Getting charged with a felony can ruin someone’s life. Illinois leads the country in exonerations, and some researchers estimate that up to 11.6% of all convictions are wrongful. If you’re charged with a serious crime, you need an experienced felony defense lawyer on your side. There are numerous types of felonies with an assortment of penalties. A defense attorney can help reduce your sentence or get the charges thrown out, preventing you from facing steep fines, jail time, and social ostracization.
Classes of Felonies
There are six felony classes in Illinois—1, 2, 3, 4, X, and M—and all have strict penalties. Unlike misdemeanors, felonies carry a sentence of at least one year in jail, but the severity of the sentence can go up to life, depending on the alleged crime.
Class 1 Felonies require at least four years of imprisonment and max out at 15. If the crime is considered especially egregious, a judge may order the accused to serve 15-30 years. Although some Class 1 is probational, certain crimes or those with previous felony convictions are not eligible for probation. Crimes that are considered a Class 1 Felony include:
- Possession of explosives
- Second-degree murder
- Residential burglary
- Possession of child pornography (photo)
Class 2 Felonies typically hold a sentencing range of 3-7 years but can get extended to 7-14 years. Many Class 2 Felonies are probational (with a good felony defense lawyer on your side), but a past criminal history may wave this. Crimes that are considered Class 2 Felonies include:
- Theft over $500
Class 3 Felonies usually result in a sentence of 2-5 years but may get extended to 5-10 years. Much like Class 2 Felonies, Class 3 offenses are usually probational. The prosecution will commonly look to make a deal for these felonies. Common charges include:
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Possession of fewer than 5 grams of meth
- Theft under $500
Class 4 Felonies are the least serious types of felonies (although all felonies are serious). Those found guilty will get sentenced to 1-3 years in prison but may see their sentences extended up to 6 years, depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. There are also super Class 4 Felony offenses, which include crimes like Aggravated DUI with Great Bodily Harm. These crimes can result in sentences that last up to 12 years. Class 4 felonies we frequently see include:
- Possession of cannabis, 100-500 grams
- False police report
- Patronizing a prostitute
- Reckless discharge of a firearm
Class X Felonies are the second most serious type of crime and carry hefty sentences that typically range from 6-30 years but can last as long as 60 with extended terms. These felonies are not probational, and supped-up offenses, such as terrorism without death, can result in life. Common Class X Felonies include:
- Armed robbery
- Aggravated vehicular hijacking
- Attempted murder
- Home invasion
Class M felonies are murderers. If convicted, one must serve a minimum of 20 years, but many sentences go to life. These offences are not probationable, and those convicted of the crime must serve 100% of their sentence.
If charged with a felony, there are a multitude of penalties one must face, including:
The biggest thing most people worry about is some type of jail or prison time. Depending on the crime and sentence, someone can spend a large part of their life in the U.S. penal system. If you’re charged with a Class 4 felony in Woodridge, IL, you will most likely spend at least a few hours at Woodridge City Jail. However, if you are convicted of a more serious offense, you may get moved to the state penitentiary.
Even if you never see the inside of a jail cell, you will face steep fines if convicted of a felony. Not only will you need to pay Woodridge local fines, but you’ll also need to pay the state, court costs, and any restitution awarded to the victim of the crime.
Loss of License
If you’re convicted of a DUI or felony on a public road or highway, you can risk permanently losing your license or getting it suspended for a long period of time. This can adversely affect both your personal and professional lives.
Sex Offender Registry
If you’re convicted of a sex crime, your name will get placed on the Sex Offender Registry. This can dictate where you live as well as anyone being able to find your crimes for decades—if not the rest of your life. Many companies will not hire sex offenders either, meaning you will likely face issues finding employment.
A criminal record will follow you for the rest of your life. This will severely limit your job and educational prospects as well as affect your personal life. Many people convicted of a felony find that the criminal record aspect is the hardest to deal with as it follows them for life long after they’ve completed their sentence.
How a Defense Attorney Can Help
The main thing to remember if you’re being charged with a felony is that the prosecution is not your friend. They’re going to offer you subpar deals that they can consider a “win.” When you hire a qualified felony defense attorney in Woodridge, IL, you’re going to have someone on your side who is willing to fight for your rights and prove your innocence. Although an attorney may not be able to make everything go away with a wave of their hand, they can fight with prosecutors to ensure you get the best deal possible. Many accused individuals find their crimes reduced to misdemeanors or cases completely dropped with an experienced defense attorney on their side.
If you’ve been accused of a felony, don’t panic. Wolf & Stec’s dedicated felony defense attorneys will work with you to craft the best defense possible to ensure you can return to your normal life as quickly as possible. We’ve helped thousands of clients resolve their problems, even when things seemed dire. To learn more about how we can help you get your defense started ASAP, visit our website here.