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What Is a Class C Felony?  

June 23, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys
What Is a Class C Felony?
Someone is facing any kind of criminal charge must understand the sort of legal terminology when working with the legal system. A felony is a commonly used term complicated term that harks back to English common law. In general, a felony is a serious crime that can carry all sorts of extremely heavy penalties. A person who is charged with a felony may be looking at a long sentence in prison and large fines to go with it.

Felony Divisions

Felony is a broad term used at both the state and federal level. Jurisdictions further divide the felony into many sub-classes. Some parts of the country divide these sections in numbers. A district may have a level one felony and then a level two felony class. More commonly, most districts choose to divide them into numbers. Of the districts that divide things up this way, they typically rank the felonies using an alphabetical system. There are class A felonies along with class B felonies and class C felonies. While most states only have three different classes of felonies, some states also have class D felonies and class E felonies.

The felony divisions indicate which felonies are considered to be the worst violations of the law and which may be considered lesser offenses. Felonies classified as A felonies are the most serious charges. B felonies are not as serious. Of all the classes of felonies that a person may be facing, class C felonies are generally considered the least problematic. In some cases, someone may be let off probation rather than up to a year or more in prison.

However, that does mean this is not a serious charge. If you are convicted of this type of crime, you may face life long consequences. What is considered a class C felony varies by state. In Nevada, internet stalking is a class C felony. In New York, someone who assaults a judge can be charged with this kind of felony. A resident of Missouri may be charged with a class C felony if they engage in statutory rape. Oregonians can face such charges after a third DUI conviction.

Possible Penalties

The possible penalties for a class C conviction can be very extensive. Some states, such as Nevada, can choose to put those convicted of this type of felony in prison for up to five years. A resident of certain states such as Iowa or Connecticut may hold the class C felon in prison for up ten years or even longer. New York state requires those with this kind of conviction to serve at least three and a half years in prison before potential release. Wisconsin residents may be dozens of years in prison for this kind of felony. In addition to a prison sentence, those who are convicted of a felony of this type may face huge fines. Arkansas and Nevada, for example, may impose fines of up to ten thousand dollars on those with a class C felony on their record.

Other factors will also have an impact on this kind of felony. Those who commit what is technically a class C felony but have a prior record may be facing a more serious sentence such as a B or even A class felony charge. Given the reality that this kind of conviction can cause major consequences, it is imperative to muster the best possible defense. There are potential ways to head off this kind of conviction and avoid a felony record.

For example, the defendant may argue self defense if they were threatened by another party and hit them in turn. A person may also argue they were defending others who were present at that location. Someone can also provide proof they were not present at that location when the incident happened. It is crucial to keep in mind that the prosecutor has the burden of proof in such instances. They are charged by the state with proving the case to the jury or the judge beyond all reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor is unable to meet this standard, the case may be thrown out. Effective legal counsel is a must for anyone facing this charge.

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