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The following is for informational purposes only

What is a Class C Felony?

In the United States, there are consequences to wrong actions. It is the job of the authorities to lay punishment on those accused. They do this in a court of law.

The United States judicial sphere is divided into two separate but equal zones: federal and state. Each state can approach crime categorization and punishment however they wish—many choose to use a predictable classification.

What are Class C felonies? They are charges heavier than infractions or misdemeanors, yet they are not the highest of abhorrent charges possible. On a scale of extremes, Class C felonies are middle-of-the-road-bad. These felonies are not as severe as a reactionary road rage type of killing. However, they may be something more like a self-defense type of killing.

What are infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies?

Infractions are Minor Law Violations

Infractions are the most nominal charges that can be placed on an accused. They often carry fines but rarely come with jail time. Most times, to be charged with an infraction is to be accused, with the right to a bench trial. Bench trials are the name of the situation where an accused goes before a judge to speak about their case.

Common infractions include parking or driving violations and indecent or inappropriate behavior. The exciting thing about infractions is that they are not technically "crimes". Note that common offenses are driving violations, including driving without a seatbelt.

Infractions are not crimes that carry the significance of criminality. They capture a particular type of social disappointment (and relative punishments via fines).

Misdemeanors are Medium Law Violations

Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are technically crimes that carry criminality. They are crimes done to another person or property but are not severe enough to warrant the strictest punishments. The repercussions of being found guilty of a misdemeanor can result in huge fines, racking up into the thousands; some charges also carry semi-long periods of imprisonment, usually one to ten years.

Examples of misdemeanors vary greatly depending on the state in question. In some states, misdemeanor charges can come from traffic tickets or domestic violence. At the same time, situations like petite theft, drug possession, vandalism, shoplifting, and other lesser crimes call for misdemeanor charges.

Misdemeanors are usually low-impact crimes; they are the middle-of-the-road option.

Felonies are Extreme Law Violations

Felonies are high-impact crimes; they are the most severe punishment option.

Examples of felonies range from lucrative to depraved; kidnapping, arson, murder, sexual assault, and treason are all felonies. Crimes like felonies carry significant prison time and fines as high as $250,000 in some states. Those states that still stand by capital punishment, like the death sentence, do so at the behest of top-level felonies.

Those found to be guilty of felony crimes have the sentencing attached to their permanent records. Not only are careers limited, but so are housing opportunities, social interactions, and personal growth.

What is a Class C Felony?

Felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions can all be divided into further subclasses. Many states around the US employ these sorts of organizational structures to give precedence to present court cases. Subclasses are referred to as "Classes" in eighteen states, while others call them "Levels", and others consider crimes "Uncategorized".

The exciting thing about Class C felonies is that they are usually the lowest form of serious criminal charges. Many states stop their classifications at Class C—but the ones who don’t, can range up to Class H. Said another way, Class C or Level 3 felonies are usually the stopping point for state-recognized criminality.

Opening up about felonies and misdemeanors and their classifications does little to show their differences. If we consider Class A felonies the worst-of-the-worst, premeditated murder, rape, arson, kidnapping—what are Class C felonies?

Examples of Class C Felonies

Class C felonies can come in many forms, depending on the state. For example, forgery, criminal tampering, negligent homicide, and dispersion of stolen property are all Class C felonies. But so are:

  • 2nd-degree assault in Wisconsin
  • 3rd-degree offense driving under the influence in Oregon
  • Assault on a judge in New York
  • Statutory rape in Missouri
  • 2nd-degree manslaughter in Connecticut

The Consequences of a Class C Felony

Large Fines

Fines are some of the most common punishments for Class C felonies. Chances are, even if there is no prison time involved with an accused’s sentencing, heavy fines are still bound to be ordered for repayment.

The exact fines depend on the damage committed during the crime itself. Emotional distress, property damage, medical bills, and court fees are all commonly attached to final sentencing. Thus, fines can range from $1,000 on the low side to $250,000 on the high side. More fees can also be attached to a case, but it is more common for there to be multiple fines.

Imprisonment

Guidelines for imprisonment differ strongly between states. A felony that occurs in Nevada and receives a punishment of ten years is on the lower side of the possibilities. However, that same crime committed in Wisconsin would receive a sentence of forty years. Wisconsin is on the highest side of felony punishments.

Class C felonies are challenging to estimate imprisonment time for because states will always approach the highest available punishment. Generally speaking, it is better not to be involved with felonious actions or actors.

Loss of Rights

Not only do those charged with felonies have problems involving the fines and prison attached to those charges, but those accused of felonies also suffer the loss of many rights. These rights are standard for all US citizens—yet they are considered forfeit in the event of felony charges. Some of the rights lost include the ability to:

  • Serve on a jury
  • Vote
  • Own or buy firearms
  • Qualify for affordable housing
  • Gain licenses or permits
  • Pass a background check
  • Get or receive loans

Those accused of a felony crime have a distinctly terrible and rough road ahead of them. They are not subject to the same severe repercussions from a higher class of felony; instead, they are unfortunate enough to fall into a minor qualification for real punishments.

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