Recent Changes to Felony Punishments in Illinois
When a crime is severe enough to constitute a felony conviction, it means that the penalty is punishable by at least one year in prison. Alternatively, a misdemeanor is less than one year in prison. Felonies break down into several different classes, ranging from one to four, Class X, and first-degree murder depending on the severity of the accused crime. Previously, punishments came based solely on the crime at hand and did not take into consideration other factors, including a previously spotless record. The Unified Code of Corrections changed at the end of 2016 with the passing of SB 3164, effectively altering the prison terms of those convicted of Class 3 or 4 felony.
During the sentencing of a crime, the presiding judge takes into account all parts to a story. With each criminal classification, there are parameters set in place that limits the authority of the judge ensuring that no penalty is too lenient or too harsh. The parameters for Class 3 and 4 felonies are as follows:
- Class 4 felony: One to three years in prison with an extended term possibility of up to six years in prison and fines up to $25,000.00.
- Class 3 Felony: Punishable by two to five years in prison and an optional extended term of up to ten years in prison and again with fines of up to $25,000.00.
A judge will consider all aspects and potential punishment alternatives during the sentencing of a crime. During the trial or a plea bargain is when the determination of guilty or not guilty occurs. The sentencing does not always take place at the same time but during a sentencing hearing. It is always the same judge that presided over the conviction unless the judge is no longer in that court. During this time, the judge will take into account:
- All evidence,
- Presentence reports,
- Financial impact of incarceration,
- Evidence and information offered by both parties,
- Arguments for sentencing alternatives,
- The defendant’s statement, and
- The victim’s statement.
For Class 3 and 4 felonies with no prior convictions, another opportunity is now afforded by legislation. If probation or conditional discharge is a penalty option, a sentence of imprisonment is not immediate. After reviewing the presentence report, the judge must make a decision. If the judge deems that prison is necessary, they must give an explanation of why the evidence supports that being the most appropriate sentence over all other options.
Defending Your Freedom
If you face felony accusations, it is important to protect your freedom. Without the appropriate representation of the truth, many times the court system will punish to the greatest extent of the law. If you are interested in someone listening to your story and determining the best possible defensive option for your situation, contact a Maywood, IL criminal defense attorney by calling Stringini & Garvey, P.C. today at 630-834-9595 to arrange your risk-free consultation. With over 65 years of experience, we have the knowledge and experience to guide you through your predicament expertly. We offer 24-hour availability to our clients in Maywood, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Bloomingdale, and all surrounding Chicagoland areas.