Friday, July 2, 2021

WHEN CAN I BE CONVICTED OF A LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE?

Police arrested you on charges that were pretty stiff, but you feel confident that the state can’t prove the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. That does not mean, however, that you are out of the woods. The court can convict you of a lesser-included offense even if you were not originally charged with that offense.

Under Illinois law, you may be convicted of a lesser-included offense if it is within the offense for which you were charged and the evidence at trial supports conviction on the lesser offense and acquittal on the greater offense.

For example, in People. v. VanHoose, the defendant was arrested for threatening a public official. The trial court found the evidence insufficient to convict on that charge but instead convicted defendant for the lesser-included offense of assault. (In this case, the appellate court disagreed that there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant of assault and reversed the trial court.)

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. As with most criminal charges, the state must prove all the elements of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Can the state prove the lesser-included offense? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

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

(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.)

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