Don't delay -- contact Attorney Steven R. Hunter today for a legal consultation about your McHenry County criminal charge. We defend McHenry County residents accused of any type of crime, from possession of marijuana to armed robbery. To talk to a criminal defense lawyer now, call (312) 466-9466.
McHenry County is the sixth largest county in Illinois, with a population of over 300,000. The county is home to the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Illinois, hosting 11 Associate Judges and 7 Circuit Judges.
If you have been charged with a crime or arrested in McHenry County, you will be summoned to appear in front of a McHenry County Judge. When you appear, you have the right to have an attorney with you. Legal representation is a right that has been established through years of case law and is the law of the land. This holds true in McHenry County and every county across the state.
In 2015, the most three most frequent criminal offenses in McHenry County were theft, drug violations, and domestic offenses, according to Illinois State Police. The majority of drug offenses were in violation of the Cannabis Control Act and the Drug Paraphernalia Act.
No matter what crime you have been accused of, we will represent you. We are invested in each and every one of our clients, and we believe that your case deserves conscientious, highly-personalized attention. After 30 years in the practice, we are deeply familiar with Illinois law and criminal procedure.
It is important to have an understanding of McHenry County court procedures if you have been summoned to appear. Below, you can find more information about court policies and procedure.
The McHenry County Judicial Center houses the criminal court of the 22nd Judicial Circuit. Civil matters and traffic violations are also heard there. The Courthouse is located at 2200 North Seminary Avenue, Woodstock, IL 60098. Its hours of operation are 8:00a.m. -- 4:30p.m. Monday through Friday.
As with any government building, the McHenry County Courthouse has its own rules and regulations about what items are allowed inside. When it comes time for your court date, it's imperative to understand these policies so you that don't confront any issues at the security line.
Cell phones are allowed inside the McHenry County Courthouse, but they must be powered off. The following items are also prohibited:
We make it our practice to call our clients the day before any hearing or court appearance to remind them of the time, location, and any necessary materials to bring. Arriving well-prepared and on time to court is exceedingly important in establishing a positive, respectful relationship with the judge who is hearing your case.
The 22nd Circuit Court is overseen by the Honorable Michael J. Sullivan, Chief Circuit Judge.
Aside from the chief judge, there are 7 circuit judges who are elected and serve six-year terms. There are also 11 associate judges who preside for 4-year terms. Associate judges are not directly elected by the public and instead are appointed by circuit judges.
Each judge is assigned a specific type of legal dispute. In other words, one judge may only hear domestic violence cases all year, while another solely deals with traffic violations. Depending on the crime you have been charged with, you should be able to narrow down which judge you will appear in front of.
Associate Judges John D. Bolger, Thomas A. Meyer, and Suzanne C. Mangiamele preside over civil matters as well as Circuit Judge Michael J. Chmiel and Michael T. Caldwell, who presides over the entire Civil Division.
For criminal matters, misdemeanor cases are heard by Associate Judge Mark R. Gerhardt, Circuit Judge James S. Cowlin, and Circuit Judge Robert A. Wilbrandt. Circuit Judge Sharon L. Prather and Michael W. Feetterer preside over all felony cases. Associate Judge Joel D. Berg serves as the Criminal Division Special Assignment judge. For domestic violence and drug cases, Charles P. Weech is the assigned judge. Christopher M. Harmon hears cases dealing with juveniles, including misdemeanors and felonies.
Finally, the traffic division is led by Associate Judge Mary H. Nader, Michael E. Coppedge, Kevin G. Costello, and Mark R. Facchini.
These judge assignments rotate and may be subject to change. For information about each judge's courtroom number and location, visit the McHenry County website.
The McHenry County court system offers a special program for defendants who have no past criminal history. The initiative, called the McHenry County First Offender Program, was created to give second chances to first-time, nonviolent offenders. If admitted to the program, defendants can keep a conviction from being permanent on their criminal record.
What counts as a "nonviolent" offense? Nonviolent offenses do not involve the use of any force or injury to another person. They include property crimes, such as theft or embezzlement, as well as white collar crimes such as fraud and evasion. However, some nonviolent offenses can be considered violent if they involved serious coercion or threat of harm. If you think the First Offender Program is a good option for you, our McHenry County criminal defense lawyers can help you figure out whether your case meets the requirements.
It should be noted that drug or alcohol-related offenses are not eligible under the First Offender Program.
In order to be accepted into the program, a defendant must be referred to the program within sixty days of the arraignment. A referral can be made by the Judge, the Public Defender, a private criminal defense attorney, the State's Attorney, or the police department.
Next, the defendant must attend an interview with the program coordinator as well as present to a panel of citizens from the community. Once accepted, they must pay a standard program fee of $750.00 and adhere to any requirements mandated by the State's Attorney.
The requirements may include completing community service hours, obtaining a high school diploma or G.E.D., completing counseling, writing a letter of apology to the victim, paying restitution to the victim, and paying fees to the First Offender Program. Throughout this period, the charge is technically considered "pending" -- no conviction has been entered.
If you complete the program successfully, the prosecutors dismiss the charge. No conviction will be entered into your criminal record. However, if you fail to meet the requirements of the program, your case is sent back to court and a normal prosecution process will take place.
When you enter the courthouse, you may see signs directing you to the Clerk's Office. The Office of the Circuit Clerk is responsible for preserving records of all cases filed and heard in McHenry County Courts. If you need to file a motion, pay a legal fee, or obtain a court form, you should report to the Clerk's Office. Basically, the Clerk's Office is the "secretary" of the court, functioning as a liaison between judges, attorneys, and citizens.
In McHenry County, Katherine M. Keefe is the County Circuit Court Clerk. The office is located within the county courthouse at 2200 N. Seminary Ave, Woodstock, IL, 60098. Except for court holidays, the office's hours are Monday -- Friday, 8:00am -- 4:30pm.
Many court forms are available online and can be accessed at the Circuit Court Clerk's website. At our offices, an experienced McHenry County criminal defense lawyer will file all motions on your behalf and assist you through any forms or fees processes. We recognize that it is often difficult to navigate the court system, especially for first-time defendants, and we are committed to clarifying and streamlining the process for our clients.
In Illinois, most court records are free and accessible to the public. In McHenry County specifically, these records can be accessed both online and at the Clerk's Office in the courthouse.
If you apply for a job or apartment, an employer or landlord may run a criminal background check. The report that results from that check will reveal any instance you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or convicted in criminal proceedings. If you would like to view your court records for McHenry County, you can do so through 22nd Judicial Circuit Court Public Case Access portal.
Certain records are may not be viewed through the portal. These include juvenile court records and any records that have been impounded by an order of the court.
In the portal, you can search by case number or last name. It's important to note that McHenry County public access database will only show criminal records from McHenry County. If you have been charged with a crime in another county, that incident will not pop up in the McHenry County database.
We fight and win cases on behalf of criminal defendants in McHenry County. No matter what type of crime you've been charged with - DUI, domestic battery, or drug possession - the time is now to find a McHenry County criminal defense lawyer who will have your back. Give our offices a call at (312) 466-9466 to schedule an in-person consultation with a McHenry County criminal defense attorney.