As of January 1, 2017, changes to Illinois law require the court to give new warnings about the consequences of a guilty plea.

Before you plead guilty, a judge must first warn or “admonish” you about what your plea really means. The judge will ask if you understand the rights you are giving up, such as your right to a jury or to present evidence in your defense.

Under the new rules, the judge must clearly explain: 1) the maximum and minimum penalties for your crime; 2) that you are more likely to receive a higher sentence or consecutive sentences for any future conviction; 3) that your conviction may restrict where you can live, work or be present; and 4) that it may be more difficult to find a job or place to live, or to keep or obtain a license for a gun, car or occupation. The court can only accept your plea once you indicate that you understand these warnings and wish to move forward.

A guilty plea should be your last resort. Your attorney should review your case to determine if there is a better option. But if the evidence is overwhelming and the police acted lawfully, a guilty plea might be your only real choice. In that case, an attorney who is respected in the court house may help negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

Source: Illinois Plea Statute.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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