Chicago Violent Crime Criminal Defense
If you have been charged with a violent crime in Illinois, you are facing serious criminal penalties, including imprisonment. Violent crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Aggravated assault, and
- Related offenses.
So long as the defendant was using violence or was threatening violence to a victim, that defendant may be charged with a violent crime. Convictions for violent crimes may result in decades in prison. To assert defenses on your behalf and protect your legal rights, you need to seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible. A conviction of a violent crime will follow you for the rest of your life—therefore, it is important that the charge is handled properly.
Penalties for violent crimes
Most violent crimes are felonies. A felony is a charge that carries the option of at least one year of prison time. Many violent crimes may potentially land a defendant in jail for decades. In addition, heavy fines, probation, restitution, and the stigma of being labeled a convicted felon are also possibilities.
Evidence considered in violent crime cases
Law enforcement officers gather numerous types of evidence in violent crime cases. They will take statements from the alleged victim and witnesses. They will take photographs of injuries and obtain medical records from the facilities that treated the victim after the crime was allegedly committed. They will study cell phone records, surveillance camera footage, and any other items that may lead to an arrest or conviction. If you spoke with law enforcement officers around the time of the incident, your statements may also be used against you. A simple statement you made to a police officer may result in your arrest.
Defenses to violent crime charges
Although they may be challenging to raise, there are defenses to violent crimes.
Self-defense is a common defense to violent crimes. If you felt your life was being threatened by the victim, you had the right to use comparable force to defend yourself. You may also use the self-defense argument if you were protecting another individual from harm.
After a violent crime has been committed, it is very important that evidence is properly obtained and that it remains intact throughout the case. For example, if blood is recovered at a crime scene, officers and forensic experts must show that the sample was gathered appropriately and they must be able to show the sample’s chain of custody. The chain of custody is a list of the individuals who have had the sample in their possession—such as law enforcement officers, lab technicians, and so on. If there is suspicion that the sample has been tainted during its acquisition or during transport from one individual to another, this may be used as a defense in the claim. If evidence is tainted, it cannot be used to convict someone.
Many convictions rely on eyewitness testimony—however, eyewitness testimony has been shown to be unreliable in many instances. You may be wrongfully accused of a violent crime simply because you look like the actual assailant.
In some claims, the mental state of the defendant is considered. If the defendant was unable to understand his actions, the defendant may be able to defend himself against the charges.
There is no time to delay in a violent crime case
If you have been charged with a violent crime, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have represented numerous defendants in violent crime claims.