Being accused of a crime is a stressful time, especially if you are being accused of a felony. Felonies are typically more serious than misdemeanors and have stricter punishments. For this reason, it’s important that you fully understand felonies if you are being accused of one. To learn more, check out these three commonly asked questions about felonies.
How Does a Crime Become a Felony?
As far as the federal government is concerned, a felony is any crime that is punishable by one year in jail. However, states may be less strict about this definition, and they typically consider the amount of possible jail time and the location of the jail time (prison versus county jail). In general, most states recognize some crimes as automatic felonies. These include murder, rape, and kidnapping.
In addition, a crime that would normally be considered a misdemeanor can easily slip into a felony crime. For example, if you are pulled over for drunk driving but caused no damage or injury, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if you were speeding, had kids in the car, or hit someone, you could be charged with a felony.
What Are the Classes of Felonies?
In Illinois, felonies are sorted into about six classes. Class 4 felonies are the least serious and include crimes like identity theft. They tend to have a punishment of one to three years in prison and 30 months of probation. A class 3 felony is a little more serious and includes crimes like aggravated battery, and they usually have a sentence of two to five years in prison.
A class 2 felony usually involves crimes like aggravated domestic battery, robbery, and illegally buying a firearm. These crimes can land you in prison for three to seven years or longer for extended sentences. A class 1 felony may have a sentence of up to 15 years or 30 for an extended term. It includes crimes like sexual assault and second-degree murder.
Class X felonies typically have a minimum punishment of six years, but you could spend 30 years or 60 years for an extended punishment. Class X felonies are serious crimes like firing a weapon while committing aggravated battery or committing a home invasion while carrying a dangerous weapon.
First-degree murder has its own class, and the punishment must be at least 20 years in prison. Some people may face 60 years or longer. If other factors are involved, you may even face life in prison or the death penalty.
Do You Lose Rights After Being Convicted of a Felony?
When you are convicted of a felony, you may lose some rights. Some of these rights may be returned to you after you’ve served your sentence, but depending on your state and the nature of the crime, you may lose some rights for life.
Some of the rights you may lose include the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to own a firearm. The right to vote and the right to serve on a jury may be given back after you’ve served your time, but you won’t pass a gun background check with a felony on your record. Plus, during your trial and any probation, you won’t be able to travel out of the country unless you have special permission.
No one wants to face felony charges, but mistakes happen. Unlike misdemeanors, felonies almost always come with jail time and higher fines. If you would like to learn more about felonies or if you need help defending yourself, contact us at Daniels, Long and Pinsel, LLC, today.