Misdemeanor Laws in IL
Criminal offenses range in severity. The most serious offenses are Class X felonies, punishable by decades in prison. On the other end of the spectrum are misdemeanors, which are punishable by fines, jail time, or both. Although misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, a misdemeanor conviction will still show up on your criminal record and can still have a significant impact on your private and professional life. Continue reading for a discussion of misdemeanor laws in Illinois. If you’ve been arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime in Illinois, call a dedicated Chicago criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.
What Is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a class of criminal offense. Misdemeanors are generally contrasted with felonies. Legally, a misdemeanor can be any criminal offense punishable by less than a year in county jail. When a crime is punishable by a year or more in jail or prison, the crime is classified as a felony.
Even though misdemeanors carry lesser penalties, they can still affect your life and your future. A misdemeanor conviction can have consequences regarding housing, job applications, professional licensing, immigration status, and other matters. A misdemeanor conviction can still land you up to a year in jail, as well. Some criminal offenses are “wobblers,” meaning they can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the prosecutor.
It’s important to have the right legal help on your side even when facing misdemeanor charges to avoid the worst possible consequences of a conviction.
Common Misdemeanors and Penalties in IL
Misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail. Once the crime is punishable by a year or more incarceration, it will be classified as a felony. Illinois law has different levels of misdemeanors which carry different penalties.
The most serious misdemeanors in Illinois are categorized as Class A misdemeanors. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in county jail and fines of up to $2,500. Common Class A misdemeanors include borderline serious or violent offenses such as aggravated assault, battery, reckless conduct, theft (under $500), DUI, aggravated speeding, possession of alcohol by a minor, and certain drug offenses.
Next are Class B misdemeanors. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days in county jail and fines of up to $1,500. Common Class B misdemeanors include criminal trespass to land, telephone harassment, aggravated speeding, unlawful tampering, littering, and possession of certain quantities of cannabis.
The lowest class of criminal offense in Illinois is a Class C misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to 30 days in county jail and fines of up to $1,500. Common Class B misdemeanors include disorderly conduct, storing a firearm within the presence of a minor under the age of 14, and unlawful assault.
Call an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago and Carol Stream
If you or someone you care about is facing misdemeanor or felony charges in Illinois, protect your future and your family by seeking representation from compassionate, diligent Chicagoland criminal defense lawyers. Contact the Carol Stream offices of Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt at 630-665-9600.