Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.
Q) How do I research this warrant, find out what the consequences are, and get a new date for a hearing
In terms of research, a warrant is generally not going to be available for public inspection the way most court
documents are until your family member (who I'll call "Bob" for brevity purposes) is served with the warrant.
"Served" is simply the official act of handing Bob a copy of the warrant and informing him "officially" that he has been charged with a crime. Bob needs to go to the local police station or magistrate, and he can be served with the warrant there.
Depending on the seriousness of the charge, a magistrate may set bail (aka "bond") for Bob, or he may have to be remanded to the jail to await trial
. (I doubt the latter, since the warrant is so old and this is not a violent
crime like murder, rape
, etc.) Once the warrant is served, it will be handed over to the appropriate court. The warrant and other documents will then be available for public inspection.
As for a hearing date, the court will set that. If it's a felony, Bob may be entitled to a preliminary hearing, depending on which court his case is set in. A preliminary hearing is a probable cause
hearing on a felony in front of a judge to determine whether a trial should occur in another court. If it's a misdemeanor
, Bob will have a trial date set. (No preliminary hearing for a misdemeanor.)
As for a public defender, Bob is entitled to an appointed attorney if the possible punishment for the crime of which he is accused carries possible jail time. This assumes Bob qualifies for an appointed attorney financially. If Bob has assets on hand, he will be expected to liquidate those in order to pay for his own attorney.
Retail theft crimes are covered in Chapter 720, title 3, part C article 16, subdivision 10 of the Illinois Code
. Essentially, theft crimes are broken up by the value of the property stolen, as follows:Value at $500 or less
- First offense: class A misdemeanor (up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine)
(Note, if not a first offense, aka "habitual larceny
", it's a class 4 felony, which is 1 to 3 years in prison)Value more than $500.00 up to $10,000
- Theft occurs NOT from the person: class 3 felony (2 to 25 years in prison)
I doubt the retail theft was much more than $10K, but if so let me know if you need additional information.
The best thing to do now is have Bob turn himself in and start to get this issue behind him. The warrant won't expire, and will hang out there potentially forever. The sooner he starts, the sooner it will be over and done.
Important: tell Bob to NOT TALK TO THE POLICE if they wish to question him. You'd be stunned how many crimes could never be proven without a statement from the defendant. Since so much time has gone by, Bob could luck out UNLESS he opens his mouth. Silence is golden.
After Bob has gotten the court process going, he'll meet with his attorney. The prosecutor will hand over some evidence ("discovery") to the attorney to give Bob and his attorney an idea of the what the case is all about. If Bob thinks the evidence is strong and he'll be found guilty, perhaps he'll try to strike a plea bargain. If not, and he wants to go to trial, he certainly has that right.
Finally, if Bob does not qualify financially for an appointed attorney, try the Illinois State Bar attorney referral service
. They can probably help finding an attorney for him.
I hope my response has been helpful. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.