Being accused of any crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, is a scary experience. Judges, prosecutors, and other law enforcement officers don’t always treat those accused of crimes with the respect and dignity they deserve. However, as you know, constitutional rights state that everyone charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty.
However, the fines can leave you with enormous debts, and jail time can hurt your future and even your career. What’s even worse is that the penalties might continue even after you’ve served your prison sentence in Chicago. It’s tough to recover from a criminal case, so you need to fight back if you’ve been accused of a crime in Chicago. If you’re worried about your case, contact a criminal defense lawyer from Ktenas Attorneys at Law for help. Our team of experienced attorneys can help ensure the most favorable outcome, so contact us today at (312) 756-8600 for a free consultation.
Criminal Cases We Handle
We handle hundreds of criminal cases every year. Ktenas Law criminal defense attorneys are well known across Illinois for their exceptional and reputable legal expertise. Here are some criminal cases we can help you with:
- Assault & Battery
- Aggravated battery
- Drug crimes
- Domestic Violence
- Protection order
- Theft crimes
- Sex crimes
- Homicide / Murder
- Whitecollar crimes
- Gun charges
- Juvenile Charges
- Violent crimes
Being convicted in one of these crimes in Chicago is life-changing. You may face the following punishments:
- Jail or prison time
- Community service
- Fines, which maybe thousands of dollars
- Substance abuse classes
- Sex offender registration
- A criminal record that’ll appear in background checks when looking for employment and other matters.
Being convicted of a crime can also affect you significantly socially and economically, which can affect your well-being and happiness. Other consequences of an Illinois criminal conviction include:
- Being turned down for rental housing
- Denial of a job offers
- Ineligibility for certain professional licenses or certifications
- Challenges in securing loans, for personal, academic, or business purposes
- Inability to secure clearances needed for certain job opportunities
- A negative impact on immigration status.
Criminal Penalties for Felony Charges in Illinois
If you’re facing a felony charge, it’s critical to understand the consequences you could face. You may be facing jail or prison time, but for how long? Knowing what’s at stake can help you have a better understanding of how to fight and build a strong criminal defense.
A felony conviction means you’ll be spending more than a year in jail or prison. These consequences vary all the way to a life sentence. This means you could spend the rest of your life in prison for more serious felony charges, striping you of the freedom and relationships you had.
Also, a criminal conviction can leave in enormous debt because felony fines can be as high as $25,000, which can be hard for anyone to pay. After being in jail for more than a year, it becomes hard to overcome those fines.
How A Misdemeanor Crime Can Hurt Your Future
Misdemeanor might not seem so severe because you’ll be spending less than a year in jail or prison, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight back. Criminal penalties can still affect your future in the years to come.
For instance, even a Class C misdemeanor, which is the least severe type of misdemeanor, can still leave you in jail for thirty days. That’s 30 days of your freedom gone, along with fines that run as high as $1,500. For a Class A misdemeanor, your fines could be $2,500, and you may spend a year in jail or prison. That means even if you’re facing a misdemeanor, fighting is crucial for your future. Hiring an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney can help you fight your misdemeanor charges.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
Facing a criminal charge is a serious matter. A person facing criminal charges risks severe fines and consequences, such as having a criminal record, jail time, and loss of future job opportunities, and even loss of relationships. Although you can handle some legal matters on your own, a criminal arrest of any kind warrants the legal advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney can protect your rights and secure the best outcome for your case.
Criminal defense lawyers can help you understand:
- The nature of criminal charges against you
- Available defenses
- The plea bargains likely to be offered
- And what to expect during trial or conviction
How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal defense attorneys handle many criminal cases, including misdemeanors, felonies, drug charges, white-collar crimes, and other state and federal crimes. If you’re looking to win your case, you must hire the best attorney. This means you should focus on the attorney’s expertise, experience, skill level, and knowledge.
With a reputable criminal defense lawyer by your side you can:
- Reduce your charge to a lesser offense, for example, an attorney can help you reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor
- Lessen the severity of the punishment for a criminal charge
- Reduce or eliminate jail time through probation, for example,
- Develop a solid defense strategy if your case goes to trial.
Because of what’s at stake, you must hire an attorney who has the skills needed to defend you, and they should do most of the work. For example, you may need to hire a criminal defense attorney familiar with crime scene investigations, extensive knowledge of polygraphs, sketches, photographs, and video. Also, you may need to hire an attorney who knows how to interview witnesses, victims, or even the police.
Since criminal laws and penalties vary by state, it’s essential to retain a criminal defense lawyer who has experience with the state and local laws.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you’ve been charged with criminal charges, you need to hire an experienced attorney to help you with your case. Hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is the key to winning your criminal case. A good criminal defense lawyer can help you get the most favorable outcome from the jury and judge.
Some criminal defense attorneys charge an hourly fee for their services. This hourly rate varies between $200-700. However, other lawyers may also need to be paid a retainer fee. Sometimes, you may find a lawyer to represent your case at a fixed rate. Your chances of finding a flat-rate attorney are better if your criminal charge is a misdemeanor, such as a first-time drunk driving offense. The standard flat rate for criminal defense attorneys is about $1500-$3000.
However, before hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you must establish how much they’ll charge because no two cases are alike. For example, running a red light requires less work on the lawyer’s part, while a felony charge will require more time and resources. So, most times, criminal defense attorneys charge based on:
- Case severity
- The experience and skills of the attorney
- The reputation of the criminal defense lawyer or the law firm
- The complexity of all legal issues involved in the case
- The location of the law firm or the lawyer
There may be extra costs, such as court fees or costs of hiring expert witnesses, such as a medical doctor or blood analyst, to prove your case.
Contact Ktenas Law Today!
No matter how simple your case is, you shouldn’t face criminal offense charges on your own. You need a criminal defense lawyer who will protect your rights at every phase of the process. An experienced Chicago criminal attorney can also make sure you’re fully aware of the implications of the charges and possible conviction.
If you’re facing a criminal charge, now is the time to act. Contact our Chicago criminal defense attorneys right away to discuss your case. Call us today at (312) 756-8600 or chat with us online to schedule your free consultation. We’ll evaluate your case, answer your queries, and help you decide the best way to move forward. Our team of dedicated criminal defense attorneys has extensive experience helping people throughout Cook, Will, Dupage, Kankakee, and Lake Counties . Don’t wait! Call us today!
Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney FAQs
What should I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?
If you have committed a criminal offense, and a warrant for your arrest has been issued, act appropriately and don’t panic or make bad decisions. Consult a lawyer immediately to know what steps to take, what information is required, and other relevant information to protect your rights.
Do I have to speak to the police after I have been arrested?
After an arrest, you aren’t required to answer any questions police officers may ask. Also, you aren’t required to provide anything other than basic information. Typically, police officers will read you your “Miranda rights,” which state that you have the right to remain silent and anything you say may be used against you in court, and you have the right to seek legal representation.
It’s advisable to avoid speaking to police officers or answering questions without having a lawyer present.
What is a pretrial conference in a criminal case?
A pretrial conference is a meeting of the parties involved in a criminal case, and it’s conducted before trial. The meeting is held before the trial judge or magistrate. In both criminal and civil cases, a pretrial conference may be held before trial. A court may order a pretrial conference or a party to a criminal case may request it.
Generally, a pretrial hearing might be held for several reasons:
- To expedite the disposition process of a criminal case
- To help the court determine managerial control over the case
- To avoid wasteful pretrial activities
- To improve the quality of the trial by ensuring thorough preparation
- To facilitate case settlement.
Pretrial hearings are held in criminal cases to decide on matters that don’t inquire into the defendant’s innocence or guilt. According to rule 17.1 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a pretrial conference is held to facilitate a fair and expeditious trial.
What is a plea agreement?
A plea agreement is also known as a plea bargain. It’s a negotiated outcome, where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or in exchange for a deferred or reduced sentence. Most criminal cases are resolved this way. This is a positive outcome, especially if a felony charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, or if your penalties are reduced to avoid jail time. A deferred sentence can result in your charges ultimately being dismissed if the terms of the other party are met. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you pursue the best plea bargain or push for a trial.
Will My Case Go To Trial?
This is a complicated question. Although most criminal cases don’t go to trial, you must have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side with trial experience in case your case goes to trial. Additionally, a trial lawyer can take advantage of the possibility of a trial to get a better plea agreement.
What process is followed after a person is arrested on criminal charges?
Typically, an individual can’t be held in police custody for more than 48 hours without being provided the chance to appear in court. Sometimes, a person might be released, and a court date is scheduled, while other times, the defendant might appear before a bond court judge to determine if they must post bail before being released.
Then, a preliminary court hearing is held to determine if the charges can be pursued, and an arraignment might be held where charges are formally entered. The case then goes to trial.
What Is An Arraignment?
In an arraignment hearing, formal charges are presented against the defendant. The defendant then makes a plea, and they’ll typically plead “not guilty,” but this plea might be changed at a later date.
The defense attorney might also make a motion of discovery in this hearing. This will make sure that all information used by the prosecution during the trial is available to the defendant.
During this hearing, the court can also impose restrictions on the defendant, including asking them to submit to electronic monitoring during the case. Also, the defendant will be required to appear at any future court hearings.
You Deserve A Fighting Chance Against Criminal Charges
Our team of dedicated criminal defense attorneys is committed to offering an aggressive and effective defense for our clients. We understand the financial repercussions of defending yourself against Illinois criminal charges, so we provide our legal services at competitive rates to ensure everyone has access to the best legal defense possible. Also, we believe it’s essential for our clients to be able to contact us at any time, so we are available 24/7. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at (312) 756-8600, or chat with us online.