How is Felony Defined? – GetLegal

Define Felony

Comprehending the notion of a crime is essential for maneuvering through the complex landscape of criminal law. The US Laws define felony as a major crime against social norms that carries significant legal ramifications. Because of their seriousness, felonies are different from misdemeanors in that they cover a wide spectrum of illegal activities, including violent crimes and white-collar offenses. To define a felony is, essentially, to recognize that it is a significant point on the legal spectrum, a boundary where the seriousness of an offense necessitates greater scrutiny and responsibility.

What Is a Felony?

A felony is a serious offense that is punishable by a maximum sentence of more than a year in prison. Moreover, a prisoner serving a term for a felony normally houses in a state or federal prison as opposed to a municipal or county jail.

Define Felony & How it Differ from Other Crime?

There are many ways that felony charges differ from those of other criminal prosecutions:

  • If you are found guilty of a felony, you may be arrested and held in custody right away. You would also probably need to post bail in order to be freed. Arrest and detention are also possible outcomes of misdemeanor charges (not only violations).
  • A convicted felon may get the death sentence in states where it is legal. Convictions for misdemeanors do not allow for the death penalty.
  • You can ask the court to assign an attorney to represent you pro bono, or at no expense to you, if you are accused with a felony but cannot afford legal representation. Generally speaking, defendants in minor cases do not entitle to court-appointed legal counsel.
  • When a felony is committed, the fines imposed might be far greater than when a misdemeanor or infraction is committed. While some misdemeanor convictions in some places, including Alaska, may result in fines of up to $25,000, felonies can carry fines of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Expungements of felonies are much more difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and usually require a longer waiting period before the court will grant the request.
  • While a conviction on a misdemeanor may result in probation once the term completes, a conviction on a felony has extra lifetime restrictions in addition to probation:
    • A convicted felon may lose the right to vote.
    • A convicted felon may not be able to hold public office.
    • A convicted felon may be prevented from owning firearms or certain other weapons.
    • A convicted felon may be prohibited from holding a professional license.
  • A grand jury must be called and it must return an indictment in every federal felony proceeding. A grand jury indictment is another need that some states, but not all, have in order to move on with a felony trial.

What Crimes Typically Charges as Felonies?

A wide array of criminal wrongs almost always charge as felonies:

  • Violent crimes
    • Homicide offenses, including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter
    • Robbery—committing a theft through the threat or use of force
    • Burglary—entering a building or home with the intention of committing a theft offense
  • Serious sexual offenses, such as rape, human trafficking, child molestation, and child pornography
  • Serious drug crimes, including manufacturing or cultivating controlled substances, distribution, sale, and trafficking
  • Property crimes, including malicious destruction, arson, misappropriation of property, and grand theft
  • White collar crimes, such as fraud, misrepresentation, identity theft, embezzlement, securities fraud, and tax evasion

Can Same Criminal Act Prosecute as a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Yes, a misdemeanor can rise to the level of a define felony. It can charge as the following:

  • Laws usually provide prosecutors the choice to charge a repeat offender with a misdemeanor or a felony. Repeat DUI/DWI offenders usually undergo this process.
  • A crime often charges as a felony if the victim fits one of the specified characteristics, such as being a child, having mental health concerns, or working as a law enforcement officer or other public figure.
  • Certain offenses categorizes as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on whether the defendant’s actions regards doing with wanton disregard for the dignity of human life. For example, ordinary assault may become felonious assault if the defendant used a pistol or other weapon.