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Eureka, IL 61530
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Bloomington, IL 61701
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Bloomington, IL Criminal Lawyer

Bloomington IL Criminal Lawyer

If you are being investigated or have already been charged with a crime, contact a skilled Bloomington IL criminal lawyer to assist you in defending against these charges. The legal team from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols has extensive experience with protecting our clients’ rights. We can use all available resources to obtain the best possible outcome for you based on the circumstances of your situation.

Illinois Criminal Law

A seasoned Bloomington IL criminal lawyer understands that when an individual faces criminal charges, it is often a very stressful and frightening time. Depending on the severity of the charges, the person may be facing jail or prison time. In Illinois, crimes fall into one of two categories: a misdemeanor or a felony. Each category has several classifications that may determine the penalty if the person is convicted.

Misdemeanor Charges

A misdemeanor charge is a less serious charge, but it can still result in jail time and/or hefty fines. There are three classes of misdemeanors in Illinois:

  • Class A – Conviction means up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500;
  • Class B – Conviction means up to six months in jail, up to two years of probation, and a fine of up to $1,500; and
  • Class C – Conviction means up to 30 days in jail, up to two years of probation, and a fine of up to $1,500.

Felony Charges

Felony charges are more serious crimes and convictions result in a prison sentence and large fines. There are five classes of felonies in Illinois:

  • Class X – Conviction means six to 30 years in prison. An extended Class X felony conviction means 30 to 60 years in prison;
  • Class 1 – Conviction means one to 15 years in prison. An extended Class 1 felony conviction means 15 to 30 years in prison;
  • Class 2 Conviction means three to seven years in prison. An extended Class 2 felony conviction means seven to 14 years in prison;
  • Class 3 – Conviction means two to five years in prison. An extended Class 3 felony conviction means five to 10 years in prison;
  • Class 4 – Conviction means one to three years in prison. An extended Class 4 felony conviction means three to six years in prison;

5 Questions to Ask a Criminal Lawyer Before Hiring

1. How Long Have You Been in Practice?

Asking a criminal lawyer this question is not disrespectful or rude. Requesting to know the length of a lawyer’s professional experience is important information you need to know. However, remember that the length of time in practice may not always guarantee the best results. A younger Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer may offer you the passion and energy that your particular case needs. Established criminal law firms such as Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols with multiple attorneys on staff are good places to start. 

2. How Often Do You Go to Trial?

Sometimes seeking a plea bargain is the right choice. However, it is a good idea to hire a criminal lawyer with at least some trial experience. This way, you can feel you are getting solid advice because your attorney will not be pressuring you to choose a plea bargain to avoid a trial. 

3. What Is Your Legal Fee, and When Do You Expect Payments?

Do not hesitate to bring up costs and payments. There are multiple ways that criminal attorneys calculate fees. Usually, there is a retainer charge, and then some lawyers charge fixed fees while others may charge hourly rates. In addition, the complexity of your case and your criminal history, if any, may affect the cost. 

An experienced Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer should understand that you may be in a difficult financial position, especially if you had to post bail. Before hiring a criminal lawyer, ask if payment plans are available. Ask for a written retainer agreement that states the cost and what services you will receive. If a lawyer will not agree to this contract or give you firm numbers, you may need to look elsewhere. 

4. How Accessible Will You Be?

When facing legal difficulties, your life will likely become more stressful. Eating and sleeping may become difficult. You may have numerous fears, doubts, and questions. You want to know how accessible your criminal attorney will be. Ask how quickly your potential attorney or someone from the law firm will return your communications. Experienced law firms such as Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols understand the difficulties of this uncertain time and make efforts to be accessible, including offering 24/7 telephone answering.

5. Do You Have a Specialty Within Criminal Law?

Criminal law is an umbrella term that covers many types of cases, including charges related to DUI, drugs, murder, assault, and burglary, to name a few. Look for a criminal lawyer who has worked on cases similar to yours. 

What Types of Crimes Can a Bloomington IL Criminal Lawyer Defend Against?

Each Bloomington IL criminal lawyer from our firm is well versed in the Illinois criminal justice system and has represented clients facing all kinds of criminal charges. Some of the most common include:

  • DUI: First or subsequent offenses, as well as DMV administrative hearings
  • Drug offenses: Drug possession, possession with intent to distribute, drug trafficking
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Kidnapping
  • Weapons charges
  • Domestic violence
  • Theft
  • Breaking and entering
  • Home invasion
  • Shoplifting
  • Expungements

Myths About Criminal Lawyers

While every person accused of a crime deserves a defense, it doesn’t stop the myths from spreading about criminal defense lawyers. If you’ve heard any of the following myths, you may have felt hesitant to hire a Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer. Here are some of the most common myths about criminal defense attorneys and the truth behind them.

Any Lawyer Can Be a Criminal Lawyer

Given how vast and complex different areas of law are, it makes sense that there are lawyers who study and work in various practice areas. If you face criminal charges, you should not hire a lawyer who handles personal injury law or business litigation. While those lawyers would be excellent choices if your case revolved around their practice area, they do not have the experience necessary to form a criminal defense. Instead, you should only trust lawyers who have experience in criminal law and are comfortable navigating the criminal court system.

Public Defenders Are As Experienced as Other Criminal Lawyers

While public defenders help those who do not have a lawyer or cannot afford one, they are not necessarily better than a lawyer you seek out to hire. Many public defenders are overworked and have too many cases to dedicate themselves fully to each case. When you choose a Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer instead, you’re choosing someone who has the experience and takes on cases he or she can handle. When a public defender has too many cases, he or she may be stretched thin. This can lead to missing deadlines, missing essential pieces of evidence and potentially compromising the case.

Criminal Lawyers Are Untrustworthy

This myth is one of the most damaging for criminal lawyers. It can also harm clients because they miss out on lawyers that could help them prove their case. Movies and TV sometimes portray criminal defense lawyers as morally gray figures who defend common criminals. In reality, criminal defense lawyers have years of experience and study behind them. They understand the importance of all people having their rights to a defense attorney fulfilled. All lawyers have ethical obligations and criminal defense lawyers are no different.

Don’t let yourself be fooled by the myths. A Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer has the skill and experience necessary to deal with criminal defense instead of other types of law. For those charged with a crime, defense lawyers better the individual’s chances of a successful defense.

Call a Criminal Lawyer Bloomington IL Clients Recommend Today

When you need a seasoned criminal lawyer in Bloomington, call Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. Our firm has decades of experience advocating for clients’ rights and we have built a solid reputation of aggressively protecting those rights against prosecutors and law enforcement who try to manipulate the system just for the sake of a conviction.

If you would like to speak with a Bloomington IL criminal lawyer from our firm, call to set up an appointment for a free case evaluation.

Bloomington IL Criminal Lawyer Explains What the 4th Amendment Means to Your Case

The fourth amendment reads, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the things to be seized.”

In layman’s terms, the fourth amendment protects the rights of United States citizens against unlawful search and seizure. This most commonly applies to law enforcement searching one’s property such as a vehicle or home. In the event that the individual is arrested for, say possession of an illegal substance, it is important to look at the method used when the law officer found and confiscated the property, which will now become evidence. If it is discovered that the search was not conducted legally, the evidence may be withheld during trial.

When is it lawful for a law enforcement official to conduct a search?

A warrant is usually necessary for a legal search to take place. In the event that a law officer believes there is probable cause to conduct a search, it will be necessary to bring the information to a judge and obtain a search warrant. The judge will review the information and make a decision based upon that which is presented to him or her. Most judges will agree that the information should be objective and not rely on a hunch or the officer’s opinion but rather sound evidence indicating a reason to search.

When is it okay to search without a warrant?

According to the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts there must be reasonable cause for a search and seizure. The legal system understands that there are times when it is not practical to wait for a search warrant to be granted. For example, if an officer pulls a car over for speeding and while speaking with the driver sees illegal items such as a gun, drugs or paraphernalia, they are within the law to confiscate the item(s) and make an arrest. It is also within the law for a police officer to search your property without a warrant, if you agree to the search. You are not obligated to agree.

What is probable cause?

The element of probable cause is essential to any criminal case. It is essential because it holds law enforcement to an ethical and objective standard of pursuing suspects and contraband. For this reason, a warrant and/or the plain sight rule qualify as probable cause.

When it comes to the law, there are certain standards that must be maintained in order to ensure public safety and one’s right to privacy. The fourth amendment is one of many aspects of the constitution that is intended to do just that. The constitution is imperative, especially in criminal cases, in order to maintain a legal system that is just and fair for all citizens.

If you are facing criminal charges, turn to a criminal lawyer Bloomington, IL trusts for help. The team at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols is ready to assess your case and will work hard to protect your rights.

You Violated Your Probation. Now What?

If you are facing a conviction due to a minor violation in your probation, you may want to consult with a Bloomington IL criminal lawyer at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols to receive legal advice about your case. Our legal team is equipped with strategy and can handle your individual probation violation case. We understand how limiting probation can be, especially a supervised one, and can defend our clients to prevent them from serving a sentence just because of an easy mistake or misunderstanding. Our top priority is preventing the judge from inflicting a harsh consequence on our clients who have made a simple fault in their probationary guidelines.

We both can agree that probation is highly preferred to jail time and we can be on your side even when you are feeling as if the rest of the world is not. Each Bloomington IL criminal lawyer from our firm understands those accused of a criminal offense may be judged intensely by the public and works diligently for the rights of our clients. We can fight for the lives of people who deserve freedom. In the criminal justice system, those who break their probation may be ordered to perform any or many of the following.

Common Probationary Misconduct Repercussions

Extension of probation period

Serving community service hours

Increasingly strict probation terms

Substance treatment, evaluation or testing

Attending programs or classes related to the offense

Mandated attendance of counseling

Elimination of probation

Having to serve a prison sentence

By having a Bloomington IL criminal lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols working ceaselessly in your defense, we can prevent any of the above repercussions being demanded of you. Under Illinois law, you are not required to hire an attorney in regards to a violation in your probation. However, with our professional representation, we can increase the chances you will not have to perform the listed consequences. You already have to suffer through the limitations of a probation violation, so the last thing we want is for your sentence to increase as a result of an innocent misjudgment.

In the courtroom, it is the judge who initially sentenced your probation who can determine the verdict and punishment for the violation probation. If a judge has awarded you probation instead of jail time, they may feel slighted by your misconduct. This can result in harsher punishments than what is fair, or necessary. By choosing a Bloomington IL criminal lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, we can communicate for you and potentially influence a change in an extreme decision made by the judge.

Contact us today to receive your free consultation with a Bloomington IL criminal lawyer at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. We can give you peace of mind, and get you started on the right footing when combating the punishments associated with a probation violation. Do not endure this alone, we are here and can protect your rights during the deliberation. We hope to speak with you as soon as possible and are available 24/7 to take your call or schedule an appointment.

Bloomington, IL Criminal Lawyer 

It is very difficult to prove yourself innocent in a criminal case and that is why finding a Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer is often in your best interest. A good lawyer thought can be hard to find if you’ve never had to search for a lawyer before. It is easy to type into google but how do you know what lawyer is going to be the right for you? 

This is why it is essential to keep some important things in mind when looking for a lawyer to suit your needs. You are going to have to put in some work to help you find the right one for you, but if you follow our advice below then you should be on the right track to finding someone to suit your needs. 

Helpful Tips to Finding a Good Criminal Lawyer 

Finding a lawyer requires work and if you put the work in, then you will find the right lawyer for you. 

Track Record of Sucess

It doesn’t matter why you need a Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer, you need to know that they have a good track record of success. This means they have a successful track of negotiating petition settlements and resolving matters. There are some cases that can be settled before you even have to go to trial, while others aren’t as simple. This is why you need to know that your lawyer has a record of success in and out of the courtroom. 


A factor just as important as a good track record is someone with experience. Some lawyers practice in various sections of the law and don’t have as much experience in criminal law. You want someone who specializes in this niche of the law because that means they know the ins and outs of the laws regarding your case. When you have someone who has years of practice doing this it can make it easy for them to understand your case.


You are going to need to know the reputation of the lawyer you are looking at. Some lawyers are known for handling difficult and high-profile cases, while others aren’t. That doesn’t mean they are the right lawyer for you though. Those lawyers are often only taking cases with a high payout, and if your case isn’t like that then they may not want to work with you. That is okay though because as long as the lawyer you pick has a good reputation that is all that matters. Make sure they have no disciplinary actions taken against them and see if other clients liked working with them. Reviews are your friend, and you should use them to your advantage. 


Laws are going to vary from state to state, as well as county to county. You want someone who is in your area handling your case. Not only will they know the laws but they will know the judges as well. That gives you a better chance at getting the most favorable outcome for you. 

Searching for a Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer doesn’t have to be hard if you follow our tips above and if you have more questions don’t hesitate to reach out to a lawyer at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols for more information. 

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