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.
You 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.
When 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.
After 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.
At 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.
When the court releases you pending trial, it’s based on your agreement to return to court as scheduled, avoid committing additional crimes, stay in the state until you’re allowed to leave, and comply with other specific instructions. You may be subject to supervision by the Court Services & Probation Department.
In 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
If you plead guilty, the court explains the potential penalties and consequences of your plea. If you continue to plead not guilty, the court assigns the judge who will try your case. If the prosecutor reassessed the potential risks involved with releasing you, they may change your bail arrangement. They can revoke your bail, increase the amount, or add additional qualifiers.
The 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.
If 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.
Prosecutors are also usually receptive if you decide you want to strike a last-minute plea bargain as the trial proceeds.
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.
When 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.
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.
Choosing 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.
Through the years Jason has served as an advocate for numerous clients in matters before various Circuit Courts in Illinois and Missouri as well as before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He represents clients in various areas of law including personal injury, automobile accidents, workers' compensation, criminal defense, DUI/DWI defense, and traffic cases.. Jason is licensed in Illinois, Missouri, and Florida.