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What happens if I am charged with a felony in Illinois?
In Illinois, felonies are classified as those crimes that are punishable by a term of one year or more in state prison. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/2-7.)
Felonies in Illinois (other than first degree murder) are designated by class, including:
- Class X felonies
- Class 1 felonies
- Class 2 felonies
- Class 3 felonies, and
- Class 4 felonies.
(730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-10.)
Murder in Illinois is punishable by life imprisonment, or a prison term of four to 100 years.
(730 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 5/5-4.5-20, 5-4.5-30.)
Judges may sentence defendants to longer terms (called extended terms) if certain aggravating factors are present. There are many, many aggravating factors that can result in an extended term. A few examples of aggravating factors include:
- any prior criminal conviction by the defendant
- that the crime was a hate crime, or
- that the victim was over the age of 60.
(730 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 5/5-5-3.2, 5/5-8-2.)
Class X Felony
Class X is the most serious class of felonies, and a class X felony is punishable by six to 30 years’ imprisonment. An extended term class X felony is punishable by 30 to 60 years in prison.
(730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-25.)
Class 1 Felony
A class 1 felony is punishable by four to 15 years in prison. An extended term class 1 felony is punishable by 15 to 30 years. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-30.)
Class 2 Felony
In Illinois, conviction for a class 2 felony can result in a prison term of three to seven years, or seven to 14 years for an extended term. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-35.)
Class 3 Felony
Under Illinois’s laws, a class 3 felony is punishable by two to five years’ imprisonment, while an extended term class 3 felony is punishable by five to ten years in prison. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-40.)
Class 4 Felony
Finally, a class 4 felony is punishable by one to three years in prison. An extended term class 4 felony is punishable by three to six years in prison. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-45.)
Fines and Restitution
In addition to a term of imprisonment, felonies are also punishable by a fine of up to $25,000. Defendants may also be required to pay restitution to their victims for any costs incurred by the victim as a result of the crime.
For example, a defendant who injures someone may have to pay the person’s medical bills as restitution. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 5/5-4.5-15, 5/5-4.5-50.)
Statutes of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit after which criminal prosecution is not permitted. The most serious crimes (such as murder and some sex crimes against children) do not have statutes of limitations.