What is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
A criminal defense attorney plays a vital role in defending individuals accused of committing crimes. A criminal defense lawyer is responsible for providing legal advice and representation to those accused, including helping clients understand their rights and responsibilities, preparing court documents and filing motions on behalf of the defendant, researching relevant laws and precedents, arguing points in court when necessary, negotiating plea bargains or other settlements with prosecutors when appropriate, guiding their clients through trial proceedings (if necessary) and handling appeals if a conviction occurs.
They are also tasked with developing strategies to help defend against charges or mitigate any sentences that may be imposed after a guilty verdict. Criminal defense attorneys can help ensure that defendants receive fair treatment under the law by advocating tirelessly on their behalf throughout the pre-trial process and during any subsequent hearings or proceedings. Ultimately, a criminal defense lawyer's goal is to protect their client's rights and help them achieve the best possible outcome in their case.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to hire an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who can fight for your rights and ensure that you receive the justice you deserve. Your attorney should be familiar with local laws, court procedures, and other legal matters related to your case so that they can provide high-quality legal representation throughout the process. A good criminal defense attorney will not only seek to reduce or eliminate your potential sentence but also guide you through each step of the process while protecting your interests at all times.
25+ Years of Experience and a Former Public Defender and U.S. Navy Vet
If you have been charged with a crime in Belleville, let me help you in court. I have over 25 years of experience defending clients against criminal charges, and I also have experience as a former public defender. I am an assertive and determined trial lawyer who will defend you relentlessly in court, from arguing for mitigated charges to even fighting for a dismissal, if possible. I will be honest and upfront with you as you deserve; when you work with me, we will work on your case efficiently, directly, and ambitiously.
License suspension is a common penalty for certain criminal charges, such as traffic violations or DUI. If you drive while your license is revoked, you can face further criminal charges for driving while revoked. It may be hard to adapt to life without the easy transportation of your own vehicle, but unless you have a restricted license that grants limited driving privileges, you may not drive while you license has been revoked.
625 ILCS 5/6-303(a) states that a driver who operates a vehicle without a valid license could face Class A misdemeanor charges on a first offense that carry up to 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Aggravating circumstances, such as driving while revoked due to a previous DUI (625 ILCS 5/6-303(d)) could increase the charge to a felony with further license suspension or even permanent revocation. To navigate the consequences of a charge for driving while revoked, give me a call to discuss the details of your case. I specialize in helping people who have had their license revoked.
Speeding is another category of traffic violation that could be punishable by significant fines and points on your driving record. In particular, Illinois examines 2 types of speeding – basic speeding and absolute speeding. Basic speeding generally requires a driver to operate their vehicle at a safe and reasonable speed depending on the traffic conditions present, which may vary. Absolute speeding limits, on the other hand, set fixed speeding limits drivers are required to follow (that is, they are not based on the circumstances of the road and weather). Some examples of such fixed limits are:
- 70 mph on interstate highways;
- 30 mph on urban district roadways;
- 15 mph in urban district alleys; and
- 20 mph in school zones.
The specific fines for a speeding ticket will generally depend on the circumstances of the speeding offense:
- 1-20 mph over the limit – $120 fine;
- 21-25 mph over the limit – $140 fine;
- 26-34 mph over the limit – Class B misdemeanor with 6 months in jail and up to $1,500 in fines;
- 35 mph or more over the limit – Class A misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Also keep in mind that a driver charged with speeding could incur 5-50 demerit points on their driving record, depending on how fast they were speeding. Accumulating too many points could lead to a license suspension.
I also defend clients against charges as serious as murder, which could be first degree or second degree. First degree murder is the most serious level of murder in Illinois. To prove first degree murder, a prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant killed another person unlawfully and either:
- intended to kill or do great bodily harm (or knew that the act would do so);
- knew that the act created a strong probability of causing death or great bodily harm; or
- was attempting or committed a forcible felony, such as rape.
The maximum penalty for first degree murder is life imprisonment.
Mitigating circumstances could lessen a first degree charge to second degree murder. Note that it is the defendant's burden to prove either of the following mitigating circumstances for second degree murder (otherwise, they will likely face first degree murder charges):
- the defendant was acting under a sudden and intense passion due to being seriously provoked by the alleged victim or another person whom the defendant tried to kill but negligently killed the alleged victim instead; or
- the defendant believed that the killing would have been lawfully justified, but this belief was found unreasonable.
Second degree murder in Illinois is charged as a Class 1 felony punishable by 4-20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines (plus a surcharge of $3,125). There is also a mandatory 2-year parole period following release from prison.
I can take on your criminal defense in Belleville and put up a compelling fight in court. With over 25 years of experience practicing criminal law, I am deeply familiar with the law and the criminal justice system in Illinois. Whether you have been accused of driving while revoked, speeding, or murder, I can defend you. Let’s sit down and develop a game plan based on your goals and expectations of the case and get you out of this mess.