000, you must pay $1,000 before they release you.
- Cash Bond: The court sets a cash bond and you must pay the full amount.
ArraignmentIn accordance with Illinois Compiled Statutes, 725 ILCS 5/113-4, the court reads the charges against you at your arrangement and provides you with a copy. If you don’t have an attorney present, the court discusses the importance of legal representation. If you can’t afford an attorney, the court appoints a public defender. After hearing the charges, you may choose one of three pleas
- Guilty but mentally ill, or
- Not guilty
Hearings and DiscoveryThe judge assigned to your case sets a schedule to move your case forward. As your defense, we conduct discovery to properly evaluate your case. This often involves reviewing the prosecutor’s evidence and evaluating their witness testimony. We also conduct our own independent investigation to determine if there is any additional evidence. Each case schedule usually includes a series of hearings to review the case progress before the judge. We also discuss your case with the prosecutor and address relevant legal and evidentiary issues. If we don’t see a clear path to a favorable verdict, we talk to you about plea bargaining, affirmative defenses, and other strategies to produce a reasonable outcome.
TrialIf your criminal case goes to trial, you decide the type of trial you prefer. We counsel you as to the merits of a bench trial vs a jury trial and you decide.
- Jury Trial: The prosecutor and the defense attorney choose a jury from randomly selected citizens. They hear the evidence, listen to the judge’s instructions, and decide the verdict.
- Bench Trial: The judge hears the evidence and makes the decision about your case.
What Are Some of The Charges a Belleville Criminal Attorney Can Help Me With?A Belleville Criminal Attorney can defend you against the full range of criminal charges. Illinois classifies felony and misdemeanor crimes according to severity. Class X felonies are the most severe crimes. Class C misdemeanors are the least severe. Here are just a few of the charges for which our firm can represent you.
- Class X felonies: Armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping, criminal assault
- Class 1 felonies: Burglary, second-degree murder, sexual assault, and others.
- Class 2 Felonies: Arson, burglary, theft over $500, and others
- Class 3 Felonies: Forgery, involuntary manslaughter, perjury
- Class 4 Felonies: Looting, stalking, sexual abuse
- Class A misdemeanors: First DUI, second DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia,
- Class B Misdemeanors: Cannabis possession over 10 grams, criminal trespass
- Class C Misdemeanors: Criminal trespass, assault, disorderly conduct
Contact a Belleville Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen a police officer arrests you for a crime, you should never enter the courtroom alone. When you contact a Belleville Criminal Defense Attorney, they begin working on your case immediately. They stand with you during your hearings. They work with you to produce the best defense strategy, and they defend your legal rights throughout the criminal justice process.
When Should I Call A Belleville Traffic Lawyer?Traffic tickets can be dismissed and beat in court. If you are ticketed, a Belleville traffic lawyer can help you reduce fines and penalties and maybe save your license in the process. Working with our firm equips you with a knowledgeable legal professional that can help reduce or beat the charges you’re facing. Simply paying the ticket without trying to have points dismissed will result in higher insurance premiums that, over their duration, are multiple times higher than the initial fine. Don’t let your traffic ticket go without a fight. Call us today to speak to a traffic lawyer that will follow the rule of law to help you beat your ticket.
TOP-RATED BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYChoosing a criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights and help protect your future is an important decision. The Law Office of Jason B Going is experienced and proven when it comes to criminal cases, and they will give you the best chance at a favorable outcome in your case. If you are facing criminal charges, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.
No matter what life throws your way, get GOING.
If you have been charged with a crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Politely decline to answer any questions until you have an attorney present - you have the right to professional representation, and you should always take advantage of this. Your future and your freedom are at stake.
Choosing a criminal defense lawyer to represent you is a big decision. You want to make sure you choose a lawyer with knowledge and experience who will fight hard for your rights. Here are a few questions you can ask a criminal defense lawyer when deciding whether or not to hire them:
What do you honestly think about my case?
Have you ever handled a criminal case similar to mine? What was the outcome of that case?
Who will I be communicating with throughout my case?
How are your fees assessed?
A criminal defense attorney is someone who is hired to defend the rights of the accused. They will review the charges against their client, as well as all of the evidence in order to come up with the best defense strategy. The goal of a defense attorney is to fight for their client’s rights by getting charges lessened or dropped, or fighting the prosecution in court.