In Illinois criminal law, crimes are divided into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Similar to federal criminal law, felonies include the most serious crimes that carry the most severe sentences, whereas misdemeanors tend to include less serious crimes with less severe sentences. There are also additional classifications within each category.
Illinois misdemeanors are classified from the most serious Class A misdemeanor offenses to the least serious Class C misdemeanor offenses.
It is important to note that misdemeanor charges, whether Class A, Class B or Class C, will remain on your criminal record unless you are pardoned or have the charge expunged. Having an offense charged as a misdemeanor is seen as preferable to being charged with a felony, as it carries a maximum jail sentence of one year. It is for this reason that Illinois criminal defense lawyers work hard on their clients' behalf to have cases tried as misdemeanors when possible--if not outright dismissed altogether.
The Chicago and DuPage Criminal Defense Lawyers at Dolci & Weiland provide dedicated and aggressive legal representation. Dolci & Weiland lawyers are former prosecutors and their combined experience of over 50 years trying criminal cases is critical in preparing your defense.
In Illinois, the most serious classification of a misdemeanor is a Class A misdemeanor and carries with it the most severe sentencing of all misdemeanors. More specifically, Illinois law provides that sentencing for a Class A misdemeanor cannot exceed one year in jail. Some examples of the most common Class A misdemeanor offenses include:
First DUI Conviction in Chicago
First DUI offense convictions in Illinois are usually Class A misdemeanors. An Illinois DUI conviction can lead to administrative penalties, criminal penalties, or both, including a suspended or revoked driver's license, administrative fees, fines, and probation time.
Second Chicago DUI Conviction
A second DUI conviction, while also a Class A misdemeanor, is punishable by a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 community service hours, and suspension of vehicle registration. A second DUI conviction can lead to a suspended or revoked driver's license, administrative fees, fines, and probation time.
Shoplifting Property and Retail Theft in Dupage County
Shoplifting or retail theft can lead to several different outcomes based on whether the store decides to involve the police and also on the value of the property.
If the store decides to involve the police and the property in question has a total combined value of $300 or less, the offense will be treated as a Class A misdemeanor and can result in fines of up to $2,500 and up to one year of jail time.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Without an Intent to Sell in Illinois
The Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act (720 ILCS 600) specifies what drug paraphernalia can include, but most commonly, drug paraphernalia refers to devices used to administer controlled substances (bongs, pipes, syringes) as well as some common household items used in drug packaging and distribution. Possession of drug paraphernalia without an intent to sell is generally classified as a Class A misdemeanor in the State of Illinois, although exceptions do exist.
Illinois law provides that a jail sentence for a Class B misdemeanor cannot exceed six months, and the probation period cannot exceed 2 years. Common examples of Class B misdemeanor offenses include the following:
Possession of Cannabis (over 10gm, up to 30gm) in Illinois
It is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess cannabis. In the case of possession of more than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams of any substance containing cannabis, the offense will be treated as a Class B misdemeanor.
Theft of Lost or Mislaid Property (when the value does not exceed $500)
A person commits theft of lost or mislaid property when he or she obtains control over a property whose value does not exceed $500, and:
- Knows or learns the identity of the owner or knows, or is aware of, or learns of a reasonable method of identifying the owner;
- Fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to the owner; and
- Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property.
Criminal Trespass to Real Property in Illinois
A person commits criminal trespass to real property, punishable as a Class B misdemeanor when he or she:
- Knowingly and without lawful authority enters or remains within or on a building;
- Enters upon the land of another, after receiving, prior to the entry, notice from the owner or occupant that the entry is forbidden;
- Remains upon the land of another, after receiving notice from the owner or occupant to depart; or
- Presents false documents or falsely represents his or her identity orally to the owner or occupant of a building or land in order to obtain permission from the owner or occupant to enter or remain in the building or on the land.
According to Illinois law, a jail sentence for a Class C misdemeanor cannot exceed 30 days, the probation period cannot exceed 2 years, and a fine cannot exceed $1,500 for each offense or the amount specified in the offense, whichever is greater. Some of the most common Class C misdemeanor offenses include the following:
Assault in Chicago - Dupage
Assault is defined in 720 ILCS 5/12-1 as a person knowingly engaging in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery, without lawful authority.
A court will also order any person convicted of assault, in addition to any other sentence that may be imposed, to perform between 30 and 120 hours of community service.
Firearms; Child Protection Violations
A person will be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor if they store or leave a firearm, within premises under their control, if they know or have reason to believe that a minor under the age of 14 (who does not have a Firearm Owners Identification Card) is likely to gain access to the firearm, without the lawful permission, and that minor causes death or great bodily harm with the firearm.
If convicted of this Class C misdemeanor offense, Illinois law states that the defendant will face a minimum fine of $1,000.
Disorderly Conduct in Illinois
Disorderly conduct includes a broad range of offenses and actions. Illinois law outlines different types of disorderly conduct and the different classification of crimes they fall under. For example, an individual can be charged with disorderly conduct as a Class C misdemeanor where he or she knowingly acts in such an unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace.
Chicago - Dupage Misdemeanor Defense Lawyers
If you are arrested for a misdemeanor offense in Chicago or DuPage County, we can help. Call Dolci & Weiland at (630) 261-9098 to speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer. Contact us today for a free consultation.