Find the right lawyer now

What Are Non-Violent Felonies?

Find a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer near You

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

A misdemeanor is a petty crime that is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail. While a misdemeanor can be violent or non-violent, it generally involves more minor offenses with minor damages, such as drug possession, sexual solicitation, and disorderly conduct.

A felony is a serious crime that is punishable by up to life in state or federal prison (or the death penalty, depending upon the jurisdiction). Felonies involve more severe injuries, including physical and financial injuries.

What Are Non-Violent Felonies?

A non-violent felony does not involve the use or threat of force or infliction of injury against the victim. Rather, the damage caused by the non-violent felony is non-physical, such as financial damage or property damage.

In addition, many non-violent felonies are “victimless” crimes. The legislature criminalizes certain victimless offenses for moral and societal purposes. For instance, carrying a pistol without a license is a victimless, non-violent felony.

Common categories of non-violent felonies include:

Types of Non-Violent Felonies

Non-violent felonies vary by level of damage, type of intent, and seriousness of offense. Common non-violent felonies are:

Defending Against Non-Violent Felony Charges

Although the police conducted an investigation and determined that they had probable cause to arrest you, this does not mean that their investigation or findings were correct. Criminal defense lawyers have their own private investigators that can conduct independent, parallel investigations, gather evidence and documents, interview witnesses, and comb the record. Using this information, the criminal defense lawyer can concoct a strong defense strategy aligned to your goals and the facts of the case.

Common non-violent felony defenses include:

  • 4th and/or 5th Amendment violations
  • Lack of probable cause
  • Misidentification
  • Mistake or accident
  • Permission or consent
  • Lack of mens rea

Consequences of Non-Violent Felony Convictions

While they are not as severe as violent felonies, non-violent felonies still carry a host of devastating consequences for individuals facing conviction. These include:

  • Considerable prison time
  • Lengthy and onerous periods of probation or parole
  • Fines or restitution
  • Job loss
  • Loss of the right to vote, own a gun or possess a professional license
  • Damage to one’s reputation
  • Inability to attend school or rent an apartment

Seek Help from a Lawyer for Your Non-Violent Felony Charges

If you have been accused of committing a non-violent felony, it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer immediately about your case. A criminal defense attorney can guide you through how to proceed, including whether to plead or pursue trial.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 05-11-2018 12:01 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.