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Felony Definition

A felony is a designation used for serious crimes. Felonies are considered the most serious kinds of offenses in the United States. Criminals who have a felony on their record can have many restrictions related to employment opportunities, rights to have a firearm, permission to adopt children or even the inability to run for public office.

What Crimes Are Considered a Felony?

There are two different classifications for felony-related offenses, which include violent felonies and non-violent felonies.

Violent Felonies

Violent felonies include offenses such as:

  • Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Murder
  • Sexual Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • False Imprisonment
  • Kidnapping

Non-violent Felonies

Non-violent felonies include offenses such as:

  • Espionage
  • Grand Theft
  • Fraud
  • Racketeering
  • Treason

Do Felony Charges Have Different Degrees?

Given that there are so many different types of felony charges, some of them do have varying degrees of severity that will change depending on each defendant's particular case and the state where the crime occurred. Punishment for felonies can range from a basic fine or rehab to life imprisonment depending on the seriousness of the felony that was committed. Many felonies can even have a shorter prison sentence of under a year if a judge feels that sentence is appropriate for the crime committed.

How Does Violating a State or Federal Law Change My Felony Sentence?

Felonies, depending on whether they are violent or non-violent, can have different kinds of sentences. If a felony committed violates state law, the criminal will probably go to a state prison and if a felony committed violates a federal law, the criminal will likely go to a federal prison.

Why You Should Avoid Having a Felony on Your Record

Once a felony is on a person’s record, it is very difficult to have the exact same life they once had. The reason for this is that the United States puts many restrictions on the activities of former felons. In addition, many residents in the United States do not want to be associated with former-felons because they do not trust them. Some of the most common restrictions for felons are listed below:

  • A former felon is not able to join the United States Army. However, if a person committed a felony when they were a juvenile, they do have a chance of having this restriction waived. Even if the case has been sealed, the military will still get ahold of the records, which is why it is essential to be honest, and forthcoming when asked about juvenile felony convictions.
  • Felons are not able to run for public office. In rare cases, the individual can have these rights restored.
  • Felons do not have the right to vote and can be disqualified from jury duty for seven years.
  • People who have committed felonies are not able to legally adopt or foster children. This is also true if any family members within the household have committed felonies, particularly the more severe felony charges.
  • Convicted felons may not possess or buy a firearm.
  • If a former felon is applying for federal student loans or grants, they will be denied if their felony offense involved possession or sale of a controlled substance.
  • It is possible to lose professional licenses after a felony conviction, particularly in the legal profession, financial trading or public health sector. Depending on the nature of the felony charge, other professions may suspend or revoke professional licenses due to a lack of moral character.

Felony charges are not something to take lightly. If convicted, felons have various restrictions that can impact their lives both personally and professionally. This is why it is important to be aware of what offenses are felonies and to avoid committing these offenses. This way, citizens will not have such restrictions on their day-to-day lives.

Felony Glossary Definition

A felony is a categorization of a crime. In the United States, there are many different types of felonies and felonies are some of the more serious criminal offenses that a person can be charged for. Charges for a felony in the United States typically have a prison term that lasts longer than one year.