Last month, three men were arrested for three different crimes in Evanston. The crimes and their penalties are all different, but the one thing they have in common is that they are all felonies.
There are two types of crimes in Illinois: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes that are punishable by less than a year in an Illinois county jail. Felonies, on the other hand, are more serious crimes and are punishable by at least one year in prison, or by death.
All felonies in Illinois except for first degree murder are specified by class.
- Class X felonies are the most serious felonies, punishable by 6-30 years in prison.
- Class 1 felonies are punishable by 4-15 years in prison.
- Class 2 felonies are punishable by 3-7 years in prison.
- Class 3 felonies are punishable by 2-5 years in prison.
- Class 4 felonies are punishable by 1-3 years in prison.
In addition to these penalties, if aggravating factors were present – such as prior convictions, if it was a hate crime, if it involved an elderly victim, etc. – a judge can sentence the defendant to an extended term.
The three men in Evanston were separately charged with gun possession, sexual assault, and vehicle burglary. Let’s take a look at these three very distinct felonies.
Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon
Evanston police found “a loaded Glock .40 caliber handgun with an extended capacity magazine” in a man’s car, and because he had already been convicted of a felony, he was arrested because possessing a firearm as a felon is illegal.
You are legally allowed to possess a gun in Illinois if you are 21 years old, a legal resident or U.S. citizen, and eligible under federal law to possess a firearm. If, however, you are addicted to drugs, mentally impaired, or a convicted felon, you are not allowed to have a firearm.
The penalty for Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon is typically a class 3 felony, but it could become a more serious offense depending on what the prior conviction was for. For example, if the prior conviction was for a forcible felony, the charge is elevated to a class 2 felony.
Criminal Sexual Assault
Criminal sexual assault, a class 1 felony, occurs when a person commits sexual penetration and also
- uses force;
- knows the victim doesn’t understand what’s happening or is unable to give consent;
- the victim is under 18 and a family member; or
- is over 17 and holds a position of authority over the victim who is between 13 and 17 years old.
The man in Evanston, who was already in an Indiana jail, was specifically charged with felony predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He is accused of assaulting two family members aged 7 and 11 years old at the time of the alleged crime. Due to the fact that the victims were under 13 and relatives, the crimes are the most severe class X felonies.
A witness in Evanston saw a man burglarizing a car on the street and called the police. Officers arrested the suspect and found that he was in possession of the car owner’s property.
Under Illinois law, burglary, a class 2 felony, is defined as someone knowingly and without consent entering “a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft.”
If a burglary happens at certain places such as schools, places of worship, or day care centers, the charge is elevated to a class 1 felony. It is also a felony to possess or unlawfully sell burglary tools.
These are just three of the many and very serious felony crimes someone can be accused of in Illinois. If you’ve been accused of a felony, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney today to make sure your rights are protected.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.