Illinois Criminal Code and Laws

What is a Felony or Misdemeanor Offense in Illinois?

Under Illinois criminal law, felonies are significantly more serious offenses than misdemeanors.

Typically, a conviction on a felony charge carries a jail sentence of more than 1 year. For the most serious violent felonies, the sentences are significantly more, and many offenses have mandatory minimum jail sentences.

Misdemeanor criminal charges are those that have a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail or less, usually with no mandatory minimum jail time for most charges. But you are still at significant risk for a jail sentence for many misdemeanor offenses in Illinois, particularly on a second or greater offense. Felony crimes fall into 5 categories while misdemeanors are broken into 3 classes.

Felony Penalties in Illinois

The 5 classes of Illinois felonies are as follows:

Class X Felony

  • Between 6 and 30 years in State Penitentiary; and/or
  • Fine of up to $25,000
  • Examples: Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

Class 1 Felony

Class 2 Felony

  • Between 3 and 7 years in State Penitentiary; and/or
  • Fine of up to $25,000
  • Examples: Arson

Class 3 Felony

  • Between 2 and 5 years in State Penitentiary; and/or
  • Fine of up to $25,000
  • Examples: Aggravated Battery

Class 4 Felony

Note: Sentences for Murder convictions differ from other felony class sentences.

Illinois Misdemeanors Penalties

There are 3 classes of Misdemeanor charges and penalties in Illinois:

Class A Misdemeanor

Class B Misdemeanor

Class C Misdemeanor

For any criminal charge, reading the statutes and finding out the maximum possible sentence doesn’t really tell you much. For a true understanding of what you are up against, and what penalties you may face if you plead guilty or are convicted in court of a crime, you need a case evaluation from an Illinois defense attorney. The details matter and a novice is not likely to understand the important elements of a criminal case, or how a judge is likely to rule or pronounce sentencing in court.

For more information on Illinois criminal laws, here is a direct link to Illinois’ Criminal Code. But it is not exactly easy reading!