Before we being with the details about Class 6 Felonies and their implications, it is critical to understand what felonies are and how they are different from other crimes and offenses. According to law, felonies are offenses that may or may not be violent in nature. They are punished by imprisonment for at least one year and fines that may be in thousands of dollars. More often than not, imprisonment due to felonies is carried out in a prison facility and not in a local jail, as is the case in minor crimes such as misdemeanors.
In earlier times, felonies were also called true crimes and included offenses such as murder, rape, robbery, burglary, assisting a felony or escaping from prison facilities.
How is a felony different from a misdemeanor?
In terms of their seriousness, felonies are considered bigger crimes than misdemeanors and hence are more severely punished. In some cases, misdemeanors are also elevated to felonies according to circumstances.
Class 6 Felony
Class 6 felonies are among the least serious offenses termed as felonies. Not all states categorize felonies in classes as some of the regions also use numbers or alphabets to differentiate between various felony offenses. It is rather tricky to understand what exactly constitute a felony and requires one to be proficient in the language used by law.
A small theft, being caught in possession of illegal drugs and even vandalism can be termed as felonies if the circumstances that the crime was being committed in are serious. If the circumstances do not seem to be very serious, class 6 felony offenders are sometimes convicted as class 1 misdemeanor offenders.
States that classify felonies
While all the states use some method of dividing felonies into categories, four states in the United States divide them in classes. These include Virginia, South Dakota, Colorado and Arizona. In these states class 6 felonies are consider less serious offenses than class 1 or class 2 felonies.
Some Class 6 felonies throughout the US
In the states mentioned above, the following crimes or offenses fall into class 6 felonies:
• In Colorado, being caught in the possession of methamphetamines (up to 2 ounces), is termed as a class 6 felony.
• In South Dakota, being found gambling over the internet can lead to conviction as a class 6 felony
• If an offender is found in possession of a firearm that has been reported as stolen, it is termed as a class 6 felonies in Virginia.
• In Arizona, if an offender is caught handling a weapon in a wrong manner, it can lead to be termed as a class 6 felony
• Selling anything that is related to child pornography is termed as class 6 felony in South Dakota
Punishment for committing a class 6 felony
Since class 6 felonies are among the least serious felonies, they generally land an offender a prison sentence of one year. Sometimes fines are also used as punishment for class 6 felonies. These details wary from state to state; some important details about these punishments are given below:
Colorado State gives out imprisonment sentences of the shortest duration, compared with states that categorize felonies in classes. Here prison sentences for class 6 felonies generally last from 1 year to 18 months. This is followed by South Dakota, which lashes out prison sentences for up to 2 years. The strictest in terms of prison sentences is Virginia; here an offender of a class 6 felony can face up to 5 years in prison.
Other than imprisonment, fines also punish class 6 felonies. These fines can be used in addition to or instead of prison sentences. Offenders in Virginia may have to pay fines from $2,500 to $100,000. In South Dakota, the fines for a class 6 felony may be up to $4,000, while in Arizona a similar offense can be punished by $50,000.
How are felonies elevated
If a felony has been committed in aggravated circumstances, its offender can be convicted with harsher punishments than what are strictly defined by law. Colorado is among those states where a violent felony is convicted with an extended punishment. If an offender against a victim has used threats or dangerous weapons, the state can use extended punishment against the offender. In Arizona, an offender with a history of committing class 6 felonies can face up to 3 years in a prison facility.
On the Contrary
If, however, the judge designated to sentence an offender is allowed to cut down a standard punishment for a number of reasons. If an offender is criminal attorney negotiates well, the punishment can be considerable reduced in favor of the offender. The charge is even dismissed in some cases, if the offender signs up for an alternative program.
Diversions or alternatives to the actual punishment may also be offered depending on how the offender’s attorney negotiates with the police department.
Lost benefits and rights in case of being convicted with a Class 6 felony
Immediately after being officially convicted for a class 6 felony, the offender loses a number of civil rights and benefits. In case of crimes that involve drugs, the offenders lose their right to affordable housing schemes and food stamps. They also become ineligible for a number of professions. Some of these include:
• Their right to vote
• Their right to earn a public office
• Their right to keep a weapon
• Their right to obtain state or federal licenses for several jobs and occupations; including formal permissions for working as a lawyer, an accountant or any healthcare professional
Effect on getting employment
Potential employers always run a background check of their future employees to avoid the consequences of negligent hiring. After being convicted, the job market and employment opportunities considerably shrink for a class 6 felony offender. Chances of employment are particular affected in professions that involve taking care of children in any way.
Effect on getting residence
Property owners are also wary of renting their property to offenders of class 6 felonies due to obvious reasons. However, they can consult state agencies that run programs to get employment and housing facilities to these offenders. Some employers and even landowners work with the state to help in rehabilitation of individuals with a criminal background.
How offenders may get their records cleared
Class 6 felony offenses are rather difficult to remove from the state’s records, unlike misdemeanors which a comparatively easier and the offenders can even refuse to acknowledge their crimes if they agree on specific terms. In some states, judges can convict an offender of a class 6 felony as a misdemeanor. This way the chances of the charges being removed increase considerably. Arizona is among that states which have this law.
If the offender’s attorney negotiates with the police department and the state agencies properly, felony charges can also be reduced considerably and even be expunged in some cases.
Pardon by governor
Offenders of class 6 felonies can get their records cleared if that get a pardon by the governor of their respective states. However, it is a long process and requires them to serve a waiting period of 3 to 5 years.
This article has been written for informative purposes only; if in case you are in need of advice or guideline regarding some criminal offense, it is recommended that you consult a reputed attorney who is experienced in the relevant field.