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.
Tell your story
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.
"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."
"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!"
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.