Class X Felony: Ultimate Legal Guide

There are many crimes that carry severe consequences, and others that are less serious. Crimes are typically designated into one of two categories: misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes, while felonies are significantly more serious. Within the category of felony charges, there are  various criminal charges an individual might face based on the severity of the felony. 

In most states, a crime becomes much more serious if there is a weapon involved. When this occurs, the charges are typically higher level felonies. If there is violence involved, even without a weapon, it also becomes more serious and will be classified as a higher level felony. In the case of felonies, breaking into a home is a crime in and of itself, but breaking into a home and then hurting the people who live there and subsequently setting it on fire is far worse. That is why states have different classes of felony charges, including class X. 

What is a class X felony?

In most states, there are different categories of felonies. They are often given an associated letter,name, or degree to indicate the severity of the crime. In Illinois a Class X felony is the most severe crime you can be charged with.

The U.S. categorizes felonies as follows at the federal level:

Class of felonyMaximum prison termMaximum fineProbation termMaximum supervised release term
ALife imprisonment (or death)$250,0001-5 years5 years
B25 years or more$250,0001-5 years5 years
CLess than 25 years but 10 or more years$250,0001-5 years3 years
DLess than 10 years but 5 or more years$250,0001-5 years3 years
ELess than 5 years but more than 1 year$250,0001-5 years1 year

As shown in the above table, each class of felony has a maximum monetary fine, a maximum prison term, a maximum supervision time after release, and a maximum probation term after your release. The class A felonies at the federal level are the same as class X felonies at the state level. Individual states can enforce this prison sentence and the fine, as well as the probation sentence based on these federal laws. 

Examples of Class X felony

Crimes that carry a felony charge include the following: 

  • Robbery, particularly aggravated robbery, which means violent robbery
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Residential burglary, particularly of a violent nature
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping 
  • Involuntary manslaughter, or murder that was not premeditated
  • Child pornography

Possession of substantial quantities of a controlled substance, usually with the intent to distribute This is not an exhaustive list, but the above are some of the most common crimes that carry a class X felony charge.

If you’re charged with a felony, and the crime you allegedly committed involves aggravating factors, you can be charged with a much more serious version of the crime, such as a class X felony.  Aggravating factors are when a person uses severe violence during the crime. 

For example: Setting a building on fire is against the law, but going into that building and hurting people, tying them up so they cannot escape, and then setting fire to that building is much more severe. These types of circumstances could qualify for more severe penalties, as these circumstances would likely be considered aggravating factors. 

Sentence for a class X felony

The penalties for a class X felony include mandatory prison time. The required sentence  is 6 to 30 years in prison.

For example: If you are charged with kidnapping a child on their walk home from school, it might qualify as a class X felony, but you would likely receive a less severe sentence compared to a situation where there was sexual assault involved, or a violent home invasion in order to kidnap the child in question. 

This class of felony charges differs from other criminal charges in that prison time is mandatory. For example, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, and you don’t have a significant criminal background, a judge might choose to let you off with 6 months of probation and community service instead of jail time. They may also make you pay a substantial fine. Even if you are convicted of a lesser felony, the judge might sentence you only to one year in county jail instead of prison or, one year in prison with the possibility of parole so that you don’t have to serve your entire sentence in prison.

Also read:What is Simple Assault?

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When you’re convicted of a class X felony, these more lenient penalties are not possible because of the mandatory minimum sentences. A minor felony might generate a sentence of just one, two, or three years in prison, whereas the minimum sentence for a class X felony is 6 to 30 years in prison.


Overall, a class X felony is one of the most serious charges a person can face. While there are many crimes that fall under this category, they all share the similarity of being associated with aggravated violence. If facing charges for aggravated crimes, it is likely to be categorized as a class X felony. In that case, it is recommended that an individual seek counsel immediately.

Article by Megan Thompson

Megan Thompson is a legal writer at Lawrina. Megan writes about different law practice areas, legal innovations, and shares her knowledge about her legal practice. As a graduate of the American University's Washington College of Law she is an expert of law in Lawrina's team and has a slight editing touch to all content that is published on the website.

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