Distinguishing Classifications Of Charges
When introduced to the legal system, the jargon is confusing. With words like arrest and charge used incorrectly on a daily basis, it becomes difficult to understand how much trouble you are facing. Other often misunderstood terminology includes felony and misdemeanor classifications. It is important to discern their differences and their potential penalties to build an appropriate defense case.
Every state in the United States has a unique legal system. With it, they also have individualized penalties for crimes based on the severity of each. Two classifications in Illinois are:
- Misdemeanor: Although more severe than an infraction, misdemeanors are crimes punishable by time in county jail, rather than extended periods in a high-security prison.
- Felony: Felonies have minimum imprisonment sentences. Any conviction has minimum consequences of one year of incarceration, with more severe crimes having harsher punishments.
Category Breakdown and Their Penalties
Felonies and misdemeanors are further broken down into classes based on the severity of the alleged crime. These classes are:
- Class C Misdemeanor: The lowest form of penalty punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,500.00, or both. Examples include disorderly conduct or assault.
- Class B Misdemeanor: Punishable by up to six months in jail, fines up to $1,500.00, or both. Examples include harassment and damage to property.
- Class A Misdemeanor: The most severe classification for misdemeanors and is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500.00, or both. Examples include possession of firearms and reckless driving.
- Class 4 Felony: Between one and three years in a state penitentiary, fines of up to $25,000, or both. Examples include aggravated assault, stalking, and DUI without a driver’s license.
- Class 3 Felony: Two to five years in the state penitentiary, fines of up to $25,000.00, or both. These offenses include aggravated battery.
- Class 2 Felony: Between three and seven years in a state penitentiary and fines of up to $25,000. Examples include arson.
- Class 1 Felony: Four to 15 years in the state penitentiary and fines of up to $25,000. Examples include criminal sexual assault and possession of heroin, LSD, or cocaine.
- Class X Felony: The most severe crimes and punishments belong in this category with six to 20 years in a state penitentiary and up to $25,000. Examples of this offense are criminal aggravated sexual assault and battery with a firearm.
When facing criminal charges, it is important to understand the possibilities for punishment when creating a defense for yourself. All too often, the punishment is harsher than the crime due to a weak defense. If you are interested in discussing your options to reduce sentencing or have charges dropped altogether, contact a Maywood, IL criminal defense attorney today by calling Stringini & Garvey, P.C. today at 630-834-9595. We use our over 65 years of combined experienced to defend our clients in Addison, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Bloomingdale, and all surrounding Chicagoland areas.