Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
The seriousness of being charged with a crime cannot be overstated. This is self-evident when the charge is a serious felony like murder or sexual assault. Less evident are instances in which defendants are charged with misdemeanor or traffic offenses. Although the maximum penalties are less than those associated with felonies, the actual consequences can still be incredibly burdensome and have long lasting effects. That is why having a criminal defense attorney represent you in these matters gives you your best chance of either getting the charges dismissed outright or attaining the most lenient outcome possible.
In Illinois, misdemeanors are broken into three classes. Class A being the most severe, followed by Class B and finally Class C. A Class A misdemeanor like a typical first time DUI, can carry a maximum penalty of up to 364 days in county jail and/or a $2,500 fine plus court costs. Although not a felony, these penalties are clearly nothing to be taken lightly. While it may be likely that a person with no criminal record will receive a sentence far less severe, the average lay person is not equipped to navigate the procedural complexities of a criminal case as it moves through the system. There may be defects in the State’s case that could very well lead to an outright dismissal of the charges altogether. Such defects are very difficult to discern for someone wholly unfamiliar with the process. This makes having experienced legal counsel on your side all the more important.
Additionally, the emotional stress and personal upheaval of being charged with a crime can also cloud one’s judgment and make it all the more difficult to effectively represent yourself in a criminal proceeding. It would be far more beneficial to have someone who not only brings a knowledge base of criminal law and procedure, but also a clear-minded objectivity to ensure the right moves are being made at the right times. Furthermore, judges and prosecutors faced with a crowded docket can have their patience strained when matters that should take no more than a minute or so end up taking far longer as they have to carefully breakdown and explain every step along the process. Having an attorney helps to streamline the process and negates the risk of testing the goodwill of the people whose job it is to determine your fate.
In short, the benefits of having experienced legal counsel on your side far outweigh the risks of navigating unfamiliar terminology and procedures when you have so much riding on the outcome of your case. If you are charged with a crime, please call Bloomington Law Office today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.