Misdemeanors and felonies are often confused for one another. There are a few ways of telling them apart. Misdemeanors carry sentences of less than one year and are served in local or county jails. Felonies carry sentences of one year or more and are served in a state or federal prison. Some offenses can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies but which one depends on the severity of the crime. Illinois has four classes of felonies that are numerical with an added Class X Felony. Some Illinois felony classes can have the same criminal offenses in more than one category. For example driving under the influence can be under more than one class. Which class each crime falls into depends on the circumstances of the crime and the severity of the crime. An individual can receive more than one punishment under different felonies at the same time. For example an individual can be charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, and sexual crimes at the same time.
Class X Felonies are the most severe felonies in the state of Illinois and can carry prison sentences between six years and thirty years with, without, or instead of a fine up to twenty-five thousand dollars. Class X Felonies include aggravated criminal sexual assault. Class 1 Felonies can have charges between four years and fifteen years in a state prison with, without, or instead of a twenty-five thousand-dollar fine. This class of felonies includes kidnapping, drug crimes, and criminal sexual assault.
Class 2 Felonies include theft, arson, burglary, sexual crimes, white collar crimes, drug crimes, and robbery. Class 2 Felonies are punishable by up to seven years in prison and as low as three years in a state prison. This punishment can include a fine up to twenty-five thousand dollars with, without or instead of a prison sentence.
Class 3 Felonies can also have a twenty-five thousand-dollar fine instead of or along with a prison sentence that can range between five years and two years. A prison sentence can also be the only punishment. Class 3 Felonies include aggravated crimes, theft, driving under the influence, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and drug crimes.
The final Illinois felony category is the Class 4 Felony. This felony class includes driving under the influence, stalking, bribery, felony driving, and harassment. Class 4 Felonies are punishable by up to three years in prison or as little as one year in prison. A fine up to twenty-five thousand dollars can accompany a prison sentence or replace a prison sentence.
Illinois Felony Expungement
A majority of felony convictions in the state of Illinois are not eligible for expungement. Unless a charge has been deemed nolle posequi, a charge was dismissed, or the individual was found not guilty of the offense, the charges will remain on his or her record. Some drug crime offenses can be eligible for expungement five years after the sentence has been completed and if all the necessary criteria have been met. Driving under the influence charges can never be expunged.