Russo Law Offices

Criminal Defense Information Center

Frequently Asked Questions about Criminal Defense

Q: Is unsuccessfully attempting to commit a crime an offense?

A: It may be. It depends on the circumstances and on the law of the jurisdiction. A person who intends to commit a particular crime and takes a substantial step toward perpetrating it, but fails to actually complete it may be guilty of the separate crime of attempt. Generally an act that is extremely remote from the completed crime, such as early preparation, will not be significant enough to constitute criminal attempt.

Q: What is the role of the grand jury?

A: The US Constitution requires that the federal government convene a grand jury to decide whether accusing a person of a major crime is appropriate. In a practice originating in England, the grand jury reviews the evidence and may hear testimony in deciding whether to indict someone, but the grand jury makes no decision about guilt or innocence. Another traditional purpose of the grand jury is to serve as a buffer between an overzealous prosecutor and the accused. All states also use the grand jury system to some extent.

Don’t miss out on spending precious years with your loved ones. To give yourself a better chance of avoiding or minimizing a prison sentence, contact an experienced criminal-defense attorney as soon as you are questioned about or accused of a crime.

Criminal Defense Lawyer: Wheaton, Illinois

If you have been arrested or if the police want to question you, talk to a criminal defense lawyer who will protect your rights. Do not answer any questions until you have gotten the advice and counsel of an experienced lawyer. Attorney Richard Russo is a former criminal prosecutor with over 15 years of experience as a lawyer.

Contact the Russo Law Offices in Wheaton and Chicago, where you can be assured of finding the right lawyer to help you through a difficult legal issue. Attorney Richard Russo, using all the resources of the Associated Legal Services Chartered, provides experienced representation for clients who require a criminal defense lawyer.

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Criminal Defense – An Overview

Our criminal-justice system can be overwhelming and frightening. The United States’ incarceration rate is much higher than that of other industrialized countries. Prison sentences are getting longer and more frequent. If you face the possibility of being accused of a crime, contact an experienced criminal-defense lawyer as early in the process as possible, preferably even before questioning or investigation. A skilled attorney from Russo Law Offices in Wheaton, IL, can fight for your legal and constitutional rights. Remember that if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the government may have to provide one for you.

Criminal Liability

Historically in our criminal-justice system, two things must have been present for criminal liability to attach to an action. First, a person must have the intent to take the criminal action. Traditionally this culpable state of mind was called mens rea, Latin for guilty mind.

The second requirement for criminal liability is actus reus, Latin for guilty act. The prohibited physical event must take place in combination with the requisite criminal intention for the actual commission of a crime to take place.

Constitutional Protections of Criminal Defendant

When our country was founded, its supreme law was recorded in a document called a constitution. A national constitution establishes the country’s basic philosophy and structure and can be looked at as the blueprint from which the laws will flow. The United States Constitution and its subsequent amendments define the scope of governmental power and reserve certain individual rights to the people.

Classifications of Crimes

Because the negative behavior regulated by the criminal laws varies from relatively minor to devastatingly violent, crimes are classified into levels or degrees. The classification of a crime reflects its seriousness. If you face questioning or arrest or are accused of a crime, you should consult an experienced attorney as early in the process as possible for help protecting your legal and constitutional rights. A criminal-defense lawyer can explain the particular crime involved and its possible ramifications.

Finding a Job After a Criminal Conviction

Employers are becoming increasingly concerned about knowing whether applicants have criminal records. Part of this concern stems from large jury verdicts that have been rendered against employers for negligently hiring people with criminal histories who ultimately harm others. However, the laws vary widely from state to state about which criminal records an employer must or may access, what an employer may ask a potential employee and what the job applicant must reveal. If you have a criminal record and seek a job, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in criminal law and employment law so that you go into the job search fully informed of your rights and restrictions.