Misdemeanor definition

In Illinois a misdemeanor is a less severe offense than a felony. Misdemeanors have jail sentences of up to a year and can include fines of up to $2,500. They are classified by seriousness of the offense. The least serious offenses are class C misdemeanors, and the most serious misdemeanors are class A. Though misdemeanors are less consequential than felonies, they should still be taken seriously. Any misdemeanor arrest will create a criminal record. A conviction for a misdemeanor offense will become a part of your permanent record and cannot be expunged.

Types of Illinois Misdemeanor Offenses

Crimes in Illinois that are classified as misdemeanors include (this is not a comprehensive list):

  • Violent Crimes
    • Assault
    • Aggravated assault
    • Battery
    • Battery of an unborn child
    • Domestic battery
    • Mob Action―two or more persons assembled to commit violence & failing to withdraw when commanded by police
    • Reckless conduct
    • Tattooing body of a minor
    • Piercing body of a minor
    • Education intimidation―threatening a child believed to have an infectious disease to attend school
    • Cruel to animals
    • Killing or injuring an animal
    • Animals for entertainment―other animal than dogs
  • Weapons Violations
    • Unlawful use of a weapon―other than a firearm
    • Unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition―other than a handgun
    • Firearms child protection―firearm left on premise where a child under 14 may gain access
  • Sexual crimes
    • Prostitution
    • Solicitation of a sexual act
    • Obscenity
    • Disorderly conduct Voyeurism/Peeping Tom
  • Drug Crimes
    • Possession of under 30 grams of Cannabis
    • Possession of drug paraphernalia
    • Sale, manufacture, possession with the intent to traffic drugs
    • Less than 10 grams of cannabis
  • Theft and property crimes
    • Theft of property under $300
    • Receiving stolen property under $300
    • Retail theft less than $150
    • Theft of labor or services or use of property
    • Theft from coin operated machine
    • Theft of wireless service under $300―cell phone
    • Library theft over $50 and under $300
    • Criminal mutilation or damage of library materials under $300
    • Financial identity theft under $300
    • Criminal trespass to real property
    • Computer tampering
    • Odometer fraud
  • Alcohol, tobacco and traffic related crimes
    • Driving under the influence (DUI)
    • Sale or gift of alcohol under 21
    • Minor falsely represents himself as 21 to obtain alcohol
    • Unlawful use of license
    • Attempting to elude a police officer
    • Driving with a revoked driver’s license
    • Reckless driving
    • Exceeding the speed limit by over 40 mph
    • Sale of cigarettes to minors
  • Crimes against children
    • Contributing to neglect of children
  • Other crimes
    • Attempting to assist suicide
    • Abuse of 911 number
    • Gambling
    • Resisting arrest
    • Telephone harassment
    • Hitchhiking

Many crimes that are classified as a misdemeanor on the first offense become felony charges on subsequent offenses.

Illinois Misdemeanor Penalties

  • Class A Misdemeanor
    • up to one year in jail
    • up to two years of probation (formal supervision)
    • a fine of up to $2,500
  • Class B Misdemeanor
    • up to six months in jail
    • up to two years of probation
    • a fine of up to $1,500
  • Class C Misdemeanor
    • up to 30 days in jail
    • up to two years of probation
    • a fine of up to $1,500

Illinois and Cook County Misdemeanor Statistics

According to the Annual Report of the Illinois Courts, in 2011, 262,816 criminal misdemeanor cases were filed with the circuit courts. Cook County had 171,256 criminal misdemeanor cases filed with the local circuit court. Additionally, 49,093 DUI cases were filed in Illinois that year. 10,811 cases were filed in Cook County. In 2012 the Secretary of State’s office recorded 37,126 DUI arrests. Though not all DUI arrests are misdemeanor charges, the Illinois DUI Fact Book explains that 86% of driver’s arrested for DUI are first time offenders. First time DUI offense are usually class A misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances of the case.