What Is a Class 3 Felony in Illinois?
A Class 3 felony in Illinois includes a group of crimes that are among the least serious felonies in the state. There are five categories of felonies in the state of Illinois, with Class X the most serious and Class 4 the least serious. Murder is separate from the five felony categories. Class 3 felonies include:
- Theft, between $300 and $2,000
- Retail theft
- Deceptive practices
- Possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance
A Class 3 felony is a serious offense that can trigger a lengthy prison sentence.
Maximum and Minimum Sentences
State law calls for a sentence between 2 ½ and 5 years in length for a Class 3 conviction. That includes one year of mandatory supervision after release, probation of up to 2 ½ years and a potential fine of up to $25,000. A fine is not mandatory in every case. Illinois law provides for stiffer sentencing guidelines if the circumstances qualify for extended term sentencing.
While the normal sentencing range for a Class 3 felony is 2 ½ to 5 years in prison, a judge has the discretion to increase that range to 5 to 10 years in prison if “extended term” circumstances are present. There are two ways to qualify for an extended term in Illinois: through a prior felony conviction or if at least one of a number of aggravating circumstances is present. The felony conviction does not need to have occurred in Illinois, but must have occurred within the past 10 years and must be the same or greater class as the current felony conviction. The aggravating circumstances run the gamut from heinous or brutal circumstances, a crime that occurred in a place of worship or a crime that involved a victim 12 or younger or 60 or older.
Loss of Rights and Benefits
You should expect to lose the following rights and benefits following a Class 3 felony conviction in Illinois:
- Right to vote
- Hold state office
- Serve on a jury
- Own or possess a firearm
- Receive public assistance or Food Stamps if convicted of a drug crime.
Illinois, along with 13 other states and the District of Columbia, suspend voting rights until a defendant has completed the prison term. After 20 years with a clean record, a person with a Class 3 conviction can apply in Illinois to have their gun rights restored. If you are convicted of a drug crime, you will no longer be able to live in public housing or to receive Food Stamps. You may be called for jury duty even after a felony conviction in Illinois; however, the requirements that any juror in the state have “fair character and approved integrity” likely would mean you would not selected after being called.
Employment and Housing with a Felony Record
There is no right to withhold your criminal status from employers or landlords. An employer needs no reason other than your criminal history to turn you down for a job. Many landlords turn down applicants with criminal records because statistics show that recidivism is a significant risk for someone with a felony conviction.
Clearing Your Record
Most felony cases in Illinois do not qualify for expungement, which involves the destruction of criminal records. However, Illinois allows the defendants in the following cases to have their records sealed: theft, retail theft, deceptive practices, forgery and possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. The petition to seal can only be filed four years after completion of the Class 3 felony sentence. A drug test must accompany the petition to seal. Although sealed records can still be viewed by judges and law enforcement officials, having a Class 3 felony case sealed usually will make it easier to rent an apartment and get a job.
The information above is for educational purposes only. If you have legal questions, you should visit an attorney.