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Overview of Illinois Criminal Law

There are several ways to categorize the different charges in Illinois criminal law. This includes the class of crime and types of criminal charges. Criminal charges in Illinois are generally classified as felonies or misdemeanors. Other minor violations may be categorized as ordinance violations, which generally do not carry criminal penalties.

Criminal charges can also be categorized by type, such as crimes against property or crimes against a person. Crimes against property may include motor vehicle theft, while domestic battery would be considered a crime against a person. Other types of criminal charges may include traffic crimes and drug crimes.

Felonies and Misdemeanors in Illinois

One way to categorize different crimes in our state is by the severity of the crime, generally classified as a felony or misdemeanor.

Felonies are the types of crimes that are generally considered more severe. A conviction for a felony comes with fines of up to $25,000 and considerable time in prison. Individuals convicted of a felony also have collateral consequences that remain even after serving the criminal sentence. Felonies are further categorized into classes:

  • Class 4 felonies are the least severe, though they still come with more than a year of prison time. Examples of Class 4 felonies include drug possession, obstructing justice, sex abuse, and identity theft for less than $300.
  • Class 3 felonies carry between two and five years in prison. Examples of Class 3 felonies include aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter, and identity theft of between $300 and $2,000
  • Class 2 felonies carry between three and seven years in prison. Examples of Class 2 felonies include arson, burglary, robbery, and identity theft of between $2,000 and $10,000.
  • Class 1 felonies carry prison stints of between four and 15 years. Examples of Class 1 felonies include drug trafficking, aggravated robbery, second-degree murder, and identity theft of between $10,000 and $100,000.
  • Class X felonies come with between six and 30 years in prison. Examples of Class X felonies in Illinois include armed robbery, aggravated arson, large-scale drug possession, and identity theft of more than $100,000.

Misdemeanors are relatively less severe, although they can still carry jail terms of up to a year and steep fines. Misdemeanors are classified as A, B, or C, with a Class A Misdemeanor being the most serious and Class C Misdemeanors carrying the lowest penalties. Examples of misdemeanors in Illinois include:

Property Crime, Violent Crime, and Traffic Crimes in Illinois

Criminal violations can also be generally categorized into types of crimes, including:

  • Violent crimes
  • Property crimes
  • Statutory crimes

Violent crimes are those that involve the use of force. The penalties associated with these charges are generally more severe than property or traffic crimes, and include offenses like:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Assault and battery
  • Sex crimes

Property crimes are those that generally affect another person's property (including company or government property), such as:

Finally, statutory crimes are violations of a criminal law or statute. This may include drug crimes and traffic crimes. Traffic crimes are generally less severe and focus on misconduct done on the roads and highways of Illinois. These include:

  • DUI
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving

Criminal Defense Attorneys in Illinois

Regardless of what type of crime you have been accused of committing, the ramifications of a conviction are steep. You could be forced to pay thousands of dollars in fines and spend years in prison. Once everything is over, you would still suffer from the collateral consequences of having a criminal background, making it more difficult to find work and live the life you want to live.

Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to a lawyer. Call us at 630-261-9098 in DuPage County or 312-238-9007 in Chicago to get the help you need to fight these criminal charges.

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