Law Offices of

 

221 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2017
Chicago, IL 60601

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118 S. Main Street, Suite 1
Wauconda, IL 60042

 

312-236-7078

 

 

 

[email protected]

Felony in Illinois

 

Felony Review

Following an arrest for a serious crime, the police agency involved in the arrest must contact the local States Attorney’s Offices. Police agency does not have the inherent power to automatically charge someone with a felony. That decision rests solely within the power of the States Attorney’s Office. For the most part the Felony Review division will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is within the sound discretion of the State Attorney as to whether or not the felony charges will be filed against the defendant. In the event the State Attorney decides not to file felony charges against the accused, the arresting agency may still bring misdemeanor charges against the defendant.

 

Bond Hearing

Constitutional safeguards guarantee that the rights of the accused will afford that individual to be brought before a judge within 72 hours following the arrest in order for a bond hearing to be held. The main reason for the bond to be set is to guarantee defendant’s subsequent appearances in court. Generally the types of things the judge considers in order to determine the amount of bond are whether or not the defendant is a flight risk, ties to community, (i.e. whether the accused has family, job, owns property, etc.) the nature and seriousness of the crime and whether or not the individual is likely to commit other criminal acts while out on bond. For the most parts after the bond is set, the family of the defendant only needs to post 10% of the mandated amount.

 

Preliminary Hearing

Usually the next step of the process involves a Preliminary Hearing. The main purpose for a Preliminary Hearing is to determine whether or not probable cause exists for the case to continue further. During the hearing, the State will present witness who will testify as to the events leading up to the arrest of the accused. The presiding judge will look at factors such as whether or not enough evidence exists to believe that the crime was committed and whether the accused committed the crime. In many cases the judge may find that no probable cause exists and dismiss the charges. (This does not necessarily mean the case is over).

 

Indictment

Ninety percent of the cases are superseded by Indictment. What that means is, rather that the judge having to decide on the issue of probable cause, the State Attorney will convene before the Grand Jury to have 18 individual members of the community decide the issue of probable cause. This is done behind close doors and for the most part defendant’s lawyer is not allowed to participate and cross-examine witnesses as done during the Preliminary Hearing. Additionally, State Attorney can bring the Indictment in the cases where charges were dropped during a Preliminary Hearing. If the Grand Jury makes a finding of probable cause the case will proceed to the next level. In the event the accused is no longer in custody, a warrant will be issued for the arrest.

 

Arraignment

During this stage of the process the defendant is formally admonished of the charges against him and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. For the most part, the defense lawyer will waive formal reading, (ask the judge not to recite verbatim all the charges brought against the defendant). This is done as a courtesy to the court to save time, primarily because the accused and his lawyer already know what the charges are since the written indictment from the Grand Jury or an informationdocument, from the Preliminary Hearing is handed to the defendant and his lawyer.

 

Discovery

Discovery is a reciprocal process during which both sides share all of the information they have in their possession. In the event the State Attorney have evidence of exculpatory nature, (exonerating the guilt of the defendant) the evidence must be furnished to the defense counsel. The names of the witnesses and their testimony must be provided as well.

 

Motions

In order to invoke the Constitutional safeguards a defense lawyer will bring various motions prior to the case proceeding to trial. In many cases, the substance of the Motion is dispositive in nature and can end the case. For example, if a constitutional violation occurred during the arrest, a defense lawyer can bring a Motion To Suppress Evidence and Quash Arrest. This is usually done in drug cases when an individual is arrested because of his race and not because the police officer observed him commit a crime.

 

Trial

Constitutional safeguards guarantee the defendant a trial by 12 jurors. The jury is a fact-finding body, which must unanimously find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the defendant to be convicted of the charged crime. In the event the defendant opts out from having a jury trial, the judge can be elected as a finder of fact and determine whether the crime was committed. This is known as a bench trial.  In certain cases, the defendant acting on his lawyer's advise may elect to have a bench trial, rather than a jury trial. This is usually done when the facts are more favorable for the defendant.

 

Felony Penalties in Illinois

The 5 classes of Illinois felonies are as follows:

Class X Felony

  • Between 6 and 30 years in State Penitentiary; and/or
  • Fine of up to $25,000

Class 1 Felony

  • Between 4 and 15 years in State Penitentiary; and/or
  • Fine of up to $25,000

Class 2 Felony

  • Between 3 and 7 years in State Penitentiary; and/or
  • Fine of up to $25,000

Class 3 Felony

  • Between 2 and 5 years in State Penitentiary; and/or
  • Fine of up to $25,000

Class 4 Felony

  • Between 1 and 3 years in State Penitentiary; and/or
  • Fine of up to $25,000

Other Consequences Include:

  • Loss of your right to vote
  • Loss of your right to possess a firearm
  • Loss of your right to travel outside a specific geographical area
  • Public access to your felony conviction, which could hamper your future employment.
If you are arrested or facing criminal prosecution it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Know how to protect your rights. We handle criminal cases on regular basis. For a free consultation and an evaluation of your case call us today.

Law Offices of Mitch Furman
221 N. La Salle Street
Suite 2017
Chicago, IL 60601
312-236-7078 Phone

The law offices of Mitch Furman, serve clients in Chicago and the surrounding parts of Illinois, including Rolling Meadows, Skokie, Maywood, Maybrook, Bridgeview, Markham, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Cicero, Berwyn, Elk Grove Village, Oak Lawn, Evanston, Wilmette, Palatine, Barrington, Bartlett, Lake Forest, Kenilworth, Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Wheeling, Homewood and all cities within Cook County, Lake County DuPage, McHenry and Will County, as well as arrests by the Illinois State Police on the Interstate Highways.