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Criminal Defense & Process in Chicago

All Chicago crime suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty and have the right to an Illinois criminal defense attorney. For those charged with a crime, it helps to understand the entire process and how attorneys go about building a criminal defense strategy. The defense typically is built around the prosecution’s evidence, or lack thereof, and the defendant’s take on what happened when a given crime was committed. Defendants who believe they don’t have much of a defense have the option to plead guilty, which often provides for a lighter sentence.

The more one knows about defense strategies and the criminal law process in general, the better that person’s strategies at trial are. This section of the Chicago Criminal Law Blog covers the mechanisms of a criminal defense and new developments in the law. Chicago criminal defense attorneys can often assess your legal issue and help with developing a good defense strategy. You can find an attorney by viewing FindLaw's local directory of Chicago criminal defense attorneys.

Recently in Defense & Process Category

Chicago's Crime-Predicting Software May Be Racist

Remember "Minority Report" and the police's futuristic ability to predict crime and preemptively apprehend criminals? Well, the future is here and it's possibly racist.

The Chicago Police's crime-predicting computers might be suffering from a social glitch or two -- namely, racial profiling. But other tech advances are now a normal part of police work, The Verge reports.

Here are three forms of technology regularly used by law enforcement:

3 Borderline Illegal Searches by Police

Not all illegal searches by police are black and white. The contours of a person's Fourth Amendment protections against an illegal search and seizure are muddled by constantly evolving rules that largely hinge on the specific facts of a case.

Here are three specific situations that especially hover on the boundary of illegal searches:

Chicago Ban on Gun Sales Struck Down

A Chicago ordinance that bans gun sales within the city is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled. The decision spells a big win for gun lobbyists in their protracted battle for more firearm rights in Chi-town, home to some of the toughest gun-control laws in the nation. This latest ruling is far from the first blow to Chicago's gun laws but may spur city officials to rethink their gun control strategy.

Here's a rundown of three key gun control changes in Chicago that reveal the Windy City's weakening gun control landscape:

When Are Strip Searches Legal?

When are strip searches legal in Illinois? 33-year-old Dana Holmes of Coal City is filing a claim claiming that hers wasn't, the Chicago Tribune reports. On top of that, once she filed her claim, her lawyer, attorney Terry Ekl says that other women are now coming forward, alleging similar conduct.

Holmes was arrested for a DUI last spring and claims that her civil rights had been violated when four deputies had stripped her naked without any justification.

There are many factors taken into consideration when determining the legal validity of a strip search. Here is an overview of those legal concerns:

Can Police Search Your Car During a Traffic Stop?

You may be wondering if police have the right to search your car during a routine traffic stop.

Generally, the answer is "yes." Officers may have the right to search your vehicle, under certain circumstances. Here's a look at three situations in which this search can be lawful:

Illinois Self-Defense Laws

Someone who is charged with assault, battery, or even killing someone in Illinois may have a viable defense of self-defense justifying his actions.

Generally, someone may be justified to use force against another person to the extent the force is believed to be reasonably necessary to defend himself from an imminent threat of harm.

The use of force typically requires the person claiming self-defense to prove the following elements:

Constitutional Amendments That Every Defendant Should Know

If you have been charged with a crime, there are several constitutional amendments you should be aware of.

Learning these amendments isn't for the purpose of making you smarter or to appear more worldly. Instead, your criminal defense lawyer can use them to defeat criminal charges and even help to exonerate you.

Here are some of the most important amendments for criminal defendants:

The 6 Steps of a Criminal Trial

If you are arrested for a crime in Illinois, you will probably want to familiarize yourself with the steps involved in a criminal trial.

In general, the purpose of a trial is for the jury to examine the evidence and determine whether, "beyond a reasonable doubt," you committed the crime. As you may know, you are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden is on the government to prove that you committed the crime.

A complete criminal trial usually consists of six main phases. Here is a look at each one:

Chicago Crime: The 10 Most-Read Stories of 2012 (Part II of II)

We promised you more of the highlights and lowlifes of 2012 when we covered the Top 5 most popular criminal law posts of 2012. The remainder of the Top 10 include sex, drugs, and of course, the tasering of a pregnant woman.

Chicago Crime: The 10 Most-Read Stories of 2012 (Part I of II)

The year 2012 was a bad one for Chicago, punctuated by the highest murder rate in the city's history, a plague of gang violence, and on the brightest days, oddball criminals that we couldn't help but laugh at.

Though we covered the highlights and the lowlifes of Chicago's criminal justice system, you, our readers, flocked mostly towards the funnier posts. We can't blame you. Like we said, last year was a rough one.

Here are the Top 10 Chicago crime stories of 2012: