If you are convicted of a felony offense in Illinois your life will change forever. In addition to facing harsh criminal penalties, you will also be forced to adapt to life with a criminal record. The consequences of your felony conviction will depend on your specific crime, the degree of the charge, and the seriousness of your offense. The best way to avoid the consequences of a felony conviction is to hire an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer to handle your case. Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to find out how our legal team can help to protect your future.
Criminal Penalties for a Felony Conviction
The criminal sentence that is imposed in your case will depend on what type of felony charges you face. Illinois felonies are divided into five distinct classes, ranging from the Class 4 Felony (the least serious felony offense) to the Class X felony (the most serious felony offense). Each felony class carries its own possible range of criminal sanctions. When aggravating factors are present in your case (e.g., victim suffers great bodily harm, use of a deadly weapon, victim is a member of a protected class) this range can be extended. An extended term felony can double the maximum allowable term of imprisonment in a felony case.
- Class 4 Felony: Punishable by 1-3 years in prison (3-6 years for an extended term)
- Class 3 Felony: Punishable by 2-5 years in prison (5-10 years for an extended term)
- Class 2 Felony: Punishable by 3-7 years in prison (7-14 years for an extended term)
- Class 1 Felony: Punishable by 4-15 years in prison (15-30 years for an extended term)
- Class X Felony: Punishable by 6-30 years in prison (30-60 years for an extended term)
Many crimes carry a mandatory minimum sentence, which means that a conviction will require you to spend some time in prison. Courts also have the discretion to impose additional criminal sanctions in felony cases. Additional criminal penalties that may be imposed in a felony case include:
- Conditional discharge;
- Periodic imprisonment;
- Impact incarceration/boot camp; and
Collateral Consequences of a Felony Conviction
Once you have been convicted of a felony offense in Illinois you will be burdened with a criminal record. In most cases, a criminal record will be permanent and affect almost every aspect of your life. The collateral consequences that affect you are not directly related to your felony offense. Instead, these civil and social penalties exist simply because you have a criminal record. Potential collateral consequences of a felony conviction in Illinois include:
- Loss of gun ownership rights;
- Inability to participate in state and federal welfare programs;
- Inability to work in certain job fields, such as education, healthcare, and the government;
- Difficulty finding gainful employment;
- Difficulty securing an apartment or home;
- Loss of Illinois voting rights while on probation or parole;
- Loss of child custody and/or visitation rights; and more.
Can I Get a Felony Record Expunged?
As a general rule, felony convictions cannot be expunged in Illinois. There may, however, be limited exceptions for first-time drug offenders. However, you may be able to petition the court to have your felony record sealed. What is the difference between having your record expunged and sealed? When your record is expunged it is essentially destroyed and the information cannot be retrieved When your record is sealed the information is not destroyed, but rather hidden from the public. Sealed records can still be viewed by employers who run a background check, police, and other law enforcement officials.
The process for getting your record sealed or expunged is time-consuming, complicated, and difficult. Call the Kostopoulos Law Group for help and to find out if your felony conviction qualifies for expungement or sealing.
Chicago Criminal Defense Attorneys
The best way to limit the chances of suffering the consequences of a felony conviction is to hire an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer to handle your case. Our attorneys, led by former prosecutor Gus Kostopoulos, know that your future is at stake and will fight tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. We will get involved early, investigate your alleged crime, and design a custom defense strategy to minimize the consequences of your arrest. Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to set up your free consultation.