Why Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Misdemeanor Charge?


There are times when the legal system fails. The judge may make mistakes, or the attorneys may operate unethically and don’t exercise competence. In such cases, you end up with a misdemeanor charge. This will be detrimental to your personal and professional life.

Illinois law allows you to challenge misdemeanor charges raised against you. By working in collaboration with an experienced criminal lawyer, you can identify the potential points that can reverse the decision. Visit here for more information on the criminal attorneys. In this article, learn how a lawyer can help you with your misdemeanor charges.

What is a Misdemeanor?

Before you can appeal against the misdemeanor charges, you must have clarity on what it is. In the United States, there are three types of offenses you can commit, which are:

  1. Felonies
  2. Misdemeanors
  3. Infractions

When you commit a felony, you’re only subjected to state prison for a certain period of time. Misdemeanors are a comparatively more serious crime and attract up to one year in county jail.

Misdemeanor Appeals in Illinois

Misdemeanor appeal laws vary by state to state. In the state of Illinois, it is covered in Article VI Appeals in Criminal Cases, Post-Conviction Cases, and Juvenile Court Proceedings.

It states that you can appeal against the court’s decision and file a motion in the trial court. You can appeal in the district court to the local circuit court by filing the Notice of Appeal. As and when you file the Notice of Appeal, the case is termed “de novo.” This essentially means the case starts all over again.

A Lawyer Helps You with Timelines

While appealing is possible, you must do so within a specific time frame. Otherwise, your appeal filings will be considered invalid.

You need to file the Notice of Appeal within 30 days of being convicted. It’s required that you send a copy to any other involved parties as well, along with their lawyers. For this, the time period of 7 days from the date you appeal to the court.

Along with the Notice of Appeal, you’d have to file a Proof of Service with the court. It validates that you’ve sent the notices to other parties. Post these seven days, the court will not hear your appeal.

You’d later have to file a Record on Appeal no later than 63 days after you’ve filed Notice of Appeal.

Lawyer Will Help You File a Docketing Statement

Illinois Courts require you to submit a docketing statement with the court. It is a snapshot of your case. It must be properly formatted as per the guidelines laid out by the Illinois courts.

You need to then send it to the circuit clerk and the court reporter. They will prepare their sections of the report, and all of the documents will be forwarded to the judge.

There are local laws in place that allow for fee waivers. A lawyer will help you figure out all of these local laws and guide you in the process accordingly.

Lawyer Guide you in Preparing Record on Appeal

Another important document you’d have to prepare is the Record on Appeal. Please note that the court may not consider anything that’s not mentioned in the Record on Appeal. As mentioned earlier, it is time restricted as well, and you need to file this within 63 days of filing the Notice of Appeal.

You’d have to include two parts: the common law record and the report of proceedings. You’d need to provide a citation to every fact.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer will also help you if you lose the case. You can file a petition for rehearing or a petition for Leave to Appeal to the Illinois Supreme court. Both of these require extensive and detailed paperwork.

With a lawyer by your side, you can strengthen your defense side and potentially reverse the misdemeanor charges.

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