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Chicago Felony Attorney
Criminal law is divided into two main categories: felony and misdemeanor. The crimes in each category may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction because of how state legislatures and Congress define what constitutes a felony and a misdemeanor. Felonies are more serious crimes carrying more serious punishments, while misdemeanors are lesser crimes with lesser punishments.
The Differences Between a Felony and a Misdemeanors
The main difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the severity of the crime. What is considered to be a severe crime varies from state to state.
Felonies and misdemeanors can be committed against people, property, or the state.
The punishments for a felony and misdemeanor differ greatly as well. Felonies tend to involve prison sentences of at least a year, fines, or a combination of both, while misdemeanors involve prison sentences of less than a year, smaller fines, or a combination of both. Misdemeanors frequently result in alternative sentencing, such as community service or rehabilitation programs. Very serious felonies can warrant the death penalty.
Examples of Felonies
- Aggravated Assault: Although not always classified as a felony, assault, if severe enough, can warrant a felony charge. Assault occurs when someone threatens physical violence, causing fear or harm. Usually, assault occurs with the use of a weapon, such as a gun or knife.
- Aggravated Battery: Battery, which usually is accompanied by assault, occurs when someone actually causes another person great physical harm, usually with the use of a weapon or fists.
- Arson: Arson is generally when someone intentionally sets fire to a building or, in some instances, a natural area, such as a forest.
- Criminal Sexual Assault: Criminal Sexual Assault is generally the act of engaging someone in non-consensual sex.
- Murder: Murder, also known as homicide, is when one person kills another person.
Some states subdivide felonies into groupings frequently called degrees. The lower the degree, the more severe the crime. For example, first-degree murder, which is murder that is premeditated, is considered more severe than second-degree murder, which is not premeditated.
In Illinois, felonies are those crimes that are punishable by the death penalty or a term of one year or more in state prison.
Felonies in Illinois (other than first degree murder) are designated by class, including:
- Class X felonies
- Class 1 felonies
- Class 2 felonies
- Class 3 felonies, and
- Class 4 felonies.
Murder in Illinois is punishable by the death penalty, life imprisonment, or a prison term of four to 100 years.
Judges may sentence defendants to longer terms (called extended terms) if certain aggravating factors are present. There are many, many aggravating factors that can result in an extended term. A few examples of aggravating factors include:
- any prior criminal conviction by the defendant
- that the crime was a hate crime, or
- that the victim was over the age of 60.
Class X Felony
Class X is the most serious class of felonies, and a class X felony is punishable by six to 30 years’ imprisonment. An extended term class X felony is punishable by 30 to 60 years in prison.
For example, battery with a firearm is a class X felony.
Class 1 Felony
A class 1 felony is punishable by four to 15 years in prison. An extended term class 1 felony is punishable by 15 to 30 years.
For example, sexual assault is a class 1 felony.
Class 2 Felony
In Illinois, conviction for a class 2 felony can result in a prison term of three to seven years, or seven to 14 years for an extended term.
For example, the criminal transmission of HIV is a class 2 felony.
Class 3 Felony
Under Illinois’s laws, a class 3 felony is punishable by two to five years’ imprisonment, while an extended term class 3 felony is punishable by five to ten years in prison. Many assaults and batteries are class 3 felonies.
Class 4 Felony
Finally, a class 4 felony is punishable by one to three years in prison. An extended term class 4 felony is punishable by three to six years in prison. For example, theft of government property worth less than $500 is a class 4 felony.
Fines and Restitution
In addition to a term of imprisonment, felonies are also punishable by a fine of up to $25,000. Defendants may also be required to pay restitution to their victims for any costs incurred by the victim as a result of the crime.
For example, a defendant who injures someone may have to pay the person’s medical bills as restitution.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit after which criminal prosecution is not permitted. The most serious felony crimes (such as murder, arson and some sex crimes, for example ) do not have statutes of limitations.
Chicago Felony Attorney
If you or a loved one were arrested for a felony offense in Chicago, Illinois, you should know that this offense, as a felony, carries serious sentencing possibilities. Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney William Carlos Weeden is uniquely qualified to defend your Illinois criminal case. Drawing upon years of experience as a former prosecutor, criminal law professor, and police misconduct administrator, Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer William Carlos Weeden will analyze the particular circumstances of your case and help you formulate a winning approach. Whether challenging police procedure, negotiating an acceptable plea bargain, or taking your case to trial, Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney William Carlos Weeden will aggressively defend your rights and freedom. Contact our office today at (773) 683-1060 for a confidential initial consultation at no cost.
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Law Office of William Carlos Weeden
The information on this website has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor create an attorney-client relationship or warrant that a certain result will be attained in a specific case. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois. We encourage you to contact us or another legal professional for advice regarding your individual situation.