Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What forms of payment do you take?

Answer: We accept all forms of credit card payments as well as bank and personal checks.

Question: What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

Answer: a misdemeanor is generally a small crime punishable by less than one year in jail. Examples of misdemeanors include: shoplifting, assault, domestic battery. A felony is generally a more serious crime, punishable by more than one year up to life imprisonment. Felonies in Illinois are divided into “classes” class 4, 3, 2, 1 and X. Examples of felonies include: murder, sex crimes, gun cases, narcotics/drug cases, aggravated battery, theft, fraud, burglary and robbery.

Question: The police have called me to come to the police station to answer questions…should I go?

Answer: Absolutely, that’s what a good citizen does…BUT NOT ALONE! You should never speak to the police without a lawyer present. No police officer would do so without HIS lawyer present. Very often I have been able to keep people from being charged with crimes simply by assisting them with their initial interview with the police. You have the right to an attorney. You have the right to remain silent. These rights are important…use them!

Question: How do I find out if I have a warrant?

Answer: This is tricky. Ordinarily, the police will not tell you over the phone if there is a warrant for your arrest. This means that you have to actually go to a police station and give your name, and if there actually is a warrant for your arrest…you will be held in custody. My best advice is that if you think you might have a warrant, retain an attorney to represent you. I have often been able to take care of a warrant without my client surrendering himself into custody.

Question: A bond has been set…how much do I have to pay to get out?

Answer: In Illinois, one generally sees one of three types of bonds….”D”, “C” and “I”. A “D” bond is the most common. In order to be released from custody on a “D” bond, you must pay 10% of the bond set by the Judge. So for example if a Judge sets a $10,000 “D” bond, you must pay $1,000 to be released from custody. A “C” bond, or cash bond requires that you pay the full amount set by the Judge. So if the Judge sets a $10,000 “C” bond, you are required to pay $10,000 to be released. Finally, an “I” bond or recognizance bond, only requires a signature to be released from custody. No money must be deposited to be released on an “I” bond.

Question: Will I get my bond money back?

Answer: The answer to this important question is…usually yes. If all the conditions of your bond have been met, the bond is returned to the bond provider. What this means is…if you show up to all your court dates and don’t get arrested on a new charge, the bond money will be sent back to the person that bonded you out and signed the bond slip. That said, a lot can happen to your bond money. Judges can (and very often do) asses fines and court fees if you plead guilty or are found guilty, so this amount will be taken from your bond. Additionally, many lawyer will work for your bond money. This means that at the end of your case, if you have agreed, your lawyer can ask the Judge to use your bond money to pay the remainder of his/her fees. This is actually a very good thing for clients here in Illinois. I always advise clients to use any money they have to bond out of jail first, pay the lawyer second. I can wait until the end of the case to be paid, but get out of jail TODAY!

Question: What happens if the police didn’t read me my rights when they arrested me?

Answer: Techically, they don't have to read you your rights. A police officer can legally arrest you and never read you your rights so long as the officer does not question or interrogate you. The issue of the "Miranda Warnings" only comes into play if the police question you or illicit statements from you. Best advice…you have the right to remain silent…USE IT!

Question: The police came into my house without a warrant…what can I do?

Answer: If the police enter your home without a warrant or without your permission they may have violated your 4th Amendment rights. Under federal law, 42 U.S.C sec. 1983, you can sue the police for damages for violating any of your Constitutional Rights. The most important thing to do is to get proof of your damages… photos, witnesses, repair bills, medical reports, etc. Then contact my office immediately.

Question: The police hit me…what can I do?

Answer: The police are allowed to use "reasonable force" when effectuating an arrest, and there will almost always be some physical force used during an arrest. However, the police are NOT allowed to beat a suspect, hit witnesses or suspects or use "unreasonable force". If you believe you have been the victim of police brutality or excessive force the police may have in fact violated your 4th Amendment. My office has brought many successful Civil Rights actions against the police for damages.

Question: When can I get the police reports on my case?

Answer: The State has the obligation to tender to your lawyer all information relevant to your criminal case. This includes all police reports, all physical evidence, a list of potential witnesses and some idea of their testimony. Generally all this information, known as "discovery" will be made available shortly after your criminal case begins. However, Illinois Supreme Court rules require that attorneys maintain "exclusive possession" of all discovery materials, which means your lawyer can show you the discovery and go over it with you, but cannot actually give you copies of police reports.

Question: How long can the police hold me at a police station w/o charging me?

Answer: Generally the police have the right to hold a citizen for investigation for up to 48 hours before determining whether charges will be filed. If you are taken to a police station for investigation it is very important that you ask for an attorney immediately…this will prevent any further questioning by the police.

Question: The police took my money/property when they arrested me…what can I do?

Answer: In most cases money and/or property will be returned to you following your arrest at the station or from County Jail if you are released on bond. However, in some instances, drug cases for example, the State can seize your car or your money and begin forfeiture proceedings under State forfeiture laws. This means the State will attempt to prove that your money or your vehicle is involved in drug crime and will try to keep it. In these situations it is advisable to retain an attorney to fight the forfeiture proceedings and get your money or property back. My office has been very successful in obtaining the return of money and property for our clients after it has been seized by the State.

Question: The police lied to me/abused me to get me to make a confession…what can I do?

Answer: A confession can only be used against you if the confession was freely, voluntarily and knowingly given. If a statement was obtained by use of coercion, false promises of leniency or trickery it is not admissible in court. Furthermore, "Miranda Warnings" must be given during custodial interrogation in order to make a confession admissible. My office vigorously litigates all accusations of coerced and/or false confessions on behalf of our clients.

Question: I’ve been in trouble with the law before…how will that affect this new case?

Answer: A criminal background will definitely affect a current criminal matter. Prosecutors are more likely to ask for jail time or a more harsh punishment for a person with a criminal background. Additionally, some criminal cases can be upgraded to a more serious case based only on a person's criminal background.

Question: Can I use my bond money to pay for a lawyer?

Answer: It depends on the lawyer. My office will always use bond proceeds toward our fees. I have always counseled clients…"pay bond first, pay the lawyer later!"

Question: Can I get a criminal case off my record?

Answer: Yes, but it depends. If you have ever been "convicted" of a crime then the answer is NO. However, an arrest can be "expunged" off your record. Also, any case that was dismissed or a finding of Not Guilty can be "expunged" off your record. My office can prepare a Petition to Expunge and take care of this process for you.

Question: How much does a criminal case cost?

Answer: My office charges a set fee for each type of criminal case. A retainer is required up front before a lawyer begins representation. The typical retainer fee is $500-1,000. My office will work on bond that has been posted as discussed above. The exact charge for a specific case can be discussed during a free consultation.

Question: I got arrested for a DUI…can I still drive?

Answer: Yes and No. You can legally drive for the first 45 days following an arrest for a DUI, using the ticket as your license. After the first 45 days you CANNOT drive for a specific period of time unless you get your driving privileges reinstated by a judge. My office often fights successfully to obtain the reinstatement of a client's driver's license.

Question: Can I sue the police?

Answer: Yes! Under both State and Federal law an action can be brought against a police officer for a variety of illegal actions and/or Constitutional violations. The most common lawsuits involve FALSE ARREST…EXCESSIVE FORCE/POLICE BRUTALITY…MALICIOUS PROSECUTION. My office has successfully litigated hundreds of such cases and won millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. If you feel you have been the victim of such actions by the police contact my office today!