Classifications of Criminal Charges in Chicago
Illinois law sets out numerous criminal offenses for which you may be charged in criminal court if you are suspected of breaking the law. Some charges can be extremely serious and can put your life-long liberty at stake. Others, in comparison, may seem like a mere slap on the wrist. Additionally, there are many charges in between these two extremes that can mean fines, probation, jail time, and other consequences. No matter what type of charge you are facing, you should always consult with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney for assistance with your case.
Misdemeanors are the less serious class of criminal offenses, and a wide range of criminal activity may lead to misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanors are further divided as follows:
- Class C = These are the least severe and include offenses such as disorderly conduct or possessing marijuana (less than 2.5 grams). These offenses may be punished by probation, 30 days in jail, and/or a fine up to $1,500.
- Class B = These offenses include possessing marijuana (2.5-10 grams), criminal trespass, aggravated speeding, and many more. These offenses may be punished by probation, 180 days in jail, and/or a fine up to $1,500.
- Class A = This is the most common misdemeanor charge and can include DUI, theft, battery, and possession of marijuana over 10 grams. These offenses may be punished by probation, 364 days in jail, and/or a fine up to $2,500.
No misdemeanor offender can ever be sentenced to more than one year in the county jail. However, spending even a week in jail can be a nightmare. Additionally, having a misdemeanor on your permanent record can disqualify you for certain jobs, professional licenses, benefits, and more. Therefore, you never want to take a misdemeanor charge lightly and should always contact a criminal defense lawyer for help as soon as possible.
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors and can mean an extended prison term and costly fines. Felonies are classified as follows:
- Class 4 = This is the least serious felony charge, and includes stalking, possession of a small amount of controlled substances, felony DUI, and aggravated assault. These offenses are generally punished by 1-3 years in state prison.
- Class 3 = These offenses include aggravated battery and theft over $500. These offenses are generally punished by 2-5 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
- Class 2 = These offenses include arson and aggravated DUI. These offenses are generally punished by 3-7 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
- Class 1 = These offenses include possessing cocaine or heroin, or criminal sexual assault. These offenses are generally punished by 4-15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
- Class X = These offenses include assault and battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated criminal sexual assault. These offenses are generally punished by 6-30 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
- First Degree Murder = This is the most serious charge in Illinois, and is punished by 4-100 years in prison, or a life term.
You should never delay in contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing felony charges. No matter how minor or serious your charge may be, attorney Steven Goldman can help you with your case. Call Goldman & Associates today to set up your free case evaluation.