probation written on set of blocksThis is the next post in my series on common issues and questions which arise in regard to Peoria, Illinois felony charges. My last article discussed how to deal with a Class “X” felony charge. It is important to remember that Class “X” is the most serious class of felony charges. Such convictions are ineligible for probation and may result in a minimum prison sentence of six years and a maximum of thirty years. This is the case even if the defendant is a first time offender with no criminal background. In this article I will discuss whether a first time felony offender will go to jail or get probation. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Illinois law requires some felony convictions to result in prison sentence whereas others may be eligible for probation

Felony offenses falling within Classes “1” through “4” may be eligible for probation. Whether a defendant receives probation or a prison sentence will ultimately be left to the judge’s discretion. However, some offenses are not eligible for probation. All Class “X” felonies are ineligible for probation as these are the most serious felony charges and are typically violent crimes. However, judges are authorized to grant probation for nearly all other felonies. Probation for felony offenses can last for years. Class “1” and “2” felony convictions can result in a probation sentence of up to four years (forty-eight months). The probation sentence for a Class “3” or “4” felony conviction is up to two and a half years (thirty months).

Moreover, judges are allowed to sentence defendants to both jail and probation at the same time. Even if the defendant was sentenced to time in prison, the judge can make them serve a term of probation after their release. While this is rare, it does tend to happen when someone is convicted of a sex offense. Similarly, Illinois law requires that sex offenders undergo an evaluation and consent to treatment in order to receive probation in place of a prison sentence. If a defendant convicted of a sex offense does not consent to such requirements, the court will be unable to grant probation.

Peoria defendants must remember being eligible for probation does not mean they will receive it

Sentencing is almost always left up to the discretion of the judge. The only time when judges cannot reduce or otherwise change a sentence is when there is a mandatory minimum for the crime committed. Similarly, whether someone can receive probation in place of a prison term will also be the judge’s decision. Judges will consider multiple factors when deciding whether or not to grant probation instead of jail time. Some of these factors include the type of crime involved, such as whether it was a violent crime or not, as well as whether the defendant has a prior criminal history. Further, judges will often look to see if the defendant is remorseful for their actions and if they are being cooperative. If a crime is eligible for probation but the defendant is not showing remorse and has a prior criminal record, the Court does not have to grant probation. It will be up to the judge to determine if they think the defendant deserves probation or a prison sentence.

It is crucial for you to consult an attorney if you or a family member have been charged with a felony. I am a former prosecutor who devotes his practice to protecting the rights of the accused. I understand that your current situation can have a serious impact on your future and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact my office today to speak with a Peoria criminal defense lawyer. I also service the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. I also handle federal cases in Urbana.