The Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies: A Guide to Understanding Criminal Charges in Illinois

Misdemeanors and felonies are two different types of crimes, and knowing the difference between these two is not easy. They differ in the level of punishment they involve. A misdemeanor does not include serious consequences, but a felony has more significant effects than misdemeanors. Here is a breakdown of misdemeanor vs. felony crimes.

What is a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is an offense that involves minor consequences. As long as the crime or act of violating a law was not intended to cause harm, it may still be prosecuted if determination shows this was the case. Misdemeanors are offenses related to behavior and actions rather than criminal conduct. Crimes included in this category include harassing or threatening a neighbor, trespassing, and loitering.

In Illinois, we see three misdemeanors- class a misdemeanor, class b misdemeanor, and class c misdemeanor.

What is a class a misdemeanor?

It is the maximum level of misdemeanor. Criminal damage to property, driving under the influence (DUI), reckless conduct, etc., fall under this category.

The highest jail time can be 364 days in these cases.

The maximum fine can be $2,500.

What is a class b misdemeanor?

Class b misdemeanor is one step down from class a. Simulating a legal process, computer tampering, littering, etc., falls under this category.

The highest jail time can be 180 days in these cases.

The maximum fine can be $1,500.

What is a class c misdemeanor?

The lowest level of misdemeanor is class c misdemeanor. Disorderly conduct at a funeral, assault, etc., falls under this category.

The highest jail time can be 30 days in these cases.

The maximum fine can be $1,500.

What is a felony?

It is a severe crime that enhances the risk of being sent to prison from federal to state. Convictions for felonies include violent crimes, drug and gun offenses, some business crimes such as theft or arson, and money laundering. Many have jail terms of more than one year. Violations that fall under this category are significant acts with harmful effects on the community or state, including robbery, attempted murder, and driving while intoxicated (DWAI).

Class x felony, class 1 felony, class 2 felony, class 3 felony, and class 4 felony – these are five felonies you see in Illinois.

What is a class x felony?

Class x felony is the highest level of crime in Illinois. Aggravated arson, criminal drug conspiracy, solicitation for murder, etc., fall under this category.

The lowest jail time is six years, and the highest is 30 years.

What is a class 1 felony?

The second most severe felony in Illinois is class 1 felony. Cannabis trafficking, gunrunning, etc., fall under this category.

The lowest jail time is four years, and the highest is 15 years.

What is a class 2 felony?

Class 2 felonies are the third most severe crime. Kidnapping, burglary, inducement to commit suicide, etc., are known crimes in this category.

The lowest jail time is three years, and the highest is seven years.

What is a class 3 felony?

Class 3 felony is the fourth most serious felony here and criminal abortion, involuntary manslaughter, kickbacks, etc., are popular in this category.

The lowest jail time is two years, and the highest is five years.

What is a class 4 felony?

Finally, class 4 felonies are the lowest, and widespread crimes are unauthorized prescription form, looting, hate crime, etc.

The prison time is one year at least.

Note 1: Apart from the prison time, up to a $25,000 fine can be charged in case of all the felonies.

Note 2: The judge can always sentence you to both jail time and a fine in case of all types of misdemeanors and felonies.

Finally, this article shows the difference between felonies and misdemeanors in brief. After reading this guide, it will be easy for you to understand the criminal charges in Illinois, I believe.

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