If you are ultimately found guilty or convicted of a felony in Illinois, there is no doubt that your life will change forever. Many felonies can result in penalties that include jail time, fines, probation, victim restitution, and other serious consequences. You may also need to live the rest of your life with a serious felony conviction on your criminal record. This alone can be very problematic when it comes to getting a job (or keeping one), finding an apartment or other place to live, or gaining admission to college or graduate school.
The consequences of a particular felony conviction depend largely upon the circumstances and seriousness of the underlying offense. The first step you should take if you find yourself confronting a felony charge or conviction is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The skilled DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, Illinois, felony defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., can work to minimize the collateral consequences of your felony conviction. Our skilled legal team can represent you at post-conviction hearings, including sentencing hearings, and argue for the best possible result in your case.
Potential Penalties for an Illinois Felony Conviction
It goes without saying that felony convictions in Illinois—or anywhere for that matter—carry hefty potential penalties. These penalties depend primarily upon the specific offense for which you are convicted. Illinois classifies felonies into several different classifications, with each carrying a range of criminal sanctions along with it. These classifications follow:
- Class 4 felonies – A Class 4 felony conviction can result in one to three years of incarceration, or between three and six years on an extended term
- Class 3 felonies – A Class 3 felony conviction can result in two to five years of incarceration, or between five and 10 years on an extended term
- Class 2 felonies – A Class 2 felony conviction can result in three to seven years of incarceration, or between seven and 14 years on an extended term
- Class 1 felonies – A Class 1 felony conviction can result in four to 15 years of incarceration, or between 15 and 30 years on an extended term
- Class X felonies – A Class X felony conviction can result in six and 30 years of incarceration, or between 30 and 60 years on an extended term
If aggravating factors exist, a judge can extend the criminal sentence. Aggravating factors are when a deadly weapon is used to commit the crime, the alleged victim suffers serious bodily injury or harm, or the alleged victim is part of a protected class under the law.
Potential Consequences that Flow from an Illinois Felony Conviction
A felony conviction in Illinois can result in a myriad of problems and consequences. Those consequences may include the following:
- Security clearance problems – If you have a job that requires you to maintain a security clearance, a felony conviction can make it difficult—if not impossible—for you to keep your job. This is especially true if you are a federal government employee.
- Deportation – If you are not a citizen of the United States at the time you sustain a felony conviction, the United States Government could deport you. The Government could also decide not to renew your work visa or green card upon sustaining a felony conviction.
- Job loss – Even if your current job does not require that you maintain an active security clearance, your employer can still terminate your employment if you are convicted of a felony. Some employees must disclose any criminal convictions to their job’s human resources department, and the boss can then act as he or she sees fit. A felony conviction will also result in a criminal record, which can make it difficult for you to obtain a well-paying job in the future.
- Difficulty with renting or leasing – Landlords and others who review rental applications regularly check criminal records before signing off on a lease. If they find that the applicant has a felony conviction on his or her record, the landlord is far less likely to approve the lease application. This is especially true if the applicant was convicted of a violent felony or crime of violence.
- Difficulty going to school – Just as landlords perform criminal background checks on leasing applicants, so do educational institutions on prospective students hoping to attend a college or university. If a felony conviction materializes on your record, you are less likely to gain admission to an educational institution.
In addition to these consequences, a felony conviction in DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, Illinois, can result in lost gun ownership rights, ineligibility for state and federal welfare programs, loss of voting rights in the State, and loss of rights to child custody or visitation.
Sex Offense Convictions
Individuals who are convicted of a felony sex offense may be sentenced to jail time, fined, or given a period of probation or home detention. In addition, a convicted sex offender will likely have to register with the state and/or the federal sex offender registry. These are lifetime registries and are available for public viewing at all times.
Talk to a DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, Illinois, Felony Defense Lawyer Today
In the majority of cases, a felony conviction cannot be expunged in the State of Illinois. However, in some cases, you may be eligible to have your criminal record sealed. Although sealed criminal records not destroyed, as with an expungement, they are hidden from public view. Prospective employers and certain law enforcement officials, though, can still view a sealed record.
If you have been convicted of an Illinois felony, the criminal defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., may be able to assist you with the inevitable consequences. Our skilled legal team can represent you at a sentencing hearing and argue for the lightest penalty available under the circumstances. Our team may also file a request to seal your record under certain circumstances.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with an experienced DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, Illinois, felony defense lawyer, please call our free 24-hour hotline at (630) 474-8000 today.