There are many reasons why someone accused of a crime in Illinois might want to avoid a criminal trial. Perhaps they worry about the long-term reputation damage that could accompany any media attention paid to their prosecution. Maybe they worry about the cost involved in a trial, or perhaps they believe they will be at a disadvantage because they will effectively hand over control to other parties.
There are a few ways for someone accused of a crime in Illinois to settle the matter without necessarily going to criminal trial. The following approaches are worthy of consideration when avoiding a trial is a priority.
Entering a guilty plea
The vast majority of people accused of a criminal act plead guilty to the offense, often even if they continue to maintain that they did not break the law. Having an attorney facilitate the negotiations around a guilty plea to a pending criminal charge could help someone offense on their criminal record or potentially even eliminate specific penalties in certain circumstances.
Pursuing pretrial diversion
There are several specialty court systems that exist specifically to handle first-time offenses and criminal offenses related to substance abuse disorders and similar medical conditions. For example, some people may qualify for drug court proceedings that focus on treatment and rehabilitation. Those who qualify for pretrial diversion and who successfully complete the program can handle their charges without a permanent criminal record and a criminal sentence handed down by the courts.
Getting the charges dismissed
There are certain circumstances in which someone accused of a criminal offense in Illinois could potentially avoid prosecution by having the state dismiss the charges against them. A defense attorney might be able to establish during pretrial hearings that the prosecution has not met the necessary standard to bring specific charges.
They could also potentially challenge certain evidence by raising claims about police officer misconduct or other issues. Those efforts could eventually resolve in the prosecutor dismissing the case. Sometimes, a dismissal will be permanent and no future prosecution will be possible. Other times, a dismissal is a temporary issue and new charges might eventually follow.
There may be other options as well, depending on the specific details of someone’s arrest and pending charges. Reviewing an individual’s circumstances carefully with the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney can help someone begin preparing a viable defense strategy or another way to keep their matter out of criminal court.