According to statistics1 compiled by the state of Illinois, there were nearly 250,000 misdemeanor cases filed in 2013. Misdemeanor offenses are those that are punishable by not more than a year in prison and are generally considered less serious offenses. As a result of the perception that a misdemeanor conviction is not a serious matter, many people who accused of these offenses are under the impression that an attorney would be an unnecessary expense and choose to represent themselves. In reality, a misdemeanor conviction can result in significant legal penalties and have a significant impact on your future. As a result, anyone who has been accused of a misdemeanor offense should retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Some of the potential penalties associated with a misdemeanor offense are detailed below.
Significant fines – Illinois law often imposes substantial fines on people who have been adjudicated guilty of misdemeanor offenses.
Probation – Sometimes, a court will order probation2 instead of imposing jail time upon a defendant. Sometimes, probation has onerous conditions, including submitting to drug and alcohol testing or a prohibition from leaving the state.
Jail time – While by definition a misdemeanor offense is only punishable by up to one year in jail, even a relatively short period of incarceration can be extremely emotionally and psychologically difficult and have an disruptive impact on a person’s life.
Collateral consequences – Broadly speaking, collateral consequences are consequences that are the result of the existence of a criminal record that are not imposed by a court. A misdemeanor offense can result in significant collateral consequences, including discipline or sanctions imposed by an educational institution or employer or difficulty obtaining certain state-issued licenses.
Fortunately, in many cases an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help people who have been accused of crimes avoid these and other consequences associated a misdemeanor offense.
Contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney today to schedule a free consultation
Individuals who have been accused of any criminal offense should immediately retain legal representation, even for relatively minor crimes. Often, assistance of an attorney can have a significant impact on how favorably the case is resolved. In addition, a lawyer will be able to advise you regarding any collateral consequences of which you may be unaware. To schedule a free consultation with attorney Nenye Uche, call our office today at (888) 251.4428.