Foley Kelly Law Offices offers a comprehensive criminal law practice, representing clients in the southern Illinois area in matters of:
Driving under the influence is an incredibly common charge in Illinois. Any number of people have a drink or two and feel fine to drive, but a police officer spots them driving in a way that suggests impairment and pulls them over. If the officer claims to smell alcohol, that your eyes look bloodshot, and that your speech is slurred, you may soon find yourself facing an unexpected DUI charge.
A DUI charge must be taken seriously. It is a criminal offense, and being found guilty can have many negative effects on your life, including:
- You may be sentenced to jail time
- You may be ordered to pay costly fines and fees
- Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked
- You’ll have a permanent stain on your driving record — and a permanent criminal record
- You may be required to complete alcohol education or substance abuse treatment
- Your vehicle may be impounded or you may be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device, or BAIID
- You may be required to purchase more expensive high-risk auto insurance
- You may lose your job if you can’t drive to work or if your DUI conviction causes your employer to believe you’re unreliable
- You may face liability in a civil lawsuit if you caused an accident or injuries while you were driving under the influence
However, you may be able to avoid many — and perhaps all — of these consequences with the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. An Illinois DUI lawyer can help you to:
- Get your charge dismissed or reduced
- Avoid or reduce jail time or fines
- Keep your driver’s license or obtain restricted driving privileges
Every case is unique — as is the possible outcome — but with the help of an experienced DUI lawyer, you may have a chance at beating your charge or lessening the consequences.
Drug charges are among the most common and tragic types of criminal cases handled in Illinois courts. Drug abuse can ruin lives and tear families apart — and those who face drug-related charges also face some of the harshest penalties for any type of crime. An Illinois drug crime defense lawyer is the best option to defend your rights.
Many drug offenses are felonies that lead to life-altering consequences such as:
- Lengthy jail or penitentiary sentences
- Fines that may be financially devastating
- Losing eligibility for federal financial aid if you’re a college student or want to get a degree
- A permanent criminal record as a drug offender that can impede your ability to get a job or rent a place to live
- Loss or denial of a professional license to practice law or medicine, or work as a nurse, pharmacist, teacher, or another type of licensed professional
- Losing child custody or visitation rights
- Losing your immigration visa or green card, being denied citizenship, or being deported if you’re not an American citizen
People charged with drug offenses often are suffering from drug addiction or dependency and can be rehabilitated with appropriate treatment, but need the advocacy of a skilled and compassionate attorney to get them the help they need. If you’ve been charged with a drug offense, you may have options for avoiding some or all of these consequences or reducing your charge or penalty. We will listen to your story and explain your options for fighting your drug charge and preserving your rights and your freedom.
Assault and Battery
These are serious criminal charges that can result in jail time and costly fines. In some cases, they may be felonies with life-altering effects in which working alongside an experienced attorney may be your strongest defense. If you’ve been charged with assault, battery, or domestic violence, it may be the case that your actions were misunderstood or misinterpreted. Or you may not have done anything at all and may have been falsely accused because someone else was feeling hurt or angry, or perhaps you were legally justified in your actions such as defending yourself from being harmed. There are two sides — sometimes more — to the story of every assault, battery, or domestic violence charge. We will listen to your side of the story and help ensure that it’s heard by police and prosecutors — and a judge or jury, if necessary. When all of the facts are revealed, you may have options for fighting your assault charge and getting it dismissed or reduced so that the consequences of this type of offense don’t follow you for years to come.
Illinois has numerous statutes regarding the use, possession, and carrying of weapons and firearms. We are prepared to handle any type of firearm charge you might face.
These are some of the most common types of firearm charges:
- Unlawful Use of Weapons — This is a complex offense that encompasses a number of different actions related to firearms and other weapons, including selling, manufacturing, purchasing, and possessing. Unlawful use of weapons can be a misdemeanor or felony in Illinois, depending on the circumstances of your alleged offense. Learn more about the various ways you can be charged with unlawful use of weapons, the possible penalties, and how a criminal defense lawyer can help.
- Reckless Discharge — Reckless discharge of a firearm involves shooting a weapon in a way that endangers the physical safety of others. Reckless discharge of a firearm is a felony offense in Illinois. Learn more about this offense and what you might face if you’ve been charged.
- Aggravated Discharge — Aggravated discharge of a firearm can involve shooting into an occupied building, at a person, or at an occupied vehicle, among other scenarios. Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a serious felony offense in Illinois that carries harsh penalties if you’re convicted. Learn more about what it means to be charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm and the possible penalties.
- Unlawful Possession of Firearms — It’s illegal in Illinois for certain people to possess firearms, including people under 18 when the firearm is concealed, drug addicts, people who have been hospitalized for mental health issues, and people under 21 with a prior misdemeanor conviction or who were delinquent as juveniles. Learn more about the ways you can be charged with unlawful possession of firearms and what you might face if convicted.
If you’ve been charged with a weapons or firearms offense, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn your options for a defense. When you’re facing a criminal charge, your freedom, and your future are on the line, but with our help you may be able to fight the charge and avoid the serious consequences of a conviction.
Virtually every driver will get a traffic ticket at some point in his or her life. For many people, a traffic ticket is a minor annoyance. They pay the fine, move on with their lives, and forget about it. However, sometimes a traffic violation is more than just a ticket. Some Illinois traffic violations are misdemeanor crimes — or even felonies.
Consequences of a criminal traffic offense can include:
- A jail or prison sentence
- Hefty fines and court fees
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Points on your driver’s license
- Increased car insurance premiums
- Loss of your job if it involves driving in any capacity
- Forfeiture of your vehicle
- Liability in a civil lawsuit if your violation involved a car accident
If you’ve been charged with a criminal traffic offense, you don’t have the option of simply paying a fine to make the ticket go away. That’s when you need the help of an experienced attorney to fight your charge and try to get it dismissed or reduced. We have defended countless criminal charges in courts in and around St. Clair County and helped numerous people charged with criminal traffic offenses to avoid jail time and fines and keep their drivers’ licenses.
Criminal Traffic Violations
Criminal traffic offenses in Illinois are just that — crimes. These are serious legal matters and cannot be resolved by paying a ticket, as you would if you were cited for speeding.
When you are suspected of committing a criminal traffic offense, you get charged in a criminal court and must choose to defend yourself or enter a guilty plea. If you’re found guilty, you face a potential jail or prison sentence and fines, just as though you’d committed a theft, assault, or some other type of criminal offense.
The severity of your criminal traffic charge and penalties depend on the nature of the offense. Some criminal traffic offenses can be felonies when they involve another person being injured or killed.
Some types of criminal traffic offenses handled by Foley & Kelly LLC include:
- Vehicular Assault and Homicide — When you recklessly or intentionally hurt or kill someone while operating vehicle, such as causing an injury or death while operating a vehicle under the influence, you can be charged with a felony crime in Illinois.
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident — Illinois law requires you to stop when you’ve been involved in an accident, to render aid to anyone who is injured, to provide your contact and insurance information to anyone who is injured or whose property is damaged, and to report the accident to law enforcement. When you fail to meet these requirements, you can be charged with a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage, or a felony for an accident in which someone is injured or killed.
- Driving Under Suspension — It’s a misdemeanor offense to drive when your license is under suspension or has been revoked. A second or subsequent offense is a felony and can result in severe penalties.
- Fleeing and Eluding — Fleeing and eluding involves refusing to obey a police officer’s directions when the officer signals you to stop or pull over. The basic offense of fleeing and eluding is a misdemeanor in Illinois, but can be a felony under some circumstances.
- Reckless Driving — Reckless driving involves driving in a way that shows the willful disregard for other people or property. The basic offense is a misdemeanor in Illinois but can be a felony under some circumstances listed in 625 ILCS5/11-503.
Illinois Traffic Tickets
Common types of traffic tickets in Illinois include:
- Running a red light
- Running a stop light
- Failing to stop for a school bus
- Failing to stop for an emergency vehicle
- Texting while driving
- Illegal U-turns
- Failure to wear a seat belt
Even a relatively simple traffic ticket might be worth challenging when you face the long-term financial consequences of a black mark on your driving record. If you’ve had multiple traffic tickets within the space of a couple of years, you likely will see a marked increase in your car insurance rates. You may even face suspension of your driver’s license if you have too many negative points on your driving record or have received three moving violations within one year.
Sex crimes are some of the most emotionally devastating and complicated types of Illinois criminal offenses. These cases often involve many nuances and the word of one person against another — and often with ambiguous physical evidence, making the story of what happened unclear. Simply being charged with a sex crime can result in a stigma that affects your job and your relationships, not to mention the harsh penalties if you’re found guilty. Illinois law takes sex crimes very seriously.
Many are charged as felonies and a conviction can lead to negative long-term consequences that may include:
- A lengthy jail or prison sentence — up to life in some circumstances
- Expensive fines and court fees
- A requirement to register as a sex offender
- A permanent criminal record as a sex offender that can limit your ability to obtain a job or rent housing
- Legal restrictions on where you can work or live
- Loss of custody of your children or restrictions on when and how you can see your children
- Loss or denial of a professional license if you work as a teacher, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, lawyer, or another type of licensed professional
- Changes to your immigration status, including loss of your visa or green card, denial of your citizenship application, and deportation to your native country
Common Types of Illinois Sex Crime Charges
We has experience handling a broad range of criminal offenses, including numerous types of sex crimes. Among the types of cases we can handle include:
- Sexual Assault — Criminal sexual assault involves non-consensual sexual penetration and is a felony in Illinois. The penalties vary depending on the circumstances of the charge, including the age of the alleged victim, your prior criminal history, the use of a weapon or a controlled substance to commit the offense, whether the alleged victim suffered physical injury, and other factors.
- Sexual Abuse — Criminal sexual abuse involves non-consensual sexual touching, and can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the offense. Like criminal sexual assault, the penalties vary depending on a number of possible factors involved in the offense.
- Prostitution — In essence, prostitution involves exchanging sexual acts for money or anything of value. The basic offense is a misdemeanor in Illinois, but it can be a felony under certain circumstances. Related crimes include solicitation, which involves making an offer of money or anything of value in exchange for sexual acts; patronizing a prostitute, which involves engaging in sexual acts with a prostitute or being in a place where prostitution occurs with the intent of engaging in sexual penetration; and promoting prostitution, which involves forcing someone into prostitution or arranging for someone to practice prostitution.
Theft & Fraud
The terms theft and fraud can mean many different things. Theft could involve examples such as shoplifting from a retail store, stealing a car, or taking money out of someone’s purse. Fraud could involve actions such as using someone else’s debit or credit card, signing someone else’s name to a document without their consent, or scamming someone into giving you money or property through the use of false pretenses. At their most basic, theft and fraud mean taking something that doesn’t belong to you. With fraud, there’s the added element of deception or trickery. Regardless, theft and fraud can be serious criminal charges in Illinois. Theft and fraud can be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances. Typically, the greater the value of the money or property you allegedly stole or obtained through deception, the harsher the penalty if you’re convicted. Penalties for theft also may be more severe when the money or property is taken from someone’s physical person.
Common Types of Illinois Theft & Fraud Charges
These are some of the most common types of theft and fraud charges you might encounter in Illinois.
- Theft — Theft is a broad description for offenses involving taking money or property that belongs to someone else. In Illinois, theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether the value of the money or property stolen exceeds $500, or whether the money or property was taken from someone’s person. Learn more about the crime of theft, the possible penalties, and how a Chicago theft and fraud lawyer can help.
- Retail Theft — Retail theft involves offenses committed against retail establishments, such as shoplifting items, changing the price tags on goods in order to pay less, switching the packaging to avoid paying full price for goods, or returning items under false pretenses in order to obtain cash or store credit. Retail theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether the value of the theft exceeds $300. Learn more about retail theft, the penalties, and possible defenses.
- Fraud and Forgery — Fraud and forgery involve using deception or misrepresentation to obtain money, goods, or services. In the case of forgery, the deception involves written documents such as a falsified deed or signing someone else’s name to a check. Learn more about the many types of fraud and forgery charges in Illinois, the possible penalties, and how an attorney can help if you’ve been charged.
- Credit Card Fraud — You can be charged with credit card fraud when you illegally obtain a credit or debit card, obtain or use another person’s card without his or her consent, use a card you know is fake or expired, misrepresent yourself as a cardholder in order to obtain money, property or services. Credit card fraud is a felony in Illinois regardless of the dollar value of the fraud. However, penalties increase when the value exceeds $300. Learn more about how Illinois defines credit card fraud, the potential penalties, and what a lawyer can do for you.
- Embezzlement — Embezzlement is a crime that involves taking money or property entrusted to you by someone else and using it for your own personal gain. The offense can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether the value exceeds $500, you have prior offenses, and the nature of the victim. Learn more about how embezzlement is defined and punished in Illinois, and how a lawyer can help if you’ve been charged.
- Burglary — You may be charged with burglary if you are suspected of entering a building or vehicle without permission with the intention of committing a theft or a felony. Burglary is a felony in Illinois. Penalties are more severe when the burglary is of a residence, school, day care, or church, or if it’s defined as a home invasion. Learn more about the types of burglary charges in Illinois, the possible penalties, and common defenses.
Property crimes are those that involve knowing, reckless, or intentional damage or destruction of someone else’s property. Property crimes could include actions such as spray-painting graffiti on the side of a building, smashing someone’s window, or setting fire to someone’s property. Illinois treats property crimes seriously, particularly when the damage is done to an occupied building or results in physical harm to another person. Property crimes can be misdemeanors — or they can be serious felony offenses with harsh statutory penalties, depending on the circumstances of the offense.
Common Types of Illinois Property Crimes
The phrase “property crimes” is a relatively broad term that can describe a number of different actions for which you may be charged in Illinois. Some common examples of property crimes include:
- Arson — You may be charged with arson in Illinois when you use fire or explosives to knowingly damage another person’s property. If a person is present or someone is injured, you can be charged with aggravated arson. Arson and aggravated arson are both felony offenses in Illinois. Learn more about how these two offenses are defined and the potential penalties for a conviction.
- Trespassing — You may be charged with criminal trespass when you knowingly enter someone else’s building or land without their consent or through the use of deception or remain there after you have been told to leave. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor offense in Illinois. Learn more about what it means to trespass and the possible penalties if you’re convicted.
- Criminal Damage to Property — In general, when you knowingly damage someone else’s property, you can be charged with the crime of criminal damage to property in Illinois. The law defines a number of specific actions that may result in criminal damage to property charges in 720 ILCS 5/21-1. Criminal damage to property can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the damage and other factors. Learn more about the offense of criminal damage to property and the possible consequences of a conviction.
- Institutional Vandalism — When you’re suspected of damaging a religious building, cemetery, school, community center or personal property contained in those types of places because of another person’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, or belief system, you can be charged with a felony in Illinois. Learn more about the crime of institutional vandalism and the possible penalties if you’re convicted.
Even misdemeanor property crimes may be punished with a jail sentence. If you’ve been charged with arson, criminal trespass, criminal damage to property, institutional vandalism, or another property crime, your best chance at avoiding the consequences of a guilty finding is with the help of an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney.
Some offenses are considered crimes when they involve behavior that essentially makes the public the victims of the crime, or involve an offense against the preservation of peace or administration of justice. These types of offenses may be known as public nuisance offenses or crimes against the peace and the public. Some crimes against the peace and the public may be relatively minor and have correspondingly light punishments, but they are nonetheless crimes and result in a permanent criminal record if you’re found guilty. Depending on the circumstances, some of these types of crimes can have serious penalties under Illinois law, particularly if the offense involves interfering with the duties of a police officer or the administration of justice.
Common Types of Offenses
A crime against the peace or public can take many forms. Illinois has numerous laws criminalizing behavior that disturbs the peace or community, or involves interfering with the duties of law enforcement. A couple of common examples of this type of offense include:
- Resisting Arrest — When you knowingly resist or obstruct a public safety officer, including a police officer, firefighter, or corrections officer, in the course of his or her duties, you can be charged with a serious misdemeanor offense in Illinois. If you cause an injury to the officer, you can be charged with a felony. Learn more about what it means to resist arrest or obstruct an officer and the possible penalties if you’re found guilty.
- Disorderly Conduct — Under 720 ILCS 5/26-1, a disorderly conduct charge in Illinois can involve behavior that disturbs or breaches the peace or alarms the public. Disorderly conduct also may include making false alarms or bomb threats, or even peeping through someone’s window or harassing a debtor by telephone if you work for a collection agency. Disorderly conduct can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Illinois, depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense and whether you have prior offenses on your record. Learn more about the different forms of disorderly conduct and the possible penalties if you’re found guilty.
If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, or another offense against the peace or public, it’s important to take the charge seriously. Whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, you could face jail time and possibly thousands of dollars in fines.
Criminal charges involving violence are among the most aggressively pursued and harshly punished in Illinois. These offenses are almost always treated as felonies and are typically associated with using force or the threat of force against another person. While the mere accusation of committing a violent act can ruin relationships and tarnish your reputation, the full impact of a conviction can be devasting with a wide range of penalties including life-long imprisonment. Due to their grievous nature, if you are charged with a violent crime in Illinois, there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on law enforcement to hold someone accountable. The police and prosecution won’t be interested in protecting you. In fact, they will likely use every available resource at their disposal to get a conviction. This makes it critical that you avoid making any statements before consulting an attorney who can properly advise you and will be equally aggressive in crafting your defense.
Violent Crimes & Penalties in Illinois
In Illinois, violent crimes come in various forms and with aggravating factors such as an offender’s previous criminal history, the nature of the offense, and how the victim was affected coming into play, the full weight of a conviction can be extreme. Some of the most common violent offenses include:
- Kidnapping – Knowingly and secretly confining another person and/or carrying them from one place to another against their will by force or the threat of force. Typically, a Class 2 felony punishable by between three to seven years in prison; however, when aggravating factors are present, the offense can be increased to a Class X felony, punishable by between six and 30 years in prison with an additional 15 to 25 years, depending on the severity of the incident.
- Robbery – The robbery statute in Illinois is very broad and covers the taking of any property from another by the use of force or the threat of force. Usually, robbery is considered a Class 2 Felony, carrying a penalty of between three and seven years in prison and a possible $25,000 fine. However, if there was a considerable amount of force used or any other aggravating factors, this can be escalated to a Class 1 felony with a four to 14-year sentence or even a Class X felony if a firearm was used in what’s called armed robbery. An armed robbery conviction can result in anywhere from six to 55 years or even life in prison.
- Manslaughter – Reckless homicide or involuntary manslaughter involves the unintentional killing of a human being by recklessly performing acts, likely to cause death or great bodily harm, and which do cause the death of an individual. Normally, a Class 3 felony (between two and five years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine), but when aggravating factors exist, the offense can be heightened to a Class 2 felony (three to seven years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine).
- Murder – As one of the most severe felony-level crimes in the state, murder is the unlawful and intentional killing of another person and depending on the condition and mindset of the alleged perpetrator, Illinois divides the offense into two categories: First Degree and Second Degree Murder. If convicted, the penalties will rely on any aggravating or mitigating elements involved, but can result in substantial prison sentences, up to lifetime incarceration.