Before beginning with what constitutes a class C felony, it is important to come to terms with the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are included among the crimes or offenses which are least severe in their nature and are thus less severely punished. On the other hand are felonies which are among the offenses which are considered to be more serious in their nature as compared to misdemeanors, and are punished in more serious terms.
Class C Felony
Class C felony includes offenses that are not petty, but are not very serious either; they come somewhere between petty crimes and very serious offenses. However, offenses of class C felony may get the offender a lengthy prison sentence, heavy fines and loss of a number of civil rights and benefits. The punishments of class C felony can be extended owing to the offenses being carried out on various aggravated circumstances.
States that categorize felonies in lettered classes
In the United States, about one-third of the states classify offenses into lettered categories. These states include; Connecticut, Wisconsin, New York, Nevada, Missouri and Oregon. The following section will cover the nature of the crimes that are included in class C felony offenses.
Offenses that are included in the category of Class C Felonies
The states that categorize felonies into lettered classes include the following offenses as class C felonies; have a look:
- Second degree manslaughter is considered a class C felony in Connecticut
- Statutory rape in Missouri is considered a class C felony offense
- Stalking of a citizen over the Internet falls into the category of class C felony in Nevada
- Assault on any judge in New York comes in the category of class C felony
- Second degree sexual assault in Wisconsin is considered to be a class C felony
- Third offense DUI in Oregon also falls under class C felony offenses
Sentences for Class C felony
Similar to other felony offenses, class C felonies are also punished by either prison sentences, heavy fines or both, according to the nature of the crime committed and the circumstances in which it was committed in. This section will cover the range of punishments as they are handed in out various states with laws against class C felonies.
Without considering any previous crimes of the similar nature committed by an offender the prison sentences range from 2 to 40 years in the states mentioned above. The details of punishment in each state are described in details below:
In the state of Nevada the prison sentence for a class C felony offense is anywhere between 2 to 5 years.
In Washington the prison sentence for a class C felony offender is up to 5 years in jail.
Prison sentences for a class C felony offense in Oregon are in line with Washington – up to 5 years.
In Wisconsin the range of prison sentences is very high – higher than most other states – up to 40 years in a prison facility.
Other states that hand out prison sentences to class C felony offenders include Kentucky, Iowa and Connecticut. The prison sentences in these states last up to 10 years for class C felony offenders.
In addition to prison sentences, states that have laws against class C felony offenses also lash out heavy fines as punishments to convicts as well. Sometimes these fines are handed out separately and at others they are combined with prison sentences. This depends up on the circumstances in which the crime has been committed.
- In states such as Nevada, Connecticut, Arkansas, and Washington these fines can be up to $10,000.
- In Wisconsin, the range of fines is higher than the above mentioned states – $100,000
- The highest range of fines is however, handed out in Oregon where the range goes up to $125,000
Circumstances in which the sentence can be extended
Depending up on the circumstances in which a class C felony has been committed, the sentence for these crimes can be increased in its severity. If the offender who is being tried for a class C felony offense has a previous record of similar or any other crimes against them, their punishment will automatically be increased in its intensity. The severity of the punishment will also be increased if the crime has been committed in the presence of a weapon.
While the situations which lead to an extended sentence vary from state to state, there are a number of common aspects as well. These include committing a violent crime, using a weapon against the victim, threatening the victim and presence of previous criminal record.
For instance, burglary in Connecticut is a Class C crime, but if the offender of the crime was found carrying any deadly weapon then the class C offense will converted in to class B offense for the purpose of sentencing. However, the same case of burglary will be considered as a class A offense, if the crime was committed against a victim who was present inside their home.
When it comes to the intricacies of sentencing an offender, committing a violent crime is another reason that results into an extended or lengthy punishment. Let us consider this example for better understanding of the way punishments are extended; in New York, if an offender of class C felony commits a violent crime, they will be sentenced to 31/2 year in jail, which is one year more than the regular sentence for a class C felony. An offender can get a sentence of up to 7 years if the criminal also has previous record of a similar crime.
It is however possible, that the offender hires an experienced attorney to handle their case and negotiate the sentence better. More often than not, these negotiated result in success and offenders end up getting a less severe punishment.
Loss of civil rights
As soon as an offender of a class C felony offense is convicted, they lose a number of civil rights and benefits in addition to the prison sentence and heavy fines. The rights that are immediately lost include the following:
- The offender is no longer credible enough to serve on a grand jury
- They lose their basic right to vote during elections
- They can no longer keep any weapons
- Their eligibility to work in a number of professions is lost including licenses to work in healthcare and working in state or federal government positions
- Right to get affordable public housing options
While some of these rights are reinstated as soon as the convict completes their prison sentences and pays their fines, the others right and benefits lost can never be reinstated. These limitations vary from state to state and the convict’s criminal attorney can guide them better about the right that can or cannot be reinstated. This process may require a series of formalities and legal proceedings.
Employment opportunities after being convicted
Employment opportunities for convicts of class C felony become limited even after they have served their sentences as most employers are not very likely to risk hiring an individual with a criminal record. However there are a number of state services which can help convicts in such a situation.
Housing facilities after being convicted
Just like employers, landlords also become wary of individuals with criminal records and do not want to rent their premises out to them. There are a number of landlords who co-operate with the state agencies and help individuals with a criminal record to get decent housing facilities.
To seek proper employment and housing facilities, convicts can seek help from agencies like the Salvation Army and Goodwill and land into good jobs and housing options.
Getting your record cleared
While a number of states have programs to expunge many juvenile and other petty crime records, these facilities do not work when it comes to offenses as serious as felonies. Due to a single felony conviction, you lose rights to get a license to open up a liquor store and other business opportunities. In particular, sates including Nevada, Wisconsin and New York do not expunge records of felony offenses.
Pardon from the Governor of the State
After o considerable waiting period and other time-taking formalities and legal proceedings, a class C felony offender can get a pardon from the respective state’s governor. In this regard, hiring the services of a competent criminal attorney can be your best option as they will be better able to guide you through all the formalities and intricacies of this business. Through their professional experience, they can enhance your chances of getting the governor’s pardon. A waiting period of anywhere 3 to 10 years may be required before a class C felony offender becomes eligible for applying the governor’s pardon.
The information mention in this article is strictly for informational purposes; if you or anyone around requires advice regarding class D felonies, they should seek the services of a competent criminal attorney.