Illinois Felony Punishment Breakdown

Joliet Felony Criminal Charges AttorneyAre you facing felony charges ? A felony is any crime that is punishable by at least one year in an Illinois state prison. Misdemeanor charges, on the other hand, include a prison sentence of a year or less, depending on the severity. If you are facing felony charges, it is important that you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. With prison time and hefty fines on the line, a guilty verdict can be life changing.

Under Illinois law , felonies are categorized based on the severity of the crime committed. In general, the less serious the crime is, the less severe the punishment is likely to be. Felonies are broken up into five categories - Class 1 through 4 felonies, followed by Class X, which includes the most severe crimes one can commit aside from first degree murder. If you are facing felony charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help determine which class of felony you are being charged with and can help you build as best a defense as possible. Below, we break down the punishments associated with each class of felony in Illinois.

Class 4 Felony

The least serious felony charges one can face are Class 4 felony charges. Examples include stalking and aggravated assault. Being the least serious of all the felony classes in Illinois, Class 4 felony punishments include a fine of up to $25,000 and between 1 and 3 years in jail.

Class 3 Felony

Class 3 felonies are a step up from Class 4, and thus carry harsher sentences. Aggravated battery, for example, is a Class 3 felony, and anyone found guilty of committing a Class 3 felony will face between 2 to 5 years in a state prison as well as fines of up to $25,000.

Class 2 Felony

Class 2 felonies—arson, for example—are very serious. Sentences range from 3 to 7 years in prison along with fines of up to $25,000.

Class 1 Felony

Class 1 felonies include high-level heroin and cocaine possession, as well as other very serious crimes such as criminal sexual assault. The punishment associated with a conviction ranges from 4 to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

Class X Felony

Class X Felonies are the most serious of all felony charges in Illinois. If found guilty, those who have committed Class X felonies face between 6 to 30 years in state prison as well as fines up to $25,000.

Extended Terms in Illinois

In some cases, a judge may determine that extended sentencing is necessary, and may sentence those found guilty of committing a felony to more than the typical prison time associated with the class of felony. Aggravating factors must be present for a judge to add extended terms. For example, a past criminal history , or being involved in a hate crime, would both warrant potential extended terms. Even a Class 4 felony, which is usually punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison, can be extended to up to 6 years if aggravating factors are present. At the top of the list, a Class X felony with extended terms can be punishable by up to 60 years of incarceration.

Facing Charges?

Are you facing felony charges? A felony of any class can be life changing, so it is important that you consult with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney who can help build a strong defense. At the Law Office Jack L. Zaremba, our team has years of success defending clients from a variety of charges. Mr. Zaremba himself is a former prosecutor who understands the Illinois legal system. Call 815-740-4025 today to set up a free consultation with us to review your case.

Facing Domestic Battery Charges: Three Actions that Can Damage Your Case

Joliet Order Of Protection Domestic Violence LawyerWhen you are facing domestic violence accusations of any kind, the potential consequences are grave, especially if you lack the proper knowledge and legal representation necessary to defend your case. Whether you are indeed guilty of committing a domestic violence crime or you feel you are being unjustly accused, the moment you are at risk for being charged, your behavior from that moment on has the power to influence your case.

Domestic Battery Defined

According to Illinois law, you have committed domestic battery if you have knowingly, without legal justification, caused bodily harm or made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature against a family or household member. The state considers domestic battery a Class A misdemeanor, but if you have prior convictions on your record and are arrested, you may face an upgraded Class 4 felony charge. In short, if you have interfered with someone’s freedom in any way by threatening, harassing, or physically hitting them, you have broken the law.

Actions That Can Make Matters Worse

Once you have been detained or arrested on allegations of domestic violence, any move you make can be used against you later in court. Although you may be tempted to make decisions out of anger, confusion, or hurt, any irrational behavior on your part can negatively impact your case. Here are three things to avoid when facing domestic battery charges:

1. Disregarding an order of protection

You may find that a court order has been filed against you that prevents you from contacting the person you are accused of abusing. This means you may be barred from your shared residence and from visiting them at work or school. You may also be required to attend counseling. Additionally, you may be required to appear in court and may be prohibited from taking your child (if applicable) out of town or out of state. In general, an order of protection places certain restrictions on you and keeps you from contacting the claimant. Violating this order is a Class A misdemeanor and can put you at risk for up to a year in jail plus expensive fines. Disregard the order twice, and you are looking at a felony charge.

2. Refusing to cooperate

If you are charged with a domestic battery offense, you will likely be prohibited from contacting the claimant and from entering or remaining at their residence for a minimum of 72 hours. If you attempt to contact them, whether on the phone or in person, you run the risk of being charged with additional offenses. Should you be arrested for violating an order of protection and contacting the claimant, it is critical that you cooperate with law enforcement to ensure you do not aggravate the situation. Do not resist your arresting officer, exert an argumentative tone, or go against the claimant’s wishes. A little cooperation can go a long way when it comes time to go to court.

3. Neglecting to consult with an attorney

A number of factors can keep you from consulting with an attorney when you’ve been accused of a domestic violence crime, such as financial worries, pride, and fear. Speaking with an attorney, however, is one of the very best things you can do to protect your rights.

Call for a Free Consultation

If you have been charged with domestic battery or any other type of domestic violence, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Felony DUI in Illinois

Joliet DUI Felony Driving Under The Influence AttorneyIllinois has one of the strictest DUI programs in the nation. The laws are so strict, in fact, that many who are arrested for a DUI are caught off guard when they learn that their DUI charge is a felony instead of a misdemeanor offense. Do not let this happen to you! Learn what constitutes a felony DUI in Illinois, and how you may be able to protect yourself from the consequences of conviction.

Third Offense Equals a Felony

According to Illinois law , a person’s first and second offense DUI convictions are usually considered Class A misdemeanors. The third offense is considered a Class 2 felony. Consequences include a 10-year revocation of your license, suspension of your vehicle’s registration, administrative penalties, and the possibility of up to seven years of jail time. Some are offered a 48-month probation, but anyone with a BAC of 0.16 or higher receives a mandatory 90-day jail term upon their conviction.
It should also be noted that any arrest after the third DUI conviction will result in a felony charge. However, penalties will be greater for subsequent convictions. For example, those convicted of their fourth DUI are subject to permanent loss of their license and vehicle registration.

Lifetime Lookback
Of all the ways that people arrive at a felony DUI, the lifetime lookback is often the most surprising to defendants. Many committed their first and second offense early in their driving career – often right before or soon after they became of legal age – and then had years or even decades before being charged with their third offense. In Illinois, this time gap does not matter. The lifetime lookback period means that every offense, from the day that you receive your license until you die, counts against you.

Other Felony DUI Offenses

You do not have to have three or more DUI convictions to arrive at a felony DUI in Illinois. In fact, there are many acts that can cause you to face an aggravated DUI charge, which is also considered a felony offense. Some examples include:

• Committing a DUI in a speed-restricted school zone that resulted in a crash causing bodily harm;
• DUI committed while license is suspended for a previous DUI conviction;
• Leaving the scene of an accident that caused personal injury or death;
• DUI that resulted in a crash causing death to another;
• Second or subsequent DUI committed with a passenger under the age of 16; and
• DUI while driving a school bus with one or more passengers under the age of 18.

Avoid the Consequences of a Felony DUI Conviction

Whether facing felony charges for a third or subsequent DUI, or a first DUI offense that resulted in another person’s death, an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney will aggressively protect your rights. Skilled and knowledgeable, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba will work hard to protect you from the consequences of conviction. Get the representation you deserve. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.


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