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Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

What’s The Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

When you are charged with a crime, you face either a misdemeanor or a felony. This is a measure of the severity of your crime and dictates what level of punishment you may face.

Without proper representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you may face a more severe charge than you deserve. Gene Ognibene Associates defends the rights of those accused of criminal charges in Illinois and can help you avoid a conviction no matter what crime you are accused of committing.


These are less serious crimes, resulting in no more than one year in jail, as well as modest fines and possible probation.

  • Class C misdemeanor: This is the least serious misdemeanor charge. This includes minor crimes such as disorderly conduct and generally results in a fine of up to $1,500 and, in rare situations, up to 30 days in jail.

  • Class B misdemeanor: A step above Class C misdemeanors, these can result in similar fines, but up to 180 days (or six months) in county jail. Aggravated speeding (exceeding the speed limit by 26 to 34 mph) is one of the more common Class B misdemeanors.

  • Class A misdemeanor: This is the most serious level of misdemeanor before you are charged with a felony. Including crimes ranging from petty theft to prostitution, these often result in up to a year in jail, no more than $2,500 in fines and up to two years of probation.


Felonies are more serious crimes that result in prison time. Where jail time is limited to one year, state prison sentences extend well beyond that depending on the severity of the crime.

  • Class 4 felony: With penalties ranging from one to three years in prison, this includes minor felonies such as aggravated assault and felony DUI.

  • Class 3 felony: Sentences range from two to five years and up to $25,000 in fines. These crimes include theft of property worth between $300 and $2,000 and aggravated battery charges.

  • Class 2 felony: These felony offenses typically result in anywhere from three to seven years in state prison, as well as similar fines to a Class 3 felony. Crimes that fall into this category include arson and serious drug offenses.

  • Class 1 felony: These are serious felonies such as sexual assault and possession of serious narcotics or heroin. These felonies often result in four to 15 years in prison, but that could be extended to a maximum of 30 years.

  • Class X felony: This is the most serious criminal charge you can face, reserved for crimes such as battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated sexual assault, and homicide. The penalties can, in more extreme sentences, reach up to 60 years in state prison.

Trust Gene Ognibene Associates For All Criminal Charges

It is important to remember that any criminal charge you are facing could be aggravated, taking it up a level in the misdemeanor/felony system. The only way to ensure that you receive a fair outcome in your case is to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Gene Ognibene Associates defends the full spectrum of misdemeanor and felony charges, ranging from shoplifting to first-degree murder. Our office is in Clarendon Hills and has served DuPage County for over 20 years. Call 630-984-5636 to get started with your free initial consultation.