Things to Know if Charged with Assault in Chicago
In Chicago, assault is an umbrella term for a number of different types of crimes that range in severity. For example, simple assault is less severe than aggravated assault. Regardless, no matter if you live in Lakeview, Bolingbrook or Hyde Park, an assault charge of any kind is a serious charge. If you have been charged with committing assault, you will want to seek the advice of a Chicago criminal defense attorney.
This article will help you better understand Chicago assault laws and what you need to know if you are charged with assault.
Chicago Assault Charges: Simple Assault
There is a range of assault charges in Chicago. These charges fall into two main crime classifications.
The first is what is called a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime that usually entails no more than a year in jail. In Chicago, assault charges that are considered misdemeanors are usually referred to as simple assault. Simple assault is when your conduct puts someone in a reasonable apprehension of fear. You do not have to actually touch someone to commit simple assault. Just pointing a weapon at someone can constitute simple assault.
Under Chicago assault laws, many cases of simple assault are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, this is subject to change depending on the severity of the charges.
Chicago Assault Charges: Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault is considered a worse crime than simple assault. There are a number of things that someone can do when committing assault to be charged with aggravated assault. Some crimes that constitute aggravated assault include:
- Committing assault with a deadly weapon
- Wearing a mask or disguising your face while committing assault
- Assaulting a teacher
- Assaulting someone who works for a park district
- Assaulting someone who works in the State Department of Public Aid
- Assaulting someone who is a peace officer or firefighter
Generally, these incidents of aggravated assault would be considered misdemeanors in Chicago. However, there are some circumstances where they would be considered more serious crimes.
Chicago Assault Charges: Felony Assault
Chicago felonies are very serious crimes. They are considered much more serious than misdemeanors and can entail punishments of more than a year in jail.
There are certain types of assault that count as felonies in Chicago. Specifically, if your incident of assault involves the discharge of a firearm, you will likely be charged with a felony. In addition, if the victim of the assault was a correctional officer, you may also be charged with a felony.
Hiring a Chicago Assault Lawyer
If you have been charged with assault, you, or someone you trust, should take the necessary steps to investigate criminal defense attorneys for you.
There are a number of ways to find an attorney. First, you can rely on referrals from friends who may have used a lawyer in the past. You can also use sites such as Attorneys.com to connect with criminal defense lawyers in your area. Just fill out the online questionnaire, and Attorneys.com will connect you with at least one Chicago-area criminal defense lawyer. Finally, if you cannot afford an attorney, a Chicago court will appoint a public defender to represent you.
Talk with the lawyer before hiring him. Find out how he charges for his services, how much experience he has with cases like yours and what he thinks about your case. After engaging him in conversation for a while, you should be able to make an informed decision of whether you want to hire him.
Remember that when hiring an attorney, you will want to find someone you can trust. After all, this is the person who is your advocate in court.