DUPAGE, KANE, AND COOK COUNTY MISDEMEANOR DEFENSE ATTORNEYS

CHARGED WITH A MISDEMEANOR? CALL 630-474-8000

Just because misdemeanors don’t come with penalties as severe as felonies, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take them seriously. A misdemeanor conviction will still result in a criminal record. If you do not have a previous criminal record and the state charges you with something relatively minor, such as retail theft of property valued at less than $150, you can expect a misdemeanor charge. If a court convicts you, expect to pay a fine and face as much as one year in jail.

Any criminal charge could leave serious, far-reaching consequences on your life—so anyone accused of a crime must speak to a criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. The attorneys of Martin & Kent, L.L.C., have more than four decades of combined legal experience and know how to resolve criminal cases with as little consequence to our clients as possible.

We thoroughly analyze each case to determine whether any legal defenses exist. We are tenacious negotiators who understand how to get prosecutors to offer favorable plea bargains. To schedule a completely free case evaluation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, call our office today at (630) 474-8000.

CLASS A MISDEMEANORS

Examples of Class A misdemeanors include:

  • Domestic battery
  • Battery
  • Criminal damage to property
  • Criminal trespass to residence
  • DUI
  • Possession of marijuana (more than 30 grams but less than 100 grams)
  • Prostitution
  • Public indecency
  • Reckless conduct
  • Resisting a police officer
  • Retail theft

Class A misdemeanors come maximum sentences of one year in jail and $2,500 in fines.

CLASS B MISDEMEANORS

Examples of Class B Misdemeanors include:

  • Criminal trespass to property
  • Possession of marijuana (more than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams)

Class B misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and $1,500 in fines.

CLASS C MISDEMEANORS

Examples of Class C Misdemeanors include:

  • Assault
  • Disorderly conduct

Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and $1,500 in fines.

WHEN CAN A MISDEMEANOR BE ENHANCED TO A FELONY?

In some circumstances, the State’s Attorney can enhance a misdemeanor to a felony. Examples of this include:

  • Multiple prior charges of the same offense
  • Causing more than $300 worth of damage
  • Taking more than $300 in theft
  • Causing great bodily harm
  • Damaging government/state supported property
  • Targeting or attempting to harm law enforcement or medical/educational personnel

THE CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION CAN GO FAR BEYOND THOSE IMPOSED BY THE COURT

If you face a misdemeanor criminal charge, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it is “no big deal.” Especially if you are fairly certain that you are going to receive a period of unsupervised probation and minimal fines, you may feel like you are facing relatively minimal consequences, and by pleading guilty and moving on you are dealing with the matter in the most efficient way possible. After all, if you are on unsupervised probation and need to pay a fine of only a few hundred dollars, you may think you could simply go back to your previous life. Provided that you stay out of trouble during your probation period, you may not foresee any consequences associated with your conviction, outside of the hassle of going to court and paying a small fine.

Unfortunately, in reality, a misdemeanor conviction can often result in much more severe collateral consequences than any court-imposed sentence. In some cases, these collateral consequences may arise years or even decades after a conviction.

Potential collateral consequences of a misdemeanor conviction include:

  • Adverse employment decisions – Many employers are hesitant to work with employees with any kind of conviction on their records. A misdemeanor conviction could result in the loss of a current job and difficulties getting a new job in the future. As more employers make criminal background checks standard parts of their hiring processes, any conviction could hurt your chances of getting a job.
  • Sanctions imposed by your school or denial of admission – If you are currently a student, your school could sanction you. The student codes of conduct at many colleges and universities prohibit students from engaging in illegal activity. As a result, a misdemeanor conviction could result in academic probation, suspension, or even expulsion. In addition, any discipline imposed by your school will become part of your academic record. If you are not yet a student or plan to continue your education after you graduate from your current program, a criminal conviction—even for a misdemeanor—could hurt your chances of admission or and your eligibility for federal financial aid programs.
  • Difficulty finding places to live – Landlords understandably do not want illegal activity on their properties. For this reason, many require that applicants for apartments submit to criminal background checks before entering into lease agreements. A misdemeanor criminal conviction could make renting an apartment difficult.
  • Damage to your reputation in your community – A criminal conviction is typically a matter of public record, which means that anyone who is curious about your past could potentially uncover its existence with a simple internet search. Friends, family members, coworkers, and even potential romantic partners could find out about your conviction.

If you are already dealing with the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, speak to one our attorneys about clearing your record through expungement or sealing.

LEGAL DEFENSES TO MISDEMEANOR CHARGES

Not every arrest on a misdemeanor charge leads to a conviction. In many cases, an attorney can raise defenses that may result in favorable plea bargains, acquittals at trial, or even the complete dismissal of cases. For example, if you were accused of a violent crime like assault, your attorney may argue that you acted in self-defense. Similarly, if prosecutors accuse you of drunk driving, your lawyer may introduce evidence that police used an improperly calibrated Breathalyzer in your case and that the results were therefore unreliable.

In many misdemeanor cases, the appropriate defense has less to do with denying that the incident occurred or alleging additional facts that would justify your conduct than attacking the way in which police conducted an investigation. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits police from engaging in unreasonable searches and seizures, and an experienced attorney can work to suppress any evidence gathered during an illegal search or seizure—which means that prosecutors cannot use it against the defendant.

For example, if the police searched your vehicle without a warrant or probable cause, the court might declare inadmissible any contraband that they found. Without access to the evidence of the contraband, the prosecution would almost certainly need to drop the case.

Whether a search or seizure violated your constitutional rights depends on numerous circumstances, and spotting violations requires significant legal experience and training. If you are charged with a crime after police searched you, your home, or your vehicle, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. Simply assuming that a search or a seizure was valid can result in a completely avoidable conviction.

CALL US Today to Speak With a Criminal Defense Attorney. We Work With Clients in DuPage, Kane, and Cook Counties

If you are accused of a crime—even a misdemeanor—retain an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. An attorney can often make a significant impact on the way that a case is resolved and may even result in prosecutors entirely dropping the charges against you.

Our legal team is prepared to help you challenge your criminal charges and can assist you with expungement if you wish to clear your misdemeanor from your criminal record. To learn more, contact Martin & Kent, L.L.C., at (630) 474-8000 today!