Criminal Lawyer Bloomington IL
Understanding the Crime of Assault
Many people do not realize what actions can result in assault charges. A lot of people think there must be some kind of physical altercation in order to result in assault charges, however, as a criminal lawyer in Bloomington IL can explain, even just threatening to hurt someone can result in assault charges.
For example, if you threaten to punch someone in the face and then lunge at them as if you are going to punch them but stop before you connect, or just threaten them that you are going to punch them, either of these two actions could result in an assault arrest. All it takes for charges to be filed is for the other person to believe they were about to be struck, even if you had no intention of following through with your threat. If you actually do punch them, then you can be charge with battery.
Legally, assault is the threat of physical harm, whereas battery is the actual act of harm. If you knowingly put someone in fear of being harmed, the assault charge is usually a misdemeanor charge. Depending on the circumstances and your past criminal record, a conviction can mean anything from community service to time in jail. Your criminal lawyer can evaluate your case and past criminal record to determine possible outcomes.
There are circumstances where that misdemeanor assault charge can end up a felony aggravated assault charge. There are certain factors which will determine what category and what class of crime you are charged with. Some of these factors include the following:
- Where the assault occurred: If you commit assault on public property, a public way, or a sports venue, you could be charged with aggravated assault.
- Who you assaulted: If you commit assault against a disabled person, teacher, law enforcement officer, process server, or transit officer, you could be charged with aggravated assault.
- Whether you have a weapon or device: If you used a device or weapon on you during the assault, such as a gun, knife, or vehicle, or you use a hood or mask to hide your identity during the assault, you can be charged with aggravated assault.
If a person commits assault by using a vehicle, there must have been an action on the driver’s part that cause the victim to believe that the driver was about to run over them with the vehicle.
If you film or record an assault with the purpose of spreading the footage (i.e. on social media), you can also be charged with aggravated assault in some jurisdictions.
Are There Defenses to Assault?
There are many different defenses against charges of assault, depending on the circumstances of the case and what led up to the incident. For example, a person may have been acting in self-defense against the alleged victim and was actually a victim themselves.
A skilled criminal lawyer Bloomington IL clients recommend can evaluate all the evidence in your case and determine what the best defense against these charges are. If you have been accused of assault, contact Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols to meet with one of our defense attorney and find out how we can help you fight these charges.
If you have been charged with a crime, a criminal lawyer Bloomington IL trusts may be able to help. A skilled lawyer may help you achieve a favorable outcome with your case.
Do I Need a Bloomington IL Criminal Lawyer if I’m Innocent?
The short answer is, yes. Even innocent people can be convicted of a crime and sent to prison. The law does not require you to hire a criminal lawyer. In fact, if you cannot afford an attorney, the judge will appoint a public defender to represent you. However, public defenders are notoriously overworked and rarely have the resources to devote to a single client. As a result, they may not be able to represent your best interests as effectively as a criminal lawyer Bloomington IL men and women hire from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols.
A Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols Criminal Lawyer in Bloomington IL Can Represent You at the Arraignment
Very likely you will be required to appear in court at the arraignment. This is when you will appear before a judge for the first time and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. A criminal lawyer Bloomington IL community members turn to from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols can be by your side. Court proceedings can be confusing and overwhelming for non-lawyers. It’s important that someone looking after your best interests is there to represent you. During the arraignment, assuming that your plea is not guilty for the crime, the following may also occur:
- The judge will announce a date when you will need to attend the next legal proceeding for your case;
- The judge will consider the prosecutor’s and your attorney’s requests for bail, including the amount and possibly a request that you are not required to post bail; and
- The judge will appoint a public defender for you if you have not hired a criminal lawyer Bloomington IL locals trust because you cannot afford a lawyer.
During the Investigation
Though you may have already been charged for the crime, this does not guarantee that law enforcement has concluded their investigation. In fact, even through the deposition process when you may be called upon to provide information to the prosecution, anything you say can and will be held against you. With a criminal lawyer Bloomington IL respects by your side from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, you will receive counsel regarding what information you might share and when you should exercise your legal right to remain silent. Even innocent people sometimes need to take advantage of the Fifth Amendment in order to protect their rights.
Before You Are Arrested
It’s not uncommon for someone to know that they’re under investigation, even if they are innocent. If this is the situation for you, it may be in your best interest to talk to a criminal lawyer Bloomington IL residents turn to when they have been investigated or charged with a similar crime. A skilled attorney may be able to help you avoid getting charged, or if you are arrested, they can protect your rights from the very beginning of the legal process. They can also arrange bail on your behalf, and possibly get you released on your own recognizance.
In addition to hiring a criminal lawyer, here are a few other tips on how to deal with an arrest if you have not yet been arrested but anticipate this may occur:
Don’t Resist Arrest
If you are being arrested by the police, you should under no circumstances resist. Even if you are innocent of the crime you are charged with, resisting arrest can make you look guilty and jeopardize your case. It is best to listen to the police officer’s instructions and go quietly.
Don’t Talk to the Police
After you are arrested and booked, the police may want to discuss your case with you. No matter how friendly they seem, never speak to the police without a criminal lawyer Bloomington IL depends on. The police may tell you that they want to help you, but they actually want to get information out of you. They are skilled at asking the right questions so that they can trick people into confessing to their crimes. If the police ask to speak to you, tell them that you don’t want to discuss your case without a criminal lawyer in Bloomington IL.
Avoid Taking the Prosecutor’s First Deal
When you are dealing with criminal charges, you want to finish the legal process as quickly as possible. You may even be tempted to accept the prosecuting attorney’s first offer of a deal in order to get things over with. However, this may not be in your best interest. The prosecutor’s first deal is rarely a favorable one. Give your criminal lawyer Bloomington IL offers time to work out a better plea deal with the prosecuting attorney.
Don’t Discuss the Details of Your Case With Anyone
After you are arrested, you may want to talk about your case with family members and friends. You may feel frustrated and scared and need a shoulder to lean on. However, it may not be a good idea to discuss details about your case with anyone but your Bloomington criminal lawyer. If your family members and friends are subpoenaed, they may have to reveal the information you gave them about your case.
4 Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If someone has recently charged you with assault or another type of criminal offense, it is wise to speak with a legal professional as soon as possible. Because these types of cases are often complex, it is usually better to start looking for help sooner than later. With that said, you may not know what to even say when you first reach out for help. To begin brainstorming some solid questions before calling a criminal lawyer in Bloomington, IL, consider this list.
1. How Does Billing Occur?
When it comes to finding legal representation, the cost is usually one of the biggest questions in most clients’ minds. Asking this from the very beginning is a good way to make sure you have clear expectations about future finances. Even if you cannot afford much right now, many attorneys offer different payment options, depending on your situation.
2. Does Your Past Experience Relate to My Case?
Another useful question to ask a potential criminal lawyer in Bloomington, IL, is if he or she had experiences like yours in the past. While no two situations are identical, it can add some reassurance if you find a lawyer who has successfully fought for cases like yours. Remember, no two lawyers are the same. Think about legal services like any other service. Would you let just anyone cut your hair?
3. What Kind of Communication Do You Prefer?
Most attorneys have multiple ways to get ahold of them, but everyone has his or her preferred methods of communication. Naturally, the communication methods that people prefer are the ones that people use most often. Knowing which method an attorney prefers will help you better consider how it lines up with yours and whether that lawyer is ideal for the help you need. Inquire about the lawyer’s responsiveness rate, too.
4. Who Will Work on My Case?
Something else to consider when looking for a criminal lawyer in Bloomington, IL, is who will be working on your case. Although you might initially meet the main attorney who will handle your case, many firms consist of small legal teams where two-five legal professionals work together. For this reason, it makes sense to ask about this during a consultation. If possible, meet or at least speak to the other individuals, too.
At the end of the day, asking questions is one of the best ways to understand and explore your options if you are facing criminal charges.
Do’s and Don’ts When You’re a Defendant in a Criminal Case
Do Communicate Openly With Your Lawyer
Sometimes defendants make the mistake of hiding relevant information from their lawyers. Discussing your criminal case may involve talking about difficult or embarrassing topics. In addition, you may erroneously think you need to avoid admitting guilt when talking with criminal lawyers in Bloomington, IL. However, communicating the details of your case openly with your attorney can help them do their job. Remember that your defense lawyer is required to protect your privacy. Our team at Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols is committed to protecting the rights of criminal defendants.
Don’t Talk to the Police Without Representation
In the United States, defendants in criminal cases have rights that protect them from incriminating themselves. For example, if you’re arrested, you are not obligated to talk to law enforcement or consent to searches. Furthermore, all defendants have the right to representation. You could risk making the situation worse for yourself if you talk to the police without a lawyer. Criminal lawyers in Bloomington, IL, can help you navigate the investigation process without self-incrimination. If law enforcement wants to conduct a search or ask you questions, politely explain that you need to contact your attorney before proceeding.
Don’t Discuss Your Case With Friends or Family
Going through a criminal case can be challenging, and you may want to discuss your experiences with family and friends. However, more people knowing about the details of your situation could put you at risk. Law enforcement can question the people in your life, and anything they reveal could be used against you in court. Furthermore, sharing information regarding your case on social media can be incriminating and jeopardize the trial’s integrity. Attorneys from Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols can advise you on protecting yourself from incrimination throughout your case.
Do Present Yourself Respectfully in Court
When your case goes to trial, it’s helpful to present yourself as a responsible, law-abiding citizen to the judge and jury. This means being punctual or even early when you appear in court and speaking politely and calmly to the other people involved in the trial. You should avoid talking out of turn and address the judge as “your honor,” “ma’am” or “sir.” Additionally, you should wear court-appropriate clothing, similar to what you might wear to a church service or job interview. Criminal lawyers in Bloomington, IL, can help your conduct yourself in an appropriate manner during the trial.
If you’re in trouble with the law, it’s important to consult criminal lawyers in Bloomington, IL promptly. A lawyer can provide you with the best defense and protect your legal rights. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about criminal law.
If I’m Innocent of a Crime, Do I Still Need a Lawyer?
Yes, definitely. Many innocent people get accused of committing crimes. Simply saying that you’re innocent of a crime won’t be enough to get you off the hook. You’ll need to provide convincing evidence. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you do that.
If the Police Want to Speak to Me About My Case, Should I Give a Statement?
No. When the police ask to speak to you about your case, they simply want to obtain information that they can use against you. They won’t go any easier on you if you agree to talk. Politely tell the police that you don’t wish to speak about your case with your lawyer present.
What Is Bail?
Bail is an amount of money you have to pay to get released from jail. The amount of bail you will have to pay depends on multiple factors, such as the crime you’re charged with, your criminal record and whether or not you used a weapon. If you don’t appear to court, the judge may forfeit your bail.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Criminal Lawyer?
This is one of the most common concerns people have when they get arrested. The truth is that criminal lawyers in Bloomington, IL can charge various fees. For example, seasoned criminal lawyers will typically charge much more than lawyers fresh out of law school. The severity of your charge can also influence cost. If you were, for instance, charged with manslaughter, a lawyer will have to take a lot of time to prepare for your case and will charge more. Don’t forget to ask about a lawyer’s fee structure during your first consultation.
Should I Take a Plea Bargain?
A plea bargain is when a prosecutor agrees to reduce your penalties if you plead guilty to the crime. Sometimes it’s in your best interest to take a plea deal and other times it isn’t. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of taking a plea bargain with your criminal lawyer.
What’s the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
A misdemeanor is a less serious crime that carries no more than a year in jail. A felony, on the other hand, is a very serious criminal offense that may result in no less than one year in prison.
Will I Have to Go to Jail?
This is one of the main concerns people have when they are charged with a crime. Whether or not you go to jail will depend on the type of crime you are charged with. If you, for example, are convicted of a misdemeanor and don’t have any past convictions, you will unlikely spend any time in jail. On the other hand, if you were convicted of a serious felony, there is a higher chance that you will get sentenced to jail or prison.
Do I Still Need a Lawyer If I’ve Been Falsely Accused of Committing a Crime?
Yes. Innocent people get accused of crimes more often than you would like to think. If this happens, you probably won’t be able to talk your way out of facing a criminal charge. You will need a skilled Bloomington, IL criminal lawyer on your side. He or she will help you come up with the right defense strategy.
Should I Agree to Speak to the Police?
Absolutely not. Even if the police seem like they want to help you, don’t speak to them without your lawyer present. They only want to speak to you to gather information they can use against you later. You don’t stand to gain anything by talking to the police.
Should I Hire a Public Defender?
A public defender is a lawyer the court will provide you for free if you can’t afford to hire a private lawyer. However, public defenders usually have heavy caseloads and will not have the time to give your case the attention it deserves. Although a private lawyer will cost more money, you will receive better representation.
Hiring an Illinois Criminal Lawyer
It’s wise to hire a criminal lawyer Bloomington IL relies on soon after you have been charged with a crime. It may be in your best interest to work with a lawyer who has handled cases similar to yours in the past and has a high success rate.
During your first meeting with a criminal lawyer, don’t be afraid to ask questions about his or her experience and education. You may also want to ask a lawyer how much time her or she has to devote to your case. Many criminals lawyers offer a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose by speaking to one.
If you are looking for a criminal lawyer Bloomington IL offers, contact Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols Attorneys at Law.
“Mike did an excellent job helping me work through an expungement hearing. Very professional, well prepared, and treated me like family. Would highly recommend.”