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!"
"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."
"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."
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
You absolutely have rights; rights that should be protected above all else. Upon arrest, you should be read your Miranda Rights, denoting that you have the right to remain silent until you retain an attorney to speak on your behalf. This is something we strongly suggest you take into consideration. Do not speak unless you have to, and even then be careful what you say as anything you say after arrest could be held against you in a court of law. No one should force a statement out of you, not the police, not medical professionals, no one. You should be treated with respect and decency throughout the entire process, from the point of your arrest until the final arraignment.