The sentencing options that are available in Illinois criminal courts depends upon whether the crime is a felony or a misdemeanor. Additionally, the sentencing options available maybe limited by any mandatory sentencing guidelines that are in place such as the Federal Sentencing Guidelines that apply in federal cases. An appropriate sentence can range from court supervision, probation, conditional discharge, jail, or prison. The ultimate sentence imposed by a criminal court can occur as a result of a plea bargain or at the very end of the criminal arrest process, which is usually a sentencing hearing following trial.
Felonies are the most serious offense in Illinois. Felonies range from obstruction of justice, aggravated driving while license suspended, aggravated DUI to white-collar crimes such as fraud and tax evasion to violent crimes like murder and criminal sexual assault. In Illinois, the least serious felonies are classified as Class 4 Felonies which include such crimes as retail theft and possession of a controlled substance. As the severity of the crime increases so does the potential penalties that a court may impose. Aside from Class 4 Felonies, Illinois recognizes Class 3 Felonies, Class 2 Felonies, Class 1 Felonies, and the most severe classification is Class X Felonies, which are punishable by 6-30 years in prison. First-degree murder is its own classification and is punishable by 20-60 years in prison. Regardless of the classification, any person convicted of a felony offense must provide a DNA sample. Supervision is not a sentencing option in felony cases. Felonies carry a maximum fine of $25,000.
What are the Sentencing Options on a Misdemeanor Charge?
Similar to felonies, probation, conditional discharge, and incarceration are valid sentencing options in misdemeanor cases. However, unlike felonies supervision is a valid sentencing option in misdemeanor cases. The biggest difference between the sentencing options in felonies and misdemeanors is the severity of the sentence because most felonies carry with them significant jail time while misdemeanor crimes by definition carry a maximum sentencing option no more than one year in jail.
The least serious misdemeanors offense are classified in Illinois as Class C misdemeanors and they carry at most a jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum fine of $1,500. Class B misdemeanors are the next most serious misdemeanors and they are punishable by 6 months in jail and a fine of $1,500. Finally, the most serious misdemeanors such domestic battery, misdemeanor DUI, driving while license suspended, aggravated speeding, and possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis are Class A misdemeanors and they are punishable by 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Sentencing in Illinois criminal courts can be very harsh and it can result in the loss of your freedom for a very long time. Obviously, the best solution is avoiding a sentencing court in the first place by retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney that has the knowledge and experience to take your case to trial and WIN. If you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charges in Chicago, Rolling Meadows, Markham, Skokie, Bridgeview, Maywood, or Du Page, Kane, Kendall, Lake, or Will counties contact Jaleel Law P.C. to schedule your free no obligation consultation with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney who will talk to you about the sentencing options available in your case but more importantly we will talk to you about how to beat your case.