When a person is arrested, often their first question is: “Do I need to hire a criminal defense lawyer?” You may worry that you may not be able to afford an attorney or that an attorney will not do a good job for you in your case. Additionally, if you are facing a misdemeanor charge, you may believe a lawyer is not necessary because your charges may seem relatively minor. However, it is often a mistake not to consult with an attorney if you may be facing any type of criminal charges.
Misdemeanor Charges in Chicago
Illinois law divides criminal charges into two main classifications: felonies and misdemeanors. Felony charges include violent crimes such as rape and robbery, as well as cases involving controlled substances. On the other hand, offenses that are considered less serious by authorities are charged as misdemeanors. Misdemeanor charges include prostitution, marijuana possession, petty theft, and much more. Many people may believe that they can represent themselves for misdemeanor charges since they are not as serious as felonies. While you always have the legal right to represent yourself, a criminal defense attorney can help limit the consequences you face for your misdemeanor or even get your case dismissed. It is highly unlikely that you could get similar results on your own.
Penalties for Misdemeanors
Though the penalties for misdemeanor offenses may be less serious than felonies, the consequences may still have a significant impact on your life. The potential penalties for misdemeanors in Chicago are as follows:
Type Jail Time Fine Probation
Class A Misdemeanor – Up to 1 year, up to $2,500, up to 2 years
Class B Misdemeanor – Up to 6 months, up to $1,500, up to 2 years
Class C Misdemeanor – Up to 30 days, up to $1,500, up to 2 years
As you can see, misdemeanor convictions can impact your freedom, finances, and more. Even if you get probation, you may be under formal supervision for certain types of misdemeanors, which can significantly limit where you may travel, who you may communicate with, and more.
Additionally, many misdemeanor offenses escalate if you have previous convictions on your record. For example, though DUI is charged as a misdemeanor under many circumstances, a 3rd DUI conviction is charged as a Class 2 felony. An attorney can help you avoid convictions on your record in case you should ever face additional charges in the future.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer for Assistance
If you are facing a misdemeanor charge, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Goldman & Associates. Attorney Steven Goldman is a highly skilled lawyer with extensive experience defending all types of criminal charges, from relatively minor charges to serious violent felonies. Mr. Goldman will be straightforward with you regarding your options and offers free consultations, so there is no obligation. Should you retain him, Steven Goldman will provide an aggressive and affordable defense no matter how minor or serious your charge may be. Contact our office for help today.