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In-Depth Guide to Class X Felony Illinois

What Is a Class X Felony in Illinois?


Short of first-degree murder, a Class X felony is the most severe 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 must defend yourself fiercely because your freedom is at stake. As you prepare for your defense, having the correct information about your charge is essential so you’ll know what you’re up against.

You might need to consult an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer for specific answers about your case and how to approach your defense.

In the meantime, this guide explains how Class X felony charges in Illinois help you understand your situation as you prepare for your case and how a criminal defense attorney could help you overcome your charges.

Examples of Class X Felonies in Illinois 


Generally, an offense is a Class X Felony when it is expressly named as such under Illinois law. Some offenses in this category include;

  • Aggravated kidnapping

  • Aggravated battery with a firearm

  • Armed robbery

  • Child pornography

  • Aggravated battery of a child

  • Home invasion

  • Aggravated criminal sexual assault

  • Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child 

  • Aggravated vehicular hijacking

  • Serious drug crimes

  • Aggravated arson.

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 criminal record and are facing a lower felony charge, you could be punished as a Class X offender if convicted.

Penalties for Class X Felony Convictions


A Class X felony conviction attracts a determinate prison sentence of 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.

Prison Sentences May Be Extended Due to Aggravating Factors 

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 with the victim, such as a family member, babysitter, or daycare worker

  • Committed the offense in a place of worship.

Mandatory Supervised Release 

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 challenging 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.


Can a Class X Felony Sentence Be Reduced?

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 due to a plea deal, 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 is invaluable in such cases. An experienced 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.

Defending Against Class X Felony Charges


The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime before you can be convicted. Your defense attorney’s job is to chip away at the evidence presented, create reasonable doubt about your guilt, and make it challenging for the prosecution to meet their burden of proof.

Your attorney could use several strategies to achieve this, depending on the circumstances of your case. They may use the following arguments to defend you;

  • Lack of intent

  • Wrongful identification

  • Police misconduct

  • Lack of evidence

  • Insanity

Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial if facing Class X felony charges. They can assess your case, plan a defense strategy, and work tirelessly to prove your innocence or reduce your charges and sentence.

Contact Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys at Hirsch Law Group

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 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 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.

Among the Class X felony charges we defend against are;

  • Aggravated battery

  • Aggravated criminal sex crimes

  • Armed robbery

  • Attempted murder 

  • Criminal drug conspiracy

  • Production and trafficking of controlled substances

So, if you have further questions about your Class X felony charge or 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.