The Illinois Criminal Code outlines the classes of felonies and the potential penalties associated with each class. Currently, Illinois recognizes five felony classes, and they all carry mandatory sentences of at least on year in prison.
Class 4 Felony
Class 4 felonies are the least severe of the felony classes in Illinois. These offenses carry a penalty of one to three years in the state penitentiary and may also require fines in amounts up to $25,000. Crimes in this category include stalking, felony DUI, and aggravated assault.
Class 3 Felony
More serious crimes receive Class 3 felony status. A Class 3 felony can carry a sentence of two to five years in the state penitentiary. The fine for this class can increase up to $25,000. Class 3 felony crimes include aggravated battery and theft of property valued between $300 and $2,000.
Class 2 Felony
Class 2 felony crimes increase in severity. Someone who commits a Class 2 felony faces imprisonment for three to seven years in the state penitentiary, and fines for this class can increase to as high as $25,000. Examples of class 2 felonies include arson and theft between $2,000 and $10,000.
Class 1 Felony
A Class 1 Felony can carry a sentence of four to fifteen years in the state penitentiary. Fines can increase to as much as $25,000. Examples of Class 1 felonies are criminal sexual assault, possession of illicit drugs including cocaine, LSD or heroin, or theft of property valued between $10,000 and $100,000.
Class X Felony
The most serious of the felony classes is Class X. A person convicted of a Class X felony will likely face a sentence of between six to thirty years in the state penitentiary. As with the other classes, the court may assess fines in an amount up to $25,000. Crimes that fall under this class include aggravated criminal sexual assault.
A felony conviction can follow the offender even after release from prison or payment of the fine. Many convicted felons are unable to be bonded, which bars them from getting certain types of work. Felony offenders may not qualify for public assistance, such as welfare or federal funding for future housing. In addition, dishonesty about past felony convictions could lead to problems in the future.
Courts have considerable leeway when determining the punishment for a felony conviction. It may be important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can explain what kind of punishment might happen and learn how to successfully present a defense.