There are many different types of felonies recognized in the state of Illinois. The most serious is a Class X felony – and it can result in a long prison sentence.
A Chicago man recently pled guilty to an armed robbery that will now put him in jail for 20 years. Why so long? Because armed robbery is a Class X felony in the state. He could have served up to 30 years for his crime under the penalty range.
Citizens need to be aware of Class X felonies – what they are, the penalties associated, and other factors that can tack on even more time to a sentence. After all, you don’t want to go to jail for the rest of your life for a crime you weren’t aware could be punished so harshly.
Class X Felonies in Illinois
There are several crimes that are always classified as Class X in Illinois courts. Some of the most common include drug crimes, armed robbery, child pornography (and related offenses), and predatory criminal sexual assault. Learn more about each below.
Serious drug crimes in this state are Class X felonies and include charges for illegal activities like:
- Possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver or manufacture
- Participating in the manufacturing of methamphetamines
- Possession of more than 5000 grams of cannabis with the intent to deliver
- Engaging in a criminal drug conspiracy as a part of a gang
When one person knowingly takes property from another with the use of force or threatening force and uses a dangerous weapon or firearm during the crime, then they can be charged with a Class X felony.
Child Pornography and Related Offenses
Often, a Class X felony is charged in child pornography offenses that contain movies and videos of a child engaged in a sexual act. Not only do those found guilty of these crimes face a harsh prison sentence and fines, but must register on the Illinois Sex Offender registry for life, as well.
Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault
If a person older than 17 commits an act involving sexual contact with a victim 12 years old or younger, then it is considered predatory criminal sexual assault and is a Class X felony.
Second Conviction of Criminal Sexual Assault
If someone is convicted of criminal sexual assault, also known as rape, for a second time, then it is considered a Class X felony.
Aggravated kidnapping, aggravated arson, aggravated battery of a child, home invasion, and aggravated vehicular hijacking are also considered Class X crimes.
Sentencing Guidelines for Class X Felonies
In an Illinois case involving a Class X felony, a judge cannot sentence the defendant to probation or condition release. They must be sentenced to a term in prison. Class X felony sentencing must meet the following guidelines:
- Minimum of 6 years and a maximum of 30 years, or between 30 and 60 years for an extended term, in prison
- Three years of mandatory supervised release
Aggravating Factors in Class X Felonies
As if Class X felonies and their punishments weren’t steep enough, they can get worse. If certain aggravating factors are present in the case, then it may add up to 30 years onto a sentence. Factors that are considered aggravating include:
- An offense against someone over the age of 60
- An offense against someone with a disability
- An extensive criminal history
- If the defendant threatened or caused serious harm to the victim
- If the crime was motivated by the gender, sexual orientation, color, race, or national origin of the victim
Class X felonies are serious. If you’re charged with a crime of this magnitude, then you must understand them so you can mount a defense. If you have questions about the Class X felony charges you are facing, reach out for answers from a Chicago criminal defense attorney you can trust!
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.