A misdemeanor is a criminal act considered less serious than a felony. In Illinois, a misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum sentence of 364 days in the county jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Like most states, Illinois divides misdemeanors into classes
- Class “A” being the most serious
- Class “B” falling in the middle and Class
- Class “C” being the least significant with a punishment of up to 30 days in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500.
Nevertheless, in spite of being less serious than a felony, all misdemeanor convictions, even Class “C” carry with them significant consequences. Conviction of a misdemeanor generates a criminal record that forms part of the public record.
The majority of misdemeanors tried by the DeKalb County State’s Attorney fall into three categories: Traffic offenses, DUI and the possession of relatively small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Examples of Misdemeanor Charges in Illinois:
- Class A: DUI, Driving while having a suspended license for DUI, retail theft, Domestic Battery, Possession of 10-30 grams of Marijuana.
- Class B: Aggravated Speeding (30 mph over the posted limit), Possession of 2.5 to 10 grams of Marijuana,Telephone Harassment, Littering
- Class C: Assault, Disorderly conduct, Possession of less than 2.5 grams of Marijuana
A DUI is considered a particularly serious form of traffic offense because the danger to the public from drunk driving is significant. Conviction of a DUI becomes a permanent part of a person’s driving record and results in the revocation of one’s driving privileges. The consequences of a DUI conviction range from jail time to mandatory drug and alcohol treatment programs and significant fines.
In spite of the fact that the State of Illinois has experienced a slight drop in DUI arrests over the past few years, the nearly 46,000 arrests statewide in 2008 clearly indicate the scope of the problem. The DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office is present every day in court handling cases involving driving under the influence of alcohol and is committed to exploring every new method to protect the public from the dangers posed by such offenders.
The manufacture, delivery and possession of drugs, especially marijuana, account for a significant number of the misdemeanor cases tried by the DeKalb County State’s Attorney. In Illinois, Drug Laws classify the possession and delivery of various drugs by weight and amount and even the possession of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana is a Class C misdemeanor.
The State of Illinois has adopted strict sentencing guidelines for those convicted of drug offenses. The severe sentences mandated under those guidelines have resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of people incarcerated for these offenses in recent years. While the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office is fully prepared to prosecute drug offenders, it is hoped that those tempted to possess or distribute controlled substances, even marijuana in small amounts,will think long and hard about the consequences of such activity and decide not to violate the law.