AURORA VIOLENT CRIMES
WORK WITH A TEAM OF FORMER PROSECUTORS
Are you facing charges for a violent criminal offense in Aurora? At Martin & Kent, L.L.C., our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys understand the numerous risks associated with violent crime charges. If a defendant fails to properly challenge such allegations, it can result in one or more felony convictions and harsh punishment, including lengthy prison sentences and other lasting effects.
The criminal justice system is complicated, and it can be terrifying when your future is uncertain. There is too much on the line to try to navigate the criminal process without the help of a skilled Aurora criminal defense lawyer. As former prosecutors, our lawyers now dedicate our law practice to protecting the rights of criminal defendants. We know the system can be harsh, and we are here to support our clients facing a wide range of criminal charges, including for violent crimes.
With more than 40 years of trial experience, including previous practice in prosecution, our lawyers can take the toughest cases to verdict. We will not hesitate to do what it takes to obtain the best possible outcome in every case. Call Martin & Kent, L.L.C. at (630) 474-8000 today to learn how we can help you combat your charges.
TYPES OF VIOLENT CRIMES IN AURORA
Violent crimes encompass a large variety of criminal offenses. These include threats, as in assault-related cases, and extend to murder. While the specific penalties you may face depend on the exact nature of your charges, it is safe to say that violent crimes can lead to some of the toughest punishment available Aurora criminal offenses. These offenses even constitute a number of Class X felonies.
Violent crimes include:
- Aggravated assault
- Domestic Violence
Some violent crime allegations can stem from seemingly minor scenarios. For example, assault charges can arise from a bar fight or domestic violence accusations can come from a disagreement with a loved one. No matter how minor the situation may seem to you at the time, no violent charge is minor in the eyes of Illinois law. Once a case involves allegations of violence or even attempted violence, the stakes become much higher, as the potential penalties often get much harsher.
Don’t ever let your charges go uncontested. Most violent crimes, even as misdemeanors, cannot be sealed from your record and will continue to affect you for years after a conviction. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a criminal allegation, it is in your best interest to secure an Aurora criminal defense attorney who understands your needs and will provide an unflinching defense throughout the duration of your case.
TYPES OF CHARGES AND SENTENCES IN AURORA
State law places criminal offenses in one of two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors charges apply to lesser crimes and can result in a maximum of one year in jail, two years of probation, and $2,500 in fines. Felony charges, on the other hand, apply to crimes of greater severity. A felony conviction can often mean up to $25,000 in fines and lengthy terms served behind bars in state prison.
The law further divides felonies into the following classes with the following possible prison sentences:
- Class 4: The penalty for a Class 4 felony is one to three years in prison
- Class 3: The penalty for a Class 3 felony is two to five years in prison.
- Class 2: The penalty for a Class 2 felony is three to seven years in prison.
- Class 1: The penalty for a Class 1 felony is four to 15 years in prison.
- Class X: The penalty for a Class X felony is six to 30 years in prison
ENHANCED SENTENCING IN VIOLENT CRIME CASES
While penalty ranges generally apply to charges according to the above class categories, courts can enhance the penalties for violent crimes based on certain circumstances surrounding an offense, known as aggravating factors. Aggravating factors can include the use of a deadly weapon, causing serious bodily harm or death, or violence against certain victims such as children, the elderly, or police officers.
When a prosecutor alleges that aggravating factors existed, a defendant runs the risk of more time spent in prison and heftier fines. An enhanced Class 3 felony, for example, could lead to a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison instead of 2 to 5. Work with an experienced violent crime defense lawyer to discuss your best chances at avoiding a conviction with an enhanced sentence.
The following factors, among others, can lead to an extended sentence in cases involving violent offenses:
- Prior convictions of violent crimes
- Use of a deadly weapon in the commission of the offense
- The alleged victim was older than 60
- The degree to which a victim suffered injury
- The charge alleges the act was a hate crime
Though trying to obtain a favorable result when facing such serious accusations may seem hopeless, many people may not realize that an experienced criminal defense attorney can often get a prosecutor or judge to reduce or dismiss criminal charges and sentences. Our criminal defense lawyers know how to challenge allegations involving aggravating factors, as well as to present mitigating factors to lessen a sentence whenever appropriate. As criminal defense lawyers in Aurora, our priority is to help our clients attain favorable outcomes in the face of severe charges. Our legal team can provide representation to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future.
COMMON DEFENSES AGAINST VIOLENT CHARGES
When it comes to developing an effective criminal defense, our attorneys will listen closely to your version of events. We will then review all police reports, allegations by the prosecutor, and other evidence related to the alleged incident and your arrest. We have the resources to conduct our own thorough investigations into what happened, including interviewing witnesses, obtaining surveillance video, examining physical evidence, and more. We do all of this to gain a clear understanding of what happened to mount the best possible defense.
There are different defenses against violent crime, some of which will apply to different types of charges. Some common defense in these cases include the following:
Self-defense – Illinois law gives us each the right to protect ourselves from physical harm. However, we cannot simply lash out and claim self-defense under any circumstances. Instead, the law is clear about the requirements for a valid claim of self-defense:
- The fear of harm must be imminent. If someone threatens to meet you outside a bar in 30 minutes to fight but gives no indication of taking action inside, you cannot then hurt them to avoid the fight because the threat of harm was not immediate.
- The person claiming self-defense was not the aggressor in the situation. You cannot hit someone and then hit them again, claiming self-defense. One exception exists if you were the initial aggressor but then you stopped fighting and retreated. If the other person then came after you, they become the aggressor. Another exception applies if another person escalated the violence. If you pushed someone and they pulled out a knife to stab you, the law gives you the right to protect yourself.
- A person claiming self-defense can only use a reasonable amount of force to protect themselves from the imminent harm. If one person pushes another, the other person cannot then pull out a gun in self-defense. Deadly harm from a gun is disproportionate to the threat of harm from getting pushed.
We discuss the complexities and limitations of self-defense claims not to say it is an impossible defense, but to point out how critical it is to have a defense lawyer who knows how to successfully present this defense.
Mistake of fact – In some cases, a witness, an officer, or the prosecutor made a mistake that led to false allegations. Such mistakes can include mistaken identity, false identifications, or a misunderstanding of the events that occurred, such as no violence ever happened. There are different ways to prove what really happened, including presenting an alibi or obtaining video or separate witness testimony.
Insufficient evidence – A prosecutor may allege that you committed a violent crime but they may not have enough evidence to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The law presumes a defendant to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, so if the prosecution does not have the evidence to do so, a defendant should be found not guilty. It is important to have a defense attorney who knows how to persuasively challenge the sufficiency of the prosecutor’s evidence.
Lack of intent – Many violent offenses have one very important element, which is causing willful and intentional harm to another or knowing that your actions were likely to cause harm. If you had no intent to cause harm or had no knowledge of the risks of your actions, you can use lack of intent as a defense. Again, if a prosecutor cannot prove every element of a crime, you should be acquitted or have your charges dismissed. Proving your state of mind at the time of the incident can be challenging, however, so you need the highest quality of defense representation in this situation.
The above are only some defense tactics our team uses to fight against allegations of violent crimes. We also regularly engage in plea bargaining and explore other options to have prosecutors reduce or dismiss charges. If you would like to discuss how we may be able to help in your situation, please call for a free consultation.
CHOOSE AN AURORA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT A TOP-RATED LAW FIRM
Our legal team at Martin & Kent, L.L.C. is proud to advocate on behalf of clients who are facing criminal charges. In more than four decades of combined service, clients and peers alike show respect for the services our attorneys offer. Our team members obtain recognition for their professional-grade service with honors including an Avvo rating of 10.0 Superb and a 2013 Top Lawyers in Illinois Award, the latter of which we received based on peer nomination.
Our stellar service, combined with a deep understanding of the criminal legal process, help us stand out as a firm that is uniquely prepared to handle your concerns. Contact our legal office today by calling (630) 474-8000 to schedule a free initial consultation for your case! Our attorneys take calls 24/7 and can work to accommodate your schedule.