Criminal Law

What is a Crime?

What is a crime? In Illinois, a crime is an act forbidden by law. Criminal law in Illinois generally defines the act and mental state necessary to be convicted of a crime. It also prescribes penalties proportionate to the offense. Finally, the law is intended to prevent arbitrary treatment of accused or convicted persons.

Attorney Paul Wharton is committed to fighting for the rights of Illinois residents located in Chicagoland, including Northern Illinois around Waukegan, Arlington Heights, Evanston, Schaumburg, Palatine, Skokie, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Hoffman Estates, Glenview, and Buffalo Grove. After litigating cases for over three decades, Paul Wharton has the experience and knowledge to ensure the best outcome for your criminal case. Know that if you have been arrested for a crime, you may face severe penalties.

 

You may face:

Fines

Imprisonment

License Suspension

Revoked license

Therapy or treatment programs

Probation

 

A skilled and experienced litigator and defense attorney, Paul Wharton will be there to help you through your legal problems. He is committed to ensuring that you are well represented up to and through your day in court.

If you have been charged with any of the following crimes, Paul Wharton can help you.

Assault & Battery – The crimes of assault and battery are taken seriously in Illinois. If you threaten someone with physical violence or actually engage in physical violence against another, you may be charged with assault or battery, respectively. In some circumstance, these cases can be hard to prove, it is a must to have an attorney representing you.

Domestic Violence – Domestic violence is often the unfortunate result of the heat of passion. A domestic battery charge in Illinois can have a great impact on your life and your family. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, make sure you have an attorney.

Driving Under the Influence – Driving under the influence is a serious charge in Illinois that can lead to penalties that will make your life tougher in all aspects. It is important to know your rights and responsibilities on the road. If you have been arrested for DUI, you need an attorney.

Drug Possession – The penalties for drug possession are very harsh in Illinois. They depend greatly on what substance you possessed and its quantity. Because of the complexity of drug cases and the severe penalties you may face, it is imperative that you are represented during your possession case.

 

No matter what charges you face, it is essential that you contact an attorney. Don't take an unnecessary chance. Contact Paul Wharton today.

Assault & Battery

Sometimes passions can become heated between friends, acquaintances, or even strangers. Perhaps some expletives are shared or someone says the wrong thing to another's significant other. Maybe someone shakes a fist or brandishes a weapon. Maybe that fist, or that weapon, is used.

In Illinois, the crimes of assault and battery generally cover violent or potentially violent situations. Because a conviction for either of these charges can greatly affect your life, an experienced attorney can be helpful to lessen the charges you face or make them go away entirely. If you are charged with assault or battery in or around Chicagoland like Streamwood, Hanover Park, Wheeling, or elsewhere, Paul Wharton can help you achieve the best possible legal outcome.

 

Assault

In Illinois, it is a crime to engage in conduct that places another person in a reasonable apprehension of fear. This crime is called assault. It does not require that you hurt someone to be guilty of it. Rather, it merely requires that you act in such a way that makes another person reasonably fear for his or her safety. This may include brandishing a weapon towards someone, or even threats that do not involve weapons.

In Illinois, simple assault is a Class C misdemeanor with a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $500.

An assault charge becomes an aggravated assault charge if the defendant's conduct meets one of several requirements. This can include using a deadly weapon during the assault, obscuring his or her identity, or if the victim is a member of certain classes of individuals. Aggravated assault is a Class A misdemeanor. If it involves a discharge of a firearm or the victim is a correctional officer, it is a Class 4 felony.

 

Battery

In Illinois, a person commits a battery if they intentionally cause unwanted bodily contact to another without provocation. Battery does not require that any harm result from the unwanted touching.

Battery is a class A misdemeanor and carries up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Aggravated battery occurs when a person commits a battery with the intent to inflict great bodily harm or disfigurement. It may also apply if the battery was conducted with a deadly weapon, if the assailant hid his or her identity, or if the battered person fits within a certain class of individuals.

Aggravated battery is a Class 3 felony and can carry a penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Also, note that there are classes of battery that are classified as Class X, Class 1, or Class 2 felonies. Aggravated batteries against children can be Class 1 or X. Aggravated battery with a firearm is a Class X felony.

Note that this section does not pertain to domestic battery, which involves a battery between family members or people with other defined relationships. Domestic battery is covered below, in the domestic violence tab.

 

Any criminal conviction can have a large and potentially devastating impact on your life. Paul Wharton has decades of experience giving criminal defendants the best representation both before and during trial. If you face an assault or battery charge in Northbrook, Elk Grove Village, or Gurnee, or any other Chicagoland community do not hesitate to contact him.

Driving Under the Influence

You are driving home from a work function. Along with most everyone else at the party, you had a couple drinks as you mingled with your co-workers, who seemed a bit more bearable, just for a minute. As you are approaching your neighborhood, you see lights begin to flash behind you and then hear a familiar siren. A few minutes later, you are blowing into a Breathalyzer, and next, you are heading to the station.

Driving under the influence is one of the most common criminal charges faced by those that live in Mundelein, Niles, Highland Park, Wilmette, or elsewhere in Northern Illinois. Because of the various penalties involved, a DUI in Illinois is a serious matter.

Although it may seem that the police and prosecutors have you against the wall in their DUI prosecution, this is not necessarily the case. A seasoned litigator, like Paul Wharton, can help you navigate your case. He can help you, as he has helped others, fight the charges or minimize how a conviction may affect your life.

 

DUI basics in Illinois

First, you must know that local Illinois law enforcement takes DUIs very seriously. The penalties are harsh. The police are vigilant. Although we all want to keep our roads safe, understand that you do have rights during a DUI stop.

Next, you must know that a DUI conviction may send you to jail. A first-offense DUI is a Class A misdemeanor with the potential of up to one year in jail. Generally, first-time offenders face no minimum jail time. Minimum fines are generally $500 but can be assessed up to $2,500. There is also a minimum requirement of 100 hours of community service.

You also need to know the risks involved in taking a Breathalyzer test. Failing the test brings with it a six-month suspension of your license for the first offense. Later offenses may bring an automatic suspension of one year. Refusing to take the test brings a suspension of one year with later offenses leading to a suspension of three years. Note that these suspensions are statutory in nature and are a part of your agreement with the state that allows you to drive. They do not require a criminal conviction.

The experience of a seasoned litigator like Paul Wharton comes in handy if you face a statutory suspension. With his help, you can challenge the statutory suspension.

Subsequent DUI convictions carry stiffer penalties. A second conviction mandates at least 5 days in jail or 240 hours of community service, and a minimum suspended license for 5 years. A third conviction, called an aggravated DUI is a Class 2 felony and may lead up 7 years in prison with a minimum 10 years suspended license. A sixth conviction is a Class X felony. You will lose your driving privileges permanently.

 

Paul Wharton Can Help You through Your DUI Case

The above is just the beginning. DUI cases can be complex and the penalties can be debilitating. In some cases, you may be required to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). You may face other penalties.

 

Know your rights and protect them. Let Paul Wharton help.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a crime in Illinois and every other U.S. jurisdiction. Police in Northbrook, Elk Grove Village, Gurnee, Mundelein, Zion, and elsewhere in Northern Illinois take domestic violence calls very seriously. You should too.

Any person who hits, chokes, threatens, or harasses of another family or household member in a manner that threatens their personal liberty has broken Illinois law.

Family or household members are defined as people related by blood, people that are married or once were married, people who share or previously shared a common dwelling, people who have or may have a child in common, people who are dating, engaged, or used to date, including same sex couples, and people with disabilities and their caregivers.

Because the law surrounding domestic violence is complicated, it is imperative that you call Paul Wharton if you are arrested or accused of domestic violence. The stakes are high. A conviction for domestic violence may lead to the following life-changing penalties:

 

Fines

Court-enforced community service

Court-enforced therapy

Loss of custody of children

 

Domestic Battery

In Illinois, domestic battery is the most common domestic violence charge. It forbids knowingly causing bodily harm to any household member or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any household member.

Generally, domestic battery is classified as a Class A misdemeanor that carries with it up to a year in jail. If, however, you have a previous conviction for various violent crimes, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony and face over a year in jail. Those with three previous convictions for domestic battery may be charged with a Class 3 felony, which carries a prison sentence of two to five years. Those with four or more convictions can be charged with a Class 2 felony, which carries a sentence between four and fifteen years.

 

Aggravated Domestic Battery

In Illinois, aggravated domestic battery occurs where, during the course of a domestic battery, the abuser knowingly causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. It is a Class 2 felony that carries a mandatory 60-day sentence on the first conviction; any convictions that follow carry a three-year mandatory sentence.

 

Paul Wharton Will Help You through This Difficult Time

Family feuds and marital arguments often lead to heightened emotions, making both parties act in poor judgment. Such poor judgment may include one spouse filing a false report against the other in order to gain the upper hand in a custody battle. Attorney Paul Wharton, with decades of experience, will help you help you sort out the details of your case and get you back to your better self.

 

If the charges are false, Paul Wharton can still work with you to reduce your sentence, lessen your charges, and restore your life in the Chicago suburbs. Talk to him about your questions and concerns.

Drug Cases

Drug charges in Illinois can carry stiff penalties that can have a detrimental effect on your life. The sentences are long and the fines are high. If you are charged with drug possession, hiring an experienced defense attorney like Paul Wharton is important. Your best defense strategy depends on the facts of your case and your criminal history. An experienced attorney like Paul is well equipped to guide you expertly through your case as it heads towards a plea deal or trial.

It is not uncommon for the police to violate your rights when searching for drugs on your person or in your home. If law enforcement officers do violate your rights, Paul Wharton will move to suppress the evidence against you and may get your charges dropped.

If you are in Barrington Hills, Lake Bluff, Mundelein, or elsewhere in Lake or northern Cook Counties, know that Paul Wharton can help you with your possession charge. His vast experience will help you obtain the best possible outcome.

 

The Basics of Illinois Possession Laws

As there are a variety of illegal drugs in Illinois and a variety of penalties for their possession, this page features the most common drugs and their penalties. If you are charged with the possession of any drug, you need representation. Because courts and prosecutors may be somewhat unfamiliar with some obscure illegal drugs, please make doubly sure to contact an attorney if you are charged with possession of a drug not mentioned below.

 

Marijuana

Marijuana possession carries the lightest penalties, although if you are arrested with more than 5 kilograms of it, you do face a Class 1 Felony. Possession of 2.5 grams is a Class C misdemeanor, possession of between 2.6 and 10 grams is a Class B misdemeanor, and possession of between 11 and 30 grams is a Class A misdemeanor. Greater weights bring felony charges.

 

Heroin, Cocaine, or Morphine

Anyone caught in possession of any amount of heroin, cocaine, or morphine in Illinois faces a felony conviction. Those caught with less than 15 grams will be charged with a Class 4 felony. Any larger weight will result in a Class 1 Felony charge and the penalty will depend on the weight in your possession. If you are caught with 900 grams or more of one of these drugs, you may face up to 50 years in prison.

 

These serious charges demand the attention of a seasoned litigator like Paul Wharton. Perhaps there was impropriety in the police search. Perhaps the prosecutor is willing to cut a deal. Whatever the situation, Paul Wharton will ensure that the resolution of your case is the best it can be for you.

Also, know that the use or discharge of a firearm during the commission of a drug offense can greatly increase the penalties you face. The use of a weapon can add fifteen years to your sentence. Its discharge can add twenty. If these facts apply you, contact Paul Wharton immediately so he can help you.

 

Drug Possession (Higher Quantities)

Drug possession above certain amounts suggest an intent to distribute drugs. Possession with the intent to deliver in Illinois is a class X Felony. A class X Felony is non-probational with jail time of 6-30 years. If charged, you will need the best representation possible if you hope to avoid spending an extended period in the penitentiary.

When someone is arrested, the prosecutor will decide the charge to make against the arrested person. After a conviction, judges use sentencing guidelines to determine what punishment to give. These guidelines depend on how the crime is classified. Below is a listing of the various classes of crimes in Illinois.

Classification of Crimes

There are five classes of felonies in Illinois. Note that the following list is ordered from most severe to least severe.

 

Class X

This is the most serious type of felony. The minimum sentence is six years and the maximum is thirty. Fines may be assessed up to $25,000. Under some circumstances, lower-classified felonies may be reclassified as a Class X felony if certain aggravating factors apply.

Examples:

Sixth or subsequent DUI conviction

Aggravated battery with a firearm

 

Class 1

Those charged with a Class 1 felony face between four to fifteen years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

Examples:

Possession of over 15 grams or more of heroin, cocaine, or morphine

 

Class 2

Those charged with a Class 2 felony face three to seven years in prison and fines up $25,000.

Examples:

Aggravated domestic battery

Aggravated DUI

 

Class 3

These crimes carry a prison sentence of two to five years and fines up to $25,000.

 

Class 4

The least serious of felony charges, these carry a minimum sentence of one year.

Examples:

Domestic battery, if a defendant has one previous conviction, or if a defendant uses a firearm, batters a child, or also commits sexual assault.

Aggravated assault against a corrections officer or with a firearm

 

Remember that in addition to the above punishments, a conviction for a felony will also result in additional problems. Employers, school admissions offices, and leasing agencies may check your criminal record. A conviction will affect your ability to own a firearm legally and your ability to vote. A felony conviction will have a substantial affect on your life. If you face such a charge, do not hesitate to contact Paul Wharton.

Illinois Misdemeanor Charges

There are three classes of misdemeanors in Illinois. Misdemeanors are those crimes where the maximum jail time does not exceed one year. They can still result in serious penalties and should be avoided. Note that the following list is ordered from most severe to least severe.

 

Class A Misdemeanor

Those charged with a Class A misdemeanor face up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.

Examples:

Domestic battery

First-offense DUI 

Possession of 11-30 grams of marijuana

Aggravated Assault

 

Class B Misdemeanor

Those charged with a Class B misdemeanor face up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,500.

Examples:

Possession of between 2.6 and 10 grams of marijuana

 

Class C Misdemeanor

Those charged with a Class C misdemeanor face up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $1,500.

Examples:

Possession of 2.5 grams or less of marijuana

Simple Assault

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Disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Paul invites you to contact him and welcomes your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting Paul does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to him until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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