24 Jun 20

What Is a Class B Felony?

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Last Updated on: 15th August 2023, 12:59 am

In the United States, crimes are categorized into either felonies or misdemeanors

In the United States, crimes are categorized into either felonies or misdemeanors. All crimes that are punishable by a prison term of one or more years are categorized as a felony.

Subdivisions of Felony Crimes

However, some states use lettered classification to subdivide the levels of crime further. A good example of this subdivision is class B felonies – which are some of the most serious crimes. What comprises a felony depends on individual states.

Below are some examples of states and what they regard as felony crimes:

From the list above, it is evident that different states have their own definition of felony crimes. For instance, what is regarded as a felony crime in one state might be viewed as a petty offense in another.

Penalties for Class B Felonies

Every state has existing statues that provide guidelines for sentencing people who commit different crimes, including Class B felonies. Nonetheless, this is not final when it comes to the terms of actual sentencing of people convicted.

It is meant for a situation surrounding a crime – that is considered especially an aggravating situation that makes the crime worse. Certain aggravating factors (such as if a victim is a child disabled or elderly) may prompt additional laws that can increase the proposed penalties.

The differences in sentencing for Class B felonies are relatively high – it ranges from 10 years in other states such as Hawaii and Maine to life imprisonment in states such as South Dakota and North Carolina.

Besides that, states may also impose fines that range from $1,000 to as much as $250,000 in states like Oregon.

The following are examples of fines and penalties related to Class B felonies in different states:

  • Connecticut – Class B felony crimes consist of 1st-degree manslaughter, 1st-degree burglary, 1st-degree larceny, and 1st-degree sexual assault. Anybody found guilty of the above crimes is liable can be sentenced for 20 years in prison with a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Alabama – Crimes regarded as Class B felony in Alabama include 1st-degree assault, 1st-degree manslaughter, robbery, and second-degree kidnapping. Anyone found guilty of the crimes can be jailed for 201 years and a fine of up to $30,000.
  • Missouri – Class B Felony crimes in Missouri consist of 1st-degree burglary, voluntary manslaughter, molestation of a minor below the age of 14, and 1st-degree arson. All sentences are pre-set. It doesn’t consider aggravating situations or mitigation. Prison sentences start from five to 15 years.
  • Washington State – Crimes classified as Class B felony in Washington include money laundering, abuse of a corpse, stealing of property, drug addiction, and possession of body armor. Anyone convicted of the above crimes can be fined up to $20,000 and a prison term of 10 years.
  • Iowa – Class B felony crimes in Iowa include 1st-degree burglary, handling of marijuana, 2nd-degree kidnapping, 2nd-degree sexual assault, and terrorism. Those who are proven to have committed the crimes above can go to prison for at least 25 years. The sentence can also be extended to several more years.

Defenses to Class B Felonies

Defenses to Class B Felony crimes differ depending on what a person is accused of. Below are some of the common ones:

  • Arguing that no crime was committed probably because of mistaken identity or they were acting in self-defense
  • Showing that the prosecution didn’t meet the burden of proof to get rid of reasonable doubt concerning the defendant’s guilt
  • Claiming the lapse of statute of limitations

Loss of Rights and Benefits of Class B Felony Convicts

Prison sentence and fines are not the only punishment for Class B Felony crimes. Convicts also lose several other benefits and rights. They won’t be able to:

  • Qualify for public housing help
  • Serve as a grand jury
  • Vote
  • Receive loans from the federal government
  • Own or possess firearms

However, losing the right to vote is debatable. In some states such as New York and South Dakota, the right to vote is restored immediately the convicted person has served his or her prison term and paid up the fine.