Illinois Misdemeanor Charges
There are three types of Misdemeanors in Illinois that are broken up into different classes: A, B and C.
Class A: Punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and fine up to $2,500.
Class B: Punishable by up to 180 days jail and fine up to $1,500.
Class C: These are quasi-criminal offenses and cannot be punishable by imprisonment, but fines can apply.
An attorney is required for any misdemeanor offense punishable by imprisonment. The Public Defender's office is only available to the indigent. Once the defendant is released from custody, they will most likely be considered ineligible to be appointed for the Public Defender's office.
There are many issues to consider before determining an appropriate strategy or course of action in a case. If the defendant does not have an extensive criminal record before the new case, a crafty attorney will find a way to get Supervision, which if completed successfully, will lead to the charges being dismissed at the end of the process without getting a criminal record. These charges can also be expunged in most cases.
If charged with a misdemeanor, just like any criminal proceeding, the defendant's appearance in court is required for each and every appearance. There is no arraignment in Misdemeanor cases. Failing to appear is a violation of the conditions of release and will lead to a warrant being issued for your arrest. The number of court appearances typically required to handle a misdemeanor charge varies on a case-by-case basis. Some non-DUI misdemeanor cases can be handled on the first court appearance, but two-three court appearances is the norm. With each court appearance approximately four weeks apart, the process time depends on the amount of court appearance required.
It is rare to resolve the matter on the first appearance. Evidence is available to the attorney at the first court date, and it is beneficial for the attorney to be given an opportunity to review it. After reviewing the evidence the attorney will discuss all the options for moving with their client and prepare for each scenario that might develop.
A more recent development, after the Covid pandemic, is that many courts offer non-essential appearances to be attended via Zoom (an online meeting application). Depending on what county, or even courtroom your case is in, you may be able to appear remotely for most of your court appearances.
Meeting With Client
After the initial consultation and following retainer, the attorney and client will most likely meet next at our first court appearance and also communicate by phone a day or two prior. During the course of your case, if there are any circumstances where the attorney feels the needs to review something with the client or the client wishes to meet with the attorney an appointment is always available and will be scheduled.
If Found Guilty
A guilty verdict or plea will lead to a criminal record. This is not a felony record and it does not affect voting rights, housing, student loans or other similar issues. However, depending on the nature of the crime, it can affect Immigration status. This is why having a good, experienced lawyer is critical.