Criminal Defense

The Number 1 Rated Criminal Defense Attorney in Jacksonville Illinois

Always Fighting for the Best Possible Outcome

Judge listens to Defense Attorney's case for wrongfully accused man - Jacksonville, IL

When you get arrested and charged with a criminal offense, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to fight aggressively for your best interests. Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law has dedicated, experienced attorneys with over 32 years of trial experience – we know how to advocate for your rights successfully and have experience with various criminal charges, from misdemeanors to felony crimes. Contact our law firm if you are being charged with one of these crimes:

  • Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Offenses
  • Federal Crimes
  • Gun Offenses
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Sex Offenses
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Battery
  • DUI
  • Felonies
  • Murder & Manslaughter
  • Probation Violations
  • Theft Offenses

We also deal with the following legal services for criminal law:


Pre-File Investigation

ISU Criminal Defense

Post-Conviction Evaluations

Title IX Investigations

Drug Charges

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all penalty for drug charges. Drug charges are different depending on the severity of the charge, but even misdemeanor convictions can result in long-term effects. Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law wants you to know that you don’t have to fight these charges alone. Having an experienced drug crime attorney can help immensely, especially if you don’t understand the various drug laws, charges, and most importantly – your rights.

Understanding Drug Offenses

You can find yourself being charged with a drug offense for possession, manufacturing, or selling illicit substances. If you have drug paraphernalia like beakers and scales, you can be charged, too. Any drug offense should be taken seriously, as they are handled differently depending on the prosecutor.

When you are being charged with a drug-related crime, there is a lot that you and your attorney need to discuss. While the situation may seem dire, an experienced attorney can see things pertaining to your case that an untrained eye can’t. Sometimes the endgame isn’t a complete dismissal of charges; having the charges reduced is also considered a win, too. Every situation is unique; however, having an experienced drug attorney on your side can make all the difference.

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Drug Possession

You can be charged with drug possession if you are in possession of illegal substances. There are two things that factor into the severity of your drug charge: the amount you possess and the type of substance.

Drug Trafficking

When you are found or suspected of transporting illicit substances into the state with an intent to manufacture or sell, you can be charged with drug trafficking. The seriousness of this is determined based on the amount and type of substance.

Drug Manufacturing

One of the more serious charges related to drug offenses. Drugs are divided into “schedules” with schedule 1 being the most severe and schedule 5 being the least severe.

Drug Distribution

This is a drug offense that law enforcement takes extremely seriously. The key difference between a drug possession and drug distribution charge generally comes from eyewitness testimony.

Man at a traffic stop, performing sobriety test for cop - DUI or DWI - DUI Felony - Criminal Defense - Jacksonville, IL

DUIs and DWIs

Contrary to popular belief, Central Illinois law enforcement doesn’t overflow their cells with arrests relating to theft, assault, drug charges, or other serious offenses. Rather, the most common criminal violation is driving while under the influence. Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law understands the significance of defending clients from severe DUI charges, whether that means having the charges dropped completely or minimizing your sentence to avoid having your driving privileges revoked.

DUI Penalties

While DUIs are one of the most common offenses, don’t let that fool you into thinking the consequences are light. They aren’t. If convicted of a DUI, you could face long-term penalties that can cause a major disruption in your everyday life. Such penalties can include:

  • High fines paid to the state
  • Jail Time
  • Ignition interlock device
  • License suspended or revoked

DUI as a Felony

Every DUI case is different from the last. If this is your first DUI, then the penalties that you face may be less severe. If you are a repeat offender, you will see harsher penalties. Below, you can see the penalties that a DUI will cost you.

Class A Misdemeanor

for a first conviction of a DUI carries fines of up to $2,500 and up to 1 year of possible imprisonment.

Class 4 Felony DUI

has fines up to $25,000 and anywhere from 1-3 years imprisonment.

Class 3 Felony DUI

carries fines up to $25,000 and imprisonment of 2-5 years.

Class 2 Felony DUI

carries fines up to $25,000 and imprisonment of 3-7 years.

Class 1 Felony DUI

carries fines up to $25,000 and imprisonment of 4-15 years

Class X Felony DUI

carries fines up to $25,000 and imprisonment of 6-30 years

Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection

Domestic violence charges are intense for all parties. As soon as the charge is presented, it uproots your life in an instant without you being able to convey your side of the story. The most important factor to remember when dealing with domestic violence cases is to remain calm. The place to settle this dispute is in the courtroom. Our domestic violence attorney at Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law offers experienced, trusted legal counsel during this difficult process. These accusations are serious and can have a detrimental effect on one’s life, which is why we work vigorously to keep our clients’ rights and reputations protected.

Domestic violence is a much broader charge than spousal abuse. Virtually anyone who lives in the same household can be accused of domestic violence.

The Importance of Discretion

From the moment you are arrested to the final conviction, whatever you say to law enforcement, prosecutors, and loved ones can be used against you. Therefore, it is important only to discuss your situation with your attorney. Law enforcement officials are not there to help; they are there to listen for anything that they could use against you to imply guilt. Confiding in friends or family can be damaging to you if they are summoned to testify in court. While they may think they are helping (testifying on your behalf), a qualified prosecutor knows how to extract information that is beneficial to their case.

Domestic violence concept - shadows against the wall, angry husband raising his hand to strike his wife - Order of protection - criminal defense - Jacksonville, IL
Assault and Battery concept - man in handcuffs with bloodied hands from a fist fight - criminal law - criminal defense - Jacksonville, IL

Assault & Battery

In the state of Illinois, you don’t have to physically touch another person in order to be charged with assault. The definition of assault is any action you take that makes someone feel they are being threatened; this could include raising a fist or verbally saying you will hurt them. A battery charge is when the person follows through with their threat and attacks someone. This explains why assault and battery tend to go hand in hand.

Because the definition of “threatening behavior” is so vague, anyone can be charged with assault, regardless if they physically harmed someone or not. If you are being accused of an assault or battery crime, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer, like the one at Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law, can be extremely beneficial for you.

Aggravated Assault vs Simple Assault

There are different forms of assault charges; how you carry out that threatening behavior determines what you are charged with. The types of assault include Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault.

Simple Assault

This is when there is no weapon involved, and the violence is minimal. These tend to be classified as misdemeanors and can result in a month of jail and up to a $1,500 fine.

Aggravated Assault

This charge is serious and is applied whenever a weapon or excessive violence is involved. These are typically classified as felonies, and you can end up spending 6 years in jail and paying up to $2,500 in fines


Felonies are serious offenses. These carry much heftier consequences than misdemeanors and can result in pricey fines and long prison sentences. A felony conviction will show up on all background checks. If you are being charged with a felony, you need a criminal defense attorney to protect your best interests. Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law has over two decades of experience representing clients for a variety of different felony offenses. If we can’t have all the charges dropped, it is common to have them reduced and possibly dropped to a misdemeanor.

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Felony Classes & Penalties

Class 4 Felony

The lowest felony offense with consequences of up to 1-3 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.

Class 3 Felony

Penalties include 2 – 5 years in prison with fines up to $25,000.

Class 2 Felony

Penalties include 3 – 7 years in prison with fines up to $25,000.

Class 1 Felony

Penalties include 4 – 15 years in prison with fines up to $25,000.

Class X Felony

The most severe felony offense is generally for violent and sexual crimes; the penalties can include 6 – 30 years in prison.

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Weapon Charges

The state of Illinois takes weapon charges very seriously, especially because of the concerns about rising gun violence. A weapons charge could land you in the middle of a politically charged legal scenario. However, the law “innocent until proven guilty” means you have the right to a fair trial. This is where having an experienced criminal defense attorney comes in handy. Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law has a reputation for being skilled and aggressive in advocating for our clients.

With over 32 years of experience, we have represented hundreds of clients who have been facing weapons charges and found success in having the charges dropped or reduced. Having a qualified attorney can be the difference between a conviction and a not guilty verdict.

The ways you can be charged with a weapons offense:

  • Unlawful use of a weapon
  • Unlawful sale of a weapon
  • Reckless use of a weapon
  • Unlawful possession of a weapon

Juvenile Law

Being a parent and having your child charged with a crime is one of the worst feelings in the world. Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law is here to protect your child best, who is innocent until proven guilty. It isn’t uncommon where a defendant is being charged with more than what the situation calls for. It isn’t always about getting all charges dropped but rather getting those charges reduced. Therefore, having an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best scenario when it comes to protecting your interests.

Juvenile Court

If you are under the age of 18, criminal defendants are processed via juvenile court. These are generally lighter penalties, and judges are able to make a more informed decision regarding the sentence. Juvenile cases going to court are considered rare because they are normally resolved beforehand. Also, juvenile offenses may have a smaller impact on your criminal record, and it is possible they won’t show up on background checks.

The most common juvenile offenses include:

  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • DUI & Traffic Offenses
  • Theft
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Drug Offenses
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Criminal Law

Contact Michael A. Hankins Law Firm for your Criminal Defense Needs.