Understanding Illinois Misdemeanor Charges

Posted on in Misdemeanor

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system, Illinois criminal lawyer, Do you know what differentiates a misdemeanor charge from a felony charge in Illinois? Per Illinois state law, misdemeanors are charges that include a punishment of less than a year in county or local jail. Felonies, on the other hand, are more serious crimes and include punishment of a year or more in a state prison.

While it is true that misdemeanor crimes carry less harsh penalties compared to felonies, misdemeanor charges are still very serious and can potentially harm you into the future. Misdemeanors still include arrest, being required to take mug shots and fingerprinting, and result in a criminal record. In Illinois, a criminal record can make things like finding a job, leasing an apartment, and continuing your education difficult.

Classes of Illinois Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors in Illinois are separated into three categories, class A, class B, and class C, depending on the severity of the crime committed. The least severe misdemeanor is class C, and charges include assault and disorderly conduct, while the most severe class, class A, includes crimes such as prostitution, theft, and driving under the influence.

Class A Misdemeanors

Being the most severe class of misdemeanors in Illinois, class A misdemeanor charges mean you are facing harsh punishments:

  • Three hundred sixty-four days in jail;
  • Probation for up to two years; and
  • A fine of $2,500 or less.

Class A misdemeanor examples include domestic battery, aggravated assault, criminal trespass to a residence or vehicle, prostitution, retail theft, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Class B Misdemeanors

Class B misdemeanors are very serious as well. Sentences for this type of misdemeanor can include:

  • Jail time of up to six months;
  • Probation for up to two years; and
  • A fine of $1,500 or less.

Class B misdemeanor examples include aggravated speeding, littering, possession of 2.5 to 10 grams of marijuana, criminal trespass to land, and computer tampering.

Class C Misdemeanors

Class C misdemeanor charges should still be taken seriously, despite their sentences involving the least serious of punishments:

  • Thirty days or less in jail;
  • Two years or less of probation; and
  • A fine of $1,500 or less.

Class C misdemeanors include cannabis possession of 2.5 grams or less, assault, and disorderly conduct.

Misdemeanor into Felony

Repeated crime can bring more severe consequences. In Illinois, a first-time crime charge can be a misdemeanor, while any subsequent offenses can be felonies. This means, for example, that if a person is found guilty of theft and charged with a misdemeanor, and then arrested again in the future, they could face felony charges. It is important to remember that in many cases, a past criminal record can result in potentially harsher punishments for additional crimes.

Contact Us Today

Are you facing criminal charges and ready to take a step towards protecting your future? If so, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today to get started with an experienced Chicago area criminal defense attorney. We offer free consultations at our office or off site if needed, and we are reachable 24/7. Call 312-629-0669 to get started.

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