The Felony Division is responsible for handling all felony cases that range from a Class 4 to Class X and carry a penalty of more than one year of prison up to life. These offenses can include sexual assault, robbery, burglary, drug offenses and others.
Representatives from the area law enforcement agencies bring the results of their investigations to the State's Attorney's Office where they meet with an Assistant State's Attorney serving as a Warrant Officer. A charging decision is made at that time regarding whether probable cause, among other factors, exists, and if so, the appropriate charge to file.
A defendant may be charged by Information or by Indictment. If charged by information, a defendant has the right to a preliminary hearing in order to establish whether probable cause exists. If charged by indictment, there is no further review of probable cause. If the State is successful at the preliminary hearing, the case will then proceed to trial, or plea. Trials are either by jury or a bench trial. If convicted, the court will sentence the defendant. The Assistant State's Attorney assists in this process by recommending appropriate sentences based on the severity of the offense, prior criminal history and victim impact statements.