Hundreds of people are arraigned for crimes in and around Chicago each day. Some charges are more common than others, according to the FBI, although overall crime in the city is on a decline.
But what are the most common criminal charges in Chicago?
Chicago’s 3 Most Common Criminal Charges
The FBI breaks crime down into several broad categories, such as violent crimes and property crimes. From there, they break things down further into more specific categories. The FBI tracks crime statistics for decades, and far and away, there are three crimes that are routinely the most common in Chicago.
1. Larceny and theft. Theft includes crimes such as shoplifting, and the penalties for a conviction vary widely depending on the value of the property and your criminal record prior to this charge. Larceny and theft can be considered misdemeanor or felony charges that can result in high fines, community service and even jail time.
2. Burglary. Burglary is different from larceny and theft in that it involves entering a building, motor vehicle or other place without the owner’s consent and with the intent of committing a theft or a felony while inside. Offenses such as entering a vehicle to steal something inside often result in burglary charges, as do breaking into homes to steal another person’s possessions. (Just as a side note, residential burglary is a Class 1 felony that can put you behind bars for anywhere between 4 and 15 years).
3. Aggravated assault. Aggravated assault, under Illinois law, involves threatening someone with physical violence. For example, a person can be charged with aggravated assault for physically intimidating another person or for throwing a punch but missing the target. You can be charged with assault even if you didn’t cause the other party any physical harm.
What to Do if You’re Charged with These Common Crimes
Whether or not you’re guilty, it’s important that you use your right to remain silent. Don’t say anything to investigators if you’re accused of these—or any other—crimes. When they tell you that anything you say can and will be used against you, they mean it.
It’s best if you talk to a Chicago criminal defense lawyer who can speak on your behalf. He’ll make sure that investigators and law enforcement personnel don’t violate your constitutional rights and ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your case.