Arrested for a misdemeanor charge in Chicago? You need a lawyer if you are arrested, even for a misdemeanor. Speak with an experienced Chicago misdemeanor attorney today. Call us now at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.
Some people are tempted to go to court without a lawyer if it is there first offense. They think that the case will likely be dismissed, and if it isn't, that a misdemeanor conviction is no big deal. However, this is not true.
First, you cannot count on the case being dismissed. Chicago has a new Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy. McCarthy is known to adhere to the "broken window" philosophy of law enforcement. Under this doctrine, police do not overlook small cases, or simply let people off with a warning. Instead, nearly every violation of the law results in an arrest, and cases are not so easily dismissed.
The theory behind this philosophy is that if you let people slide on small crimes or transgressions, they will not take the law seriously and they escalate to more serious crimes. What this means to people arrested for misdemeanors is that police will show up to court more often, and cases will be dismissed less frequently. In addition, charges such as Battery, Possession of Marijuana, City Ordinance violations and other misdemeanors are becoming more frequent.
Second, punishments for misdemeanors are going up. Now more than ever you need an aggressive, qualified criminal defense attorney in misdemeanor court. In addition to the possibility of going to jail, a person convicted of a misdemeanor is facing a $110.00 court fee for a Misdemeanor Complaint, a $15.00 fee for Document storage, a $15.00 fee for Court Automation, a fee to the State's Attorney for $30.00, special drug assessments for Class A misdemeanors of $300, (such as possession of 10 to 30 grams of marijuana), or if it is a Class B misdemeanor, (such as possession of 2/5 to 10 grams of marijuana), $200. Crimes of domestic violence have a $200 mandatory fine. These are just some of the fines, court costs or fees that will be assessed if you are convicted of a misdemeanor.
In addition, a conviction, even for a misdemeanor, can be a slippery slope. If an accused person's case is dismissed with a prosecution motion to Nolle Prosse, or a finding of Not Guilty after a trial, that person can immediately petition the courts to erase his record. This process is called expungement. However, a sentence of probation or conditional discharge can never be expunged. People applying for jobs often regret that they pled guilty years earlier.
Even if a person receives a sentence of Supervision, he is not eligible to erase it off his record for two to five years, depending on the charge. That means that every time that person is stopped by the police, they will see that he has already been arrested once. Police will view you differently if they know you have been arrested in the past. So will potential employers.
Don't let a Chicago misdemeanor arrest derail your life. Call us now at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.