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CHICAGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

experienced Criminal defense in the greater chicago area

Understanding Criminal Charges & Penalties in Chicago

Criminal defense is an area of law that requires extensive communication, an aggressive and relentless approach, and outstanding courtroom skill. When charged with a serious criminal offense, your and your family’s future is at risk. If you are convicted of a felony offense, you may spend years in prison, or in less serious misdemeanor charges, your criminal record will permanently show your conviction. This cannot only affect your future prospects in employment and education, but a record may even affect housing and financial opportunities, as well. If you are facing any type of criminal charges, you need a dedicated, professional Chicago criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege who is ready to defend your rights.

It is certain that the prosecutor has evidence against you and has every intention of convicting you. In fact, your case is one of hundreds they deal with, and whether you are guilty of the crime or not, every effort will be made to get you convicted and sentenced to jail. Many prosecutors are on the fast track regarding their career and carefully watch their “conviction percentage” as part of their future launch into private practice. You are definitely “just another number” in the eyes of the prosecuting attorney. When dealing with this situation, you need to fight back and protect your constitutional rights with a skilled Chicago criminal defense lawyer who is equally powerful and determined.

How a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You.

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 Chicago criminal defense attorney.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER SERVING THE CICERO, BERWN & EVANSTON AREAS

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.

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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

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

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

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.

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.

What if I have been wrongfully accused?

Even in cases in which the individual is completely innocent, if you have been arrested this indicates that the prosecutor considers there is enough evidence to get a conviction. Unfortunately, you will be forced to prove your innocence in court. The attorney you select to represent you has an important impact on the outcome of the case. Contact our firm at once to initiate the defense actions that must take place when the client is innocent of the charge.

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.

Is Circumstantial Evidence Enough to Convict Someone at Trial?

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.

What kind of penalties could I face?

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.

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What kind of penalties could I face?
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