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Bloomington, IL 61701
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Criminal Defense Lawyer Bloomington IL

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony you may want to consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois residents trust for honest legal representation. For over six decades, Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols has been helping people who are facing harsh prison sentences, probation, and large fines because of an accused criminal act.

We understand the stressors our client and their loved ones experience. Our knowledge, dedication, and determination is what drives our success in easing these worries through getting the outcomes that a client might seek. No matter what your charge may, we would like to listen to your case. For a consultation with a Bloomington criminal defense lawyer, please call our firm now.


Do I need a lawyer at my arraignment?

In general, an arraignment is one of the first processes after you have been charged with a crime. During this time, you will be required to appear before a judge and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to any charged offenses. If you state that you are not guilty, which is the most common answer, the following steps will ensue:

  • The judge will set a date for the next procedure;
  • Any bail requests from you or the prosecutor will be considered;
  • If appropriate, a lawyer will be appointed to you by the judge; and
  • You may be asked by the judge to waive time. This means that you will give up your right to have statutory proceedings occur, including a trial, within a certain period of time.

It is technically possible to be at your arraignment without a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois respects. However, choosing this option does come with risk. It’s important to remember that whatever you say at this time will be recorded and can be used against you. A criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois provides may speak on your behalf to ensure that nothing harmful, that could be regretted in the future, will be said.


Do I need a lawyer at my arraignment?


What is the cost of a private lawyer?

It is not possible to provide you with an exact,or even estimated cost of a lawyer. Each criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois men and women prefer will set his or her own fees which can vary depending on:

  • How complex the case is;
  • The lawyer’s experience; and
  • Geographical location.

Contingency fees, which means a lawyer will work upfront for you, are not legally available to criminal cases. Credit cards or payment systems might be an option. Realistically, it is a better idea to directly contact a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois has to offer to find out what costs you might be looking at. It is worth noting that by hiring a lawyer, you could save a significant amount of money in the long run considering that charges and sentences might be reduced or dropped, and this could lead to a reduction in fines or the inability to work.

What Is Mens Rea and Why Does It Matter?

If you have recently been charged with criminal wrongdoing or if you are studying matters of criminal law, you may have encountered the term “mens rea” and wondered what it means. Mens rea is Latin for “guilty mind.” In the modern American legal system, mens rea plays a critically important role in the criminal justice process. While there are some crimes, including statutory rape, where a defense of “I didn’t know it was a crime and I didn’t intend to commit a crime” is not honored, most crimes require a certain level of mens rea before offenders may be convicted of those offenses.

Mens rea is an incredibly complex subject and is often impacted by the context surrounding any specific criminal offense charge. As a result, if you have been charged with criminal wrongdoing or have questions about mens rea, please consider speaking with an experienced Bloomington, Illinois criminal defense lawyer today. Asking questions now may help you to avoid severe consequences down the road. When preparing to meet with a Bloomington, IL criminal defense lawyer, please jot down any questions you may have on this subject so that you can refer to them during your conversation. It can help to understand the basics of this subject before you ask specific questions related to your unique circumstances.

Mens Rea: The Basics

In order to be convicted of most crimes, offenders must generally have acted in a specific way and had a specific state of mind in regards to the crime. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to consult with a Bloomington, IL criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with criminal wrongdoing. Even if it may be difficult to prepare an adequate defense to the “action” element of the charges, an attorney may be able to help you prepare a successful defense to the “state of mind” element of the offense you have been charged with.

Sometimes mens rea involves motivation, while other times it involves awareness of the legality of the action. At still other times, the court will examine what an individual was thinking in the “lead up” to the action in question and/or what an individual was thinking as he or she acted. Virtually every criminal action is paired with a specific mens rea requirement. If either the action or state of mind element does not rise to the threshold required by law, an individual may not generally be convicted of the offense charged.

Legal Guidance Is Available

If you have questions about legal terminology generally or criminal law specifically, please do not hesitate to speak with an experienced Bloomington, IL criminal defense lawyer. Too often, individuals fail to seek professional legal guidance until they find themselves in “hot water.” Attorneys can serve as excellent resources at virtually any time in a person’s life. Depending on an individual’s unique circumstances, consulting an attorney with questions and concerns proactively may even spare that individual negative consequences that would not otherwise have been prevented. Consultations are almost always completely confidential, so there is no reason to hesitate to speak with an attorney at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols whenever you feel you could benefit from experienced knowledge or guidance.

What is the difference between a felony and misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors and felonies are two categories of crimes that people can be charged with. While both are criminal offenses, they are seen quite differently in the legal profession and they often yield very different punitive consequences. It is important to acknowledge the difference between these two categories, and to remember that the details surrounding how they are defined varies depending on your state.

The following outlines some of the differences between misdemeanors and felonies.

  • Jury Trials: Misdemeanor charges do not ensure a trial by jury. However, when a misdemeanor is more severe, a jury may be part of the trial. Felony charges guarantee that the accused will have a trial by jury.
  • Severity of the Crime: Misdemeanors are considered less severe than a felony charge. Common misdemeanor charges include traffic offenses, minor thefts, drug possession, or assault without a weapon. Even if you’ve been charged with a very minor crime, it never hurts to speak with a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois families trust.
  • Civil Liberties: Civil liberties may include the ability to serve on a jury, the right to vote, the right to have a firearm, the ability to hold certain jobs, and the right to hold political office. Once time has been served for a misdemeanor conviction, the individual will not lose their civil liberties. Felony convictions, however, may result in a loss of some civil liberties. This is because they are more serious crimes, often more violent and disturbing.
  • Incarceration: Misdemeanor crimes usually result in sentences no longer than a year. Felony crimes, depending on severity, can result in a much longer sentencing. The possibility of incarceration is something that a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois trusts would likely consider when determining how to approach a case.
  • Where You Carry Out Your Sentence: Misdemeanors are served out in municipal or county jails, while felony convictions are carried out in state or federal penitentiaries.
  • Trial Length and Sentencing: Misdemeanors are shorter trials and can result in payment of fines. Felony trials are often more complex, can take longer and can require that the convicted pay restitution that could be several thousands of dollars.
  • The Degree of the Crime: Misdemeanors are classified by degrees or classes only in some situations. Felony charges are categorized by specific degrees most of the time, with first degree charges considered the most serious. In many cases, if a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois offers cannot get the charges dropped, they may negotiate a lesser charge with the prosecution.
  • Expunged Personal Records: Misdemeanors may be expunged from a person’s record much quicker than a felony. Felony convictions usually mean that the criminal offense will always be on a person’s criminal record, especially when it comes to sexually driven or violent crimes. There is no specified time for which a charge will remain on a person’s record. If you wish to have a criminal offense removed from your record, a Bloomington criminal defense lawyer may be able to assist you.

Speak With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Bloomington Illinois Residents Count On

If you have been charged with a crime, it is recommended that you consult with a criminal defense lawyer in Bloomington Illinois. It will be important to work with an attorney who is experienced in criminal law for their assistance throughout the court process. A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the often times confusing legal process, and may help resolve your case in a more timely and less punitive manner.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington Illinois depends on, please call our firm as soon as possible.

What You Need to Know About Plea Bargains

If you are facing criminal charges, you may want help determining how to deal with your plea bargain, which is one of the reasons you may want a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington IL residents trust to help you with your criminal case.

What is a Plea Bargain?

Any criminal defense lawyer Bloomington IL has to offer may tell you that plea bargains were born as the number of criminal cases increased. Criminal cases may take a few days to several months to conclude, so plea bargains are a solution to overcrowding and cases that drag on.

A plea bargain requires a defendant to plead no contest or guilty to their charges so that the prosecutor will drop one or more of the charges, recommend a shortened sentence, or reduce a charge to something less serious. Your Bloomington criminal defense lawyer may tell you that in some cases, this is a win-win situation.

You may be surprised to learn that over 90% of convictions are the result of plea bargains, meaning that not even 10% of cases go to trial. Some people have a negative view of plea bargains, but some states have established laws that mandate how a plea bargain may be arranged. It may be in your best interest to discuss your options with a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington IL relies on.

There are two main types of plea bargaining: charge bargaining and sentence bargaining.

Charge Bargaining

Charge bargaining occurs when the prosecutor bargains with the defense in order to drop or reduce a charge in exchange for the defendant’s plea. Sometimes this involves dropping more than one charge to pursue the main charge, or reducing the degree of a single charge. Your criminal defense lawyer Bloomington IL residents trust may be able to advise you when you should take a charge bargaining deal.

Sentence Bargaining

In sentence bargaining, the entire sentence for certain charges is reduced for the defendant in exchange for their plea. This bargaining usually must be reviewed and approved by a judge and isn’t used as often as charge bargaining.

Should You Plead No Contest or Guilty?

A no contest plea means that you don’t deny the charges against you, but you are not saying that you are guilty. A no contest plea usually results in the same type of verdict as a guilty plea. The difference comes in civil court, when the no contest plea can’t be used as evidence against you. A guilty plea can be used against you if a victim chooses to sue you in civil court, and may contribute to the case against you.

Any criminal defense lawyer Bloomington IL has to offer may be able to walk you through each plea and advise you which one to choose, and the advantages and disadvantages of both options.

Facing criminal charges is something that can easily change your future in a moment. You don’t have to determine how to navigate the charges alone. Call a criminal defense lawyer Bloomington IL residents trust at Pioletti and Pioletti at 309-467-3213 today.

Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, Bloomington Criminal Defense Lawyer

121 N Main St, Bloomington, IL 61701

Client Review

“We needed legal assistance in Illinois while living in another state – after calling what seemed like almost all the attorneys in this specific county, we finally found Michael Nichols, who not only gave us a very reasonable rate, but worked with us remotely. I was impressed with how well he stayed in touch throughout the process, without us having to follow-up with him. Our case went smooth and he was willing to do what needed to be done to get us the result we wanted. Thanks Michael!”
Mikayla Cohoon
Client Review

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