A criminal record will negatively impact many aspects of your life, such as your educational and career aspirations, your family relationships, your housing situation, and any immigration benefits. At this sensitive time, you need all the help you can get.
While our criminal justice system is founded on the idea that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the reality is that people accused of a crime are often treated unfairly by their employers, communities and even loved ones. When you face criminal charges, it feels like the deck is stacked against, and you need someone that is on your side no matter what. Our team is proud to be on the side of our clients.
The criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec know how difficult life can be for someone facing criminal charges. More importantly, we know how to make sure you are treated fairly by our system. We offer support and aggressive legal representation to our clients.
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Woodridge or in DuPage County, contact Wolfe & Stec at 630-305-0222.
If you are accused of a crime in Illinois, your life could be on the line. A conviction will mean a criminal record that will be with you forever and negatively impact your educational and career aspirations, your family relationships, your housing situation, and any immigration benefits. Depending on the crime and your situation, you might face:
The statute of limitations is the deadline by which charges must be filed for criminal activity. In general, this time limit is specific to the category under which the crime falls. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is eighteen months, while for felonies it is three years. That said, exceptions (for more serious crimes or crimes where a child is a victim) do apply.
Your Wolf & Stec criminal defense attorney can provide more information regarding your specific situation.
If you are arrested for a crime in Illinois, it’s important to know your rights so you can avoid making mistakes that may inadvertently lead to a conviction. Many naïve suspects say too much and their words are twisted by a prosecutor and used against them. That’s why it’s so important to say nothing until your Woodridge criminal attorney is by your side. You have the following rights:
An experienced criminal lawyer in DuPage County can guide you through all of these steps and advise you as you go. That’s why it’s so important to have a highly experienced attorney who has seen and done these things multiple times before. For a free consultation with a Woodridge criminal defense attorney, call Wolfe & Stec at (630) 305-0222 for a free consultation.
The experienced and seasoned Woodridge criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the seriousness of your situation and offer aggressive representation for clients facing criminal charges. We know the courts and the criminal justice system and how to plea bargain, negotiate guidelines and recognize when to take your case to trial. When we take on a criminal case, we gather information quickly and look at all viable defense options. Based on the facts, we make a decision about the best legal strategy.
To be successful, good preparation is essential. The more you know up front, the less you will be surprised or caught off guard. Take a few minutes to review the steps that take place as you move through the court system. The more you know, the better. Our criminal defense attorney at Wolfe & Stec can explain your rights as you move through the criminal justice process.
DiscoveryThe discovery phase allows your attorney the opportunity to review the prosecution’s evidence against you. This could include police reports, witness statements, videos or photos, physical evidence, or any other relevant information. Discovery can unfold gradually, and your attorney might not receive all the evidence until shortly before trial.
Pre-trial PreparationDuring this phase, the defense attorney will begin locating and interviewing witnesses, developing a defense strategy, and securing evidence that may be presented at trial on your behalf.
Plea BargainsAt any point before a verdict, the defense attorney, defendant, and prosecution may enter into negotiations regarding a plea bargain. The terms of the plea bargain will vary greatly, depending on the specific circumstances of the crime, criminal history, and the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. While no one who is arrested typically wants to plead guilty, sometimes if the prosecutor has a very strong case, the best strategy is to plead to a lesser charge through the plea bargain process. If needed, this is an option you can explore with your criminal defense lawyer.
TrialIf the case proceeds to trial, you can elect either a bench trial or a jury trial. The jury determines the outcome in a jury trial, whereas a judge makes the final decision regarding guilt or innocence in a bench trial. While both sides will present evidence at trial, it is the prosecution that bears the burden of proof. The state must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, your attorney does not have to prove your innocence (a much higher burden of proof). Instead, the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the prosecutor.
VerdictAfter the prosecution and defense present their closing arguments, either the judge or jury will deliberate and then issue a verdict. If the defendant is found not guilty, the case is over. If the defendant is found guilty, the case will proceed to the sentencing phase.
AppealNot in all cases, but sometimes there is an opportunity to appeal a verdict to a higher court (appellate court). If your Woodridge criminal defense lawyer can find a technical mistake or some other miscarriage of justice, he or she may be able to file an appeal to overturn the verdict. This is determined on a case by case basis.
As you can see, there are many steps in the legal process from the day you are arrested until the day the case is completed. You don’t want to make a misstep at any point, nor do you want to be confused or mistaken in your testimony at any point, because such things could damage your case. Skilled Woodridge criminal lawyers can help you avoid mistakes. Call us today at (630) 305-0222.
The prosecutor has the burden to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To do this, the prosecutor will gather evidence against you, including police reports, witness statements, videos or photos, physical evidence, or any other relevant information. Prosecutors may negotiate with your criminal defense attorney to see if they can come to a plea-bargaining agreement without having to go to trial. Terms of the plea bargain will depend on the specific circumstances of the crime, your criminal history, and the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. If there is no agreement or the crime was particularly heinous and the evidence against you is strong, the prosecutor may decide to take the case to trial.
Your criminal defense attorney does not have to prove you are innocent -- only that there is reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. To do this, the defense attorney will gather evidence and interview you and any witnesses.
There will be a standard discovery procedure, where your defense attorney can...
Based on the evidence, your DuPage County criminal attorney may attempt to reach a plea-bargain agreement with the prosecutor or decide to take the case to trial. If the case goes to trial, you and your attorney can decide whether you want a bench trial in front of a judge or a jury trial. In either case, your attorney will have to come up with opening and closing arguments and present evidence to instill doubt that you committed the crime.
We have been successful helping others in your situation and will do everything possible to vigorously fight for you and defend your rights. We offer a free initial consultation.
If you have been accused of any criminal charges, get help today from our defense lawyer by calling 630-305-0222.
According to the Illinois Criminal Code, crimes can be categorized as a misdemeanor or a felony, with felonies presenting the greatest threat to your life and liberty. Even an allegation of a felony offense can have a devastating effect on your reputation, livelihood and overall well-being, and a conviction could lead to high fines and years of imprisonment.
Felony crimes fall into five categories, while misdemeanors are broken into three classes, depending on seriousness. A conviction on a felony charge usually carries a jail sentence of more than one year. For the most serious violent felonies, the sentences are significantly more, and many offenses have mandatory minimum jail sentences.
In Illinois, there are several classes of felonies, and the severity of the class depends on the circumstances of the crime. For example, when it comes to drug possession, punishment depends on the type and amount of the drug. A class 4 felony can be punished with imprisonment of 1-3 years and fines of up to $25,000. Examples of class 4 felonies in Illinois include Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and possession of between 30.1 – 500.0 gm of marijuana.
A class 1 felony can be punished with imprisonment of 4-15 years and fines of up to $25,000. Examples of class 1 felonies in Illinois include kidnapping, sexual assault and drug possession of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine.
People convicted of felonies are sentenced to state or federal prison, and certain felonies are punishable by death. If a felony crime goes to federal court, the fines and time in prison for a conviction increase drastically. For example, a class A felony can be punished with possible life imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000.
Misdemeanor criminal charges are those that have a maximum sentence of one year in jail or less, usually with no mandatory minimum jail time for most charges, and can include fines of up to $2,500. Misdemeanor convictions will also affect your professional and personal life. If this is your second or subsequent offense, you are at increased risk for a jail sentence for many misdemeanor offenses in Illinois.
Misdemeanor charges include:
Though misdemeanors are considered “lesser crimes” than felonies, this doesn’t mean these charges should be taken any less seriously. They still go on your record and carry the potential of jail time. Experienced criminal defense attorneys know that the best way to handle these charges is with the same aggressive approach as a felony charge. Having a misdemeanor on your record can present many challenges in life, and it is in your best interest to speak to a skilled, experienced attorney who will fight to reduce or eliminate the charges against you.
When you are accused of a crime in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find. Your case may seem impossible, but with skillful representation you have a chance. Remember, the law places a heavy burden on the government, and you have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Woodridge criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process. We explain all elements and processes of the case and develop an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.
Natalie is incredibly qualified and knowledgeable in her field. She is a straight shooter and gets the job done. When it comes to your case and the direction to take she is honest, ethical, and trustworthy.
There was never a question as to where we were in the process or where we were going. I trusted her with my case - completely. She was very easy to work with and kept me apprised of upcoming court dates and details regarding discussions with OC. I highly recommend Natalie as an attorney. 5 out of 5 stars
Natalie is very quick to get back to me with any concerns that I may have. She keeps me informed on court dates and any hearings or work she's done. She's smart when it comes to the law. 5 out of 5 stars
The charge of criminal trespass is taken seriously in Illinois, with punishments that could include fines and even imprisonment. There are many types of criminal trespass which are usually charged as misdemeanors, but the class increases depending on where and how the trespass allegedly took place. Under certain circumstances, criminal trespass will be charged as … Continue reading Illinois Criminal Trespassing Laws and Punishments
If you’ve served your time and feel a need to own a firearm, you may wonder, can a convicted felon own a gun legally in Illinois? With rare exceptions, probably not, even if the conviction is in another state or federal court. Gun ownership is a right that most of us may not even think … Continue reading Can a Convicted Felon Own a Gun in IL?
If time has passed since you finished serving your sentence, you may wonder, how do I get my criminal record sealed in Illinois? A criminal record is created if you’re arrested or charged with an offense. It doesn’t go away if you are released without charge or eventually found not guilty. These records may be … Continue reading How Do I Get My Criminal Record Sealed in Illinois?
Being accused of domestic violence is a serious situation. In Illinois, if convicted, you may face a criminal case in court and can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Punishments include monetary fines and, quite often, jail time. Additionally, being convicted of domestic violence goes on your record and can affect you … Continue reading How Long Does Domestic Violence Stay on Your Record?
When you are arrested and/or charged with a crime in Illinois, a criminal record is created, even if you are not found guilty. Your criminal records can be read by the public, your friends, your family, banks, employers, trade organizations, and credit agencies. If you want to have your record hidden or erased, you must … Continue reading How To Get An Expungement In Illinois
When someone files a complaint against you in an Illinois court, you will be served with a summons that lets you know that a lawsuit has been brought against you and what you must do to respond. In the lawsuit, you are called the defendant or respondent. The filer of the complaint is called the … Continue reading How Do I Answer a Complaint in Illinois?
When someone is arrested, the arrest is recorded in a public record. This is called a public arrest record, which is a little bit different from a criminal record. Even if an individual is eventually found not guilty of the charges against him or her (and thus does not have a criminal record for it), … Continue reading How Can I Minimize Public Record of My Arrest?
Anyone who is attacked and in danger of being harmed has the right to defend himself, but there are still times when a person acting in self-defense winds up faced with the possibility of going to jail. While Illinois law allows you to take actions in self-defense, you must be able to prove that you … Continue reading Can you go to jail for self-defense?
Under Illinois law, battery occurs if you have physical contact with another individual with the intent to injure, provoke, or insult that person. Battery may consist of contact such as pushing another person, or intentionally causing bodily harm by hitting and injuring someone with an object. While a simple battery is usually charged as a … Continue reading Is Battery a Felony in Illinois?
Illinois law considers assault to be intentional conduct that reasonably causes a person to feel afraid of impending violence. Threatening to hit someone, when said in a menacing or angry manner and accompanied by conduct consistent with the threat, is an assault if the words and conduct cause victims to reasonably fear being injured in … Continue reading Is Aggravated Assault a Felony in Illinois?
In Short: Voluntary and Involuntary. Murder charges generally involve an intentional killing; but if you kill someone but did not intend to do it, you might be accused of the crime of manslaughter instead. Manslaughter is defined as the unintentional killing of a person without lawful justification (720 ILCS 5/9-3.) Unlike the terms that are … Continue reading What Is the Difference between First- and Second-Degree Manslaughter?