The American criminal justice system is a complex and complicated network of laws, regulations, policies, and procedures. Being the most populous state in the United States and with a diverse mix of agricultural regions to urban areas means that each Illinois county has unique circumstances to contend with regarding criminal law. Laws can also vary significantly by city or municipality, meaning it can be difficult for anyone, but lawyers specializing in criminal law will know all the intricacies.
Therefore, many people will turn to legal specialists to answer their questions and ensure they know the laws in their particular area of Illinois. Before hiring a lawyer, potential clients should first educate themselves on how an attorney can or cannot help them with their case, what information is needed to present a claim or defense, and other relevant steps they can take to protect themselves.
Visit this website for legal guide to learn more about misdemeanor and felony laws in Illinois.
What is a misdemeanor in Illinois?
A misdemeanor is a crime that carries less severe consequences. There are numerous misdemeanors, but usually, only one is punishable by imprisonment. These can range from technical violations of the law to violent felonies. A person accused of a misdemeanor may have their freedom curtailed or have their ability to obtain housing curtailed. A misdemeanor may also stay on a person’s record for life, making it more challenging to get a job or other things. Misdemeanor charges are punishable by up to a year in prison or fines.
What is felony in Illinois?
A felony is any crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year in Illinois, including aggravated felonies and first-degree murder, even if it carries less severe consequences than misdemeanors.
How is the law different for misdemeanors and felonies?
In Illinois, the courts classify crimes into one of four categories: felony, misdemeanor, petty offense, or violation. Misdemeanor charges can mean less severe consequences than felonies, but they are still punishable by up to a year in prison. Felony charges can mean a person may go to prison for years or even decades. The crime also significantly impacts the defendant’s employment and housing abilities.
What is the difference between a felony and misdemeanor crimes in Illinois?
If someone has been charged with a misdemeanor, it might seem like there is not much of a difference, but this is not true. Misdemeanor or felony charges may significantly impact a person’s life. For example, while possession of marijuana is illegal in Illinois under both laws, it carries different consequences: possessing 30-500 grams of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor and as a felony for more than 500 grams. A misdemeanor is typically punishable by up to a year, while a felony is punishable by up to three years.
The consequences of a conviction can also have severe implications for someone’s life after their trial. A felony conviction means that the person might be deprived of voting rights, may not be able to find housing or jobs, and might have trouble traveling across state lines. A misdemeanor conviction carries less severe effects than felonies but can still affect the defendant’s opportunities for employment and housing.
What happens if an individual is charged with a felony?
If an individual is convicted of a felony in Illinois, the court can sentence the person to up to three years of imprisonment. This means the person will have to be locked up for at least 90 days or until their parole or release date has passed. The defendant may not get out of prison for at least three years.
What happens if an individual is charged with a misdemeanor?
If the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor in Illinois, the court can sentence them up to one year. Like a felony conviction, the person must be locked up for at least 90 days until their release date has passed.