Short of first-degree murder, a Class X felony is the most serious type of offense under Illinois criminal law. Offenses in this category are so severe that those convicted must spend time in prison and are not eligible for probation.
If you or your loved one is currently dealing with a Class X felony charge in Illinois, you need to defend yourself fiercely because your freedom is at stake. As you prepare for your defense, it is essential to have the correct information about your charge so you’ll know what you’re up against.
You might need to consult an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer to get specific answers about your case and how to approach your defense. In the meantime, this guide explains how Class X felonies in Illinois work to help you understand your situation as you prepare for your case and how a criminal defense attorney could help you overcome your charges.
Generally, an offense is a Class X Felony when it is expressly named as such under Illinois criminal law. Some offenses in this category include;
Aggravated battery with a firearm
Aggravated battery of a child
Aggravated criminal sexual assault
Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child
Aggravated vehicular hijacking
But sometimes, a lesser offense may be upgraded to a Class X felony, usually when the person convicted is a repeat offender. For example, a Class 1 felony offense, such as criminal sexual assault, becomes a Class X felony if the person convicted had a prior conviction for the same offense or the offense of exploitation of a child.
This means that if you have a prior felony conviction on your record and you are facing a lower felony charge, you could be punished as a Class X offender if convicted.
A Class X felony conviction attracts a determinate prison sentence of between 6 to 30 years.
A determinate sentence is one in which the person convicted must serve the exact sentence imposed by the judge. The sentence cannot be reduced through parole or any other kind of intervention unless the convict had accumulated credit for time spent in custody before their conviction.
In such cases, the time spent in custody before the conviction would be deducted from the imposed sentence. The convict would only be required to serve the sentence left after the deduction.
The term (duration) of imprisonment may be extended to between 30 and 60 years. This happens when certain aggravating factors or circumstances were present when the crime was committed.
Circumstances considered as aggravating factors include those in which the defendant;
Received compensation for committing the offense
Caused or threatened serious harm by their actions
Committed the offense against a senior citizen, 60 years or older, or their property
Committed the offense against a person with a disability or their property
Was wearing a bulletproof vest while committing the offense
Held a position of trust in relation to the victim, such as a family member, babysitter, or daycare worker
Committed the offense in a place of worship.
Upon release from prison, a Class X ex-convict would be under mandatory supervised release for three years. Their activities would be monitored strictly by the authorities within that time.
A fine may be imposed in addition to the mandatory prison sentence, depending on the nature of the case.
Depending on your case, you could be lucky to get away with the lowest sentence possible for Class X offenses (six years) if convicted. But even after serving your sentence, you would find that ex-convicts, especially ex-felons, often have difficulty adjusting to society.
People generally view ex-convicts with some level of suspicion and may be unwilling to associate with them. If you get convicted, this bias could make it difficult to get a job, a place to live, and adjust to society.
Essentially, the consequences of a Class X conviction go beyond the sentence you may serve, so defending yourself and avoiding a conviction is crucial.
Class X felonies carry a mandatory minimum sentence. Getting a reduced sentence is difficult as a judge cannot impose a sentence less than the minimum. However, entering into a plea bargain or agreement with the prosecution to reduce your charges may be possible.
If your charges get reduced as a result of a plea deal that happens, you can also get a reduced sentence and may even be eligible for probation, depending on the nature of the new charge.
But, negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution in Class X cases is tricky because the defendant has more to lose. The prosecution may be unwilling to negotiate or offer unfavorable plea terms to the defendant.
Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side is invaluable in such cases. A criminal defense attorney can assess the terms of the agreement and determine if it benefits you depending on the facts of your case.
If going to trial offers you the chance of a better outcome, a fierce Chicago Felony Lawyer can argue your case in court, do all they can to disprove the prosecution’s case against you, and work toward a positive outcome for your case.
A Class X felony conviction threatens your life and your freedom. You must face that threat head-on and fight your charges to secure your future.
You do not have to do this alone. At Hirsch Law Group, we know that freedom is precious, and our goal is to help our clients protect that freedom and navigate the criminal justice system successfully when they are facing serious criminal or Class X charges.
The former prosecutors on our team understand the hurdles you’ll likely encounter during your trial. We are prepared to represent you and help you formulate a defense strategy that is designed to overcome such obstacles and achieve the desired outcome.
Our legal services are tailored to your specific Class X charge. If, for example, you are facing charges for aggravated vehicular hijacking, you can trust our aggravated Vehicular Hijacking Attorneys to fight and advocate for you throughout your trial.
So, if you have further questions about your Class X felony charge or you need fierce legal representation, do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. Let us assess your case and determine suitable options for your defense.