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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DuPage County criminal defense lawyer restitutionWhen you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you are typically facing numerous penalties. One of these might be having to pay restitution to the party harmed by your alleged actions. Restitution, like fines, can put you in a financially difficult position. To improve your chance of having your charge reduced or even dismissed, work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Restitution Is Not a Fine

Many people do not understand the difference between restitution and a fine. However, the difference is actually quite simple: fines are monies paid to the government when an individual is convicted of a criminal offense. Illinois law designates the fine value an individual must pay for his or her conviction.

Restitution is money paid to an individual or a business who suffers financially because of a convicted individual’s actions. Paying a victim restitution is not the same as paying for the victim’s damages. The primary difference between restitution and damages is that restitution is paid when a defendant is convicted, whereas damages are paid when a defendant is deemed liable for a victim’s civil losses.

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Naperville felony DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence (DUI) is not a uniform charge. Rather, there are many different factors that affect how a specific incident of alleged drunk driving is charged. These include the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the arrest, his or her age, whether the driver has previous DUI charges on his or her record, and whether the drunk driving caused a victim to suffer an injury or death.

A “regular” first time DUI is charged as a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. However, there are circumstances under which a first offense DUI may be charged as a felony. Specific factors that cause a DUI charge to be “upgraded” are known as aggravating factors. An upgraded DUI charge is known as an aggravated DUI.

When a DUI is a Class 2 Felony

DUI is charged as a Class 2 felony under the following circumstances:

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