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Criminal Defense Attorneys in Chicago, Illinois

Criminal accusations come with intense levels of stress and uncertainty. In fact, navigating any kind of criminal charge can feel completely overwhelming for you and your loved ones.  During these unsettling times, it’s important to remember: you don’t have to go through this alone.
 
If you're facing criminal charges in Chicago or anywhere else in Illinois, don't hesitate to reach out to legal counsel. At Ciardelli, Cummings & Campagna LLC, our criminal defense attorneys are ready to stand by your side and protect your rights. Contact us for a confidential consultation as soon as possible. Let us advocate for you and find your best path forward. 

Criminal Charges in Illinois

The legal system can be complex and daunting—especially if this is your first encounter with it. Let’s review some typical charges you may encounter:

Misdemeanors

In Illinois, misdemeanors are considered less serious offenses compared to felonies, but still carry potential penalties that can impact your life. They are divided into three classes: Class A, Class B, and Class C misdemeanors, each with varying degrees of severity. Class A misdemeanors, the most serious among misdemeanors, can result in up to one year of incarceration and fines of up to $2,500. Class B misdemeanors can lead to up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,500, while Class C misdemeanors can involve jail time of up to 30 days and fines of up to $1,500.

Examples of misdemeanors could include petty theft, simple assault, reckless driving, and possession of a small amount of certain drugs. Understanding the classification of the offense you're charged with is vital, as the classification directly influences the potential consequences you might face. 

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Felonies

Felonies in Illinois are serious crimes that can result in severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines. Like misdemeanors, felonies are categorized into classes, ranging from Class 4 (least severe) to Class X (most severe). Class X felonies carry the harshest penalties, often resulting in decades-long imprisonment and significant fines, while Class 4 felonies have comparatively less severe consequences, though still substantial. 

Examples of felonies include burglary, aggravated assault, drug trafficking, and certain types of fraud. The classification of the felony charge dictates the potential punishment, with higher classes carrying more severe repercussions. 

Just because you’ve been accused of a crime doesn't mean you are guilty—and it doesn’t mean you have to face these challenges and circumstances alone. Contact a criminal defense lawyer to help uphold your rights every step of the way.

Criminal Court Process in Illinois

Navigating the criminal court process in Illinois can be overwhelming without proper guidance. Let’s review some basic steps in the process: 

  • After an arrest, the legal process begins with an arraignment where you'll be formally charged and asked to enter a plea. 

  • Following this, pre-trial hearings may occur where evidence is presented, and plea bargains could be negotiated. 

  • If the case proceeds to trial, the prosecution and defense will present their arguments, and a judge or jury will make a decision based on the evidence presented. 

  • Sentencing occurs if the defendant is found guilty, where penalties are imposed based on the severity of the offense and other mitigating factors. 

Our lawyers at Ciardelli, Cummings & Campagna LLC aim to provide not only exceptional legal counsel, but also ongoing support and guidance throughout this challenging time.

The Appeals Process

If convicted, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process involves a number of steps, starting with reviewing the trial proceedings to determine if legal errors were made that could have affected the outcome. This stage focuses on legal procedures rather than reevaluating the evidence itself. Successful appeals may result in a modification of the original decision, among other potential outcomes. 

You deserve strategic legal representation tailored to your unique situation. We understand the nuances of the legal system in Chicago and the rest of Illinois, and we are committed to advocating vigorously for your rights during the appeals process and during any other stage. 

Possible Defenses in Criminal Cases

When facing criminal charges in Illinois, there may be a number of effective defense strategies available to challenge the allegations against you. A skilled criminal defense attorney can assess the specifics of your case and craft a defense accordingly. 
 
Here are some potential defenses an attorney may explore on your behalf: 

1. Lack of Evidence or Insufficient Proof 

One of the primary defense strategies involves challenging the prosecution's evidence. Your attorney will review the evidence presented against you—including witness testimonies, physical evidence, and documentation. If there are inconsistencies, lack of credible witnesses, or insufficient proof tying you to the alleged crime, your attorney could potentially argue that the evidence is not substantial enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

2. Constitutional Violations or Illegal Procedures 

Your attorney will examine whether any of your constitutional rights were violated during the arrest, investigation, or trial process. If law enforcement conducted an illegal search and seizure, failed to read your Miranda rights, or violated other procedural rights, it could lead to the exclusion of crucial evidence, weakening the prosecution's case. 

3. Self-Defense or Defense of Others 

In cases involving assault or certain violent crimes, asserting self-defense or defense of others might be a viable defense strategy. If you acted to protect yourself or someone else from imminent harm or used reasonable force in response to an immediate threat, your attorney can take this into consideration when crafting an appropriate strategy.

4. Mistaken Identity or Alibi 

In situations where you're wrongfully identified as the perpetrator, providing an alibi or evidence that you were elsewhere at the time of the alleged crime can be a solid defense. Your attorney can gather evidence, such as witness testimonies, surveillance footage, or documentation, to corroborate your whereabouts and establish that you couldn't have committed the offense. 

5. Entrapment or Coercion 

If law enforcement coerced you into committing a crime or induced you to engage in illegal conduct that you wouldn't have otherwise, it could be grounds for a defense of entrapment. Your lawyer can scrutinize the circumstances leading to the alleged crime and put you in a position to reach a favorable outcome.

Criminal Defense Attorneys in Chicago, Illinois

If you're facing any kind of criminal charges, contact us right away. Our team is here to listen to your concerns, explain your legal options, and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. As experienced criminal defense attorneys serving Chicago and the state of Illinois—including the greater Chicagoland area—we’re ready to stand by your side.