A felony is a more serious criminal offense that upon conviction carries a possible sentence of imprisonment with the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Initially, a date is set to determine whether or not there exists probable cause to believe the defendant committed the offense. The State either presents evidence of probable cause to a grand jury made up of sixteen citizens, or to the judge in a preliminary hearing.
If there is a finding of probable cause, the case is set for arraignment, at which time the defendant is formally charged with a criminal offense and is called upon to plead guilty or not guilty.
If the defendant pleads Not Guilty, a trial date is set. Felony cases do not always go to trial and may be resolved by a plea of guilty before trial.