Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is A Felony?

What Is A Felony

A felony is normally considered to be a crime with a a penalty of more than one year in prison. Often crimes with violence or that are debasing to society are included such as arson and murder in the first degree. Lesser crimes are usually citations or misdemeanors. Read on to learn more.


Felony crimes are taken more seriously and have more severe penalties than misdemeanors. A misdemeanor may result in fines and a prison term of less than a year. But a felony may result in a prison term in excess of twelve months and far greater terms. There are also wobblers…a crime that may be either and a combination of fines and prison time may apply.

Felony Classes

Every state has their own statute for felony crimes classes. Many states say a Class 1 or Class A felony will be reserved for the most severe of cases. They then proceed to Class B or Class 2 and so on in a similar manner as the crimes lessen in their severity and punishment.

Felony Charges

Here is a list of common felony charges:

  • Property crimes: Grand theft, arson, and vandalism.
  • Drug offenses: Distributing, selling, or trafficking drugs.
  • Sex crimes: Sexual assault and human trafficking.
  • Violent offenses: First-degree murder, second-degree murder, and robbery.
  • White collar crimes: Embezzlement, securities fraud, and tax evasion.

Felony Sentencing Structures

A felony sentence is likely to be harsher if the offender already has a record and harmed another person while committing their crime. A successful defense can reduce a sentence. The state as well as the kind of crime also is taken into account. When there are no factors considered aggravating it may be argued the sentence should be similar to a misdemeanor. There may also be a civil lawsuit to contend with. That said, if it can be demonstrated the defendant was acting in self defense, then the civil penalties may be stropped or at the very least, reduced.

Felony Expungement

It is very tough to get a felony expunged, especially if the crime was a serious nature. It may be possible if the defendant was a child when the crime was committed depending on time factors and the nature of the crime as well as the completion of any court ordered programs. The difference between being arrested and charged for a felony means the suspect when arrested is there based on the belief they have committed a felony. A felony charge means a legal proceeding has been initiated against the individual. Usually a felony remains with a person forever. This may make it tough to find employment, obtain rights of custody over children as well as losing the right to vote.

Facing Felony Charges

You will want to think about hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can understand state laws in reference to your situation and work to get the best possible outcome for your case.

Source: www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/what-is-a-felony.html

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*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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