Illinois’ Most Lenient Sentencing Options for Felony Convictions

joliet felony criminal attorneyWhen someone is convicted of a felony in Illinois, the maximum penalties can include years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. But what is the lightest sentence that the court is allowed to hand down?

Can You Get Court Supervision for a Felony?

Illinois does not allow court supervision for felonies. Court supervision is a sentencing option only for traffic violations, petty offenses, and most misdemeanors, including a first-time DUI (but not a repeat DUI).

For those unfamiliar with the term, court supervision is a deferred dismissal of your case. At the end of the supervision period (usually one year), if you have met the requirements set by the court (e.g., not committing another violation and finishing an educational program), the case is dismissed, and no conviction is entered on your record.

Is Probation Without Jail Time Possible for a Felony?

Illinois law allows a sentence of probation (with no time in prison) for most, but not all, felonies in Illinois. First degree murder and Class X felonies (e.g., aggravated assault with a firearm or drug possession involving large quantities of heroin or similarly dangerous drugs) are not eligible for probation; a term of imprisonment is required by state law.

Illinois statutes spell out minimum and maximum prison terms and fines for each felony, but the state also encourages judges to choose alternatives to costly imprisonment, such as probation. The Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform has recommended against the incarceration of people convicted of a Class 3 or 4 felony, particularly when the person has no prior convictions for a violent crime and has not previously been sentenced to probation.

Probation requires the convicted individual to check in regularly with a probation officer and to comply with all conditions set by the court, which can be extensive. Violation of probation terms will result in sanctions, including the possibility of being sent to prison. The length of a probation sentence varies depending on the severity of the crime. For the lowest-level Class 4 felony, an offender can be sentenced to probation for up to 30 months, or imprisonment for one to three years.

What Does a Sentence of Conditional Discharge Mean?

A sentence of conditional discharge is an even better outcome than probation, because the offender does not need to check in regularly with a probation officer. But, as with probation, the offender still has a conviction on their record and must meet various conditions set by the court for the required period of time.

Trust an Experienced Joliet Felony Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious crime, you need the help of an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba will provide the aggressive defense you need, from the moment you contact us. We respond to calls 24/7 at 815-740-4025; call now for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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26 East Clinton Street Joliet, IL 60432