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What Are the Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in Illinois?

Posted on in Felonies

IL defense lawyerWhile there are many similarities between a misdemeanor and a felony, the single most central commonality being the fact that they are both categories of criminal offenses in the Illinois justice system with which you can be charged, there are major contrasts that can mean the difference between not much time in jail and low fines to major prison time and substantial fines. Here is a closer look at the differences between felonies and misdemeanors in Illinois.

Definitions and Examples

Ultimately, the primary difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the severity of the crime. The Illinois criminal justice system views certain crimes as less serious than other crimes, which is why they are separated into these two categories and then delineated into different classes with different penalties (shown below). The following is true of misdemeanors and felonies in Illinois:

Misdemeanors—These are not as serious as felonies, but they can still cause damage to your life and reputation, including affecting your opportunities for employment, housing, finances, and education. Fortunately, with the right lawyer, some misdemeanors can be expunged. Examples of misdemeanors include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Theft
  • DUIs and other drinking-related charges
  • Drug possession and other drug-related charges
  • Sex crimes

Felonies—These are more serious than misdemeanors; in fact, they are the most serious of criminal classifications. This means the penalties are steep. It also means that many felonies can never be expunged from your record as they can with misdemeanors; in other words, depending on the felony, you might be branded a felon for life as having committed these types of crimes in Illinois. Examples of felonies include:

  • Burglary
  • Forgery
  • Stealing cars
  • More severe drug charges, sex crimes, or DUI

Classes and Associated Penalties

Depending on what you are being charged with, there are different classes of penalties for misdemeanors and felonies. Here is a summary of each:

Misdemeanors:

  • Class C Misdemeanors lead to penalties up to the following:
  • Fines of $1,500
  • 30 days in jail
  • Class B Misdemeanors carry with them these penalties:
  • Fines up to $1,500
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • The consequences of Class A Misdemeanors include:
  • Fines up to $2,500
  • Up to a year in jail

 Felonies:

  • Class 4 Felonies lead to the following penalties:
  • Fines up to $25,000
  • Up to three years in prison
  • Class 3 Felonies carry with them the following consequences:
  • Fines up to $25,000
  • Up to five years in prison
  • Class 2 Felonies could result in the following punishments:
  • Fines up to $25,000
  • Up to seven years in prison
  • Class 1 Felonies could lead to these penalties:
  • Fines up to $25,000
  • Up to 15 years in prison

Other than the consequences for homicide, Class X Felonies are the most severe in penalties, requiring the following punishments to be served:

  • Fines up to $25,000
  • Up to 30 years in prison

Contact a Kane County Felony Defense Lawyer

If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, call an Aurora IL misdemeanor defense attorney at 847-488-0889 for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola will give you a fighting chance in the Illinois criminal justice system because Brian has experience as a prosecutor and knows how to anticipate the prosecution’s arguments to better prepare for your case and convince the judge and jury to deliver a verdict in your favor.

 

Sources:

http://www.icjia.state.il.us/assets/pdf/ResearchReports/Policies_and_Procedures_of_the_Illinois_Criminal_Justice_System_Aug2012.pdf

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-4.5-55

https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/Media%20Law%20Handbook%20Chapter%2005%20-%20Crimes%20and%20Punishment.pdf

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Avvo Illinois State Bar Association Kane COunty Bar Association
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