Criminal Law Attorney in Chicago
Knowing and Dealing with Criminal Offenses in Chicago
Facing criminal charges is a serious challenge for anyone. Defending yourself in court—and your reputation in public—is always financially, physically, and psychologically draining. Without proper representation, the results can be disastrous.
That’s where we come in. The Law Office of Chris R. Brockman is a Chicago criminal defense law firm that offers experienced counsel that can guide you throughout the criminal-justice process, ensuring that you get the best possible outcome from a process that offers few good ones.
The Law Office of Chris R. Brockman defends those charged with crimes ranging from low-level traffic infractions to serious felonies. We are experienced in protecting our clients regardless of the types or severity of crimes they are charged with or what court will be hearing their cases.
The Law Departments in Chicago
Criminal cases in Chicago are heard by the Circuit Court of Cook County. Depending on the type of crime alleged, the case may be heard by the Traffic Division for the First Municipal District, the Criminal Division, or the Criminal Department.
The Traffic Division handles traffic tickets within Chicago’s city limits.
The Criminal Department handles misdemeanor criminal cases. Misdemeanors are crimes for which the punishment is less than one year in jail. The punishment for committing a misdemeanor can include a monetary fine.
The Criminal Division handles felony prosecutions. Felonies are crimes that carry a punishment of more than one year in jail. As with misdemeanors, a court may also impose fines on a convicted felon, which are normally greater for felonies than for misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors and Their Penalties
Misdemeanors, as already mentioned, are offenses that attract a jail term of less than one year in jail. There are different categories of misdemeanors with varying penalties based on the gravity of the offense.
Class A misdemeanors: The punishment for committing a Class A misdemeanor is imprisonment for less than one year or probation for up to two years, and a fine of up to $2,500 for each offense. Class A misdemeanors include:
- Possession of 10 – 30 grams of marijuana and other drugs
- Damage to property
- Grievously harming someone (battery)
- Prostitution or solicitation
- Endangering the life of a child
- Illegal possession of firearms
- Driving under the influence
Class B misdemeanors: The penalties for Class B misdemeanors include imprisonment for less than six months or probation for up to two years, and a fine of up to $1,500 for each offense. Class B misdemeanors include:
- Possession of 2.5 – 10 grams of marijuana
- Harassment by telephone
- Criminal trespass
- Driving more than 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit
Class C misdemeanors: The punishments for Class C misdemeanors are imprisonment for no more than 30 days or probation for up to two years, and a fine of up to $1,500 for each offense. Class C misdemeanors include:
- Disorderly conduct
- Possession of marijuana in an amount less than 2.5 grams
Although misdemeanors carry lower sentences than felonies, they are still serious criminal charges. If you are facing a Chicago misdemeanor charge of any class, you should contact the Law Office of Chris R. Brockman to defend you.
Felonies and Their Penalties
Felonies are crimes for which the potential sentence exceeds one year imprisonment. The most serious or violent felonies have a mandatory jail term and fine. Felonies are divided into five categories, as outlined below.
Extended terms: The discussion below includes the general limits on imprisonment for each class of felony, as well as the limits for an extended term of imprisonment. When certain aggravating factors are present in a felony case, the court may impose an extended term of imprisonment. Aggravating factors includes things such as:
- Prior criminal conviction
- Receiving payment for committing the crime
- The crime committed was a hate crime
- The victim of the crime was older than 60 years of age or disabled
- The crime was committed in a place of worship immediately before, during, or immediately after worship services
Class X Felonies: Class X felonies are the most serious felonies (aside from first-degree murder) in Illinois law. A person convicted of a Class X felony must be imprisoned for between six and 30 years, with fines of up to $25,000 per offense. Imprisonment for an extended term can be for anywhere from 30 to 60 years. Class X felonies include:
- Aggravated criminal sexual assault
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Armed robbery
- Theft of more than $1,000,000
Class 1 Felonies: The penalties for a Class 1 felony include imprisonment for between four and 15 years (or 20 years, in the case of second-degree murder), and a fine of up to $25,000 for each offense. The extended term for Class 1 felonies is between 15 and 30 years. This class of felonies includes:
- Sexual assault
- Vehicular hijacking
- Aggravated robbery
- Possession of cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, or heroin
- Theft of $100,001 – $500,000
Class 2 Felonies: Sentences for a Class 2 felony include imprisonment for between three and seven years and a fine of up to $25,000 for each offense. An extended term ranges from seven to 14 years. Class 2 felonies include:
- Possession of 4.5 – 11 pounds of marijuana
- Theft of $10,001 – $100,000
Class 3 Felonies: The punishment for a Class 3 felony is imprisonment for two to five years, and a fine of up to $25,000 for each offense. Class 3 felonies can have an extended term of imprisonment of five to 10 years. These felonies include:
- Aggravated battery
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Aggravated stalking
- Theft of $500 – $10,000
Class 4 felonies: Class 4 felonies carry a sentence of between one to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000 for each offense. An extended term of imprisonment will range from three to six years. Class 4 felonies include:
- Aggravated assault
- Possession of one ounce to one pound of marijuana
The consequences for a felony conviction can be devastating and long-lasting. To protect yourself if you are facing felony charges, contact the Law Office of Chris R. Brockman for the help of a knowledgeable and experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney.
The Social and Other Legal Consequences of Conviction
There is much to lose after being convicted of a crime in Illinois. Many careers may be closed to people convicted of felonies or misdemeanors in Illinois. Following conviction, a person may be unable to run for state office, become a lawyer, or work as an accountant, to name a few examples.
In addition, a person convicted of a felony may find it difficult to obtain employment in other fields, because potential employers frequently research a prospective employee’s criminal record prior to hiring him or her.
Finally, felony convictions come with certain other legal consequences. It can prevent a person from owning or possessing a firearm in the future, for instance. For immigrants—including those legally present in the United States—it can also result in deportation.
Protecting Your Rights Following Arrest or Conviction: Expungement and Sealing
A felony conviction in Chicago can change your life in many ways, but there is hope. Illinois law permits some individual with a criminal record to expunge or seal that record, and makes it illegal for prospective employers to inquire about sealed or expunged records.
Expunging a criminal record means physically destroying any documents that relate to it, or returning those records to the petitioner. Additionally, when a person’s record is expunged, his or her name is erased from official indices and public records.
A person’s criminal record can also be sealed. When a record is sealed, the records are still maintained by the courts, but they are not generally available to the public without a court order.
Not every kind of crime is eligible for expungement or sealing. Convictions that cannot be sealed include those for driving under the influence, domestic battery, and sexual offenses.
Choose The Law Office of Chris R. Brockman to Help You
The Law Office of Chris R. Brockman is a Chicago criminal defense law firm of great repute. We have years of experience helping criminal defendants in Illinois. Our practice defends individuals against every kind of criminal charge, from misdemeanors to serious felonies.
For help with your criminal law matters, you can contact us by telephone at 773.234.4974 or through our Contact page to set up a free initial consultation.