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"We can help you defend your rights." -M. Schmiege

EXPERIENCED and AGGRESSIVE COOK COUNTY DEFENSE ATTORNEY

experienced Criminal defense in the greater chicago area

Are you facing criminal charges in the Chicago area? At the Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege, our founding attorney has years of experience in protecting the rights of people who have been accused of DUI, drug crimes, violent crimes, theft, white collar crimes, arson, armed robbery, criminal appeals, sex crimes, and more.

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We value your side the story and will help you navigate the Illinois criminal justice system.

Available 24/7
We are available around your schedule to lend help when you need it most.

Award Winning
Michael Schmiege is a nationally recognized Chicago criminal defense attorney who wins.

Unparalleled defense
We fight vigorously for your rights to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

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What our clients say about our criminal defense legal services

We appreciate the opportunity to help you get the benefits you deserve

best criminal defense lawyer chicago

He understood that I made a mistake but it didn’t define who I was...

"I am so appreciative of the help and support that I received from Michael and his team members! They truly helped me figure out my case and I got outstanding results. If anyone can help you get great results, it’s Michael. I had an immigration issue as well and he worked with my immigration lawyer to help find the best solution. He understood that I made a mistake but it didn’t define who I was. I definitely don’t want to go through any of this again but I’m glad that I had the support to get through this."

M. Peterson
best criminal defense lawyer chicago

Never over-promises, but definitely delivered more than we had hoped for.

"Michael Schmiege is an excellent attorney. He is honest, diligent and gets great results. If you find yourself in need of a lawyer, he is great at what he does. Never over-promises, but definitely delivered more than we had hoped for. His team will help you all the way. Answers all your questions promptly and clearly states what to expect. I highly recommend Michael and his team. They CAN and will help!"

C. Underwood
best criminal defense lawyer chicago

Michael Schmiege represented me on my Theft charge and I was found not guilty!

"Mr. Schmiege is well respected by the court because he is a very honest man. He was very kind and respectful to me. His fees were reasonable. His office is very easy to find, and his staff is very helpful."

A.F.

WHAT SEPARATES US FROM OTHER CHICAGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE FIRMS?

We Are a Highly recommended chicago criminal defense law firm

Experience. 10+ years of experience fighting criminal charges on behalf of the accused.

Integrity. We are honest and upfront with you to ensure you understand our defense strategy.

Passion. You deserve our unwavering commitment to defend your rights.

Vision. We believe in the value of a powerful legal advocate.

Dedication. We care about your rights and are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

Success. We aim to deliver the best possible outcomes for every client, every time.

We are the best criminal defense attorney in chicago for your case

when your freedom, reputation, and future are at stake contact us

Our criminal defense practice areas

contact our attorneys with any questions you may Have. We can defend most any criminal charges in the chicago area.

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Recent criminal defense case results

when your freedom, reputation, and future are at stake contact us

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criminal defense Frequently Asked Questions (FAq)

contact our attorneys with any additional criminal case questions you may Have.

What is the Criminal Trial Process?

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime you are probably wondering what the criminal trial process is. It may be that you have never been through the justice system before and have never hired a criminal attorney before. Criminal attorney Michael Schmiege is an experienced criminal lawyer handling cases throughout Chicago. Below is a brief summary of the criminal trial process. If you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact criminal lawyer Michael Schmiege.

Pre-trial Motions

After your arrest and grand jury indictment but before a trial, the prosecution and your criminal attorney will file a number of pre-trial motions. These might include motions to admit or suppress evidence, motion to dismiss the case, and a motion to change the venue.

Negotiation

Usually after these motions are filed and ruled upon, the prosecuting attorney and your defense counsel will most likely attempt to negotiate a plea deal. For a client that is innocent, taking a plea bargain might seem on its face like a bad idea. However, a dedicated and skilled criminal attorney will know when it is a good idea for even an innocent client to take a lesser charge.

For example, if you are charged with a DUI and your criminal defense attorney believes it is likely a judge or jury will find you guilty, he may strongly urge you to take a reduced traffic charge that might come with a high fine but none of the jail or license suspension requirements that accompany a DUI conviction. It could be well worth not risking having a DUI on your record to take a plea bargain. In the end, though, it is up to you whether or not you want to take any plea bargain offered to you.

Jury Selection

If there is no plea agreement, the first step in a criminal trial is jury selection. Your criminal attorney and the prosecution will question a number of citizens selected to appear for jury duty and will narrow it down to twelve jurors. Your criminal lawyer will do his or her best to select a jury that will find you the most favorable verdict.

The Trial

At the beginning of a trial, the jurors are sworn in. Then the prosecutor must make an opening statement in which he lists all of the elements of the defendant’s charged offense and that he can prove each and every element. Then, your criminal defense attorney may make an opening statement or wait to make it until after the prosecution presents the government’s case.

The prosecution presents the government’s case first. The prosecutor will introduce evidence and interview witnesses who are under oath. The defense can cross-examine any of the prosecution’s witnesses. Then, the defense presents your case in the same manner, and the prosecution may cross-examine your witnesses.

During the trial, the burden of proving your guilt is on the prosecutor. The defense does not have to present a case.

The prosecutor must prove to the jury that you committed every element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if there is any reasonable doubt left in any one of the juror’s minds, then the jury must find you not guilty.

At the conclusion of trial, the parties make their closing arguments to the jury. Then, the jury convenes to decide if you are guilty or not guilty.

How We Can Help

Please contact criminal defense attorney Michael Schmiege today for a free consultation if you have been accused of a crime.

Read the full FAQ here:
What is the Criminal Trial Process?

How Can I Find Out If I Have a Warrant?

Do You Have a Warrant Out?

Just because a warrant is issued for you does not mean that the police will immediately come seek you out. It is possible there is a warrant for your arrest even if no one has notified you of it yet. A criminal lawyer can help determine if you have a warrant for your arrest.

There are two types of warrants that allow government officials to take you into custody: a bench warrant and an arrest warrant.

(1) A bench warrant is typically issued because you failed to comply with a judge’s order, such as that to appear at a hearing or to comply with probation conditions.

(2) An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by a judge or magistrate upon a sworn statement that there is probable cause that a) a crime occurred, and b) the person to be arrested committed the crime. It does not matter if the crime is a misdemeanor or felony.

After the judge or magistrate issues the warrant, the police may seek you out and arrest you or arrest you if they happen upon you unintentionally. Alternatively, if you know you have a warrant out for your arrest, you can turn yourself in. This is advantageous for many reasons. For example, you do not have to worry about being arrested in an embarrassing situation, such as in front of your family or coworkers, or out in public. Also, you can plan to have bail money ready so that you have a better shot at getting out of jail soon after you are arrested. Importantly, turning yourself in shows a willingness to cooperate with the authorities that, rightly or wrongly, tends to indicate innocence to the judge and police. It is recommended that you turn yourself in with a criminal attorney to guarantee that your rights are protected.

Finding Out About the Warrant

However, in order to turn yourself in you have to know that there is a warrant out for you. If you are suspicious that there may be a warrant in a particular city or county, you can go to that city or county’s courthouse. However, there is no guarantee that it will be there. Additionally, you can search a clerk of court’s website

A more effective method of searching for a warrant is to conduct a background search on yourself. There are many websites that allow you to do this for a small fee. These websites will provide you with your criminal record, also called your “rap sheet.” It should include past, present and pending local, state and federal charges. These are the same websites used by employers and landlords when they are considering hiring candidates or leasing to tenants. Simply Google “criminal background check” and choose the company you like best to conduct your background check.

Even if you don’t think you have a criminal record, it is never a bad idea to conduct a period background check on yourself. Sadly, it is not uncommon to find mistakes. It’s possible that you share a name with a criminal. If you find a mistake on your record, contact a criminal attorney to discuss your options for having the mistake rectified.

Call Us If You Have Questions

If you or a loved one believe that they may have a warrant for their arrest it is important that you contact an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Contact criminal attorney Michael Schmiege for a free consultation.

What is the Right to a Speedy Trial?

The U.S. Constitution includes in the Bill of Rights the right to a speedy trial. The Sixth Amendment states in part: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…”

The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that there is no unnecessary or unreasonable delay between arrest and trial. It is not the point of our justice system to hold arrestees who have not yet been tried indefinitely. That is contrary to the principle that criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty. If there is a violation of your Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, that is cause to dismiss your criminal case with prejudice. When the court dismisses a case with prejudice, that means you cannot be re-charged for the same crime and made to go to trial again. An experienced criminal lawyer can explain this to you in greater detail.

Speedy Trial History

In the 1970’s, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that whether or not a criminal defendant has been denied his or her right to a speedy trial is subject to a case-by-case analysis. What that means is there is no set rule to determine if someone’s Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury has been violated. Instead, the court must look at the unique factors in each case to determine if there has been such a violation. In order to determine if there has been a violation, the court has to apply a four-part balancing test. If, after applying the test, the court finds that the delay unfairly prejudiced the defendant, then there is a violation of the Sixth Amendment. The court will weigh the following four factors in determining if there was a violation:

(1) The length of the delay;

(2) The reason for the delay;

(3) When and how the defendant has asserted his or her Sixth Amendment right;

(4) How much prejudice is caused by the delay.

The Supreme Court has found that a 7-month delay due to the illness of the chief investigating officer, while long, is justifiable. A five-year period between the arrest and trial was considered “extraordinary.” A crowded docket with many criminal cases to try is not a sufficiently good reason for excessive delay. If you believe that your right to a speedy trial has been violated then contact a criminal lawyer immediately.

It is possible, and sometimes advisable, to waive your right to a speedy trial. Your experienced criminal defense attorney will know when waiving your right to a speedy trial is the prudent choice.

Contact The Law Office of Michael P. Schmiege

However, in order to turn yourself in you have to know that there is a warrant out for you. If you are suspicious that there may be a warrant in a particular city or county, you can go to that city or county’s courthouse. However, there is no guarantee that it will be there. Additionally, you can search a clerk of court’s website

A more effective method of searching for a warrant is to conduct a background search on yourself. There are many websites that allow you to do this for a small fee. These websites will provide you with your criminal record, also called your “rap sheet.” It should include past, present and pending local, state and federal charges. These are the same websites used by employers and landlords when they are considering hiring candidates or leasing to tenants. Simply Google “criminal background check” and choose the company you like best to conduct your background check.

Even if you don’t think you have a criminal record, it is never a bad idea to conduct a period background check on yourself. Sadly, it is not uncommon to find mistakes. It’s possible that you share a name with a criminal. If you find a mistake on your record, contact a criminal attorney to discuss your options for having the mistake rectified.

Call Us If You Have Questions

Contact criminal defense lawyer Michael Schmiege today for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of a crime.

Read the full FAQ here:
What is the Right to a Speedy Trial?

What are the Top DUI Defenses in Chicago?

DUI Defense in Chicago

All police officers are required to comply with the U.S. Constitution, police procedures, and the law when making traffic stops. Failure to do so often means that a DUI charge should be dropped. Here are some common defenses criminal lawyers use for DUI charges in Illinois.

1. There was no reasonable suspicion to make a stop. Unless you were stopped a routine checkpoint that stopped vehicles in a lawful pattern (i.e., they stopped every third car, not just cars they wanted to stop), then an officer must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is or is about to be committed in order to pull you over. This includes minor traffic stops. Reasonable suspicion can come from an anonymous tip of unsafe driving, as long as the police officer personally verifies the erratic driving. An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to tell you if there was reasonable suspicion to make a stop.

2. No signs of intoxication. If there are no signs of intoxication once an officer pulls you over, then the officer cannot request that you take a Standardized Field Sobriety Test or that you submit to a breath test machine. In order to do so, the officer must have reasonable suspicion of intoxication. Reasonable suspicion of intoxication includes, but is not limited to, slurred speech, glassy eyes, the smell of alcohol, or admission of the use of drugs or alcohol by the driver.

3. Unlawful arrest. Sometimes, police officers pull a car over for a minor traffic infraction, such as a broken taillight, in the hopes of finding probable cause to arrest the driver for a driving under the influence offense. If the officer arrests you before such probable cause arises, then that arrest is unlawful. All evidence gathered after an unlawful arrest, such as evidence of intoxication, may be deemed inadmissible in court. It is not always clear when an arrest has occurred. A criminal attorney should review the facts of your case to determine if the police officer made an unlawful arrest.

4. Improperly scored Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes that several mistakes that can occur while administering the SFST result in a failure of the test. These mistakes skew the results in favor of impairment and therefore cannot be relied upon to determine if someone committed a DUI offense.

5. An experienced attorney. Your best defense against a DUI charge is an experienced criminal attorney. There are many ins and outs of DUI defense. Each case is factually distinct and a good attorney will know how to best apply the facts of your case to the law in order to get you the best outcome possible. If you are charged with a DUI, the penalties can be severe. You should contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible to assist you with your defense.

Contact a DUI Defense Lawyer in Chicago

Contact criminal attorney Michael Schmiege today if you have been arrested for DUI in Illinois. Mr. Schmiege will provide an honest assessment of your case. Contact us today.

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?

A good rule of thumb is: If you think you might need a criminal defense attorney, you probably do. It is not worth risking fines, marks on your record, or incarceration because you choose not to hire an attorney.

Being charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. There are many different statutes and laws designed to define and set punishments for criminal conduct. You might commit a crime without even realizing it. You may think you are committing a minor crime but then find yourself facing severe penalties. The criminal justice system is a harsh and complicated beast. It is almost always in your best interest to at least consult a criminal attorney if you find yourself in any criminal trouble, including trouble with traffic violations.

Protect Your Rights

If you are ever taken into custody, you should immediately ask for your criminal lawyer. You do not have to answer any questions asked of you by the police. They will try to convince you that it is in your best interest to answer their questions, or that they are on “your side.” This is almost never the case. You should ask for a lawyer as soon as they read you your Miranda rights or as soon as you believe you are not free to go. Once you ask for a criminal lawyer, the government officials holding you in custody must cease asking you questions. Do not initiate conversation with them again until you have your lawyer present. The government officials holding you are obligated to provide you with a public defender if you cannot afford an attorney.

A criminal defense attorney will understand much better than you the implications of your charges, how the facts of your case help or hurt your chances of being found not guilty, and what questions you should or should not answer. You have the right against self-incrimination. While this seems basic and simple enough, it is almost impossible for a layperson to understand what statements can be incriminating. Something that seems neutral to you, or something that seems like it could help exonerate you, can be used by the police and prosecution against you. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney will have a good working relationship with the opposing side. If the prosecution has respect for your attorney, you are much more likely to end up with a favorable deal or dismissal.

The fact of the matter is that, even though the saying is “innocent until proven guilty,” once you are arrested, the police, prosecution and even judge are likely to presume you are guilty. This is an unfair, harsh reality. With an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting for you, you are much more likely to overcome these unfair biases. Further, a criminal defense attorney has seen and done this all before. Your criminal attorney can be a reassuring source of comfort during a very stressful time.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Contact criminal lawyer Michael Schmiege for a free consultation. Mr. Schmiege handles criminal matters throughout the Chicago area and the United States.

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