If you are facing felony criminal charges in Chicago, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal attorney as soon as you can. A felony conviction can not only land you behind bars for a lengthy period of time, but it can also have devastating consequences for your future. Hiring an attorney to fight the charges against you will help you to secure the best possible outcome in your Chicago felony criminal case.
What are the Criminal Consequences of a Felony Conviction?
Felonies are the most serious crimes that can be committed in Illinois. Generally speaking, all felonies are punishable by a minimum of one year in an Illinois state prison. However, all felonies are not the same. In order to ensure that the punishment fits the crime, the state of Illinois has different felony classifications.
Felony classifications range from Class 4 (the least serious crimes) to Class X (the most serious crimes). The amount of time you’ll spend behind bars for a felony conviction depends on the level of the felony you’ve been accused of committing.
- Class 4 Felony: 1-3 years
- Class 3 Felony: 2-5 years
- Class 2 Felony: 3-7 years
- Class 1 Felony: 4-15 years
- Class X Felony: 6-30 years
All felonies in Illinois are also punishable by up to $25,000 in criminal fines. Alternative sentencing options may also be available in certain cases, including probation, conditional discharge, boot camp, and/or periodic imprisonment.
What are the Collateral Consequences of a Felony Conviction?
When you are convicted of a felony in Chicago your life will be changed forever. In addition to criminal consequences, you will also face collateral consequences that occur because you have a felony criminal record. These collateral consequences are not necessarily directly related to your specific felony crime. Instead, these consequences exist simply because you have been convicted of a felony.
Voting: Your voting rights will be affected by your felony conviction. You will be unable to vote while you are behind bars and/or on parole for that offense. Once you have completed your term of imprisonment and/or parole, however, you can apply to have your right to vote reinstated.
Job: You will find that your felony conviction affects your ability to get a job. Your conviction will likely show up on any background checks that potential employers decide to run, which may cause them to go with another applicant. It is important to note, however, that these background checks cannot legally be performed until you’ve been seriously considered for a job on your own merits.
Housing: You may think that you’ll be able to escape the stigma of your felony conviction once you’ve completed your criminal sentence. However, there are no housing discrimination protections for convicted felons in Illinois. Some landlords will not want you to live in the neighborhood because you are a convicted felon.
Government Benefits: Your felony conviction may disqualify you from receiving important and helpful government benefits in the future. For example, a felony drug conviction can prevent you from securing TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and/or SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) benefits. You may need to seek counseling and treatment to qualify for these programs after you’ve completed your sentence.
Student Loans: Certain felony drug convictions will also make it more difficult to secure government-issued student loans.
Custody: A felony conviction can also have consequences that reach into your personal and family life. If your child’s other parent feels that you are a threat to the family, they can seek to get a restraining order and/or revoke your child custody rights.
Are You Facing Criminal Charges?
Have you been arrested for a felony offense in Chicago? If so, your future is in serious jeopardy. The best way to fight criminal charges in Chicago is by hiring an attorney who has experience handling all complex criminal matters.
As a former prosecutor, Gus Kostopoulos has a very unique perspective and understanding of Illinois criminal law. Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn how we can help you protect your future.
Kostopoulos Law Group
125 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 300A
Chicago, IL 60606