A misdemeanor in Illinois is any crime that is punishable by a term of less than one year in local or county jail. Illinois lawmakers have designated misdemeanors as Class A, B, or C.
(720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/2-11; 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § § 5-1-14, 5/5-4.5-10.)
More serious crimes (felonies) are punishable by state prison terms of one year or more.
For more information on felonies in Illinois, see Illinois Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
A class A misdemeanor in Illinois is punishable by:
(730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-55.)
For example, prostitution is a class A misdemeanor. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/11-14.)
For more information on penalties for prostitution and related crimes, see Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Illinois.
A conviction for a class B misdemeanor can result in a sentence of:
(730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-60.)
Possession of two-and-a-half to ten grams of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4.)
For more information on penalties relating to marijuana, see Illinois Marijuana Laws.
A class C misdemeanor is punishable by:
(730 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/5-4.5-65.)
For example, possession of less than two-and-a-half of marijuana is a class C misdemeanor. (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 550/4.)
All misdemeanors in Illinois are subject to a statute of limitations of 18 months. A statute of limitations is a time limit, after which criminal prosecution is no longer permitted. It begins to “run” when the crime is committed.
For more information, see Illinois Criminal Statute of Limitations.
A criminal conviction – even for a misdemeanor – can have a lot of unpleasant consequences, including time in jail, a fine, probation, and a criminal record, which can make it more difficult to obtain a job or a professional license. If you are charged with a crime, you should contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to tell you what to expect in court and how to best prepare your case to protect your rights and obtain the most favorable outcome.