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The Illinois Criminal Process for Domestic Violence Defendants

 Posted on October 30, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Cook County criminal defense lawyerIf you have been accused of domestic violence in Illinois, it is vital that you understand the legal process and procedures in order to build the most robust defense. An Illinois lawyer can guide you through each step.

The Arrest

Suppose the police are called for an alleged domestic incident. In that case, they will interview all parties, assess the situation, document any evidence of abuse, and make an arrest if they feel it is justified. Do not resist arrest or make any statements to the police without your lawyer present. The arrest means formal charges will be brought against you.

The Arraignment

Your first court appearance after arrest is the arraignment hearing. This is when formal charges are presented. You will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The bail terms and pre-trial release conditions, like a no-contact order with the alleged victim, are also imposed.

Examining the Prosecution’s Evidence

In pre-trial procedures, your defense attorney’s aim is to examine all evidence collected, understand how the prosecution aims to prove the charges against you, file motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence and negotiate a favorable plea bargain if appropriate. Thorough pre-trial preparation lays the groundwork for your entire defense.

Preparing Your Defense

Your attorney will determine the strongest defense strategy based on the nature of the charges, evidence, potential sentencing, and your input. This could involve negotiating a plea deal, seeking charge dismissals, or preparing for trial. Trial preparation entails investigation, lining up witnesses, understanding legal options, and being ready to testify if you choose to.

The Trial

If no plea agreement is reached, the trial proceeds with jury selection, opening statements from attorneys, witness testimony, presentation of evidence, and closing arguments. The verdict determines guilt or innocence. In bench trials, the judge decides the verdict. It is critical to have an experienced trial lawyer fighting for an acquittal or hung jury.

Mitigating Sentencing

If found guilty, your attorney will advocate for the lightest possible sentencing under the law. Factors like your clean record, employment, community ties, family obligations, and rehabilitation progress can help mitigate sentencing. All options, like probation, counseling, community service, and appeal, will be explored.

Contact a Cook County, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing domestic violence charges is frightening. A Skokie, IL criminal defense lawyer familiar with Illinois courts and prosecutors is important to protecting your rights. Call The Law Offices of Matthew R. Gebhardt, P.C. at 847-239-4703 for a free consultation and to see which step you should take next.

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