What does it mean to be convicted of a crime in Illinois?

by Sami Azhari on February 28, 2011

Criminal Conviction Illinois

One of the most frequently misused terms in criminal law is conviction.  All too often a person will talk about a case and say that if they’re found guilty they were convicted.  But this is not entirely accurate.

Under Illinois law, when a person is found guilty the court enters a judgment against him.  The judgment is similar to a judgment against someone who is in debt.  The judgment can be enforced against a person.

But in a criminal case, the judgment allows the court only to impose a sentence.

For example, when the court enters a judgment against person, the court is sentencing a person.  The court is authorized to impose a sentence of jail or a sentence of probation.

The term conviction, describes the type of sentence not a finding of guilt.

The term conviction is defined under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/2-5.

The statute reads as follows:

“Conviction” means a judgment of conviction or sentence entered upon a plea of guilty or upon a verdict or finding of guilty of an offense, rendered by a legally constituted jury or by a court of competent jurisdiction authorized to try the case without a jury.

As you can see a conviction is not a finding of guilt, but rather a sentence imposed by the court.

The consequence of a conviction is that the person is no longer eligible to have his record expunged.  In fact even one conviction will disqualify all other offenses from expungement.

A conviction for a crime of violence such as assault or battery, cannot be sealed either.

This is why it is critical to fight every criminal charge to the fullest extent.  The consequences of a conviction are severe.

A conviction is a permanent criminal record.

Previous post:

Next post: