Publicity of Criminal Charges in Illinois
Understanding Publicity With Chicago’s Foremost Criminal Defense Attorney
Interviewer: If I were to get arrested for a crime. I tend to put myself into situations just for the sake of the interview, but if I got arrested, how public is my situation going to be?
Fred Dry: Well, in some areas local newspapers publish every arrest and/or criminal charge. In some areas they only publish the sensational ones. Personal arrest records aren’t so easy to get. If you wanted to get your own rap sheet, you’d have to go in and be fingerprinted. Your neighbor isn’t really able to go down to the local police station and say, “Hey, I think my neighbor was arrested. Will you tell me?” It doesn’t work like that.
If you get a DUI, for instance, but you’re not convicted of that DUI, it won’t go on your driver’s record. That means if you beat the case, your insurance company isn’t going to find out. Your neighbor, your in-law, or whatever – they are going to find out.
It doesn’t Matter What You Have or Haven’t Done, What Matters is What Criminal Charge Can Be Proven in a Court of Law
Interviewer: What if someone believes they’re guilty? Should they throw themselves on the mercy of the court or should they fight the charges?
Fred Dry: They should hire a lawyer to see if the charges can be sustained. I tell every one of my clients: “You may have done it. You may have not done it. The important thing is what criminal charge can be proven against you.”
Some people will come to my office and say, “I did it. Just resolve it gracefully for me.” Just keep me out of jail, or just keep my driver’s license. Whether they come in and they say “I did it” or “I didn’t do it,” my counsel is this: “Let me investigate the case. Let me see what I think they can prove, and then we’ll talk again about what we should do. Sometimes I say: “Let’s consider if the evidence will be inadmissible because of an illegal search or seizure? Will the witnesses be available? Are they believable? Are there witnesses who can testify for you favorably?”
The easiest thing for a lawyer to do is negotiate a plea bargain.
Some Cases Cannot be Proven; A Guilty Plea Smothers Any Chance For a Successful Defense
Interviewer: If someone feels they’re guilty of a criminal charge, it’s important to have a lawyer because the courts are going to try to give him the maximum penalty for that, so we’re trying to look for some way to minimize it and try to bring it down a little bit, because otherwise they’d have the maximum penalty, and a lot of times people don’t realize that. Is that accurate?
Fred Dry: They often seek the harshest penalty they can get. It is important to remember that you may think you’re guilty but the case may be unprovable for some reason you’re not aware of.
If you go in and say, “I’m guilty,” they’re not going to say, “Well, wait a minute. This is not a provable case.” They’re going to say, “Okay, we’ll take your guilty plea.”
The only person who’s there to defend a defendant is his own lawyer. Even if the defendant thinks he’s guilty, it is the job of his lawyer to determine if the criminal charge is provable. There are people I’ve defended who did the crime but the government didn’t have the evidence. They may not have had the last bit of proof that they needed to close the link. I’ve defended lots of people like that.
Illinois Law is Lenient towards First Time Offenders
Interviewer: What about first-time offenders; do you think the courts are ever lenient with them in certain cases?
Fred Dry: Absolutely. In Illinois there’s a statute that is a non-conviction probation. It’s called supervision for misdemeanors. For some felony drug possession cases a similar sentence is available as expunge able felony drug probation. If you’re eligible for supervision or special drug probation, you accept that disposition and you go through the period of time, which could be anything from one day to two years, and the length of a period of supervision or probation is based upon negotiation. These types of dispositions are sometimes available after trial.
If you go through the period of Supervision or Probation and you comply with the conditions and you don’t get arrested again, the Court will enter a finding of not guilty. Then you can expunge that.