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Misdemeanor Defense

Crystal Lake Misdemeanor Criminal Defense Lawyers

Attorneys Serving McHenry County & the Surrounding Areas

In Illinois, crimes are broken out into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Within each category are classes, which represent differing degrees of seriousness.

Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felonies, but that doesn’t mean that a misdemeanor charge should be taken lightly.

Sentencing for Misdemeanors

A misdemeanor crime is a crime that is punishable by no more than one year in county or city jail. Only those convicted of felonies are sentenced to state prison.

Maximum possible penalties for misdemeanors by classification are:

Class A Misdemeanor Up to one year in jail Up to two years of probation A fine of up to $2,500
Class B Misdemeanor Up to six months in jail Up to two years of probation A fine of up to $1,500
Class C Misdemeanor Up to 30 days in jail Up to two years of probation A fine of up to $1,500

In addition to the possibility of jail time, probation, and fines, those convicted of misdemeanors may face other consequences. The specifics vary depending on the specific crime, but some additional consequences may include:

  • Community service requirements
  • Restitution to crime victims
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Court-ordered substance abuse treatment or classes

Alternative Disposition of Misdemeanor Cases

Being charged with a misdemeanor doesn’t necessarily mean being convicted of a misdemeanor. In some cases, the criminal defense attorney is able to secure a dismissal of the charges, or to win an acquittal at trial.

However, those aren’t the only routes to avoiding incarceration, or even a conviction. Often, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will be able to negotiate for an alternative disposition such as a pre-trial diversion, drug school, first offender probation, or a similar program designed to give certain criminal defendants an opportunity to get back on the right path without derailing their lives with jail sentences or criminal histories.

Common Illinois Misdemeanors

Some examples of Class A misdemeanors in Illinois include:

  • Domestic battery
  • DUI
  • Prostitution or patronizing a prostitute
  • Trespass to a residence
  • Theft

Note, however, that some of the listed crimes—and other misdemeanors—may be charges as felonies under certain circumstances. For example, a third or subsequent DUI offense is a felony. Similarly, the value of property stolen will determine whether theft is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Class B misdemeanors include:

  • Trespass to land
  • Aggravated speeding
  • Littering

Class C misdemeanors include:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Assault

Fully Understand the Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction

Before you make any decisions about how to handle a pending misdemeanor charge, it is important that you fully understand the ramifications of even a seemingly-minor conviction.

Although Class C misdemeanor is the least serious classification of crime in Illinois, carries a maximum of up to 30 days in jail, and often results in no jail time at all, it is still a criminal conviction creating a criminal record.

In addition, certain misdemeanor convictions can have a significant impact on the defendant’s reputation, despite the criminal penalties being relatively light. For example, public indecency is charged as a misdemeanor unless it is a third or subsequent offense or occurs near a school. However, this type of conviction can have a significant impact on the way a person is perceived, and may even impact employment opportunities.

Talk to an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

A local criminal defense lawyer can be your best source of information about the charges you face and the options available to you. Educate yourself as soon as possible to ensure that you are making informed decisions about how to proceed.

You can get started right now by scheduling a consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.