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This is the second post in my brief series on whether one should plead guilty to domestic violence charges in Chicago, Illinois. My last post provided an overview of topics which I will be discussing and stressed the need to contact a criminal defense attorney if you find yourself facing criminal charges. In this article I will address a very important topic – what to expect while serving probation for a domestic assault conviction. The consequences for even a “minor” offense can be severe.
In Illinois a first offense for domestic violence will often be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. This charge carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Depending on the circumstances the defendant may face more serious accusations and even felony charges. Such circumstances include whether serious injury was inflicted or if a weapon was used during the incident. In many cases the accused will be placed on an informal probation after they are convicted. This probation can last anywhere from a few months to year depending on the specifics of your case. The requirements of probation will typically require staying out of trouble, attending an anger management class, paying a fine, and possible community service.
It is crucial for Chicago residents to understand that their probation is a serious matter. The Judge will issue a sentence when placing a person on probation. If the terms of supervision are not followed then the Judge may impose the original sentence. This means that, for example, a Judge may sentence a defendant to one year in jail and give them a chance at supervision. If the person violates probation then they will serve the one year in jail. When deciding whether one has violated probation the Judge will not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If the Court simply believes it to be more likely than not that there has been a violation then the sentence will likely be imposed.
It is important to be honest with yourself when deciding whether to plead guilty to domestic violence. This means that as part of the decision process you must assess your chances of succeeding on probation. If you honestly believe that you will not be able to stay out of trouble, that you cannot complete community service, or that you may have other problems then a plea may not be in your best interests; this is especially true if you have legitimate defenses available to you. It is best to speak with a criminal defense lawyer regarding your situation.
Contact my Orland Park office today to speak with a Chicago domestic violence attorney. I am a former prosecutor with over thirty years of legal experience. We handle matters in areas of Cook County including Chicago Ridge, Glenview, Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Bedford Park, Palos Park, Oak Lawn, Burbank, Oak forest, Blue Island, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Alsip, Bridgeview, Lemont, Orland Hills, Country Club Hills, Hickory Hills, Summit, Richton Park, Midlothian, Worth, Posen, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Hometown, and Tinley Park, in DuPage County areas including Downers Grove, Naperville, Woodridge, and Darien, in Kane County areas including Aurora, Elgin and Geneva, and the Will County cities of Joliet, Bolingbrook, Mokena, Frankfort, New Lenox, Lockport, Homer Glen, Romeoville, and Manhattan.