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What to Expect In Criminal Court

Posted in Criminal Defense on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

What to Expect In Criminal Court

If you are facing criminal charges, you’re likely anxious about going to court and defending yourself against the charges. In addition to the damage to your reputation, criminal charges stay on your record, and can prevent you from getting jobs or promotions, as well as from getting different types of loans. Your future is on the line, and the results of court proceedings can mean the difference between freedom and jail time. The best legal defense for criminal charges is often a good offense, and having an attorney by your side immediately after you’ve been charged can mean the difference between a guilty verdict and an acquittal. At Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, P.C., our experienced Will County criminal attorneys use their combined knowledge and over 125 years of legal experience to defend clients against criminal charges. We know that having clients prepared for what to expect after they’ve been charged and when they go to court helps to relieve some of the anxiety, as well as helping their case.

Illinois Criminal Charges

Anytime someone breaks the law, the specific charges they face will be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony. The different classifications of criminal offenses and potential punishments for each are listed in detail under Chapter 720 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Misdemeanor charges, such a DUI, possession of marijuana, and harassment, carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail, as well as the potential for fines up to $2,500, depending on the charges. Misdemeanor charges are generally processed through the municipal court system. Felony charges are a more serious matter. Crimes such as sexual assault, possession of heroin or cocaine, and robbery carry mandatory jail times of one year, as well as fines up to $25,000.

Criminal Processing of Charges

The legal processes for misdemeanor and felony charges generally include the same first three steps: an arrest is made, charges are filed, and a bond hearing is arranged. The person facing charges is known as the defendant. For misdemeanor charges, the next step is arraignment, in which the evidence is weighed and the decision is made whether to go to trial, offer a plea, or dismiss the charges. Due to the more serious nature and consequences associated with felony charges, additional steps are followed, which include:

  • Felony review – charges are reviewed and can be either dismissed or reduced to misdemeanor charges;
  • Grand jury review – evidence against the defendant is weighed, and the grand jury will either dismiss the charges or issue an indictment; and
  • Preliminary hearing – instead of a grand jury review, a judge may hear evidence presented by the state against the defendant. Again, the evidence will be weighed and a decision made to either drop the charges, or proceed to trial.

There are many chances for charges to be reduced or dismissed before the defendant ever goes to trial, which is why it is imperative to have a strong legal defense team acting on your behalf as soon as you’ve been charged.

Call Our Experienced Will County Criminal Attorneys Today

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, you need aggressive legal defense to clear both your name and your record. Contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, P.C. today to get the hard-hitting legal representation you need and the comprehensive service you deserve. Our team of attorneys will work tirelessly defending your case, keeping you updated and informed every step of the way. We have offices throughout Will County and the surrounding area. Call us today at (815) 730-8860 for an initial consultation.

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