While you should always take any criminal charges in Illinois with the utmost seriousness, it’s especially important that you work with an experienced criminal lawyer to fight against any felony that you’re charged with and try to get the charges reduced or dropped. Why? Because Illinois felonies are treated much more harshly than misdemeanors in the state. Just one example of this is that while misdemeanors carry with them a maximum sentence of one year in jail, felonies start at one year of jail time and go up from there.
If you or someone close to you has been charged with a felony, it is imperative that you immediately hire an attorney who knows how these kinds of cases work and has a track record of success. The prosecution and law enforcement officials will try to work quickly to line up evidence against you and bury anything that might hurt their case, so you need someone skilled at ferreting out information and finding people interested in presenting the truth – not just padding conviction numbers. Neil Adams has done this many times for his clients, and he can do it for you, too.
There are a huge number of crimes that Illinois considers felonies, and it’s difficult to put together an exhaustive list because what changes something from a misdemeanor to a felony varies quite a bit from crime to crime.
All of the most serious crimes in Illinois are classified as felonies (murder, aggravated battery, sexual assault, etc.), but there are also a number of crimes the state defines as felonies that many people probably wouldn’t expect. Among these are things like:
Don’t just assume that because you don’t see your crime as something serious that the state is going to agree with you. If you’re not sure what you’re going to be charged with or don’t understand your charges, it’s always smart to contact a lawyer.
You already know that even the least severe of felony charges in Illinois comes with a possible penalty of one year in jail, but that’s just the beginning. Our state divides felonies into five different classes, each of which come with a standard set of penalties that can be modified based on the specifics of your case.
The five classes of felonies in Illinois are Class 4, Class 3, Class 2, Class 1, and Class X. Of these, Class 4 includes the least severe felonies and Class X is reserved for the worst of the worst. Below you’ll find a more in-depth description of each.
Class 4. This class of felonies includes crimes like the aforementioned retail theft of under $300 when you already have a previous theft conviction. Standard penalties are as follows:
Class 3. This class of felonies includes things like theft of over $500 and aggravated battery. Standard penalties are as follows:
Class 2. This class of felonies includes things like aggravated DUI, arson, and possessing between 2000 and 5000 grams of marijuana. Standard penalties are as follows:
Class 1. This class of felonies includes things like possessing “harder” drugs such as cocaine or heroin and criminal sexual assault. Standard penalties are as follows:
Class X. Reserved for only the most serious felonies, this class includes things like murder and aggravated criminal assault. Standard penalties are as follows:
Of course, these are just the standard penalties listed by the state of Illinois, and they can vary greatly from crime to crime and change based on the specific circumstances of your case. The only way to really know what kind of penalties you are going to be facing is to have your case evaluated by an experienced criminal lawyer.
Being arrested for anything can be a traumatic experience, but it’s especially terrifying when you are told that the state is charging you with a felony. Many people don’t know what to do in situations like these, and the cops who arrest you are trained to take advantage of that situation. They want to seem like your friend so that they can get you talking and hopefully use your own words as evidence against you.
The two most important things that you can do when you are told that you’re under arrest are to ask for an attorney and then exercise your right to remain silent until they arrive. Speaking to anyone who isn’t your attorney will only serve to help out the people who are trying to convict you. Beyond this, simply asking for a lawyer prevents the police from continuing to grill you and provides you with time to gather your thoughts and pull yourself together.
Worried about your case or looking for more advice? Call Neil Adams in his Joliet offices today to set up a free consultation where you can discuss your case and learn what options are available to you. Mr. Adams prides himself on returning all phone calls promptly. He can be reached at 815.529.7000.