Avvo Top Rated Attorney
SuperLawers Ranking 2020-2022
Member National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Top 100 Trial Lawyers

Experience Matters:
Top-Rated Defense for Your Criminal Case

The Law Offices of Purav Bhatt & Associates provides aggressive and cost-effective criminal defense representation for all our clients. Through our work, we have built valuable relationships with Judges and Prosecutors throughout the court system. Attorney Purav Bhatt, a former Cook County prosecutor, has been named Adjunct Professor at The John Marshall Law School at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Rated 10/10 and one of the clients’ choice featured lawyers, Mr. Bhatt’s firsthand experience with the methods of the prosecution translates into success for his clients today.

What We Do: Areas of Criminal Law

Criminal Sexual Assault

If you’re accused of sexual assault, it can feel like you’re automatically judged as guilty in the court of public opinion. It can damage your relationships and your career. That’s why you need a skilled sexual assault lawyer in your corner.

burglary Chicago

Domestic Violence

Illinois courts treat domestic crimes seriously with penalties that range from civil orders that limit an individual’s freedom all the way to felony charges with prison sentences. The best thing you can do if you are charged with a domestic crime is to remain silent and call a domestic violence lawyer

DUI Chicago

DUI / Drunk Driving

Illinois has harsh penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. These can include losing your driving privileges (temporarily or permanently), fines, and even criminal charges. Your DUI lawyer can help.


Even if you’re not convicted, simply being arrested creates a criminal record, which limits your opportunities. The process for clearing that arrest from your record is called “expungement.” Talk through the process with your local expungement lawyer.

Felony Charges

In Illinois felony offenses have a minimum one year prison sentence and can come with fines of $25,000 or more. This is in addition to a criminal record that can limit your opportunities and rights. If you, or a loved one, are charged with a felony, it is imperative that you gain the services of an aggressive and knowledgeable felony lawyer.

Financial Crimes

Financial crimes include identity theft, healthcare fraud, wire fraud, continuing financial crimes enterprise, embezzlement, and money laundering. These are often federal crimes that are prosecuted by the government, which means an adversary with vast resources and talent. Make sure you have an experienced financial crimes lawyer on your side. 


Unlike burglary or theft, robbery involves a threat to another person, often with a weapon. These factors make the penalties for robbery more severe, carrying large financial penalties and lengthy prison sentences. This makes it all the more important to have an experienced robbery lawyer on your team.

Theft Crimes

Theft crimes are, essentially, when one person takes another person’s property without consent. Theft crimes can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the property in question. Having a skilled theft lawyer can help you get these charges reduced or even dropped.

Gun Charges

Whether you’re a hunter, an off-duty security guard, a gun collector, military serviceman, or anyone else with a gun, you can find yourself needing to explain yourself to a police officer. When this happens, having an experienced gun lawyer on your side can make a world of difference.

Federal Crimes

Federal crimes can be significantly more complex than state charges and the stakes, in terms of prison sentences and fines, can be higher. That’s why it’s vital to make sure that you have an experienced federal attorney on your side to help you navigate the labyrinth. Attorney Purav Bhatt and his team have that experience representing clients from pre-trial investigations through federal jury trials. 

Criminal Law FAQs

What does a criminal defense lawyer do?2022-05-09T22:14:09+00:00

A criminal defense lawyer handles all types of criminal charges against you. When you are looking for a criminal defense lawyer, you should expect your lawyer to have extensive knowledge of the law and experience in defending clients with the type of charges you’re currently facing. A necessary skill you should look for in a lawyer is their ability to negotiate. This way, the lawyer will be able to communicate more effectively with the prosecutors regarding your charges. You should also expect your lawyer to keep the information you give him entirely confidential and maintains a strict attorney-client relationship. Additionally, the lawyer you choose should be able to clarify to you the risk you face, the possible scenarios that you may be involved in, and all the options that you have to resolve your case. Finally, your lawyer should be creative and resourceful when crafting a resolution to your charges.

What happens if I get arrested?2022-05-09T22:14:04+00:00

After getting arrested, you should expect the police to bring you into the police station. There, you will be processed into the system. The process begins when you are booked and have your fingerprints collected. Additionally, the police will gather personal information from you including your date of birth, residence, and other information that allows them to determine if you have a criminal record. As soon as you are given the opportunity, you should contact your attorney.

Is it smart to talk to the police officers if I am arrested?2022-05-09T22:14:00+00:00

In the US, you have the right to remain silent. This means that under Federal and State laws, you do not have to speak to the police when you are arrested. Aside from information that identifies you, do not give the police any information about the possible charges you are facing before without your attorney present.

Do I need a lawyer if I plan on pleading guilty?2022-05-09T22:13:53+00:00

Yes, regardless of how you plan to plea to charges, you want to seek advice from a criminal defense lawyer who can assess your options. Having a lawyer present will provide you with more possible solutions such as being released on bail and having smoother communication with the prosecutors.

What’s an arraignment?2022-05-09T22:13:35+00:00

An arraignment is the process of the court telling you what you are officially charged with. The arraignment happens after the police have arrested you and have filed a criminal complaint against you.

What is bail?2022-05-09T22:12:54+00:00

Bail is the amount of money that you pay the court to release you from jail. The purpose of bail is to assure the court that you will be present at all of your court dates following your release. The amount of bail that you must pay differs depending on your criminal history, age, the type of charge you are facing, and other personal circumstances.

Can I be released without having to pay bail?2022-05-09T22:12:49+00:00

In certain situations, you are able to be released from jail without paying any money to the court. This is referred to as an I-bond, or a recognizance bond, meaning you are promising the court that you will appear on all of your future court dates. The judge in bond court will be the one that determines if you are eligible for an I-bond depending on your criminal history and the type of charge you are facing.

How can I bail someone out?2022-05-09T22:12:41+00:00

You may be able to bail someone out immediately after they are arrested depending on the jurisdiction. To bail someone out, you either have to pay the money to the court or use a bail bond company’s service. You will also be required to provide an I.D. and be 18 years old or older.

Should I represent myself in a criminal case?2022-05-09T22:12:35+00:00

While you do have the option to represent yourself in a criminal case, it is recommended you hire a lawyer instead. Facing criminal charges is a difficult process that places your rights and freedom at risk. Representing yourself could limit your possibilities to reaching a much more reasonable and fair solution to your charges compared to the options a lawyer has to solve your case.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?2022-05-09T22:12:30+00:00

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

What is the difference between State criminal charges and Federal criminal charges?2022-05-09T22:12:18+00:00

You are charged with a State criminal charge when a state law has been violated. This type of violation is prosecuted in the state court system. You are charged with a Federal criminal charge when a federal law has been violated. This type of violation is prosecuted by a US attorney in the federal court system.

What kind of criminal cases does you handle?2022-05-09T22:12:23+00:00

At the Law Office of Purav Bhatt, I have vast experience handling complex criminal charges at both the State and Federal level. Throughout my years as a practicing attorney, I have helped people fight for their rights and freedom against criminal charges. Some of the criminal cases our law firm handles include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Drug possession
  • Sex Offenses/Crimes
  • Felony crimes
  • Weapons/Gun Offenses
  • Misdemeanor crimes
  • Violations of Orders of Protection
  • Theft & White-Collar crimes
  • Violation of probation or community control
  • Expungements
  • Homicide
  • Arson
What happens if my case goes to trial?2022-05-09T22:10:53+00:00

In some instances, your case might go to trial. However, at The Law Office of Purav Bhatt, my job is to convince the prosecution that your case is not worth prosecuting or persuade the prosecution that your charges were not filed on legal grounds, which may even get your case dismissed. If your case goes to trial, a jury is chosen with the requirement they must be fair and impartial. Once your trial starts, our attorneys will present valuable evidence to help convince the jury you are not guilty.

What should I do if I am falsely accused of a crime?2022-05-09T22:10:45+00:00

Unfortunately, even if you think you were falsely accused of a crime, that does not mean htat the charges go away. If you think that you are being falsely accused, contact your criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will then take on the task of showing the court that the charges brought against you had no legitimate legal grounds in an attempt to get the charges dropped.

What is the difference between a dismissal and an expungement?2022-05-09T22:10:38+00:00

A dismissal happens when the prosecutor decides to drop the charges against you. This will usually happen when the prosecutor does not think there is enough evidence against you to put on a strong case. An expungement is when you get any charges erased from your criminal record. This means that any employer or even police station would not be able to see that you were charged with anything when they search your name in their systems. Expungements are difficult to complete, but a criminal defense lawyer that has a lot of experience with expungements can definitely resolve it for you.

When should I hire a criminal defense law lawyer?2022-05-09T22:16:31+00:00

The best time to hire a criminal defense lawyer is as soon as you know you have criminal charges against you.  Often times you are notified that you may be facing charges before they are actually filed.  Many times, law enforcement officers will try to talk to you about your case before they even have an arrest or search warrant. At that point in your case, however, it is important to only speak to officers when your lawyer is present. Your lawyer should know how to communicate properly with officers and understand your rights so that you are being represented correctly. You want a lawyer that is aggressive when it comes to fighting for you.  If you do not have the benefit of an early warning and you are arrested, it is even more important that you hire a criminal defense attorney immediately.  Even before you attempt to post bail, your criminal lawyer can be helpful. Your lawyer will be able to find out more information about your case and assess your options. In some instances, your lawyer may even be able to get your bail lowered or entirely dropped.  If you decide to use a public defender instead of a private criminal defense lawyer, you usually will not be able to speak with the public defender until your first court date, which could be weeks after you are arrested. This leaves you with much less time to discuss your both case and your options.

Why should I hire a private criminal attorney as opposed to a public defender?2022-05-09T22:16:17+00:00

You likely won’t meet your court appointed attorney or public defender until your first court appearance.  This is far too late.  This leaves room for more error, such as self-incriminating statements to the police.  But, these potentially life-altering mistakes could easily be avoided with the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable private criminal defense lawyer.  Public defenders handle many cases at once and will likely not be familiar with your case until the day of your first appearance.  This could make you feel like your case is not being handled properly or with care. Basically, you are just another number.  Although a public defender should provide you competent representation, very often they do not have the time nor the resources to establish an effective defense.  They usually have only one or two investigators who must devote their time to the more serious cases, such as murders.  Ultimately, a defendant represented by a public defender receives the representation from an overloaded criminal court system.  This means that your defense is out of your control.  Most importantly, you do not get to select your criminal defense lawyer.  The public defender is appointed to you by the court, and you will typically not be able to change to a different public defender if you are not happy with your current one.  Fortunately, you can ALWAYS change from a public defender to a private attorney.  The only way you can exert control over your defense is by hiring a competent, experienced private criminal attorney.  A law firm like the Law Office of Purav Bhatt will have depth of resources, such as experts and investigators, a staff of legal researchers, and extensive hands-on experience.  The potential consequences of a criminal conviction on your record are severe and can be life changing.  It is vital that your criminal attorney understand that the rest of your life is at stake, including your personal life and your employment.  Your criminal defense lawyer should protect you with the utmost ability, not treat you like you are just another file or number on an overflowing desk.

What are the consequences of a conviction on my record?2022-05-09T22:10:15+00:00

The most obvious, and detrimental, consequence is incarceration and jail.  Being in jail or prison is difficult in itself, but if you suffer from medical conditions or other personal issues, this can be even more difficult to overcome. Prison staffs are not paid to care about your healthcare needs, including medications and medical care, and you have no say over where nor how you are housed.  The consequences of being in prison are often overlooked.  Aside from actually going to jail, criminal record will interfere with the rest of your life including employment, government services, credit, housing, and even immigration status.  Certain convictions require registration as a “sex offender,” which literally damages your reputation and makes you a virtual outcast in society.  Although certain states allow for certain records to be expunged, only specific charges meet the criteria to be eligible for expungement. That is why is better to get the case resolved earlier rather than later. There is no constitutional right to have your criminal record expunged.  In the case of non-U.S citizens, a felony conviction can and often does lead to deportation, even if you have lived here as a legal resident for a substantial amount of time.  It is vital that you do not take a conviction on your record lightly.  Before you face these harsh penalties, make sure you and your criminal defense lawyer are doing everything to protect your life and your future.  Criminal convictions are very serious, and all of your decisions must be well thought out, and you need to be well-informed of all of your options.

How do I pick the BEST criminal defense lawyer?2022-05-09T22:15:42+00:00

This can be a very difficult decision to make, especially because you have never seen them in action and are just meeting them for the first time.  There are a few factors you can consider which will help you assess if the criminal attorney you are considering is the right one for you:

Experience – experience in handling your particular type of case is crucial.  Your criminal defense lawyer should be knowledgeable with court procedures, rules, case law, and should also have real trial experience with the charges you are facing.

In court, you have only two choices: take a plea agreement or go to trial.  If you choose to go to trial, it is absolutely necessary that your lawyer is comfortable in front of a jury, skilled at cross-examining witnesses, experienced at advocating to the judge, and confident in challenging the prosecutor on your behalf.  These criminal trial skills come with years of actual courtroom experience and an ability to craft a strategic defense.  You should also discuss possible defenses and strategies associated with your case with any criminal defense lawyer you intend to hire.  The attorney should also have a sense if your situation requires the use of experts or investigators.  With a criminal defense lawyer, you will not be alone in defending yourself.

Comfort – Finally, you should consider your personal comfort level with this person.  The lawyer you hire should be tentatively listening to you about your situation. You should be very comfortable in confiding in your lawyer about the charges you are facing. You should feel that your lawyer is confident that they can help you with all of the court proceedings and any other questions you might have.  All of these considerations are important in establishing your personal comfort level with a criminal defense lawyer.  As with any situation, you want to feel comfortable with the person who you are working with, especially when that individual may have your life in their hands.

How much does a criminal defense attorney normally cost?2022-05-09T22:15:17+00:00

Every lawyer works differently. Here at the Law Offices of Purav Bhatt, I work on a flat fee basis. Depending on the charges you are facing, I will provide you with a price that matches how much work will be involved with your case and we can set up monthly installments to make the process smoother for you. There are some guidelines that we use to establish what the fee will be for your specific case:

Severity – The severity of a charge is usually a primary factor in establishing the fee.  The more severe the consequences of the case and the more complicated the case, the higher the fee a criminal attorney will charge.  Simply put, there is a lot more involved in preparing for a murder case than for a DUI.  Legal representation on a murder offense is going to cost substantially more than a drunk driving case because of the time and preparation involved.

Experience & Reputation– The experience and reputation of the criminal defense lawyer or the firm is also a factor in establishing the fee.  The more experienced the attorney and the more established their track record, the higher the fee.

When it comes to finding the best lawyer for you, no two criminal defense lawyers are exactly alike. Every lawyer has different skills and experience.  What you are looking for is the best criminal attorney who can give you the best outcome for your case.  Find the right attorneys first. Then, consider price.

What should I expect my lawyer to do for my case?2022-05-09T22:09:32+00:00

An aggressive defense attorney will interview the client in their office or at the jail. The interview will revolve around all relevant witnesses personally or through an investigator. The lawyer will examine the crime scene, obtain the necessary court orders to obtain evidence, subpoena evidence and documents, file motions for discovery, analyze the case through legal research, write and litigate all relevant pre-trial motions, such as motions to suppress evidence or statements based on violations of constitutional rights, prepare and try cases before judges and juries and present arguments at sentencing in mitigation on behalf of his clients.

What are the stages of a criminal case?2022-05-09T22:09:25+00:00

Offense Investigation:

Once an allegation has been made that a law has been broken, the police are contacted, and an investigation is performed. It is at this stage that an initial assessment is made whether a factual basis exists supporting the allegation that a crime has occurred.


Once it is established that probable cause exists, the decision about when an arrest will be made depends on many factors. A defendant may be arrested at the crime scene or an arrest may not occur until after the police have met with a prosecutor and a warrant for the defendant’s arrest has been issued by a judge.

“Charging” the Defendant:

Three methods are available for charging defendants:

  • Information– An Information is a charge made by the State’s Attorney. The common procedure involved in filing an Information begins with a police detective presenting information to a prosecutor showing that probable cause exists based upon the information contained in the police report. In the event that a prosecutor finds that probable cause does exist, the prosecutor will draw up the charging documents and the police detective will while under oath present the probable cause evidence and the charging documents to the judge. The judge will decide whether probable cause exists and if so will authorize the charge and any related actions such as an arrest warrant.
  • Complaint– A Complaint is filed similarly to that of the Information, however the affiant in the case of a Complaint would be the victim or complainant instead of a police detective as described above. Complaints are limited to misdemeanor charges. The victim or complainant would meet with a prosecutor and present the factual basis for the offense, and if the prosecutor determines that probable causes does exist, the victim or complainant would present the probable cause evidence while under oath to a judge.
  • Indictment– An Indictment is different from to both an Information and a Complaint. An Indictment results from a Grand Jury convening and hearing testimony from which probable cause is determined to exist. If probable cause is found, the Grand Jury returns a True Bill and charges are issued in the form of an Indictment


A defendant must be informed of the charges lodged against him. This is done at the Arraignment. The judge reads the charge to the defendant, the possible penalties related to the offense class are explained, bond is set and a Pre-Trial Conference is scheduled.

Preliminary Hearing:

At a Preliminary Hearing, the State presents evidence of probable cause in a formal court hearing and the defendant’s attorney may cross examine the State’s witness(es). The presiding judge determines the existence of probable cause based upon the evidence presented and if probable cause is found to exist, the matter is set over for a series of upcoming hearings: Pre-Trial Conference, Plea Date, and Trial.

Pre-Trial Conference:

The Pre-Trial Conference provides an opportunity for the State and the defendant’s attorney to attempt to resolve the case through a process of plea negotiations. One or more Pre-Trial Conferences may occur prior to the case progressing further.

Plea Date:

A Plea Date provides a final opportunity for the defendant to enter a plea of guilty before the matter goes to trial.


For a trial, the case is set to be heard by a trier of fact. The trier of fact may either be a judge or a jury. The State has the burden of proof to prove the offense occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. If the trier of fact finds the State has met its burden of proof, a finding of guilty is established and the case proceeds to sentencing.

Pre-Sentence Investigation:

Once a defendant has been found guilty, the defendant must be sentenced. Prior to being sentenced by a judge, a Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) is ordered to be completed and is done by a Probation Officer from the Department of Court Services. From this investigation, a thorough report called a Pre-Sentence Investigation Report is written and supplied to the judge, the defendant’s attorney, and the State. The report contains detailed information about the defendant including demographics, social history, criminal history, employment and other significant information as well as a victim impact statement and restitution information. The purpose of the report is to provide a complete picture of the defendant and the offense to the judge so that the judge is better prepared to impose a sentence.


Once a defendant has been found guilty, the defendant must be sentenced. A judge has discretion to impose a sentence upon the defendant within the range of penalties commensurate with the crime. However, the judge will take into consideration many factors before sentencing the defendant including the information contained in the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report. Additionally, both the defendant’s attorney and the State may present arguments relative to possible sentence options. A range of possible outcomes depending upon the adjudicated offense include (but are not limited to) fines, terms of supervision or probation, or incarceration.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer with a Proven Track Record of Success

Being represented by The Law Offices of Purav Bhatt means you are represented by one of the top Chicago criminal lawyers.  We are well prepared, attentive and here for you.  Rest assured that you and your matter will get the individual time and attention you and your matter deserve.  As a former Cook County State’s Attorney, Mr. Bhatt has the experience to handle felony and misdemeanor cases, traffic cases and other legal matters as well as an understanding of the prosecution’s goals and objectives.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Purav Bhatt successfully tried hundreds of bench and jury trials related to weapons charges, drug offenses, animal crimes, violent crimes, thefts and gang related offenses.  Mr. Bhatt’s firsthand experience with the methods of the prosecution translates into success for his clients today. After years working with police officers, detectives and investigators building criminal cases against defendants, Mr. Bhatt has the ability to recognize defects in those cases and build strong defenses for his clients.

BEAT YOUR CASE AND BE FOUND NOT GUILTY WITH THE HELP OF CHICAGO CRIMINAL ATTORNEY PURAV BHATT.  As a criminal defense attorney who is recognized and respected for his trial skills, Mr. Bhatt is taken seriously by the opposition.

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The Law Office of Purav Bhatt – Criminal Defense; DUI, Drug, Felony, Weapon, Gun

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Purav Bhatt has been using his training and experience as a former prosecutor to defend clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois. If you are arrested or charged with a criminal offense, you need someone with experience to defend and protect your rights. Call Criminal Defense Lawyer Purav Bhatt.

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