Illinois Criminal Sentencing
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Experienced criminal defense lawyer Marcus Schantz will handle your case with care and attention. He will explain the potential sentencing ranges for the crimes with which you have been charged, and if there are any factors, such as your background, that may apply.
Felony Sentencing Guidelines
Illinois groups felonies into different classes for sentencing. The most serious felonies are first degree murder in its own class and Class X felonies, followed by Class 1 through Class 4.
The sentencing ranges for felony charges are as follows:
- Class M (Murder): a first-degree murder conviction carries a minimum sentence of 20 years up to a maximum of 60 years in prison.
- Class X: the sentencing range for Class X felonies is generally six to 30 years in prison, as well as three years of mandatory supervised release (formerly called parole). Judges may not sentence anyone convicted of a Class X felony to periodic imprisonment, probation, or conditional release. Examples of Class X felonies include armed robbery, home invasion and aggravated battery with a firearm, among others.
- Class 1: the sentencing range for Class 1 felonies is four to 15 years in prison, as well as two-years of mandatory supervised release. Some Class 1 felonies are probation eligible.
- Class 2: the sentencing range for Class 2 felonies is three to seven years in prison, as well as two-years of mandatory supervised release. Class 2 felonies are generally probation eligible.
- Class 3: the sentencing range for Class 3 felonies is two to five years in prison, as well as one year of mandatory supervised release. Class 3 felonies are generally probation eligible.
- Class 4: the sentencing range for Class 4 felonies is one to three years in prison, as well as one year of mandatory supervised release. Class 4 felonies are generally probation eligible.
There are in Illinois many sentencing enhancements because of aggravating factors.
For example, Armed Robbery is a Class X crime; but if a handgun was used (aggravating factor), 15, 20 or 25 more years can be added as follows:
15 years for possessing a handgun during the robbery.
20 years for firing a handgun during the robbery.
25 years for shooting someone during the robbery.
Thus, the sentencing range for possessing a handgun during a robbery is six to 30 years plus 15 years for the firearm; so, the range is 21 to 55 years.
There are also what are called Super Class X crimes where the minimum sentence increases from six years to eight, 10 or 12 years. Super X crimes usually involve a large amount of a controlled substance, which is considered an aggravating factor.
Illinois prison sentences may be longer if certain aggravating circumstances are present.
There are extended term sentences for people with serious criminal histories that double the top end of the sentencing range; take for example, a Class 2 charge that is normally three to seven years. If the person is extendable by background, it changes the range to three to 14 years.
There is also Class X mandatory sentencing for individuals with two previous Class 2 or greater convictions when the new case is also a Class 2 or greater. Suppose the new case is a Class 2, this individual is eligible for an extended term sentence as just discussed, but they are actually Class X mandatory, which instead of the extendable sentencing range of three to 14 years they jump up to six to 30 years. Class X mandatory sentencing is similar to a three strikes rule found in other states.
Truth in Sentencing: 50%, 75% and 85%.
Sentences for minor and non-violent felonies are served at 50% of the imposed sentence. Consider a charge of possession of one gram of cocaine, a Class 4 felony (sentencing range of one to three years), and an imposed prison sentence of three years. The parole date is calculated as such: 50% of three years is 1.5 years or 18 months; from this subtract the days spent in the county jail and this provides the parole date.
For example: a person is arrested on January 1, 2021 and doesn’t make bond—in other words, they never leave the jail; then they plead guilty and are sentenced to three years in prison on April 1, 2021. When they are taken into the Illinois Department of Corrections, the calculation would be as follows: 18 months (50% of three years) equals 545 days; subtract from this the 90 days spent in the county jail and you get 455 days or about 15 months for a projected parole date of June 29, 2022.
More serious crimes are served at 75%, 85% and 100%.
Examples of crimes served at 75% include serious drug crimes, such a trafficking, criminal drug conspiracies and other similar crimes.
Examples of crimes served at 85% include being an armed habitual criminal, aggravated battery with a firearm, home invasion, attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated discharge of a firearm and others.
A sentence for first-degree murder is served at 100%. Someone convicted of using a firearm to commit first-degree murder has a sentencing range of 20 to 60 years (see above) plus 25 more years for the gun, making the range 45 to 85 years. In some homicide cases, a sentence of natural life may be imposed if certain aggravating factors are present, such as the victim being a police officer, fireman, paramedic, senior or child. There are other factors, as well.
An Experienced Criminal Sentencing Lawyer in Springfield
If you are facing Springfield criminal charges and have questions about the sentencing guidelines you might face, do not hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer for more information. Marcus Schantz has a breadth of experience and knowledge in criminal sentencing and can provide you the legal guidance you need to address a potential sentence.