In America, crimes are divided into two types: misdemeanor and felony offenses.
A felony is the more serious of the two categories of offenses, both because of the severity of the crime and the potential punishment for having committed it. For the federal government and in most states, a felony is a crime that is punishable by more than a year in prison.
Some states also break down felonies into “classes” to further delineate the seriousness of the offense and potential punishment. Depending on the state, you may see Class A and B felonies, Class 1 and 2 felonies, A1 and A2 felonies, and various other formulations; the higher the letter and/or number, the more serious the infraction and potential punishment.
What are common felonies that you might find on the law books?
You’ll find some of the most common felonies below, but remember that some states categorize some offenses as “wobblers” because a prosecuting attorney can decide whether to pursue felony or misdemeanor charges. Accordingly, some offenses may actually appear on both felony and misdemeanor lists.
- Aggravated Assault
- Buying, Receiving, or Possessing Stolen Property
- Disorderly Conduct
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Drug use/sale
- Grand Theft
- Motor Vehicle Theft
- Possession of Firearms
It is important to understand that prison time isn’t the only potential consequence of a felony conviction, however. Those convicted of felonies may forever be known as convicted felons, and some potential consequences of such convictions can include the following:
- Prohibited from owning or possessing firearms
- Prohibited from voting
- Prohibited from obtaining some licenses
- Prohibited from serving on a jury or running for public office
Moreover, for illegal aliens, being convicted of a felony could be grounds for immediate deportation.
As state and federal law varies greatly on whether a crime is classified as a misdemeanor or felony, you should contact a local criminal defense attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.