What are misdemeanor offenses?
Misdemeanor offenses are violations of the law that are not as serious as felony crimes. The most common misdemeanors involve property damage in an amount of less than $300. Depending on the circumstances of the misdemeanor offense, an experienced attorney may be able to have a misdemeanor charge dropped from a defendant's record, particularly one involving a minor offense or one committed by a first time offender. An individual charged with a misdemeanor should contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney experienced in dealing with the local courts, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement. With more than 14 years of experience in criminal law including tenure at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Howard J. Wise has the familiarity and experience you should look for in your criminal lawyer. Our team is ready to see how we can help with your misdemeanor charges.
Types of Misdemeanor Offenses in Chicago
The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor conviction is a fine and less than one year of incarceration. Many sentences also require community service and court-mandated counseling programs. Misdemeanor offenses commonly include the following:
- Harm to the property of another – trespassing, knowingly defacing a property, harming a domestic animal, or value of damage to property less than $300
- Civil rights violations through the discrimination of another for employment, financing credit, or housing, and which violates the Illinois Civil Rights Act
- Sex crimes of prostitution, pimping and solicitation (not involving children)
- Traffic violations
- Drug possession
An important aspect of sentencing for misdemeanor offenses will depend on the existence of prior convictions on the defendant's record. A misdemeanor may be charged as a felony if there are priors, if a weapon was used in the commission of the crime or if other factors exist that increase the severity of the crime. It is important to have excellent defense counsel when faced with any criminal charges, and that is the level of representation that our team can provide.
For a free, confidential consultation, contact a Chicago misdemeanor attorney at our firm today!