Recently, the Law Office of Steven R. Hunter defended a person accused of misdemeanor Trademark Infringement. (Yes, it can be a crime). In fact, this person had pled guilty to felony Trademark Infringement with another lawyer and was on felony probation.
The prosecutors at 26th Street filed a Violation of Probation petition, claiming that the defendant had committed a new crime while on probation. However, Steven R. Hunter successfully argued to the probation judge that the alleged crime occurred before the defendant was placed on probation so he could not be in violation.
This was accomplished by showing the judge the police reports from the misdemeanor, which claimed that the defendant had sold knock-off goods to an undercover officer in October of 2010, and then the undercover officer returned in January, made a purchase from someone else, and arrested both that person and the defendant.
The biggest problem with the misdemeanor was that the date on the criminal complaint was in January of 2011. The felony probation judge would have found the defendant in violation of his probation if he pled guilty to that complaint.
Steven R. Hunter asked the prosecutors to amend the complaint to reflect the October date and they refused.
A conviction would have meant prison on the violation of probation, so Steven R. Hunter set the case for trial, and came prepared with multiple defenses. However, the prosecutors, when faced with a trial that they could potentially lose and which would absolutely be a great deal of work, agreed to amend the complaint after all. The defendant received credit for time served and the case was over, without any violation of probation.
There are two things that are important to note from this case. First, it is important to know all of the consequences of a conviction. Guilty pleas, even to misdemeanors, can result in people losing their jobs, being deported, violating probation, or many other negative results beyond the sentence. Therefore it is important to have a lawyer who has handle many Chicago misdemeanor cases who will take the time to learn about your individual situation.
Second, prosecutors who have refused a request during the early stages of negotiations will very often have a different view of things when they are faced with the imminent prospect of a trial against an aggressive, prepared criminal defense attorney.