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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 1 - Construction of the Act

In this part of Article 1 of the Illinois crime laws, legislators documented their intention that the Illinois Criminal Code be all-inclusive.

Specifically, they speak of common law -- which refers to a list of criminal offenses that has been developed entirely by the courts over the years, and for which there is no actual legislation. They note that only documented, enacted Illinois crime laws are the law of the land, and that common law is not applicable in the Illinois criminal justice system.

They also confirm in 720 ILCS 5/1-4 that civil law proceedings are a separate and independent form of law from criminal law.

This is often a source of confusion for some individuals who contact our Chicago criminal defense law firm. Criminal cases deal with crimes that are typically viewed as offenses against society as a whole. These crimes are therefore prosecuted by the state in the criminal court system.

Civil cases, in contrast, are based on disputes between two parties, wherein one party alleges that another party did not perform a legal duty of some sort. Civil cases are handled in a completely separate court system, and a criminal defense lawyer is not the right lawyer for a civil case.

If you find yourself in trouble with the law in Illinois, you will need an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney. Call our Chicago criminal defense law firm today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 1 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 1

Sec. 1-3. Applicability of common law.
    (720 ILCS 5/1-3)

No conduct constitutes an offense unless it is described as an offense in this Code or in another statute of this State. However, this provision does not affect the power of a court to punish for contempt or to employ any sanction authorized by law for the enforcement of an order or civil judgment.

Sec. 1-4. Civil remedies preserved.
    (720 ILCS 5/1-4)

This Code does not bar, suspend, or otherwise affect any right or liability to damages, penalty, forfeiture, or other remedy authorized by law to be recovered or enforced in a civil action, for any conduct which this Code makes punishable; and the civil injury is not merged in the offense.

   Return to Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 Table of Contents

DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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