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Felony Attorneys Northwest Indiana and Chicago, IL

The stakes are high when someone faces an accusation that they have committed a felony crime. Felony crimes include the most serious offenses and include steep prison sentences and high fines.

Because the stakes are so high, it’s critical to find an attorney who has the experience as well as the time and resources to investigate your case fully and establish a plan for resolving it. Experienced criminal defense attorneys will know how to investigate and structure the facts and evidence to convince a judge or a jury that you are not guilty or the prosecution to dismiss the case.

If you’ve been accused of a felony in Northwestern Indiana or the Chicago area, hire a law firm that has been defending the accused since 1974: Alvarez Law Office. Our attorneys will do what it takes to fight for your freedom, your family, and your future. Along the way we will never forget, or let you forget, the most cherished principle under our system: We are all presumed innocent unless proven guilty by a court.

What Is a Felony?

 

Picture of a Gavel

A felony is one of two categories in the law used to characterize the seriousness of a criminal offense, the other being a misdemeanor. Felonies refer to more serious crimes that come with stiffer penalties, including higher fines and longer prison sentences, and periods of probation. In most instances, a felony is defined as a crime with a sentence of at least a year in prison. 

What Is a Felony Defense Lawyer?

If you are accused of a felony, you must find proper legal representation right away. Nothing short of your freedom is at stake. Don’t try to represent yourself, as both the law and criminal procedure are complicated and the things you say could be used against you.

Your best option is to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney with experience in representing individuals or companies against charges of felony crimes. Criminal defense attorneys not only specialize in criminal law, but they also tend to have well-developed relationships throughout the system that can help point your case to a fair and just outcome. Experienced criminal defense attorneys also understand the rules of criminal procedure, which are important to navigate in the context of a criminal trial.

When Should You Hire a Felony Defense Lawyer?

Hiring the right felony defense lawyer is your highest priority and should happen as soon as possible after you are arrested. From the minute you are in custody, any words you speak, even to assert your innocence, can become evidence against you. Felony defense lawyers such as those in the Alvarez Law Office, serving Indianapolis and other parts of Indiana, will do your talking for you. They will carefully help you navigate the initial proceedings while working diligently to gather and document evidence and research the law to begin building a theory for a defense. Everything you say to a felony defense attorney is privileged, meaning it stays confidential. Your attorney can not repeat the information to anyone.

Classes of Felony in Indiana and Illinois

The states of Illinois and Indiana both bucket felony criminal offenses into various classes to further describe their severity. In Indiana, the lowest level felony is a Class 6 felony, punishable by sentences of six months to two and a half years. The highest level is a Class 1 felony, with penalties of 20 to 40 years. Murder is a class unto itself, carrying a sentence of 45 to 65 years. 

Illinois places felony offenses into four classes. They range from a Class 1 felony, punishable by sentences of 4 to 15 years, to a Class 4 felony, with sentences of 1 to 3 years in prison. Murder in Illinois also gets its own classification, calling for sentences of 20 to 60 years. Class X felonies cover other very serious crimes, such as gun crimes and lead to sentences of six to 30 years. 

These sentences can be increased based on the presence of certain aggravating factors. Sentencing decisions in both states generally belong to the judge. Note that not every state breaks felony offenses into individual classes.

What Steps Are Involved in a Felony Case?

Felony defendants in both Illinois and Indiana have the right to request a speedy trial. The definition of a speedy trial varies between states depending on whether a defendant is free on bail or being held in jail prior to trial. The goal of speedy trial rules is to keep governments from detaining defendants indefinitely without activity in their case. But once proceedings start, defendants can expect to go through a common set of steps:

  • Initial hearing, where a defendant is informed of his or her rights and advised of the charges.
  • Discovery and investigation, where parties exchange evidence they have collected and expect to present.
  • Pre-trial motions, including motions to dismiss charges or to exclude certain pieces of evidence.
  • Plea negotiations, where the parties seek to resolve the case before trial.

If plea negotiations fail, then the final step is a trial. The government has the burden of proof, meaning they must present evidence that shows a defendant has committed the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, defendants also have the right to appeal, a process that can go to the state’s Supreme Court and even the U.S. Supreme Court under certain circumstances.

Make the Right Decision When Charged with a Felony

Remember that while police and prosecutors have a job to do, representing your best interests is not part of it. You have a constitutional right not to speak to authorities, and you should exercise it. Choose the best representation for the best defense. Call the attorneys at Alvarez Law so we can represent you in official proceedings and say nothing to anyone until your lawyer arrives. You are presumed innocent.

Our attorneys have more than 200 years of collective experience in the law. We represent clients in felonies, drug crimes, sex crimes, and more. We also work with clients in felony traffic matters. Our team has had extensive success in getting charges dropped or reduced in severity and keeping our clients out of jail. Call us or contact us online today for a consultation. You will find us in Hammond, Crown Point, South Bend, Indianapolis, and Chicago. 

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