What Is A Class 2 Felony?

Before discussing class 2 felonies, it is important that the readers are aware of what is considered as a felony in the United Sates. While misdemeanors are crimes that are considered to be least serious in their nature, felonies are considered to be more serious and are punished by more severe punishments by the law. Among the types of felonies, class 1 felonies include the least serious types of crimes, followed by class 2 felonies which are more severely punished.

There are six states in the US which classify crimes known as felonies into categories and use numbers to identify them. Compared to other felonies Class 2 felonies are considered to be serious crimes and are dealt with more severe punishments.

States with class 2 felonies

Different states of the United States categorize felonies in their own unique ways. There are six states in total that categorize crimes as class 2 felonies, these include Virginia, South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Colorado and Arizona.

What are crimes included in class 2 felonies?

This section will cover the crimes that various states include in the category of class 2 felonies.

Arizona – In Arizona class 2 felonies includes crimes such as creating child pornography and similar offenses related to it.

Colorado – In Colorado 2nd degree murder is included in the category of class 2 felonies

Nebraska – Sexual assault in Nebraska falls into the category of class 2 felonies

Illinois – In Illinois class 2 felonies include transmission of HIV as a criminal intent

Virginia – Human trafficking in Virginia is a class 2 felony

South Dakota – 1st degree burglary in South Dakota can earn offenders to be convicted by class 2 felony punishment

How are class 2 felonies punished?

Class 2 felonies being more serious in their nature, are punished in relatively severe terms. The nature and duration of punishments varies from state to state, however they generally include fines and prison sentences of varying amounts and durations respectively. This section will cover the maximum and minimum extent of the punishment that offenders of class 2 felonies generally receive.


In Arizona class 2 felony offenders may receive up to 5 years in prison which may or may not include a certain amount in terms of fine.


In Illinois class 2 felony offenders face a longer prison sentence as compared to those in Arizona; in Illinois the prison sentence for similar offences is between 5 to 7 years.


Virginia is included in the states that punish class 2 felonies in very severe terms as compared to other states. In Virginia a convicted offender may face up to 20 years in prison which can also be extended to a life sentence; this punishment is a lot more severe than punishments for similar offenses in Illinois or Arizona.


Prison sentence for offenders of class 2 felonies in Nebraska is anywhere between 1 to 50 years which may be accompanied by heavy fines as well.

Fines as punishment for Class 2 Felonies

These prison sentences may also be accompanied by fines as a punishment for class 2 felonies in these states. Class 2 felony offenders in Virginia may be required to pay up to $1 million and in Colorado offenders may have to pay up to $1 million in terms of fines.

Extended sentences for Class 2 Felonies

Depending upon the circumstances in which the crime was committed, offenders of class 2 felonies may have to face an extended sentence in addition to the above mentioned punishments. It is recommended that you hire a competent criminal attorney as soon as you are persecuted for a class 2 felony. Your attorney will be able to guide you so you can end up with a relatively easy punishment. It is critical to hire an attorney because class 2 felony offenders are generally required to serve an extended sentence because of the nature of their offense.

Repeat offenders are particularly at a risk of getting an extended sentence; with your attorney you will be better able to negotiate the nature of punishment if you are a first time offender or just have a passive participation in the crime. If you are being charged for a crime against children, a sex offense or a repeat offender then you may face an extended sentence. Take for instance the example of how these sentences are handled in Arizona, if an offender of a non-dangerous crime is again being persecuted for a class 2 felony, their previous shorter prison sentence can be converted in to a longer one because their most recent crime falls in to the category of dangerous class 2 felonies.

In states like Illinois and Colorado, offenders can face extended punishments if the crime is committed in aggravating circumstances. These include a victim who is older than 60 years or if a hate crime is committed against a citizen.

Loss of Benefits and Civil Rights

Class 2 felony offenders face a loss of benefits and many civil rights in addition to the punishments that have been mentioned above. In case of being convicted by a class 2 felony offense, the offender may be at a risk of losing the following rights and benefits:

• Class 2 felony offenders may be at a risk of losing their professional licenses if they work as lawyers, dentists and public accountants

• They get disqualified to run for any public office

• They lose their right to keep or own a weapon

• Except for Colorado and Illinois, class 2 felony offenders lose their right to vote as well

• Class 2 felony offenders lose various programs of federal assistance including food stamps

• They also lose their eligibility to get affordable housing

• They also lose their right to serve on the jury

While some of these rights may be restored after the punishments period is completed; some of these last a lifetime and can never be restored as the offender loses their credibility. The impacts of being convicted with a class 2 felony last longer than the punishments because these crimes are of a very severe nature and their records are extensive. Some of these collateral consequences can also be remedied after completing any parole obligations in addition to the prison sentences and fines.

The restoration of these rights and the process of their restoration vary from state to state. In Arizona, rights for example voting, serving on the jury and running for a public office are restored as soon as the punishment period is over. Offenders of class 2 felonies in Virginia, on the other hand, are required to apply for restoration of these civil rights and benefits from the governor of the state. A number of these civil rights can only be restored after following a long expungement process or if the governor of the respective state grants pardon to the offender.

Employment opportunities for a class 2 felony offender

Since class 2 felonies are considered to be very serious crimes, the offenders lose their credibility and even face trouble in getting employment opportunities because many employers are reluctant to hire people with a criminal record. The best option for these offenders is to undergo state programs and learn marketable skills, after which they may get jobs and restart their lives.

Housing facilities for a class 2 felony offender

Getting proper residential facilities also become an issue after being convicted by a class 2 felony because most people are wary of renting their premises to people with the criminal record even when they have completed their punishments.

Getting your record cleared

Owing to the nature of these crimes, class 2 felony offenders often find it difficult to get their records cleared. While some states have expungement laws, they are limited to offenders of smaller crimes like misdemeanors and class 1 felony. Offenders in Virginia and Nebraska, however, can apply for expungement as these states have recently included drug crimes and burglary in the categories of crimes that can be expunged.

It is better that you consult your criminal attorney to guide you through the process of getting your records cleared

Pardon from the Governor

Getting a pardon from the governor can lead to expungement of the criminal records. However, this process is relatively easier when it comes to crimes of a less serious nature, but since class 2 felony crimes are considered to be more severe, earning a pardon from the governor can prove to be tricky. The process is long and requires a considerable waiting period; statistics show that only a small percentage of class 2 felony charges receive governor’s pardon. In Virginia, for example, class 2 felony offenders may be required to fulfill a waiting period of 10 years before they become eligible for governor’s pardon.

The information included in this article is only meant for educational purposes; if you are in need of advice, it is important that you consult the services of a competent criminal attorney who will guide you through the legal process and its implications.


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