Understanding the Consequences of a Felony Conviction

HandcuffsIf you are currently a defendant in criminal prosecution and at least one of the charges against you is a felony, you are undoubtedly worried about the outcome of your case. Your focus, however, is probably on the possibility that you will be sentenced to a period of incarceration in jail or prison. Here’s why you should be concerned about all the consequences of a felony conviction, not just the possibility of ending up behind bars.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony: Illinois Criminal Offense Classification System

Each state enacts its own criminal laws as well as its own classification system for criminal offenses. In the State of Illinois, crimes are divided into two primary categories – misdemeanors and felonies, with felonies representing the more serious offenses. Misdemeanors crimes are further sub-divided into Class A, B, and C offenses. A Class A misdemeanor carries the harshest potential misdemeanor penalty with up to 364 days in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine.

Judicial Consequences of a Felony Conviction in Illinois

HandcuffsIllinois further subdivides felony offenses into a Class 1,2,3,4, and X felonies. If you have been charged with a felony offense, you should have a clear understanding of the potential judicial consequences of being convicted. Whether as a result of entering into a guilty plea agreement with the State of Illinois or because of a guilty verdict at the end of a trial, after you are found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence. If you are convicted of a felony offense, the potential judicial penalties are as follows:

  • Class X felony — 6 to 60 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000
  • Class 1 felony — 4 to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000
  • Class 2 felony — 3 to 14 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000
  • Class 3 felony — 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000
  • Class 4 felony — 1 to 6 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000

You may also be required to pay restitution if there was a victim involved in the crime. Also, note that murder falls into its own category and is punishable by a prison term of four to 100 years, life imprisonment, or the death penalty.

Non-Judicial Consequences of a Felony Conviction in Illinois

Facing the possibility of jail time or prison is daunting enough; however, you should also consider the non-judicial consequences of being a convicted felon. Along with having a felony conviction on your criminal record for life, as a convicted felon, you may:

  • Be barred from voting
  • Be disqualified from future employment opportunities
  • Face disciplinary action if you hold a professional license
  • Be disqualified to change your status if you are not a United States citizen
  • Be disqualified for federal assistance including TANF and SNAP (food stamps)
  • Be disqualified for federal student loans for higher education
  • Be disqualified for housing
  • Be banned from purchasing, possessing, or using a firearm
  • Find your conviction used against you in a dispute over visitation or custody of your minor children

Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing felony criminal charges, the key to preventing the numerous potential negative consequences that stem from a felony conviction is to launch an aggressive defense. To get started on your defense, contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney at Sexner and Associates, LLC today by calling (312) 644-0444 or by filling out our online contact form.

This blog is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on specific legal questions.

Written by Mitchell S. Sexner Last Updated : October 21, 2019