Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY FOR A BOND HEARING IN ILLINOIS?

The answer is yes. An experienced criminal law attorney can present your situation in the light most favorable to a judge, which could mean the difference between waiting for your trial inside the county jail or out.

If you are arrested for a crime in Illinois, there are three types of bonds, an I-bond, D-bond and C-bond. If you are charged with a lesser offense, you might be released on an I-bond at the time of your arrest. An I-bond means you do not have to pay money or wait for a court hearing. You are allowed to go on your own recognizance.

If your charges are more serious or you have a past criminal history, you may be held in jail until the next business morning for a bond hearing. At that hearing, you may be ordered to pay either a D- or C-bond, or the judge may refuse to grant bond at all so that you must remain in jail. A D-bond means you must pay 10% of whatever amount the judge sets as bond. For example, if the bond is $10,000, you must come up with $1,000 to be released from jail. There are no bail bondsmen in the State of Illinois, so you will need to get that money from your own resources.

If your crime or criminal history is particularly bad, you may have to pay a C-bond, which is the entire amount set by the judge. A C-bond can be set so high that is like having no bond at all.

If you cannot pay your C- or D-bond, you will be held in jail until the disposition of your case by trial or plea agreement.

While having an attorney does not guarantee that you will be set free, an attorney can help persuade the judge to set a lower bond or to allow some other arrangement such as home monitoring. An attorney who is familiar with the judges in your courthouse is likely to have a better idea than most clients on what arguments are likely to sway a judge. If you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be assigned for purposes of the bond hearing.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com

For information on posting bond, visit our website at Where to Post Bond.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

YOUR RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL IN ILLINOIS

Under Illinois law, you are entitled to a speedy trial within a certain time period if you are accused of a crime. However, this rule is subject to certain exceptions.

If you are held in jail, the State must try your case within 120 days of when you were taken into custody. However, the ticking on this clock is suspended during the time that you cause a delay such as if you need a continuance to find an attorney or if your attorney needs more time to investigate the evidence in your case. The clock is also suspended when you need an evaluation to determine if you are fit to stand trial.

If you have been released from jail, the State has 160 days to bring you to trial from the time that you formally demand a trial. Again, any delays caused by you or the need for a fitness evaluation are added to the 160 days. The State can request up to 60 more days as long as they are diligently trying to obtain important evidence, and they can have up to 120 more days if that evidence involves DNA. Be warned that if you fail to show up for a court date, you give up your right to a speedy trial, so it is critical that you appear at every date.

While it does not happen often, there are times when a case is dismissed because the State took too long to bring the matter to trial. An experienced criminal law attorney will keep their eye on the speedy trial clock.

Sometimes, however, a delay works to your advantage. Witnesses get tired of coming to court, and testimony starts to change. An experienced attorney may decide not to exercise your right to a speedy trial as part of your defense strategy. If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See: Illinois Speedy Trial Act. 725 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/103-5. (Rights of the Accused.)

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)