What is a forcible felony in Illinois?

The Illinois criminal code specificaly describes some felony offenses as forcible felonies. There is also a general “catch all” or “risidual clause” that describes general crimes of violene as a forcible felony.

Forcible Felony Statutes

The Illinois Criminal Code defines a forcible felony this way…

“‘Forcible felony’ means treason, first degree murder, second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnaping, kidnaping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.”  720 ILCS 5/2-8.

These Specific Crimes Are Defined As Forcible Felonies In The Statute

  • Treason
  • First Degree Murder
  • Second Degree Murder
  • Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault Of A Child
  • Aggravated Criminals Sexual Assault
  • Criminal Sexual Assault
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Residential burglary
  • Aggravated Arson
  • Arson
  • Aggravated Kidnaping
  • Kidnaping
  • Aggravated Battery Resulting In Great Bodily Harm
  • Aggravated Battery Resulting in Permanent Disability Or Disfigurement

Risidual Clause Forcible Felony In Illinois

In Illinois risidual clause in the forcible felony statutes says that a…

“forcible felony means any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.”

Section 2-8 of the Criminal Code of 2012

Technically Any Crime Can Be a Forcible Felony

A felony can qualify as a forcible felony, even if a crime does not have violent intent as an element, is if the State proves that “under the particular facts of this case,” the defendant contemplated the use of force and was willing to use it.

Examples of When And Where Forcible Felony Is Used In The Code

The Illinois criminal code makes reference to the commission of a forcible felony. Some examples of where in the code this comes up includes:

  • Charging an armed habitual criminal –  720 ILCS 5/24-1.7(a)
  • Cahrging a felny murder
  • This comes up in some sentencing provisions, some enhancement provisons, and in some charging decisions.

See Also