A former Elgin resident has pled guilty to attempted murder and aggravated arson charges stemming from a 2017 incident. She was accused of entering her ex-boyfriend’s house in Roselle and then stabbing and attempting to suffocate a woman she found there. She then attempted to set the townhouse on fire. The woman she attacked and another man in the home were injured when they jumped out of a second floor window to avoid the fire that had been set. She then was accused of stealing a car to flee the scene. She has been held on $2 million bail since her arrest in July of 2017. She entered her plea in DuPage County court with the knowledge that she would be sentenced to 28 years in prison, according to The Daily Herald. At the time of her arrest, she was also facing additional charges of home invasion and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Attempted Murder in Illinois
Attempted murder in Illinois is a very serious charge. It is considered a Class X felony and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Aggravated Arson in Illinois
Aggravated arson is also a very serious charge. A charge of aggravated arson differs from an arson charge in that it requires that the arsonist knew or should have known that one or more person was present when setting the fire. This, too, is punishable as a Class X felony and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and Home Invasion Charges
As noted above, the woman was also accused of possession of a stolen vehicle and home invasion. Possession of a stolen vehicle is a Class 3 felony and is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Home invasion is considered much more serious and is a Class X felony in Illinois and could tack on up to 30 years in prison.
Where Did the Other Two Charges Go?
Prosecutors and police often use the tactic of piling up charges in order to bury a defendant in potential prison sentences. In this case, the defendant was facing up to a maximum of 97 years because of the manner in which the crimes were charged. This type of charging often makes a defendant feel like his or her case is hopeless. If you put yourself in the place of this defendant, when a plea is offered with a sentence of 28 years in prison, your first reaction might be to take the plea instantly. This, of course, is the point of the prosecutor’s tactics, and they eventually drop some of the charges, as happened here. Another reason situations like this one are charged so heavily is that it allows the prosecutor to ask for and often receive higher bail amounts. This leads to a defendant being unable to make bail and spend significant time in jail even before any trial is had on the issues. In this case, the defendant faced a $2 million bail that, for almost everyone charged with a crime, is absolutely unobtainable.
Why an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Matters
In the criminal justice system, the police and prosecutors do not have the best interests of the defendant in mind at any step of the process. They use tactics that serve to disadvantage the defendant as much as possible. In a case in which the defendant is facing 97 years in prison and sitting in jail with a bail that they can never hope to make, the defendant faces huge pressure to take anything on offer from the authorities. It does not have to be this way. A skilled criminal defense attorney represents a client through every step of the process from working with the courts to set an appropriate bail all the way through a trial and sentencing to protect a defendant’s rights. If you are in the Cook County area and you are facing criminal charges, you need to talk to someone who has your best interests in mind. The legal professionals at The Law Offices of David Freidberg have years of experience defending the accused. Give them a call today at 312-560-7100 or click here to schedule your initial consultation.
(image courtesy of Elti Meshau)