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You have probably heard that anybody charged with a crime has the right to an attorney. This is true, and if you do not have an attorney, one will be provided for you by the court. However, you need to understand that if you do not secure your own criminal defense lawyer, you will be represented by a public defender who will have dozens of other cases aside from yours. There is no guarantee of how much time your public defender will get to spend with you or how quickly they will be able to get you out of pre-trial confinement.

A Chicago criminal defense attorney is going to be able to focus on your case. They will conduct an objective and independent investigation into the charges levied against you and will not solely rely on the information given to them by the prosecutor. A criminal defense attorney will have a thorough understanding of the charges against you and will work to negotiate a plea deal for reduced charges or even to get the charges against you dismissed altogether.

There is a common misconception that a person facing a Chicago misdemeanor charge does not need an attorney for their case. This is not the truth. While a misdemeanor offense may not carry penalties as harsh as felony offenses, that does not mean they can be taken any less seriously. Misdemeanors will still result in a permanent mark on a person’s criminal record.

In California, a standard misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail and carries a $1,000 court fine, not counting any penalties or assessments. However, more serious “aggravated” misdemeanors can carry up to one year in jail and more expensive fines.

You may have heard of a crime being considered a “wobbler” offense in California. This means that prosecutors can choose to file the charge as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. When determining whether or not a person will face a misdemeanor or felony, prosecutors will look at the facts surrounding the specific case as well as the person’s criminal history.

A wobbler offense is a perfect example of why a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney is necessary. An attorney will be able to open communications with the prosecutor early in the case and work to get the least severe charge possible. A skilled criminal defense attorney will argue that your criminal history does not justify a felony charge or that the actions you took were not severe enough to warrant a more serious charge.

Preparing for a consultation with a Chicago criminal defense attorney can seem intimidating, especially if you are facing charges. However, taking the time to properly prepare can help you make the most of your consultation and get the legal help you need. Here are some tips for preparing for a consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Chicago:

  • Gather all relevant documents: Before your consultation, try to gather any documents that are related to your case. This can include police reports, witness statements, and any other evidence that may be relevant to your case. Having these documents on hand can help your attorney get a better understanding of your situation and provide more accurate advice.
  • Make a list of questions: It’s natural to have questions about your case and your legal options. To make the most of your consultation, make a list of questions beforehand. This can help you stay organized and ensure that you get all of your questions answered.
  • Know your timeline: If you are facing criminal charges, it’s important to know the timeline for your case. Bring any relevant court dates or deadlines to your consultation so that your attorney can advise you on the best course of action.
  • Be honest: It’s important to be honest with your attorney about the details of your case. This will help your attorney provide the best possible representation.

Facing criminal charges in Chicago can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. It’s natural to feel scared and unsure of what to do, but it’s important to avoid making certain mistakes that could harm your case. Here are some mistakes to avoid making when facing criminal charges in Chicago:

  • Talking to law enforcement without an attorney present: Always remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If you are facing criminal charges, it’s crucial to have an attorney present during any interactions with law enforcement.
  • Making statements on social media: Anything you post on social media can be used against you in court. Avoid discussing your case or making any statements about your guilt or innocence on social media.
  • Failing to show up for court: If you are facing criminal charges, it’s important to take the legal process seriously. Failing to show up for court can result in additional charges and make your situation worse.
  • Representing yourself: It’s generally not a good idea to represent yourself in criminal court. The legal system is complex, and an experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance and representation.
  • Pleading guilty without consulting an attorney: It’s important to fully understand the consequences of pleading guilty before making a decision. An attorney can help you understand your options and advise you on the best course of action.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome in your criminal case in Chicago.

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