Chicago Misdemeanor Attorney — Illinois Misdemeanor Penalties
Misdemeanors are the least serious category of criminal offense. So if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, you might be considering whether to simply plead guilty, take the punishment, and move on with your life. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. Even though the penalties for a misdemeanor are relatively mild, the effects of a criminal record on your life can take their toll in the long run.
The prosecutor may ask you to plead guilty and tell you it’s your best option. However, there may be several defense strategies available through which you might minimize your sentence, or avoid a criminal conviction entirely. Do not accept any plea arrangement offer before talking with a Chicago misdemeanor attorney.
At O’Meara Law LLC, we put all of our resources towards helping our clients’ obtain the best case results possible – no matter how serious the charges they face. Call a Chicago criminal defense attorney today at 312-909-0706 to find out how we can help you.
What Are Misdemeanors Under Illinois Law?
Illinois law defines a misdemeanor as any criminal offense punishable by one year or less of incarceration in a local or county jail. This includes many criminal offenses, such as:
- Simple assault
- Public indecency
- Drunk driving
- Possession of marijuana
- Disorderly conduct
Misdemeanors are divided into three categories according to their relative seriousness and penalty range:
- Class A misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail, two years of probation, and/or $2,500 in fines
- Class B misdemeanor – Up to six months in jail, two years or probation, and/or $1,500 in fines
- Class C misdemeanor – Up to 30 days in jail, two years of probation, and/or $1,500 in fines
Often times, the person convicted of a misdemeanor doesn’t receive the jail portion of the sentence. In its place, the judge might order probation, community service, or the restitution of the victims. For example, if you get convicted of shoplifting, you might avoid jail time if you agree to pay back the store for what you allegedly stole. Other consequences of your misdemeanor conviction may include:
- Trouble finding a job because of your criminal record
- Losing your job because you need to spend time in jail or perform community service
- Difficulty gaining acceptance to college because of your conviction
- For drug offenses, inability to apply for federal student aid
- For some alcohol and driving offenses, lost driving privileges
- For immigrants, deportation if the misdemeanor is a crime of moral turpitude
How Can O’Meara Law LLC Help Me?
Taken together, the effects of a conviction for even a minor misdemeanor can severely affect your financial and personal situation. With so much at stake, you should think twice before pleading guilty to your charge. Instead, you should talk to a skilled and experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer and ensure that your case gets the vigorous defense it deserves.
Most criminal cases end before they even get to trial. During the pretrial stages, the prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney will make strategic maneuvers to gain the upper hand in negotiating a plea agreement. This means you would plead guilty in exchange for the guarantee of a lenient punishment. In some cases, however, it may be possible to beat your charges altogether by challenging the prosecutor’s evidence and having the judge reject it from the case. Without evidence, there can be no trial and your charges may be dismissed.
If your case goes to trial, the prosecutor will need to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. S,o if your attorney can highlight gaps and inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s evidence, you stand a good chance of obtaining an acquittal. With more than 20 years of experience – some of it as a prosecutor – Attorney Michael O’Meara is well positioned to lead your case to a positive resolution.
To find out what defense strategies might be available to you, contact O’Meara Law LLC today at 312-909-0706 for your free and confidential consultation.