Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies
What Misdemeanors and Felonies Mean For You
Interviewer: What’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
Fred Dry: The definition of a felony is any crime for which you can be sent for a year or more in jail.
Interviewer: Anything underneath that would be a misdemeanor?
Fred Dry: Generally speaking. Now, some jurisdictions are different. Some jurisdictions have more serious misdemeanors that carry more than a year, but that’s generally the distinction. Also, felony time would be served in a penitentiary. Misdemeanor time would be served in a county jail.
Different Levels of Misdemeanors and Felonies
Interviewer: What are some examples of different levels of misdemeanors and felonies?
Fred Dry: Well, in Illinois, we have misdemeanor speeding, Misdemeanor Class A, which is the most harsh misdemeanor, which allows a penalty of up to 364 days in the county jail, a fine of up to $2,500.
A Class B Misdemeanor speeding ticket would be 25 to 34 miles an hour over the speed limit. Class B would permit a fine of up to $1,500 and/or up to six months in the county jail.
Typical Class A Misdemeanors would be domestic battery, DUI other than aggravated DUI, which is a felony. Theft, deceptive practices, battery. These are all Class A Misdemeanors. Most misdemeanors are Class A Misdemeanors, which permit a fine of up to $2,500 or up to 364 days in the county jail.
Time frame of Resolution for a Criminal Case
Interviewer: How long can a criminal case potentially last?
Fred Dry: Most misdemeanors, where there is no trial, are resolved in one or two trips to court. If there is a trial it will take longer. Typically, a felony case will be two to six months. A very serious felony case might take a year. A murder case would probably take longer.
Alternative Punishments in Illinois
Interviewer: Are there any alternative punishments to do?
Fred Dry: Supervision (non-conviction misdemeanor probation) is one of the dispositions available to most misdemeanors. Special drug probation on some felony drug possession cases. These generally include some conditions besides avoiding further arrests.