What is a felony?

A felony is a more serious criminal offense that upon conviction carries a possible sentence of imprisonment with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Initially, a date is set to determine whether or not there exists probable cause to believe the defendant committed the offense. The State either presents evidence of probable cause to a grand jury made up of sixteen citizens, or to the judge in a preliminary hearing.

  • If there is a finding of probable cause, the case is set for arraignment. at which time the defendant is formally charged with a criminal offense and is called upon to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • If the defendant pleads Not Guilty, a trial date is set. Felony cases do not always go to trial and may be resolved by a plea of guilty before trial.
  • A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that carries a maximum sentence of county jail time and fines upon conviction.
  • In a misdemeanor case, the defendant will plead guilty or not guilty during the first court appearance.
  • If there is a Not Guilty plea entered, a date is set for a status hearing. Many cases are resolved prior to trial.
  • If a resolution does not occur prior to trial, the case is set for trial, and witnesses and victims are notified to appear if the testimony is needed.

Show All Answers

1. How does a criminal charge get filed?
2. What do I do if I am a victim of a crime?
3. What is a felony?
4. What is the difference between a criminal case and a civil case?
5. Are defendants required to attend all court dates?
6. Are crime victim(s) or witnesses required to go to all court dates?
7. Can victims attend court dates?
8. What do I do if I receive a subpoena to testify?
9. What time does court start?
10. Can the State’s Attorney help me collect child support?
11. What is a bond hearing?
12. How can I find out if the defendant is in custody?
13. Who determines the bond amount?
14. What should I do if the defendant violates bond by contacting me?
15. What is a domestic order of protection?
16. Who is eligible for a domestic order of protection?
17. What do I do if my domestic order of protection is violated?
18. Can I drop charges against the defendant/offender?