Under Illinois law, criminal offenses are broadly divided into three categories – petty offenses, misdemeanor offenses, and felony offenses. Of these, felony offenses are extremely serious in nature and carry harsh penalties – ranging from thousands of dollars in fines to lengthy prison sentences. In this short guide, we will take a look at the different felony classes in Illinois and what you can expect from a felony case.
Felony Classes in Illinois
Class 4 Felonies
A Class 4 felony is the lowest level of felony that you can be charged with in Illinois. Examples of Class 4 felony offenses include obstructing justice, stalking, reckless discharge of a firearm, and possession of a controlled substance (less than 15 grams). These offenses are punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Class 3 Felonies
The next level of a felony is a Class 3 felony. These are punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. Examples of Class 3 felonies include aggravated stalking, aggravated battery, forgery, involuntary manslaughter, perjury, and possession of meth (less than 5 grams).
Class 2 Felonies
A Class 2 felony is a bit more serious than the other felony classes. Examples of Class 2 felonies include burglary, arson, aggravated domestic battery, aggravated DUI death, possession of a stolen firearm, and drug trafficking. These are punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Class 1 Felonies
Class 1 felonies are serious charges and are not eligible for probation. These are punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. Examples of Class 1 felonies include criminal sexual assault, residential burglary, aggravated robbery, vehicular hijacking, and second-degree murder.
Class X Felonies
A Class X felony is almost the most serious charge you could face. These are punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. Examples of Class X felonies include home invasion, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated kidnapping, armed robbery, and manufacturing methamphetamine (15 grams or more).
Apart from this, first-degree murder is considered a felony class in and of itself under Illinois criminal law. Commonly referred to as felony class M, it is punishable by 20 years to 60 years in prison or a life sentence.
No matter what type of criminal offense charges you are facing, you will need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side. The best criminal defense attorneys will fight diligently to have your charges dismissed or reduced, whether it is related to white-collar crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, drug crimes, federal crimes, or something else.
How Is a Felony Offense Prosecuted in Illinois?
- The first phase of a felony charge is the arrest, after which the police will contact the State Attorney’s Felony Review Office. The State Attorney will evaluate the case and the evidence against you, then decide whether you should be charged with a felony. If they approve, you will be charged with a felony and entered into the criminal justice system.
- The next step is the bond hearing, during which the judge will decide the terms of your release.
- Following this is the preliminary hearing, where the judge will decide whether the crime for which you were arrested was committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that you committed it. It can also be decided by a grand jury, depending on the circumstances.
- Lastly, there is the arraignment, in which you will be informed of the charges against you. From this point on, there can only be three outcomes to your case – a plea deal, dismissal of charges, or a criminal trial.
What Are the Potential Consequences of a Felony Conviction in Illinois?
The consequences of a felony conviction in Illinois can be life-changing. Apart from the harsh penalties, you also have to deal with collateral consequences like losing the right to own firearms. Additionally, being a convicted felon can make it harder for you to get a good job or rent an apartment, and might impact your child custody and visitation rights.
To have a chance at the best outcome, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Having effective legal representation right from the beginning is the only way to minimize the consequences of your arrest.
Facing Felony Charges? Choose One of the Most Trusted Criminal Defense Lawyers in Chicago, IL to Protect Your Rights
If you are facing felony criminal charges, you need a capable and resourceful Chicago criminal defense lawyer on your side. At The Law Office of Purav Bhatt, we know that your reputation and future are at stake and are prepared to fight relentlessly to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Our founder, Purav Bhatt, is an award-winning and highly dedicated criminal defense attorney who is known for his expertise in criminal law and sharp negotiation skills. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Bhatt can devise the right defense strategy to achieve a positive outcome in your case. If you are looking for an immensely knowledgeable and hard-working attorney for criminal defense, Purav Bhatt is the legal specialist you need on your side.