A Class 4 felony is considered a relatively minor felony. Most states categorize felonies into different categories or classes, usually based on the level of seriousness of the crime. Class 1 felonies are typically the most serious and severe type of felony, and often involve the most serious penalties.
Class 1 felonies generally carry steep penalties, such as lengthy jail terms and exorbitant criminal fines. In comparison, a Class 4 felony is the lowest ranked felony group, often the next level up from misdemeanor crimes. While a Class 4 felony is a serious offense, it is not as serious as a Class 1 or 2 felony.
Not every state specifically has Class 4 felonies. Some states, like California, organize criminal offenses by the type of crime. Other states categorize crimes using an alphabetical system for felonies, like Class A, B, or C.
In states that categorize felonies numerically, the state criminal code will often describe exactly which crimes fit into each category. All crimes for each category will then have the same minimum and maximum potential sentences, in order to standardize them.
For example, all Class 4 felonies may face a maximum of ten years incarceration in prison and a minimum of 2 years incarceration, along with a potential maximum $10,000 fine. But the exact penalties will differ between states, as each state has its own criminal code.
Regardless of the state, felony crimes in general can involve a very broad range of crimes and types of conduct. These can include both violent and non-violent felonies, as well as an array of white collar crimes. Some common examples of felonies that are regularly classified as Class 4 felonies may include:
- Possession of drugs or illegal narcotics;
- Aggravated assault;
- Felony DUI;
- Vehicular homicide;
- Sexual assault;
- Perjury; and
- Dog fighting and other animal-related crimes
While felonies may be classified ed based on the severity of the crime, they remain separate from misdemeanors. A Class 4 felony will always carry a harsher maximum sentence than a misdemeanor, as felonies as a whole are more serious than misdemeanors.
Felony is a legal term used to describe a serious or severe offense, associated with strict penalties. The main difference between a felony and a misdemeanor lies in the maximum potential sentence for each crime category. Usually, the misdemeanor label is reserved for offenses that result in less than 1 year in prison.
Some circumstances may bump a misdemeanor up to a Class 4 felony. This is usually due to the presence of an “aggravating factor” that makes the crime more serious, such as the use of a deadly weapon, or when an assault is made against a police officer rather than a regular citizen.
For instance, simple assault is typically classified as a misdemeanor. However, the assault may become a Class 4 felony when the defendant inflicts serious bodily harm on the victim using a deadly weapon. In that case, what would normally be called a misdemeanor will be elevated to a felony charge with felony punishments.
Finally, felony charges are generally much more difficult to have erased or expunged from one’s criminal record. This can have implications down the line, for instance if the person later goes on to apply for a job and must inform the employer about the felony charges.
Wobbler crimes are crimes that can be classified as either a misdemeanor crime or as a felony crime. The decision as to how to classify will often be based on a judge’s discretion, as well as the facts of the particular case involved. As mentioned above, a common example of this is an assault charge, which can sometimes be classified as a misdemeanor and sometimes as a felony, depending on the situation.
Wobbler crimes are very relevant to Class 4 felonies, since Class 4 is the category right above misdemeanors in most states. Thus, if a wobbler crime is getting bumped up from a misdemeanor to a felony, it will usually be bumped up to a Class 4 charge (though this will of course depend on the seriousness of the crime). Other wobbler crimes can include drunk driving, burglary, various sexual offense crimes, firearm crimes, and certain types of drug offenses.
Most states require that a convicted individual serve a minimum jail sentence for felonies, which is often greater than 1 year. In addition, a jail sentence may keep you from your loved ones or overall life responsibilities. If you have been charged with a Class 4 felony, you may need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to seek guidance on how to fight the criminal charge.