What is a Class A Misdemeanor in Illinois?

If you’re like many people, you know that crimes are categorized between felonies and misdemeanors in Illinois – but what is a Class A misdemeanor, and what are the possible penalties if you’re convicted of one?

First things first: If you’re accused of a Class A misdemeanor, you probably need to talk to a Chicago criminal defense lawyer who can fight for your rights in court and help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

What is a Class A Misdemeanor in Illinois?

A Class A misdemeanor, which is one step away from a felony, can include crimes such as:

For most people, it makes sense to work with a misdemeanor defense attorney. If you’re convicted of a crime, it stays on your criminal record forever (unless you petition the court for an expungement or sealing) – and it can prevent you from getting a job, finding a decent place to live, or even from getting credit.

What Are the Penalties for Class A Misdemeanors?

Possible penalties for a Class A misdemeanor conviction include:

  • Imprisonment
  • Periodic imprisonment
  • Home detention
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Fines
  • Restitution

Imprisonment for a Class A Misdemeanor

The court can sentence you to 364 days in jail. It can also sentence you to periodic imprisonment or home detention, which are both types of confinement.

What is Periodic Imprisonment?

Periodic imprisonment is the legal name for work-release. There are four Adult Transition Centers, or ATCs, in Illinois. They include Fox Valley ATC in Aurora, which is the only ATC that houses female inmates, as well as Crossroads ATC and North Lawndale ATC in Chicago, and Peoria ATC in Peoria. Not everyone qualifies for a work-release program, but if you do, it means that you go to work (or school) during the day and return to the facility to be locked down at night.

Home Detention After a Class A Misdemeanor in IllinoisHome Detention After a Class A Misdemeanor in Illinois

Home detention is the legal term for house arrest or electronic home monitoring. It involves wearing an ankle bracelet (sometimes called a tether) for 24 hours a day – and the tether informs the sheriff’s office when you leave home and when you go back. It also lets the sheriff’s office know if you’re tampering with the device. You might be allowed to leave home to go to school, work, job interviews or meet with your lawyer, but all that has to be cleared ahead of time.


You could be sentenced for up to 2 years of probation. You’ll have to report to a probation officer and stick to all the rules the judge sets forth as conditions of your probation, which can include things like attending anger management classes.

Penalties for Class A Misdemeanors - Community ServiceCommunity Service

The judge in your case can order you to complete a certain number of hours of community service. In that case, you may be able to perform the service through Social Services or through the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (commonly called SWAP). If the judge orders you to complete community service, you’ll have to prove that you actually served a certain number of hours; usually, the person running the service activity signs off on a sheet or reports back to the entity responsible for tracking your service.

Fines Associated With Class A Misdemeanors

If you’re convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you could be ordered to pay up to $2,500 in fines. That doesn’t include restitution the judge might order you to pay.

What is Restitution?

Restitution is money you pay the victim for actual monetary losses. If you destroyed someone’s property, for example, the judge may order you to pay for it.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Class A Misdemeanors in Illinois?

If you’ve been accused of any misdemeanor – Class A or otherwise – you may need to talk to a Chicago criminal defense lawyer.

Call us right now at 847-920-4540 for a free case review. We’ll ask you what happened and start discussing possible outcomes of your case.