Articles Tagged with Felony

smn-bcc-601011-unsplash-copy-300x200If you are facing a felony charge in Chicago, you are likely worried that your life will be turned upside down, and rightfully so. There is no way to pinpoint what is going to happen if the case goes to trial and you wind up with a conviction and subsequent sentence. The even more unlikely assumption is what will happen to you once you have served your time. How will you assimilate back into society? Will your friends and family accept you with open arms? Here are some tips for restoring your life and reputation following a felony conviction.

Narrow Employment Search

One of the first things you need to do once you are released from prison is begin your search for employment. Depending on the crime you were convicted of, it could very well leave you with a narrow search. For example, if you committed any type of white collar crime, you likely will not be able to get a job in the banking, finance, or securities industries. If you committed a sexual offense, you will not be able to work in the education field.

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225When you are facing felony charges in Chicago, you will likely be scared about what is to come. Even if you have been charged with a crime in the past, facing a felony charge can be life changing. A felony conviction can lead to years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, restitution, and many other penalties. Even after you have served your time, you could very well still struggle to return to a normal life. Today, we will take a look at how a felony conviction can change your life.

Post-Conviction

Once your trial is complete and you are found guilty of the felonious crime, you will begin your post-conviction life. This is one of the more difficult parts of life as a convicted felon. This part of your life starts with sentencing. You could very well wind up with the maximum recommended sentence from the judge. Or, you could be sentenced to a handful of years in prison. The judge will take into account statements made by the plaintiff, the victim’s family, and any statement you make.

o_498v1-nbc-rachel-paprocki-300x201The felony charge sits just below terrorism and treason when ranking the criminal offenses that are known in the Chicago statues. It is a step up from the misdemeanor and carries a lot of serious consequences for the defendant including the loss of their liberty and a debilitating criminal record. As a rule of thumb, an offense becomes a felony if it is capable of attracting a punishment that exceeds one year in jail. Some jurisdictions have gone as far as setting mandatory sentencing for certain felonies in order to control the court process in such a way as not to dent public confidence in the system. Others have classified obsolete felonies as being non-prosecutable.

There is considerable public debate as to whether the classification of felonies is appropriate for this century. For a start, the idea of a permanent criminal record might sound good in terms of retribution and public safety. However, the reality is that people who are unable to find work will inevitably turn back to crime, which means that the vicious circle will never end. Nevertheless, the trial judge tends to take into consideration a number of factors at the sentence hearing including:

  • Previous known criminality,

gunFirst-degree murder carries the highest sentence of any single crime in all of Illinois and is subject to the mandatory minimum statute. This means that those convicted are almost guaranteed at least a 20-year prison term, and if a gun is used the mandatory minimum jumps to 45 years. Felony murder is a one type of first-degree murder.

If someone dies during the commission of a forcible felony, those committing the felony can be charged with first-degree murder. You can be charged with felony murder even if the person died accidentally or was killed by someone else, as long as a forcible felony was being committed at the time. Illinois prosecutors have even successfully brought felony murder charges in situations where a co-felon was killed by the police. A forcible felony is defined as sexual assault, robbery, burglary, arson, kidnapping, aggravated battery, and any other felony that involve the use of or threat of physical force or violence.

Self-Defense Claims are Unavailable

The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled in People v. Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116 that Illinois’ gun statute (UUW) 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(A)(1) is unconstitutional in that it violates the right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the second amendment to the United States Constitution.  As a result, the Cook County States Attorney’s Office is dismissing a number of these cases!  There is still the issue as to whether a FOID (firearm owners identification) card is a requirement for these dismissals. At the moment, the State is only dismissing cases where the defendant was in possession of a valid FOID card.  We are starting to argue that a FOID card is not necessary.  Waiting to see how that plays out.

Additionally, my office is actively combing through our old files to locate those who have been previously convicted of Aggravated UUW under this specific statute provision.  Once located, we will be filing motions to vacate these convictions as well.  The statute doesn’t “become” unconstitutional as a result of this new ruling.  The ruling states that the statue is unconstitutional on its face, meaning it was always unconstitutional from its inception. Continue reading