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Defendants’ Rights in the Illinois Constitution

 Posted on July 29, 2015 in Your Rights

Most people know that when you are charged with a criminal offense that you have certain rights under the United States Constitution. However, what many people do not realize is that each state also has its own constitution, and those constitutions provide additional protections for criminal defendants. To be sure, Illinois has protections for criminal defendants in its constitution as well.

Protections that Are Similar to Federal Protections

Some right enumerated in the Illinois Constitution are basically the same as or exactly the same as those listed in the United States Constitution. For example, the two documents provide some of the same protections when it comes to searches and seizures. However, the Illinois Constitution goes further and actually addresses specific issues like eavesdropping and invasions of privacy, which are not specifically discussed in the United States Constitution. The Illinois Constitution also provides a right to counsel, a right to confront witnesses, a right to compel witnesses to testify, and a right to a speedy public trial. All of these rights are similar to rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. There are also similar prohibitions on self-incrimination and double jeopardy.

Unique Illinois Protections

There are some rights that are unique to the Illinois Constitution. One of these rights is in Section 11 of Article 1, and has to do with limitation of penalties after conviction. It is commonly referred to as the “proportionate penalties clause.” Under this provision, all penalties shall be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship. This clause is violated where two criminal offenses have the same elements but carry different authorized sentences.

Illinois also has a specific constitutional provision that deals with the setting of bail in criminal cases. It specifically says that all persons shall be entitled to bail unless they are charged with certain offenses where the proof is evident and the presumption great. These offenses include capital offenses, offenses that carry a possible punishment of life imprisonment, and felony offenses where a sentence of imprisonment without conditional release shall be imposed as a result of a conviction, if the court determines after a hearing that the offender poses a real and present threat to the physical safety of a person.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney like Christopher M. Cosley. Call us today at (847)394-3200. Criminal defendants have rights both under the federal constitution and the state constitution, and you need to have an advocate on your side to make sure those rights are protected.

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