Felony

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A felony is a type of offense punishable under criminal law. Many states classify felonies under different categories depending on the seriousness of the crime and its punishment. In most cases, if a felony is not classified by a letter grade in the section defining it, the felony is classified as follows:

  • Class A: if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is life imprisonment, or if the maximum penalty is death.
  • Class B: if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is twenty-five years or more.
  • Class C: if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is less than twenty-five years but ten or more years.
  • Class D: if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is less than ten years but five or more years.
  • Class E: if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is less than five years but more than one year.

However, some states do not classify felonies by categories. Thus, the sentencing is made on a crime-by-crime basis.

See also: Criminal procedure, Criminal law

[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]