Category Archives: Criminal Defense

St. Charles criminal defense lawyer rightsExcept for in certain cases where there is probable cause to believe you committed a crime, you cannot be arrested until the police have a valid warrant for your arrest. This does not mean you will not interact with law enforcement before being arrested – you likely will. And during these interactions, there will be numerous opportunities for you to incriminate yourself. Successful criminal defense depends largely on avoiding self-incrimination. Keep the following tips in mind during your law enforcement interactions to avoid incriminating yourself.

Do Not Speak with Law Enforcement

If you remember nothing else about avoiding incrimination during your initial interaction with law enforcement, remember this: you have the right to remain silent. There are a few circumstances under which you are required to identify yourself to police. They are:

  • If you are stopped while driving a car, you must show your driver’s license; and
  • If you are in a public space, and law enforcement has reason to believe you were involved in a crime, they may ask you to identify yourself. If the officers have identified themselves as police officers in this circumstance, you must comply with their request.

Beyond identifying yourself, you are not required to answer any questions.

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St. Charles child abuse defense attorneyAs a parent, one of the worst things you can face is an accusation of shaking your baby or other forms of child abuse. When you are accused of this type of offense, a lot is on the line, including substantial and possibly permanent changes to your parenting plan, potentially losing your parental rights to your child, and criminal penalties if you are convicted of child abuse. When you are facing this kind of accusation, it is best to be proactive and start working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to clear your name and ensure that you can keep your relationship with your child.

Get Legal Representation as Soon as Possible

Do not discuss the case with anybody without first securing legal representation, and do not take any legal action without working with your lawyer. Working with the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) can be complicated, so it is best to enlist an experienced lawyer to help you navigate its system.

Comply With All Court Orders

To protect your child, the court may temporarily remove him or her from your care. If this happens, follow the court’s orders. It can be painful and feel unfair to have your child removed based on an accusation, but refusing to cooperate with the court will only hurt your case.

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Naperville wrongful imprisonment attorneyThe criminal justice system in the United States is not perfect. Even with competent criminal defense counsel, innocent individuals are sometimes wrongfully convicted of crimes and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. The 2015 Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer brought this issue to many viewers’ attention.

When DNA testing became sophisticated enough to use in criminal investigations, it became an important tool used to prove the innocence of many convicted individuals. Since the first DNA exoneration in 1989, 321 people in the United States have been exonerated based on DNA evidence. In total, 1,467 people have been exonerated in the United States.

How Are Innocent Individuals Exonerated?

As discussed above, DNA evidence from a crime scene can be used to prove that the individual convicted of the crime is innocent. When new evidence or other facts related to a case arise, the case may be re-tried. Throwing out certain evidence, using newly discovered evidence, and working with new details – like a truthful testimony after determining a witness in the first trial lied or the realization that a defendant made a false confession– can change how the court rules on a case, ultimately finding the defendant innocent.

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Naperville perjury defense attorneyPerjury is the offense of lying while under oath. It can be construed as an obstruction of justice, and because of this, it is taken seriously by Illinois and federal criminal courts. You can be charged with perjury while you are navigating the court system because of another criminal charge or when you are involved in a civil case. Perjury is a criminal offense, and as such, you are advised to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight your perjury charge.

Defining Perjury

Any instance of intentionally lying while under oath can be charged as an act of perjury. This goes beyond testimonies given during criminal trials and includes statements made in family court, during bail hearings, and during depositions.

However, not all intentional lies are instances of perjury. For a statement to be deemed an act of perjury, its content must be material to the legal proceeding. So, in a deposition, lying about your relationship with the suspect may be an act of perjury if it would redirect the investigation, whereas giving a false statement about the time you spend using social media or the color of your car are not acts of perjury if they are irrelevant to the investigation.

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Naperville criminal appeals lawyerWhen you hear about criminal cases taking years or decades to resolve, it is often because they are going through the appeals process. A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand whether you can appeal the court’s ruling in your case because errors were made during the trial.

There are a few different ways to appeal the court’s decision. You can file a motion to have the court overturn its guilty verdict and enter a new, not guilty verdict. You can also file a motion for a new trial, which requests that the court declare your original trial a mistrial and schedule a new one, or you can appeal the ruling, which requests that a higher court review the case and determine whether to uphold or reverse the original ruling. Additionally, you can appeal your sentence. With this option, you accept the court’s verdict, but you request that a higher court review and potentially overturn your sentence due to a mishandling by the first court.

How Appellate Court Works

When you appeal a decision made by the circuit court, you bring the case to the appellate court for review. This does not mean your case gets another trial. Rather, it gets reviewed by a panel of appellate judges to determine the proper course of action for the case. The panel votes for one of the following four actions:

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