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Criminal & Traffic Cases
A crime or public offense is any act committed in violation of a law forbidding it and which is subject, upon determination of guilt, to a fine, incarceration, or other substantial punishment.
The United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois as well as other laws afford a criminal defendant numerous rights. Many of these rights apply even before someone is arrested and formally charged, for example, the right against self-incrimination and the right to counsel. If you become aware that you are a suspect in a criminal investigation, you should seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible. If you are arrested, you should speak with a lawyer before your first court date, if possible.
You may be eligible for a court appointed lawyer, if you cannot afford your own attorney. In Illinois, as well as in most other states, a court appointed attorney is referred to as a “Public Defender.” For more about Public Defenders, see Court Appointed Attorneys. If you are a student at NIU, you can contact Students' Legal Assistance.