Felony crimes are considered to be the most serious of all crimes, categorized into various classes of felonies. The punishments for each felony class vary greatly from one state to another depending on the type of crime committed and its severity without parole to the death sentences. Some examples of the most serious crimes include rape, murder and terrorism.
All the felony classes are different. It is virtually not possible to compare the classes of felonies from state to state because of the various differences in the classification system across the countries. For example, as Class 3 felony s fairly serious crime in most states but is more serious in Arizona and Colorado with severe typical punishments.
All the states have classified crimes into felonies and misdemeanors, where misdemeanors refer to crimes that do not rise to get the status of a felony and are less severe with mostly no prison sentences at all and just fines.
Felonies by Type
The types of crimes that fall under each class of felony vary greatly from state to state. Typically the most serious and severe of the crimes with the longest sentences fall under Class A or Class 1 Felony. However, there are also some non-violent crimes such as certain drugs related crimes that still are considered as felonies but have the least severe punishments and fines.
Nonetheless, since the penalties vary from one state to another, some states punish certain types of crimes completely in a different way than other states do, For instance, in the Us, ‘Three strikes’ criminal laws that often result in serious charges and penalties for Class 3 felony crimes but at the same time in another state the same Class might have the least severe punishment.
Classes of Felonies
Each country has its own rules regarding a class of felony and the penalties related to each. What considered a felony in one state might be considered as a misdemeanor in the other. Let’s now take a look at the classes of felonies depending on the type of crime committed:
• Class A or Class 1
Felonies under this class are generally serious crimes and are punished with the most severe prison fines and terms. It includes long prison sentences without parole and large fine in some states may be as high as about $150 000. Crimes in Class 1 felony are murders and 1st Degree intentional homicide.
• Class B or Class 2
The punishment for Class B felony crimes can be as long as a span of sixty years in prison. In some countries, felony crimes of Class 2 are also faced with life of probation and fines of up to thirty thousand dollars. Class B felony crimes include manslaughter, kidnapping, conspiracy and sexual assault.
• Class C or Class 3
In most countries, crimes falling under this category are considered to be the least severe of all, however, in Wisconsin Class C felony crimes carry the harshest penalties with fines up to hundred thousand dollars and a prison term of forty years. Class 3 felony crimes include 2nd degree sexual assault, arson, kidnapping and robbery.
• Class D or Class 4
Class D felonies consist of child enticement, vehicular homicide and solicitation of a child. The punishments for these crimes are a prison sentence of up to twenty five years including fines of up to hundred thousand dollars.
• Class E or Class 5
Felonies under this category include burglary, robbery, battery and fines of up to fifty thousand dollars and fifteen years of imprisonment.
• Class F or Class 6
Sexual exploitation, theft and stalking are all included in Class F felony along with a prison sentence of twelve years and a fine of twenty five thousand dollars.
• Class G or Class 7
Class 7 felonies include embezzlement, negligent homicide and theft and the criminal will have to pay a fine of up to twenty five thousand dollars or/and a prison sentence of ten years.
• Class H or Class 8
Crimes under this classification are theft, stalking and false imprisonment. Offenders of this crimes have to pay a fine of ten thousand dollars and will be sentenced to prison for six years.
• Class I or Class 9
Felonies of Class 9 have the smallest and lightest punishment of all the felony classes with only three and a half years of imprisonment and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars. Battery, theft, stalking and child pornography all fall under this classification of felony!
All theses punishments for the different cases of felonies are the standard punishments for each crime falling under each category, yet also keep this in mind that the punishments can be increased or either reduced depending on the nature of the crime committed, the history and the character of the felon along with the mitigating and aggravated circumstances.
Keep in mind that all the states have given complete rights to the judges to enhance the sentences of the felonies committed on account of the aggravating factors. Carrying or using a weapon, having prior convictions or committing a heinous crime all are some examples of aggravating factors. However, an experienced criminal attorney has the right to fight against the enhanced penalties and can also point out the mitigating factors to the prosecutors, such as by being helpful with the authorities of law enforcement in order to keep the sentence of the felon as low as possible and offset any of the existing aggravation factors.
How to determine which Felony you have been charged with?
If you are considered guilty of committing a crime, you should soon find out the class of felony you are held guilty of. The class with then determine your maximum and minimum prison sentence and fines if it is proved that you committed the felony. Whenever someone committed a crime, he or she receives a copy of a document which includes the details of the crimes he or she committed along with the typical punishments.
At your first arraignment or hearing, the court will be reading your charged document to you and as well as everyone in the court. After examining the document, listening to the judge’s description of the crimes you are held guilty of and the initial hearing, you will be able to determine the class of Felony you have been charged with.
How felonies are classified by States
In order to assign punishments to each class of felony, many countries have divided felonies into subcategories, however, other may prefer a crime by crime basis and some even use a hybrid approach to assign punishments to the person guilty of the crime. Let’s take a look at the following:
• Classes and Levels (Subcategories)
Many states make use of subcategories to categorize the crimes according to their severity level. Each of the subcategory will have its own sentence range. For instance, the state of Missouri has classified its felonies into Classes A B C & D and its less serious crimes, misdemeanors, as Class A B or C. States make use of letters or numbers and will speak on the level of crimes instead of classes.
• No Subcategories
Most of the states work a little differently t and do not use any kind of sub-categories to divide the felonies. They punish the offender by simply assigning him a sentence to every felony and misdemeanor he committed, crime by crime. For example, in the state of California, each criminal bears the sentence range that is possible for only the crime he or she committed.
• Hybrid Approach
Some states opt for a hybrid approach, but what is a hybrid approach? Hybrid approach is the using of subcategories for some of the crimes and for other crimes simply assigning sentence ranges according to the crime by crime basis. For example, in Pennsylvania, the felonies are categorized into 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree or as unclassified crimes. If a crime is classified as an unclassified offense according to the hybrid approach, then the prisons sentences will be determined in the statue of defining the offense.
Life after committing a felony
If a person has been charged with a class of felony, he or she might wonder what to expect after serving his the prison years. As a felon, the person loses many rights. In most states, the felons are not even allowed to vote, known as felony disenfranchisement. Felons are also restricted against owning weapons for safety and are often considered ineligible for certain loan programs and may have many poor credit scores as a result of getting charged with felony. Felons often have a hard time finding jobs and places to live. For this purpose, many organizations have been set up who hire felons as employee and are given certain concessions by the government for hiring felons. In some states, felons can no longer sit on a jury and are excluded from certain operator licenses. However, these probations can often be reversed in some states by apologizing to the government in a formal manner but it is dependent on the type of crime he or she committed along with the severity level.