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joliet criminal defense lawyerUnder Illinois criminal law, when a person is charged with a serious crime, it is up to the prosecutor to take the legal steps to charge the accused with a felony crime. There are cases where a prosecutor will decide not to pursue felony charges, and the charges the police arrested the accused on are dropped, even if the police disagree with the prosecutor’s decision. However, a group of Illinois lawmakers are seeking to change all that and have recently filed legislation that would allow police chiefs to override the prosecutor’s decision.

Felony Process

Under the current law, there is a standard process that every case must go through before a person can be charged with a felony. The first step to this process is the police investigation. If the police feel they have probable cause to charge a person they suspect of committing a crime, they will place them under arrest. In some cases, this involves obtaining an arrest warrant, while in other cases – such as during a traffic stop – the officer can arrest the individual right on the spot.

After they are arrested, the accused will have a bond hearing where they will enter their plea of guilty or not guilty, and the judge will decide if the defendant can be released on bond and how much that bond should be.

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will county defense lawyerOne of the rights that an accused has under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution is the “right to a speedy and public trial.” Although the amendment does not define exactly how long “speedy” is, both the federal government and Illinois have passed laws that define how long a prosecutor has to bring a defendant to trial.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed all that, with shutdowns of the Illinois court system, forcing those time limits to be tolled (paused). Although some proceedings were held via Zoom, the majority of trials have been on hold. However, as of October 1, that pause has been lifted and defendants now have that right to a speedy trial again.

Illinois Law

Under the Illinois speedy trial law, there must be a trial within 120 days for defendants who are in custody. If the individual is out on bond, then there must be a trial within 160 days. If those deadlines cannot be met, the charges against them will be dismissed. The state also has a compulsory joinder law that also protects a person’s right to a speedy trial. This law means that if a defendant is facing multiple charges from the same arrest, prosecutors must bring those charges in one single prosecution act. In other words, there cannot be an individual trial for each individual charge.

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Joliet criminal defense lawyerWhen considering what to expect in a criminal trial, the average person likely thinks of the court proceedings they have seen in movies or television shows. While that may provide the most basic understanding of a trial, there are many smaller pieces that often get left out. This blog will briefly go over each step of the trial process that a criminal defendant can expect. It is important to note that there are many ways a trial may veer from this path, but if you are facing a criminal trial, it is highly recommended that you find a criminal defense attorney who can help prepare you for the following stages.

Jury Selection

In the United States, criminal defendants have the right to be tried by an impartial jury. The court and attorneys have the responsibility to appropriately and thoroughly examine the jurors prior to trial. The examination is meant to remove any jurors who demonstrate any bias, opinion, or prejudice that could impact their decision-making ability in regard to the crime at hand.

Opening Statements

Once the jury has been selected, the trial can begin, starting with opening statements. The prosecution has the burden of proof and will give their statement first. It is critical for the prosecution to refrain from using any derogatory language when describing the defendant. Once finished, the defense will then have their turn. Both parties will take the opportunity to detail the case, their perspective, and an outline of what they hope to prove.

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Will County Criminal Defense LawyerThe COVID-19 pandemic not only changed the way Americans live their lives, but it also created many opportunities for committing fraud. Many of these schemes involved the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged hundreds of defendants with crimes that were based on these schemes.

The FBI recently announced a new fraudulent scheme they are cracking down on - counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards. The agency has also declared that anyone who is charged and convicted of this crime faces harsh penalties. And as we approach the weekend of Chicago’s annual four-day Lollapalooza music festival, Illinois lawmakers are also warning people that it is not only illegal to make counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine cards, but also to use them.

COVID-19 Vaccine Cards

When a person receives their first shot of the COVID vaccine, they receive a card with their personal information and the date and brand of vaccine they received. If they require a second dose, that information is also entered on the card. This card is the only proof that the individual is fully vaccinated.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Will County Criminal Defense LawyerIllinois has become the first state in the country to eliminate cash bail for defendants who are arrested for a crime under the Illinois Pretrial Fairness Act, which was part of the state’s larger criminal justice reform bill. The new law is being lauded by defendant advocacy groups, who say that cash bail requirements penalize poorer defendants but benefit wealthy ones. Law enforcement officials have been vocal in their stance against the act, saying that it will ultimately put the general public at risk because of criminals being allowed to remain free pending trial.

Illinois Cash Bail System

When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, a judge determines how much bail a defendant will need to post in order to be released while awaiting trial. In Illinois, the current system is a cash bail system. This means that the defendant is required to pay a certain percentage of the amount of bail the judge sets in order to be released. In most cases in Illinois, the bond amount that needs to be posted is usually 10 percent of the bail amount the judge set. For example, if the judge sets bail at $10,000, the defendant would have to post $1,000 cash to be released.

Proponents who pushed for the no cash bail law say that requiring people who have no financial resources to sit in jail until their trial concludes is cruel and unfair. If a person cannot make bail, they are forced to sit in jail until their trial is concluded, often forcing them into making plea deals just so they can get out of jail.

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Will County Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association Lions Minooka AV 2019 Rotary DuPage County Bar Association
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