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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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reckless driving, Elgin criminal defense attorneyGenerally, traffic violations are considered only civil offenses. Things like driving a few miles above the speed limit, a rolling stop at a stop sign, or failing to use your turn signal can result in a ticket and associated fines but are not considered actual crimes. Motorists should know that some traffic violations are considered much more dangerous and therefore come with a much harsher penalty. If you have been charged with reckless driving, you may be facing a misdemeanor conviction and even jail time.

What is Considered Reckless Driving?

You have probably heard the phrase "reckless driving" before but may be unsure of its exact meaning. According to Illinois law, someone is reckless driving if they

  • Drive a vehicle with deliberate disregard for property and others’ safety; or
  • Intentionally use an incline in the roadway to cause a car to become airborne.

The law dictates that individuals driving in a way that is irresponsible and dangerous can be charged with reckless driving. However, the phrasing is somewhat vague. It can be difficult to know exactly what behavior might be considered reckless driving. Depending on the circumstances, police officers may cite motorists for reckless driving if the drivers:

  • Drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol;
  • Drive 20 mph or more over the speed limit;
  • Ignore a stop sign or red light;
  • Weave through traffic;
  • Tailgate;
  • Intentionally fail to yield the right-of-way;
  • Evade law enforcement;
  • Illegally pass a stopped school bus;
  • Cross a double yellow line;
  • Race another vehicle; and
  • Illegally use a cellphone while driving.

Sometimes, a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) can be decreased to the lesser offense of reckless driving as part of a plea deal.

Consequences for a Reckless Driving Conviction

Generally, reckless driving is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If charged with misdemeanor reckless driving, you can be imprisoned for up to a year and required to pay up to $2,500 in fines. Certain circumstances can make reckless driving a much more serious offense. If the driver’s negligent behavior causes bodily harm to a child or a school crossing guard at a crosswalk, the driver will be charged with a Class 3 felony. This charge carries penalties of up to five years in jail and fines up to $25,000. If the reckless driving results in the significant injury, permanent disability, or disfigurement of another person, the driver can be charged with Class 4 felony aggregated reckless driving. The penalties include imprisonment for up to three years and fines up to $25,000.

If you have been charged with reckless driving, you need an attorney who can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. To speak with an experienced Kane County reckless driving defense lawyer, call The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-503

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