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Here in the state of Illinois, misdemeanor charges can come with significant criminal punishments. While some people underestimate the potential impact of a misdemeanor when compared to a felony, the long-term ramifications of a conviction can include difficulty securing employment, housing, or loan opportunities. Legally speaking, a misdemeanor can result in jail time and significant fines. 

Below we will discuss what crimes could lead to a misdemeanor conviction, and what you should do if you have been charged.

Misdemeanor Crimes in Illinois

According to Illinois state law, there are a number of crimes that can ultimately result in a misdemeanor charge. Assault or disorderly conduct (examples of disorderly conduct include public intoxication or a violation of noise ordinances) constitute a Class C misdemeanor. This is the least severe of the three misdemeanors, but can still result in up to 30 days in jail, a two year probation period, and maximum fines of $1,500. 

Common examples of criminal offenses warranting a Class B misdemeanor include but are not limited to aggravated speeding (driving more than 25 miles per hour over the legal speed limit) and minor drug charges. In the event of a conviction, you could face as much as 60 days in jail. The third and most serious charge is a Class A misdemeanor. This includes DUI, burglary, and unlawful possession of a weapon. If you are convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, possible punishments include up to one year of incarceration and fines as high as $2,500. 

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help 

After being charged with a misdemeanor, it is important to act quickly. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to have the case thrown out due to improper execution of arrest procedures. In the event of a conviction, you still have a number of options. According to Illinois state law, a large number of misdemeanor crimes are eligible for expungement or criminal sealing. It should be noted that in the event of a record seal, the misdemeanor can still be viewed on your criminal record by law enforcement, but it will make the criminal record inaccessible via background check or public record. 

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

With well over a decade of experience in the state of Illinois, including as an assistant state’s attorney of the Kane County, Attorney Brian J. Mirandola is uniquely prepared to help you fight against a misdemeanor charge. Through careful examination of your case, he will develop a strategy to pursue dropped or reduced charges. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 847-488-0889. 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073000050K5-4.5-55.htm

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/forms/approved/expungement/ExpungementSealing_Instructions_Approved.pdf

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Aurora, IL defense lawyer

After being charged with a crime, it is important to understand the potential long-term ramifications. Outside of possible jail time, significant fines or loss of driving privileges, a misdemeanor or felony conviction can impact many aspects of your life. Many individuals with a criminal charge on their record face difficulty finding employment, securing housing, and receiving financial loans. 

Some criminal charges are eligible for expungement or a record seal, which remedy many potential complications in life. The expungement process can be complex and difficult, however, and requires the guidance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. 

Understanding the Expungement Process 

An expungement is a court-ordered process that allows the legal record of an arrest to be erased from a person’s criminal record. Eligibility for expungement depends on the type and severity of the crime. Here in Illinois, expungement is possible in a large number of cases. If you were arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, but never convicted, you will likely be able to have the charges expunged. In other cases, you can file for expungement after completing a mandated suspension, or in the instance of a conviction reversal or dropped charges. 

If expungement is not possible, you may be able to pursue a criminal record seal. While this will not result in a complete erasure of the offense, it will ensure your record can only be viewed by law enforcement or through the court. A record seal ensures any potential employers or property managers will be unable to access the record. A criminal record seal is possible with most minor traffic offenses and felony traffic offenses that are reduced to misdemeanors. In the vast majority of cases, a felony or misdemeanor conviction can be sealed three years after completion of the sentence. 

Contact an Elgin, IL Expungement Lawyer 

If want to protect your future through expungement, the first step is to hire an adept attorney. With years of experience within the state of Illinois, Attorney Brian J. Mirandola will fight to secure your expungement eligibility. His diligent care and aggressive representation can make the difference in attaining full expungement or a criminal record seal. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, contact us today at 847-488-0889. 

Sources:

https://www2.illinois.gov/osad/Expungement/Documents/Adult%20Exp/ExpungementSealing_Instructions_Approved.pdf

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trial penalty, Elgin criminal defense attorneyNearly every person or entity involved with the American criminal justice system is aware of the existence of the so-called "trial penalty." This penalty refers to the harsher sentences imposed on criminal defendants who exercise their right to a trial compared to those who accept plea bargains. There is little question that some form of a trial penalty is acceptable, but a new report from a national organization of defense attorneys suggests that the differences in sentences have become so severe that the penalty is threatening the right to a trial guaranteed by the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment.

The Sixth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution promises, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…" The amendment also guarantees a defendant the right to face the witnesses against him or her, as well that the right to legal counsel.

In any accepted plea bargain, a criminal suspect waives his or her right to a trial—often in exchange for reduced charges and a lesser sentence. How much the charges are reduced and how much of a lesser sentence have become serious concerns for defense lawyers and criminal defendants across the country.

A New Report

Earlier this month, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) released a report called The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How to Save It. The report was the result of more than two years of research that looked back on more than 50 years of case results in the United States. According the report, the rate of federal criminal cases that go to trial has been dropping for the last half-century. Less than 3 percent of such cases go to trial today at the federal level, and about 6 percent of state criminal cases do. About 20 percent of federal criminal cases went to trial just 30 years ago.

One of the most troubling practices that contributes to the severe trial penalty, according to the report, is that prosecutors tend to threaten charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences if a defendant does not accept a plea bargain. For example, most Class 1 felonies in Illinois carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of at least four years. A prosecutor could threaten to charge a defendant with a Class 1 felony count of criminal sexual assault unless the suspect pleads guilty to a Class A misdemeanor for criminal sexual abuse. The disparity between the two charges—and their respective sentences—would make any defendant think about waiving the right to trial and pleading guilty, even if they did not commit the crime.

The report suggests that eliminating such threats would go a long way in making the trial penalty more reasonable. Other suggested ways to mitigate the problem include requiring full discovery before a guilty plea can be entered and including a judge in the plea negotiation process.

Call Us for Help

If you have been charged with a crime and you are being pressured to plead guilty, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today and get the guidance you need before you make any life-changing decisions.

Sources:

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/new-report-presents-crucial-findings-trial-penalty-imposed-against-defendants-who

https://www.nacdl.org/trialpenalty/

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warrant, Kane County criminal defense attorneyIn today’s digitally connected world, information is everywhere. If you need an answer to a question, a few taps on your smartphone can allow you to run a Google search. If you want to contact your friend, you can send him or her an instant message or even connect through video chat instantaneously. The stream of data, however, goes in both directions. Any time that your phone is turned on, it is sending signals to nearby cell towers about your location and whether you are available to receive a call.

Over the last few years, law enforcement agencies have been able to gather information from these signals with little more than a request to the wireless service providers, but a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court says that a warrant must be obtained first.

The Case in Question

In 2013, a Detroit man was convicted on several charges related to armed robberies that had taken place in and around the city. The prosecution’s case was helped by cell phone evidence gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from the defendant’s cell phone service carrier. Using the Stored Communication Act, government agents needed only to show the wireless carrier that the information they were requesting was relevant to an ongoing investigation. The government did not believe that a warrant was necessary because they were not pulling the content of calls or messages. Instead, they were looking for location points.

The FBI was able to effectively track the man’s location at any given time over a stretch of more than four months—a task that included more than 13,000 individual points of location. Every time the man’s phone sent or received a location signal from a nearby cell tower, a record was made, and the government obtained access to those records.

At trial and on appeal, the courts refused to suppress the evidence, holding that the man did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy as it pertains his cell phone location records. The man continued his appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case earlier this year.

A Landmark Ruling

Last month, the Supreme Court reached a 5-4 decision to overturn the man’s conviction. The high court held that gathering cell-site location information (CSLI) is considered a search under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As such, a warrant is required before such data can be obtained by investigators.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of criminal cases have included CSLI evidence over the last two decades. Legal experts believe that the Supreme Court’s ruling will open the door to motions by defendants whose cases included such information. The decision also means that investigators will need more than a simple request letter to obtain CSLI in the future.

We Can Help

If you have been charged with any type of crime and you believe that your Fourth Amendment rights have been compromised, contact a skilled Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.wired.com/story/carpenter-v-united-states-supreme-court-digital-privacy/

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-402_h315.pdf

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assault, Kane County criminal defense attorneyLike many legal terms, people often use the word assault incorrectly. Although it is used casually to refer to aggressive or violent behavior, the Illinois Criminal Code defines the offense much more specifically. If you have been charged with assault, you are probably unsure of what to do next. The best start to effective criminal defense is educating yourself about your charges. If you are facing assault charges, read on to learn what exactly you are up against.

Assault and Battery Defined

The colloquial definition of assault usually refers to some type of physical altercation between individuals. What many think of as assault is actually two separate offenses according to the Illinois Criminal Code: assault and battery. The legal meaning of assault can only be completely understood when one considers the definition of battery.

Battery refers to instances when a person intentionally and without reason "(1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual." Battery can include things like a fist fight in a bar, slapping someone’s face, or even something as simple as poking someone in the chest with the intention of provoking them. Assault, in the legal sense, includes the threatening actions which precede aggressive or unwanted physical contact. More precisely, assault occurs when an individual is in "reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery."

Assault and Battery Are Often Charged in Conjunction With Each other

You have probably heard the phrase "assault and battery" before. These two crimes are often charged together but can also be charged separately. An example of an action which would probably lead to an assault charge but not a battery charge is if a person attempted to strike another but missed. Because physical contact was not made, a battery charge would not be appropriate. However, the person who was almost hit experienced assault because he or she was in fear of being punched.

Assault Must Be Intentional

In order for an action to be considered assault, the person committing the action must have knowingly put the target in reasonable apprehension of being hurt. So, actions which are unintentional or accidental cannot be considered assault. Assault can also be justified in situations of self-defense.

Get the Legal Help You Need

Assault or battery charges can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. A conviction can result in jail time and significant fines. If you are facing charges for any type of violent crime, contact a knowledgeable Elgin criminal defense attorney for help. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=21100000&SeqEnd=23000000:

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