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.
We are available around your schedule to lend help when you need it most.
Michael Schmiege is a nationally recognized Chicago criminal defense attorney who wins.
We fight vigorously for your rights to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
"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!"
"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."
"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."
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.
NOT GUILTY – Possession of a Controlled Substance w/ Intent to Deliver
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – NOT GUILTY
Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer
In order to be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant met each element of the alleged offense. There are defenses that the criminal defense attorney can use that may cast doubt upon the prosecution’s case against the defendant. This is vital. If the finder of fact has any reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, then the fact-finder (judge or jury) must find the defendant not guilty. If these defenses are presented to the prosecution prior to trial, then the prosecution may realize the weaknesses in the case and may dismiss the charges. The following are common general defense options used in criminal cases and trials by criminal defense lawyers.
1. Alibi – When supported by sufficient evidence, this defense is often successful. This criminal defense strategy attempts to prove that you were not in the place of the crime at the time of the crime. This is usually backed up by witness testimony or other documentation, such as a credit card receipt at a gas station in Alaska on the day a crime was committed in Chicago.
2. Self Defense – This defense can be employed in cases of violent crimes like assault or homicide. To employ this defense, the defendant must admit that they committed the violent act in question. Then, the defendant must attempt to justify his or her actions by claiming that the complaining witness was threatening him or her and therefore the defendant acted without premeditation or criminal motive, and that he or she only acted to protect his or her own safety.
3. Insanity Defense – The insanity defense is a complicated but sometimes highly effective defense against criminal liability. If you are going to use this defense it is extremely important that you have a qualified criminal defense attorney representing you. In Illinois, you cannot be committed of a crime if at the time of the crime you lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of your conduct. However, if you are acquitted of a crime because you are found not guilty by reason of insanity, you may end up spending more time in a mental hospital than you would have spent in jail or prison had you been found guilty.
4. Entrapment – The law does not allow government actors to persuade citizens to commit crimes that they were otherwise not planning on committing. However, if the government provides an opportunity for criminal activity and arrest those who willingly participate in it, that is not considered entrapment. A skilled criminal attorney will know when an entrapment defense is appropriate.
5. Statute of limitations – The government must bring charges against a criminal defendant within a certain period of time after the commission of the crime. If the government fails to bring charges within the period of statute of limitations, then they effectively forfeited their ability to prosecute anyone for the crime, whether that person is guilty or not. Some crimes, especially violent crimes, do not have a statute of limitations. For other crimes, the statute of limitations varies by crime and state. Your criminal attorney will know the statute of limitations for the crime you are charged with.
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If you have been charged with a crime in Chicago it is important that you contact an experienced criminal attorney to aggressively defend your case. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
Any accusation of criminal activity is a dangerous matter and requires the assistance of a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney. Even a first DUI offense if you are convicted can affect your future employment and result in a suspended license and costly fines. When the crime is more serious, such as a felony offense, you are in serious legal trouble and must act quickly. It is true that you must stay silent after being arrested for any serious criminal offense. Many individuals have damaged their own cases by making comments or statements that are later used as evidence against them in court. Your first step after the arrest should be to contact our firm and get legal counsel to protect you.
The Law Office of Michael P. Schmiege
Yes. Circumstantial evidence is enough to convict someone at trial. The standard for finding someone guilty in a criminal trial is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” This standard can be met using either direct evidence or circumstantial evidence. An experienced criminal attorney can explain this more indepth.
Direct evidence is evidence that, if believed by the fact-finder, proves the existence of a certain fact without needing any inference or “connecting the dots.” For example, if Susan sees Mary put a diamond ring into her purse and then walk out of the store without paying for the ring, then Susan’s testimony would be direct evidence that Mary committed a theft.
Circumstantial evidence is also known as indirect evidence. Circumstantial evidence involves the connections of a series of facts that, when examined together using reason and experience, can lead one to infer a certain conclusion. For example, say that Susan, a jewelry store employee, knew that Mary had very little money and loved diamond rings. One day, Susan and Mary were alone in the jewelry store, where a diamond ring lay on a table. Susan leaves the room briefly and when she returns, Mary and the diamond ring are gone. One can reasonably infer from that set of facts that Mary stole the diamond ring. There are alternative explanations, though, because Susan did not witness the alleged theft. A criminal attorney will be able to develop a strong defense to a circumstantial evidence case.
It is not difficult to imagine a scenario in which circumstantial evidence is all that is needed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, imagine Jane sees Tom go into an empty house with Jim. Then, Jane hears screams and shortly thereafter sees Tom run from the house covered in blood and carrying a knife that is later proved to be the weapon used to stab Jim to death. We have to infer from the facts presented what happened. The facts are: 1) Tom and Jim go into a house together; 2) the house was empty before Tom and Jim entered it; 3) someone screamed; 4) Jim was stabbed to death; and, 5) Tom was seen running from the home covered in blood and carrying the murder weapon. We can fill in the dots, so to speak, to believe that Tom stabbed Jim. However, Jane did not actually see Tom stab Jim, so there is no direct evidence.
Clearly, direct evidence makes it easier to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, a prosecutor can still convince a jury using only circumstantial evidence that a defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to win a case where there is direct or circumstantial evidence. The important questions to ask is: What is the evidence? Are there reasonable ways to interpret the evidence that lead to a conclusion other than the defendant committed the crime? Each judge and jury is different. What may be persuasive to one jury falls short of persuading another. That is why it is important to have an experienced and skilled criminal attorney defending you at trial, no matter how circumstantial the evidence may be.
Are You Accused of a Crime?
Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Schmiege is experienced in defending criminal cases in Chicago and throughout the United States. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer today. Call our office for a free consultation.
This largely depends on the crimes you have been charged with and if you have a previous record of criminal convictions. Illinois is not entirely lenient, even when it comes to misdemeanors. Offenses such as possession of marijuana less than 30 grams or driving under the influence could still land you with up to $2,500 in fines and jail time up to one year. More severe felonies could result in a lifetime of prison and up to $1 million in fines for some crimes.