After a defendant is arrested in Chicago or any other county in Illinois, the first stage of court proceedings for any case is usually the preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is where the court will determine if there is probable cause for the arrest in the first place. If the court finds probable cause by a preponderance of the evidence or testimony, the matter is then set over for assignment and an arraignment. In Chicago the assignment is approximately two weeks after the preliminary hearing or Grand Jury indictment and it where the presiding judge will assign the defendant his “trial” judge who will hear the case for the duration and ultimately make a determination of guilt or innocence.
An arraignment is a defendant’s first appearance in front his or her trial judge. The defendant is informed of the charges and is asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. At the arraignment, the defendant’s attorney is provided a copy of the criminal complaint, or information. At the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, we never answer guilty at arraignment. We speak for our client, answer Not Guilty, waive formal reading of the charges out loud and make an oral motion for discovery. The motion for discovery is telling the State’s Attorney that we demand that they provide to us each and every document, photo, etc. they intend to use against our client at trial.
Upon a plea of not guilty, a continuance date will be scheduled for status. For misdemeanor offenses this does not apply as there is no arraignment for misdemeanors in Chicago or Cook County. For felonies, the case again will be set for status. A status date is a date where the defendant will appear in court and the State’s Attorney will update the Court on the status of discovery or bring any other pertinent issues to the judge’s attention. Depending on the severity of the case, there may be numerous status dates before setting the matter for trial. There is of course always the possibility that the defendant could be offered a plea deal at arraignment or the opportunity for one of the many deferred prosecution programs.
When someone is initially arrested for a crime, he or she cannot be held in custody for longer than 48 hours without going to court, including weekends or holidays. When a person is arrested for a misdemeanor, he or she may be released by the police and given a future court date. In Cook County, if the defendant is arrested for a felony, he or she must be brought in front of a bond court judge to determine the amount of bond the defendant must post in order to be released. Whether or not the defendant is able to post the required bon, he or she will also be given a future date to appear in court for the preliminary hearing.
Whether or not the charged offense is a misdemeanor or felony, the defendant is required to appear personally in court on each and every court date. If the defendant fails to appear, without good reason, a warrant can be issued for his or her arrest. This can have a detrimental effect as any bond posted could be revoked and you could be remanded to the Cook County Jail for the remainder of your case.
At the arraignment the State’s Attorney may request that bond be reconsidered, even where the defendant has already posted bond. The prosecution may have decided to file additional charges, or a higher class of felony may have been approved and they may be requesting higher bond than what has already been posted based on new charges. In some cases, the prosecution may request a hold pursuant to Illinois Compiled Statues number 725 ILCS 5/110-5. Under the law, if there is probable cause to believe that the bail money posted was derived from the defendant’s criminal activities, the defendant will be unable to use these funds for bail. Any funds that are posted must be first evaluated at a hearing to determine whether or not the funds posted by the defendant or on his or her behalf are from legitimate sources. This is known as a source of bail hearing. The State’s Attorney will generally request this type of hearing when defendants are charged with certain drug cases and white collar crimes, which can include Bribery, Embezzlement, Forgery and Fraud.
In some cases, the judge may not require the defendant to post bond but may issue certain conditions of release that the defendant would be expected to follow. In many non-violent cases, the court might require the defendant to submit to electronic monitoring by the Sheriff’s Department. Electronic monitoring is a form of release whereby the defendant is required to wear a monitor on his or her ankle that is linked to the Sheriff’s monitoring department. The Sheriff can then track the movements and whereabouts of the defendant at all times. Generally the defendant is required to remain within a certain distance of his or her residence, usually within a few hundred feet at most. Quite often though a judge will allow additional movement for work purposes if the defendant can prove to the judge that he or she is gainfully employed and has set work hours. Movement can also be granted for other occasions, such as a doctor’s appointment or a family obligation. The court can also require that the defendant both post a bond and be on electronic monitoring.
Defendants who do not appear personally at the arraignment, as well as each and every subsequent status date, and who do not have an attorney appear on their behalf will have a bench warrant issued for their arrest. In these cases, any law enforcement officer who encounters the defendant is authorized to arrest that person and to bring him or her directly to court for the arraignment. The judge may require higher bail amounts for defendants who failed to appear in court or the judge could order that the defendant be remanded to the jail for the remainder of the case.
If you or a loved one have an upcoming arraignment hearing, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. With over 20 years of criminal defense experience, David L. Freidberg passionately helps his clients through the complex court process and understands how to effectively present the best defense possible at all stages of court proceedings. He not only provides the best possible defense for his clients, he educates them as to the process and all possible outcomes they could face.
For more information about Chicago and DuPage County arraignments, contact us at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442. David L. Freidberg can be reached 24/7 for your convenience. And as always, we offer a free consultation so that you can obtain the best representation possible.