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, and more.
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have as well as discuss the details of your case. Attorney Michael Schmiege was selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ lists from 2009-2013 and has a history of impressive victories in court. This honor alone puts him in the top 2.5% of lawyers in the entire state of Illinois.
Interested in learning more about what to look for in a Chicago criminal defense attorney? Watch our informational videos on the tactics we employ and the cases we handle.
Should you choose to work with our Chicago criminal defense attorneys, you will be able to have peace of mind knowing that we are fighting for you every step of the way. We also offer free case evaluations so that you can let us know the details of your case quickly and easily. You deserve a Chicago criminal lawyer on your side who understands how to protect your rights!
Our team can handle a broad range of criminal charges related to drug crimes, including possession as well as federal drug charges such as interstate or international drug trafficking. We help drivers throughout Chicago who have been pulled over or arrested for any type of traffic offense, including DUI and multiple DUI offenses. Experienced counsel can be offered by our team for clients in the face of serious weapon and gun offenses as well. Our team is adept at handling all manner of violent crimes, including:
In addition to reviewing the links listed above, you can visit our criminal defense blog for recent news and helpful tips regarding this important field. The Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege also encourages you to schedule an in-person consultation or to discuss your case with one of our professionals over the phone. Nothing compares to having your specific questions answered and your concerns addressed by a skilled criminal defense law firm in DuPage County.
When you are facing criminal charges, fighting for your defense is a critical matter. Not all attorneys have the talent in the courtroom to present a compelling defense to the jury. It has been proven on countless high-profile cases that the skill of the defense team is of ultimate importance in any criminal trial. At the Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege, the legal team is prepared to aggressively pursue all avenues of defense by seeking out any flaws in the case against you and exploit it in the fight for your freedom.
The ability to negotiate, plea bargain and litigate is the strong suit of the legal team at the firm, and no matter how serious the charge, you can be assured that all the tools in the arsenal of the defense team will be brought into play when defending your case, from DUI to serious felony charges like murder or rape. Your case will be a priority and you will be kept apprised of the progress of your case throughout the legal process. It is critical to get legal representation as soon as possible after the arrest to avoid the pitfalls that can result without a powerful legal defender at your side.
Contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege today.
"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
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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
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.