FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Law

What is a criminal defense lawyer?

A criminal defense lawyer specializes in defending people that are charged with crimes. There are many areas of law. Lawyers typically choose an area of law and specialize in that area, meaning, they work in that specific area and become experts in that type of law. Lawyers that specialize in criminal defense are experts in the area of criminal law. They stay up to date with criminal law and have experiencing defending all types of criminal charges.

Why do I need a criminal defense lawyer?

The law is incredibly complex and changes all the time. If you are charged with a crime, it is important to have an advocate speak on your behalf and to guide you through the complex criminal justice system. A criminal defense lawyer can give you advice on the best way to proceed, file all the appropriate paperwork and advocate for you in the courtroom. Whenever you are charged with a crime, you need a criminal defense lawyer to defend you.

What do I do if I am charged with a crime?

Any time you are arrested or charged with a crime, it is important to contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Remember, you have the right to a lawyer, and the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions asked by the police. If you are arrested or charged with a crime, call a reputable criminal defense attorney right away.

How do I enact my right to remain silent?

The fifth amendment protects you from self-incrimination. This provides you with the right to remain silent when asked questions by the police. When you are questioned by the police, arrested or charged with a crime, immediately ask to speak with a lawyer. In order to use your right to remain silent, you must verbally express that intention. Say, “I am using my right to remain silent. I would like to speak to a lawyer.”

What happens during an arrest?

An arrest occurs when you are no longer free to leave police custody. Once you are in police custody, you must be informed of your miranda rights. The police may pat you down to check for weapons before taking you into custody. This may be followed by a more thorough search during booking. The booking process includes fingerprinting, taking a mugshot and providing a DNA sample. In most cases you can make a phone call after you are booked.

Is there bail in Illinois?

Illinois does not have private bail bondsman. All bonds are paid directly to the court. The judge will set the amount of bail for the offender. This amount is only due if the person does not make the required court appearance. In order to be released on bail, the person or his/her family must pay ten percent of the bail price to the court. The court keeps this ten percent to pay for administrative costs. If the person does not show up for the court appearance, the full amount will be due.

What is an arraignment?

Arraignment is a court proceeding that takes place soon after an arrest. Charges are read to the accused, and the accused must enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. Conditions of the accused’s release may also be discussed at arraignment, such as whether bail will be set.

What is a misdemeanor?

Offenses are classified by severity and punishments are determined by the class of crime. Less serious crimes are classified as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor in Illinois is punishable by less than a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.

Class A Misdemeanor
up to one year in jail
up to two years probation
up to $2,500 in fines

Class B Misdemeanor
up to six months in jail
up to two years probation
up to $1,500 in fines

Class C Misdemeanor
up to 30 days in jail
up to two years probation
up to $1,500 in fines

What is a felony?

More serious crimes are classified as felonies. Felonies can be punished with one year to life in prison and fines up to $25,000.

Class X Felony
6 to 30 years in prison
up to $25,000 in fines

Class 1 Felony
4 to 15 years in prison
up to $25,000 in fines

Class 2 Felony
3 to 7 years in prison
up to $25,000 in fines

Class 3 Felony
2 to 5 years in prison
up to $25,000 in fines

Class 4 Felony
1 to 3 years in prison
up to $25,000 in fines

What is an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document authorized by a judge that allows a police officer to arrest the individual named in the warrant. In order to arrest a person, a police officer must have an arrest warrant, probable cause or be a witness to the crime.

Who should I call if I get arrested?

If you get arrested or are charged with a crime, contact Tower Legal immediately. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge and skill to help you with your case. Our attorneys will make sure that your rights are protected and will be your advocates for justice.

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