If you’re like many people facing criminal charges – especially if you’ve never been involved in the criminal justice system before – you’re not sure about all the terminology, like misdemeanor and felony. This guide explains the differences between the two.
Generally, misdemeanors are less-serious crimes than felonies are. Felonies are the most serious crimes, and often, convictions result in prison sentences.
Both misdemeanors and felonies are categorized by classes.
Misdemeanors can be Class C, Class B and Class A, with Class C being the least serious and Class A being the most serious. Felonies in Illinois are mostly classified by numbers, with Class 4 being the least serious and Class 1 being the most serious; there’s another category, though – the Class X felony, which is the most serious of all felonies. The following table outlines possible penalties for misdemeanors and felonies in Illinois.
|Criminal Classification||Examples||Possible Penalties|
|Class C misdemeanor||Disorderly conduct, simple assault||Up to 30 days in a county jail and fines of up to $1,500|
|Class B misdemeanor||Trespassing, aggravated speeding||Up to 6 months in a county jail and fines of up to $1,500|
|Class A misdemeanor||Prostitution, soliciting a prostitute, domestic battery||Up to a year in a county jail and fines of up to $2,500|
|Class 4 felony||Looting, filing a false police report, stalking||1 to 3 years in prison|
|Class 3 felony||Aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter, fraudulently obtaining state benefits of more than $300||2 to 5 years in prison|
|Class 2 felony||Robbery, possession of a stolen firearm, arson||3 to 7 years in prison|
|Class 1 felony||Burglary, second-degree murder, sexual assault||4 to 15 years in prison|
|Class X felony||Murder, armed robbery, aggravated arson||6 to 30 years in prison|
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