Thank you for your interest in The Law Offices of Andrew M. Weisberg. Please fill out the form below and we will be in touch soon

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

*Indicates Required Fields




(773) 908-9811





(773) 908-9811



Aggressive. Experienced.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

blog_homeBlog Home

What Classifies a Crime as “Violent” in Illinois?

When someone mentions the word “crime”, most people’s minds automatically jump to violent crime.

That goes to show that you don’t need intimate knowledge of the law to understand how violent crimes are serious offenses. Statistics back up the notion that violent crimes are the most serious in society.

CBS Chicago recently reported that, in one weekend, five people were killed and 22 wounded across the city. The youngest victim was just 14 years old. These killings were all linked to shootings. Under Illinois law, they all counted as violent crimes.

What is a violent crime? How is it different from other types of crime, and how is it punished? Read on to find out more.

Violent Crime in Illinois

In Illinois, certain crimes are considered so heinous that they have a category all their own: violent crimes.

These crimes carry the harshest penalties in the criminal justice system. Many have serious minimum mandatory sentences.

Crimes that are considered violent involve the threat of harm or actual harm to someone else. Examples of these include:

  • Murder – Defined as the unlawful killing of someone.
  • Rape – Defined as sexual penetration of a victim:
    • Under force or threat of force
    • Who is unable to consent
    • Who is a minor and related to the perpetrator
    • Over whom the perpetrator holds a position of trust or authority.
  • Arson – By means of explosives or fire, knowingly causing damage to real property, when it’s reasonably expected that people are inside the structure.
  • Battery – Injuring or making offensive contact with another, involving:
    • the use of a weapon
    • victims of a protected class
    • severe injury to the victim.
  • Reckless discharge of a firearm – Acting in a manner with a firearm that the defendant knows or should have known could cause harm or injury to others.
  • Robbery – The intentional seizure of another’s property using force or the threat of force.
  • Kidnapping – Knowingly confining another person against their will by force or threat of force.
  • Assault – Handling a weapon in such a way that another person feels threatened.
  • Domestic violence – Physically abusing, harassing, intimidating, or interfering with the personal liberty of a family or household member.

The Penalties for Violent Crimes

There are two main categories of violent crimes in Illinois. They can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

For misdemeanors, there is a maximum jail sentence of up to 12 months.

Most violent crimes in Illinois are considered felonies. Because of this, they carry much harsher penalties, including life in prison for some.

The Penalties for Violent Crimes In Chicago

The most serious penalties are for Class 1 felonies and Class X felonies. Kidnapping, murder, and sexual assault are examples of this level of violent crime. Their minimum sentence is four years in prison – but the maximum penalty can be life.

Sentencing depends on the circumstances surrounding the crime and the status of the victim. The defendant’s criminal history also plays a role in resulting penalties if convicted.

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. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

Our Blog

The Role of Mental Health in Illinois Criminal Defense Cases

Criminal Defense | Mental Health

The role of mental health in Illinois criminal defense cases is a critical and multifaceted aspect of the legal system. Recognizing and understanding mental health issues and their impact on individuals accused of crimes are essential for ensuring fair and just outcomes. Illinois, like many jurisdictions, acknowledges the significance of mental health in criminal cases and has developed specific legal frameworks to address these complex issues.

In criminal defense, it is crucial to recognize that mental health can significantly influence [...]

Looting and Rioting Charges in Illinois: What You Need to Know

Looting | Rioting

Looting and rioting can cause significant unrest and property damage, leading to criminal charges for those involved. Individuals facing such charges can confidently navigate the legal process by understanding the legal aspects, potential defenses, and the importance of legal representation.

Illinois takes looting and rioting offenses seriously, considering their threats to public safety and the community’s well-being. Looting involves unlawfully taking property during a disturbance or calamity, while rioting encompasses engaging in violent conduct that poses a risk to public [...]

Law Offices of Andrew Weisberg