What Is The Difference Between A Felony And A Misdemeanor?

Author: Joe Pioletti Posted on: . Filed in: Criminal Law.

A felony and a misdemeanor are both criminal charges; however, the main difference is the punishment that you face for a conviction. Understanding the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is important because the penalty you face for a felony conviction is far worse than being convicted of a misdemeanor. In the best-case scenario, you may be able to negotiate your felony charge down to a misdemeanor in order to lessen the jail time that you may face. However, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side who understands the Illinois criminal justice system and the laws that govern crimes in our state.

The criminal lawyers of Pioletti & Pioletti have the experience and the knowledge you need to protect your rights inside and outside of the courtroom. If you have been charged with a crime, contact our office for a consultation as soon as possible. Time is of the essence and our attorneys need to begin preparing a strong defense strategy for your case.

Illinois Misdemeanor Penalties

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, the maximum jail time is less than one year. Most misdemeanor charges do not carry a maximum minimum jail sentence. Illinois categorizes its misdemeanor charges into three classes.

  • Class A Misdemeanor

A conviction of a Class A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Examples include possession of firearms, DUI, aggravated assault, prostitution, some types of theft, and possession of 10 to 30 grams of marijuana.

  • Class B Misdemeanor

A conviction of a Class B misdemeanor can result in up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Examples include harassment, aggravated speeding, and possession of 2.5 to 10 grams of marijuana.

  • Class C Misdemeanor

A conviction of a Class C misdemeanor can result in up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Examples include possession of under 2.5 grams of marijuana, disorderly conduct, and certain types of assault.

Illinois Felony Penalties

Felonies are divided into five classes that are defined by the amount of jail time assigned to each class. A conviction under any felony class may result in a fine of up to $25,000 in addition to the jail time.

  • Class X Felony

A conviction of a Class X Felony carries a sentence of 6 to 30 years in a State Penitentiary. An example of a Class X Felony is aggravated criminal sexual assault.

  • Class 1 Felony

A conviction of a Class 1 Felony carries a sentence of 4 to 15 years in a State Penitentiary. Examples include possession of certain drugs, theft over $10,000, and criminal sexual assault.

  • Class 2 Felony

A conviction of a Class 2 Felony carries a sentence of 3 to 7 years in a State Penitentiary. Examples include arson, theft between $2,000 to $10,000, and possession of 4.5 to 11 pounds of marijuana.

  • Class 3 Felony

A conviction of a Class 3 Felony carries a sentence of 2 to 5 years in a State Penitentiary. Examples include aggravated battery and theft between $300 and $2,000.

  • Class 4 Felony

A conviction of a Class 4 Felony carries a sentence of 1 to 3 years in a State Penitentiary. Examples include stalking, possession of one ounce to one pound of marijuana, and aggravated assault.

Contact Our Office for a Consultation with an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

The criminal defense lawyers of Pioletti & Pioletti represent individuals who need help defending themselves against Illinois criminal charges. We assist clients throughout McLean, Woodford, Tazewell, and Peoria counties by providing compassionate, competent legal services. Contact our office at 309-938-4838 to schedule your free consultation.

When you need the assistance of an experienced criminal attorney in central Illinois, call Pioletti & Pioletti. We are dedicated to providing our clients exceptional service and support.

Joe Pioletti

Joe Pioletti

Attorney Joe C. Pioletti was born and raised in Eureka, IL.Joe received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management from Eureka College where he also minored in Spanish.Joe then received his Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University School of Law.While in law school Joe worked in the Domestic Violence Advocacy Clinic and was a three-time recipient of the Charter Class Campaign for Academic Excellence Scholarship.
Joe Pioletti