Answers From An Experienced Defense Lawyer
Particularly for first-time offenders, being charged with a crime is like being dropped into an alien world without a map. All of the legal terminology can seem like a completely different language. The criminal justice system can be extremely confusing. At Cheronis, Parente & Levitt LLC in Chicago, we are here to be your guides through the process. To start with, here are some answers to common questions that may prove helpful:
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors are relatively minor crimes punished by fines and jail time. They are divided into three categories: Class A misdemeanors, Class B misdemeanors and Class C misdemeanors. Class A is the most serious and Class C is the least serious of misdemeanors.
Felonies are major crimes punished by fines and time in a state penitentiary. They are divided into five categories: Class X felonies, Class 1 felonies, Class 2 felonies, Class 3 felonies and Class 4 felonies. Class X is the most severe and Class 4 is the least severe of felony charges.
Will I go to jail?
Incarceration is a threat that must be taken seriously. That being said, it tends to be a greater threat for people accused of serious misdemeanors, felonies or repeat offenses. First-time offenders accused of minor misdemeanors are often able to avoid jail or get on a diversion program with the help of an experienced attorney.
What is a plea agreement?
A plea agreement, also referred to as a plea bargain, is a negotiated outcome. This is when a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or in exchange for a reduced or deferred sentence. The majority of criminal defense cases are resolved this way. This may be a positive outcome, particularly if a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor, or if penalties can be reduced to avoid time behind bars. A deferred sentence, in particular, could result in charges ultimately being dismissed if the terms of the deferral are met. An experienced lawyer will help you pursue the best possible plea agreement or push for a trial.
Will my case go to trial?
This is a surprisingly complicated question. While the majority of criminal defense cases do not go to trial, you want to make certain you have an attorney on your side with trial experience in case yours is one of the few that does. Furthermore, a trial attorney will leverage the possibility of trial in order to obtain a better plea deal.
How do I choose a criminal defense attorney?
Make certain the attorney has handled cases like yours before. This is particularly important when you get into serious felony cases and federal cases, as not all criminal defense attorneys handle these types of cases. What kind of outcomes has the attorney received in these types of cases? Additionally, what does the attorney’s peers have to say about his or her work?
Our lawyers have handled the most complex and challenging criminal defense cases, and we have the case results to prove it. We have achieved many honors and awards from our peers and from the community as a whole.