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Criminal Sentencing in Illinois: What are the Potential Penalties?

Updated: May 6

Overview

Criminal offenses in Illinois are grouped into three major categories: petty/business offenses, misdemeanors, and felonies. A petty/business offense is any offense where punishment cannot include jail time. A misdemeanor is any offense punishable by up to one-year imprisonment, while a felony is any offense punishable by more than one-year imprisonment. If a person is sentenced to imprisonment for a misdemeanor, they will serve their time in county jail. If a person is sentenced to imprisonment for a felony, they will serve their time at an Illinois Department of Corrections facility.

Below are the general sentencing guidelines for criminal offenses in Illinois. Please note that these are general guidelines. Some offenses will carry additional mandatory conditions.

Misdemeanors

There are 3 classes of misdemeanor offenses (from least severe to most severe): class C, class B, and class A misdemeanors.

Class C Misdemeanor- Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $1,500. You can be placed on a term of probation, conditional discharge, or court supervision for up to 2 years.

Class B Misdemeanor- Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $1,500. You can be placed on a term of probation, conditional discharge, or court supervision for up to 2 years.

Class A Misdemeanor- Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine up to $2,500. You can be placed on a term of probation, conditional discharge, or court supervision for up to 2 years.

Felonies

There are five classes of felony offenses (from least severe to most severe): class 4, class 3, class 2, class 1, and class X. In addition to class levels, murder has its own sentencing guidelines. Some felony offenses carry mandatory prison sentences while other offenses allow for a person to be placed on a term of probation or conditional discharge. You cannot receive court supervision for a felony offense.

Class 4 Felony- Class 4 felonies are the least serious felony offenses. They are punishable by 1-3 years in prison. If you are extended-term eligible, you could be sentenced to 3-6 years in prison. Most class 4 felony offenses are probation eligible, meaning you could be sentenced to a term of probation up to 30 months.

Class 3 Felony- a class 3 felony is punishable by 2-5 years in prison. If extended term eligible, you could be sentenced to 5-10 years in prison. If a class 3 offense is probation or conditional discharge eligible, you could be placed on a term of probation up to 30 months.

Class 2 Felony- a class 2 felony is punishable by 3-7 years in prison. If extended term eligible, you could be sentenced to 7-14 years in prison. If a class 2 offense is probation eligible, you could be placed on probation for up to 4 years.

Class 1 Felony- a class 1 felony is punishable by 4-15 years in prison. If extended term eligible, you could be sentenced to 15- 30 years in prison. If a class 1 offense is probation eligible, you could be placed on probation for up to 4 years.

Class X Felony- a class X felony is punishable by 6-30 years in prison. If extended-term eligible, you could be sentenced to a term of 30- 60 years in prison. Class X offenses are not eligible for probation or conditional discharge. If convicted of a Class X offense, you must serve time in prison.

Additional Consequences and Conditions of a Criminal Sentence

The consequences of a criminal offense can extend beyond the potential fines, court-ordered conditions, and jail time. An arrest, supervision, or conviction for even a misdemeanor can affect a person’s right to own a firearm, drive a car, or be in certain locations. It is important that you review the potential consequences of any criminal charge against you with an attorney.


What's the Difference Between Court Supervision, Conditional Discharge, and Probation?


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