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Felony v. Misdemeanor: What’s The Difference? 

Posted in Criminal Defense, Homicide on Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Illinois, like many other jurisdictions, divides criminal offenses into misdemeanors and felonies. Both categories of crimes may be punished by fines and periods of incarceration. Many unique characteristics differentiate misdemeanors and felonies. The criminal defense attorneys at Sabuco Beck, PC in Joliet, Illinois, can defend you if you are facing criminal charges. 

The Primary Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies

Felonies are more serious offenses, and misdemeanors are less serious offenses. Misdemeanors are often punishable by fines or short periods in county jail. Felonies, on the other hand, often carry lengthy sentences in state or federal prison. The fines associated with felonies are also higher than the fines associated with misdemeanors. 

Misdemeanors are often divided into specific classes. For example, the state of Illinois has Class A misdemeanors, Class B misdemeanors, and Class C misdemeanors. Many nonviolent crimes are classified as misdemeanors, and more serious crimes like murder and armed robbery are classified as felonies. 

A Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. The least serious class of criminal offenses in Illinois is the Class C Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a Class C Misdemeanor in Illinois is a fine of up to $1,500 and thirty days in county jail. 

Illinois divides felonies into the following categories: 

  • Class X Felonies
  • Class 1 Felonies
  • Class 2 Felonies
  • Class 3 Felonies
  • Class 4 Felonies

Each class encompasses different crimes based on whether the offense involves moral turpitude. Moral turpitude is a legal phrase describing deviant behavior that constitutes an unethical, immoral, or unjust departure from ordinary social standards. Class X felonies are the most serious felonies in Illinois. If an individual is convicted of a Class X felony in Illinois, then he or she is not eligible for probation. 

Felonies are not only violent crimes. Grand theft, perjury, tax evasion, and parole violations are classified as felonies. These offenses are nonetheless severe without necessarily being violent. 

Unlike misdemeanors, felonies carry as punishment the loss of many civil liberties. The right to own a firearm, the right to run for public office, and the right to vote all may be stripped away from a citizen who is convicted of committing a felony offense. If a professional is convicted of a felony, they may lose their ability to keep a professional license. 

The Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

If an individual is convicted of a crime, then he or she will have a permanent criminal record. Criminal convictions can affect where an individual can find employment and housing, as well as eligibility for public benefits, gun rights, and more. 

A criminal record will affect you for the rest of your life. If you are being accused of a crime, then you need to retain legal counsel to make sure you have the strongest defense possible. Consulting a criminal defense attorney may help you seal records or expunge criminal records. Contact Sabuco Beck, PC today to schedule a consultation. 

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