When it comes to classifications of criminal charges, nothing sounds more daunting than “class X felony.” But what exactly does that mean? How serious are these felonies?
Breaking down felony classifications
Many people are familiar with the two main categories of criminal offenses: felonies and misdemeanors. But few people realize that there are more subcategories of offenses, broken down by type and severity. The exact types vary from state to state.
In Illinois, there are 5 classifications of felonies:
- Class 4, the least serious, which still may require jail time or probation
- Class 3, which still allows for probation
- Class 2, which carries a longer prison sentence, but still with the possibility of probation
- Class 1, which includes some offenses that require jail time rather than probation
- Class X, the second-most serious, which requires a mandatory prison sentence and doesn’t allow for probation
- Class M, the most serious, for first-degree murder
Specific felony offenses in Illinois will all fall into one of these categories,
What offenses are categorized as class X?
Class X includes serious offenses such as:
- Certain drug offenses, including possession with intent of certain substances and manufacturing meth
- Certain sex offenses, including child pornography, aggravated sexual assault (involving a weapon or certain vulnerable victims) and predatory criminal sexual assault (involving child victims)
- Certain theft offenses such as armed robbery (involving a firearm or other dangerous weapon), home invasion and aggravated vehicular hijacking
- Certain violent crimes such as aggravated battery when it involves a firearm or child, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated arson
- Certain repeat offenses involving qualifying crimes
These offenses carry a mandatory prison sentence, which means judges don’t have the ability to reduce the sentence below a certain range. Depending on the offense, the prison sentence can range up to 60 years.
As with any type of criminal offense, it’s important to enlist a defense lawyer as soon as possible if you’re facing a class X felony charge. The extremely harsh potential consequences make it worth it to have a strong advocate on your side.