Criminal defense requires experienced and dedicated legal representation. If you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, such as for DUI or traffic crimes, JP Law Office can help you. Attorney Jennifer Patton has been practicing law for nearly 30 years, including work as a former prosecutor. As a result, she has a deep understanding of how both sides of the law work and can strategize an effective argument in anticipation of what the prosecution will challenge. She will take a one-on-one approach to your defense and work personally with you to develop a legal strategy unique to your particular charge.
FELONIES AND MISDEMEANORS
Crimes will be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors, where felonies are punishable by more than 1 year in state prison and misdemeanors are punishable by less than 1 year in prison. Felonies are categorized into first-degree murder, Class X, and Class 1-4. Note that a felony conviction will issue one of the following sentences:
- a "determinate" sentence to state prison for a set amount of time;
- periodic imprisonment, under which the defendant may be committed to a county, municipal, or regional correctional institution for periods of time (not allowed for the most serious felonies); and
- probation or conditional release (not allowed for Class X felonies).
Misdemeanors are classified into 3 classes – Class A, B, and C. While misdemeanors are generally punished by a jail sentence, a judge may impose the following in addition to or instead of jail:
- probation or conditional discharge;
- some amount in fines;
- periodic imprisonment (90 days or less) which involves release from jail for periods of time to allow the defendant to do things like work, look for a job, attend school, take care of family needs, or live at home with an electronic monitoring device; and
- an order to pay restitution.
Note that in some situations, a misdemeanor may rise to the felony level, such as if:
- the defendant had a previous conviction for the same crime; or
- the crime was committed in a certain place (e.g., theft of $500 or less at a place of worship or a school).
In the face of criminal charges, you may naturally be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. JP Law Office is committed to defending clients and protecting their rights in the criminal justice system. Let us handle the legal side while you focus on your mental wellbeing. Whether you are juggling misdemeanor charges or felony accusations, we are prepared to mount a powerful defense on your behalf.
DUI Charges in Illinois
According to Illinois law, a person illegally drives under the influence when they operate a motor vehicle while possessing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or while under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs.
An offender will face certain criminal penalties depending on the severity of the case and the defendant’s criminal history:
- 1st offense – up to 364 days in jail; up to $2,500 in fines; 1-year license revocation
- 2nd offense – 5-364 days in jail; up to $2,500 in fines; 5-year license revocation
- 3rd offense – 10 days to 7 years in jail; up to $25,000 in fines; 10-year license revocation
Offenders must also complete an alcohol/drug evaluation and attend a victim impact panel. Some offenders will be granted limited driving privileges to commute to work and school. Additional driver’s license suspension periods may also be ordered if a driver violates the state’s implied consent laws. Visit our page on DUI to learn more.
There are several traffic crimes addressed by Illinois law, such as driving on a suspended license, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident. Driving on a suspended license could result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the situation and whether defendants have prior convictions. Most reckless driving charges are Class A misdemeanors.
Leaving the scene of an accident is categorized into 3 different situations based on the level of damage:
- Accident resulting only in damage to an attended vehicle – Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines (the state may impose a 12-month license suspension if the damage to the vehicle is worth more than $1,000)
- Accident resulting only in damage to an unattended vehicle – Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
- Accident resulting in personal injury or death – Class 4 felony punishable by and possible enhancement to a Class 1 or 2 felony
To learn more about traffic crimes in Illinois, visit our Traffic page.