If you are arrested and charged
with the commission of a crime, your personal liberty may be at risk.† If you are not indigent, you will be required
to either represent yourself or obtain a private attorney.†† Illinois
criminal law and criminal procedure are complex laws that govern the criminal
justice process.††† Illinois
laws are generally classified, in order of severity, as felonies, misdemeanors,
or petty offenses.† Each general
classification contains sub-classifications established by the legislature and
based upon the nature of the crime.† In
general, petty offenses are punishable by a fine only.†† Misdemeanors are punishable by up to one
year of incarceration in the county jail.†
Felonies are punishable by more than one year of incarceration in the
If you are arrested for either a felony or misdemeanor, your liberty is at
risk.† Obtain legal counsel to represent
Preliminary Doís and Doníts
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible.
- Be courteous to the police officer(s) arresting you
- Let you family and friends know where you are going
to be processed by the police
- Ask to speak to an attorney immediately and repeat
this request when necessary
- Cooperate with the police during the arrest process
(fingerprinting, photographs, etc.)
- Do not speak to the police about the alleged crime.
- Do not provide any oral or written statements to
In a criminal prosecution, the
burden is on the States Attorney to prove that a crime was committed and you
committed it.† Do not assist the State
Attorney by giving him or her evidence against you in for form of information,
statements, or any communication regarding the allegations against you.
Although you are understandably
in an embarrassing situation, follow these preliminary recommendations and
contact an attorney to provide you with the best defense available.† Your freedom may depend on it.