What’s a Misdemeanor in Illinois and What Can it Mean for Your Future?

Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-300x201If you are charged with a Misdemeanor crime in Illinois, you need to understand what a Misdemeanor is and what the implications could be for your future.  A Felony criminal charge is much more severe than a Misdemeanor criminal charge. But that doesn’t mean that a Misdemeanor is not a big deal. While whether you are charged with a Misdemeanor or a Felony may make all the difference in the world  you need to understand what a Misdemeanor is and what you are looking at when you go to Court.

Generally, a Misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail. If you are sentenced to jail for a Misdemeanor, the jail sentence will be served in County Jail while a Felony carries a potential jail sentence of more than one year in State Prison.

Within Misdemeanor crimes, there are three separate classes of Misdemeanors. The three different classes of Misdemeanors are set forth below:

Class A Misdemeanor – The most common and most serious Misdemeanor in Illinois. Carries a maximum penalty of up to one year imprisonment in County Jail and a maximum fine of $2,500;

Class B Misdemeanor – Carries a maximum penalty of up to 180 days (6-months) in County Jail and a maximum fine of $1,500;

Class C Misdemeanor – The least common, and lowest class of Misdemeanor in Illinois. Carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in County Jail and a maximum fine of $1,500.

If you are found guilty of a Misdemeanor you may be facing three possible sentences. The first possible sentence would involve up to one-year in County Jail. The second possible sentence would involve a Misdemeanor conviction and Misdemeanor probation. The third possible sentence would be Conditional Discharge which is basically a conviction that does not involve any jail time. The fourth, and most common sentence for a Misdemeanor, is Court Supervision. Basically, when you are sentenced to Court Supervision for a Misdemeanor, you will plead guilty to the Misdemeanor criminal charge and the Court will order that you perform certain things such as community service, drug treatment, mental health treatment, or any other condition that the Court may determine would be appropriate for your particular case. If you successfully complete all of the conditions of your Court Supervision, the Court will discharge your sentence and you will not be considered convicted of the Misdemeanor offense. However, if you do not successfully complete your Court Supervision sentence, you will be summoned back to Court and the Court may sentence you to anything you could have been sentenced to when you plead guilty and received Court Supervision. If you commit another criminal offense during the period of Court Supervision, or do not do the things that the judge ordered you to do when you were sentenced to Court Supervision, the Court may sentence you to the maximum period of jail time that you could have been sentenced to when you plead guilty and received Court Supervision if the Court is convinced by a preponderance of the evidence, more probably true than not true, that you committed a crime during your court supervision sentence, or did not complete the things that you were ordered to perform, you will be facing the maximum possible sentence for the crime that you plead guilty to.

If you successfully complete a Misdemeanor sentence of Court Supervision, you may be able to expunge or seal the case depending on what you were charged with and your criminal background. Generally, if you receive a conviction for a Misdemeanor, you probably will not be able to expunge or seal the conviction. The law involving expunging and sealing is a little tricky and requires that your case and your criminal background be evaluated individually to see whether you can remove a Misdemeanor from your background so that the case would not pop up in a background search.

Within the different Misdemeanors crimes, you may or may not be able to receive Court Supervision. For instance, if you are found guilty of a Domestic Battery, even though it may be a Class A Misdemeanor in Illinois, you would not be able to receive Court Supervision for a Domestic Battery conviction. The lowest possible sentence for a Domestic Battery in Illinois is Conditional Discharge, which is a conviction and cannot be expunged or sealed from your criminal record. Even though a Second DUI in Illinois is a Class A Misdemeanor, you cannot receive Court Supervision for a Second DUI. The lowest possible sentence for a Second DUI in Illinois is Conditional Discharge which would result in the revocation of your driver’s license. And if your blood alcohol level for your Second DUI was .16 or above, you must serve at least 2 days in County Jail.

The possible penalties for a misdemeanor can vary depending on the specific facts of your case and your criminal background. It is critical that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney so  you understand what you are looking at and what you could be facing.

James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, criminal defense lawyer. Recently, the American Society of Legal Advocates named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois For the Year 2018.” The National Trial Lawyers named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer.” The National Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” Expertise named James Dimeas a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago.” James Dimeas was recently named a “Best DUI Attorney.” The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys recognized James Dimeas for the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois.” The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys awarded James Dimeas the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois.” James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, the highest rating possible for any criminal defense lawyer in the United States.

If you are being charged with a Misdemeanor, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can always talk to James Dimeas by calling him at 847-807-7405.

Additional Blogs:

Why is a Second DUI So Serious, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, October 8, 2018.

Domestic Battery in Illinois, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, November 16, 2017.