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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 5 - Criminal Charges Against Illinois Corporations

Can a company or corporation be charged with a crime in Illinois? Absolutely. While many believe that Illinois criminal law can only be applied to individuals, this is simply not the case.

Article 5 of the Illinois Criminal Code explains that corporations can also be accountable for crimes. The qualifications for this type of accountability are listed in Sections 5-4 and 5-5 below. Interestingly, if a person commits a crime in the name of a corporation, he is legally accountable for these actions just as if the crime were committed under his own name.

If you've been arrested or charged with a crime in Illinois, you need an effective and experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney. Call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 5 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 5

Sec. 5-4. Responsibility of corporation.
    (720 ILCS 5/5-4)

(a) A corporation may be prosecuted for the commission of an offense if, but only if:

(1) The offense is a misdemeanor, or is defined by Sections 11-20, 11-20.1 or 24-1 of this Code, or Section 44 of the "Environmental Protection Act", approved June 29, 1970, as amended or is defined by another statute which clearly indicates a legislative purpose to impose liability on a corporation; and an agent of the corporation performs the conduct which is an element of the offense while acting within the scope of his or her office or employment and in behalf of the corporation, except that any limitation in the defining statute, concerning the corporation's accountability for certain agents or under certain circumstances, is applicable; or

(2) The commission of the offense is authorized, requested, commanded, or performed, by the board of directors or by a high managerial agent who is acting within the scope of his or her employment in behalf of the corporation.

(b) A corporation's proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the high managerial agent having supervisory responsibility over the conduct which is the subject matter of the offense exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offense, is a defense to a prosecution for any offense to which Subsection (a) (1) refers, other than an offense for which absolute liability is imposed. This Subsection is inapplicable if the legislative purpose of the statute defining the offense is inconsistent with the provisions of this Subsection.

(c) For the purpose of this Section:

(1) "Agent" means any director, officer, servant, employee, or other person who is authorized to act in behalf of the corporation.

(2) "High managerial agent" means an officer of the corporation, or any other agent who has a position of comparable authority for the formulation of corporate policy or the supervision of subordinate employees in a managerial capacity. (Source: P.A. 85-1440.)

Sec. 5-5. Accountability for conduct of corporation.
    (720 ILCS 5/5-5)

(a) A person is legally accountable for conduct which is an element of an offense and which, in the name or in behalf of a corporation, he performs or causes to be performed, to the same extent as if the conduct were performed in his own name or behalf.

(b) An individual who has been convicted of an offense by reason of his legal accountability for the conduct of a corporation is subject to the punishment authorized by law for an individual upon conviction of such offense, although only a lesser or different punishment is authorized for the corporation. (Source: Laws 1961, p. 1983.)

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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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