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Three types of crimes are recognized by courtrooms in the United States: misdemeanors, infractions, and felonies. Where an example of a misdemeanor may be something as small as petty theft—felonies are more severe. Felonies represent the worst of the worst in terms of crimes, including murder, rape, kidnapping, or arson.
Thus, felonies are the most severe charges that can be leveled at a person. Those who face being charged with a felony have a rough road ahead, especially considering that charges can be placed at the state or federal level. A crime's consequences depend on whether the accused is charged locally or nationally.
All states and federal courts have some form of classification for the crimes committed locally. These classifications are usually referred to as "Classes" or "Levels", depending on the state.
Usually, there are many Classes that a court can pick from when doling out punishment; Classes can range from A to H, and some states implement a sub-level of further distinction, sometimes called "degrees". The intention of the criminal characterizes degrees.
Note: Some states use this classification and degree system when deciding on misdemeanor and infraction punishments. This can result in overlap between what some states consider more severe crimes than others.
If a person were to leave their home with the intention of killing another person, the intention is what applies to the degree type. Thus, murder in the first degree, as far as New York, can be symbolized as a Class A-I felony or a Level one felony with intent.
Additionally, because every state approaches its classification system differently, it is notable to mention that Class A felonies are relatively consistent; if not in the punishments that occur from them, then in the extreme social repercussions that happen as a byproduct.
Consequences leveled to those accused are wide-ranging. In terms of jail time, those found guilty can incur ten years of imprisonment or a lifetime (or many). Fines can rack up into the multi-hundred-thousand-dollar range. In some states, the death penalty may be considered an appropriate reaction based on the crime committed.
Crimes are always committed against a person or property. This is how legal jurisdictions separate crime cases; this separation must occur because it promises a better result in crimes and their related punishments.
The difference can be seen in something like auto theft. It is a crime against property, but not one that is likely to result in decades of imprisonment or the death penalty. In comparison, the sexual assault of a person may result in those more extreme measures.
We now know (1) what a felony is, (2) what a Class A felony is, and (3) some of the possible consequences of a Class A felony charge. The following list represents some of the most common Class A felony charges; hopefully, by knowing what is considered abhorrent, citizens can choose to avoid those who engage in these behaviors. This list is, obviously, not exhaustive or meant to be all-inclusive.
There are many other Class A felonies that the states are on the lookout for too. For example, bus hijacking, abortions, possession of explosives, or the discharging of certain weapons. Additionally, many states refer to each other's directives when doling out punishment for abnormal or exceptional circumstances.
Do research into specific state guidelines concerning felonies. To find out specifics about someone, consider using an arrest lookup tool online.