Most jurisdictions classify crimes into two categories- misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are punishable by fines and jail time of less than one year. Felonies are more serious crimes that may be punished by stiffer fines and time in prison for more than one year.
Many states further classify felony crimes into classes, such as Class A, Class B, Class C felony, etc. Class A is usually reserved for the most serious types of felonies such as first degree murder, rape, involuntary servitude of a minor, kidnapping in the first degree, or other crimes that are considered to be heinous.
The criminal laws of each state are different from one another. Each state’s criminal statutes may include different crimes under Class A felony, and the accompanying punishments may be different as well. Some states use different names and classification systems, such as Class 1 felony.
The punishments for each classification are usually the most severe beginning with Class A, and become less severe with the following classes. For example, Class A felony charges may result in a life imprisonment sentence, while Class D may result in a 25 year sentence.
The legal consequences of a class A felony charge vary widely from state to state, but in general they include:
A defendant may also receive additional penalties for class A felony charges if the crime involved a minor, or if the crime involved a sexual assault. Also, repeat offenders will receive more severe penalties. For example, some states impose a mandatory life sentence for persons who have committed a second Class A felony.
Some class A felony offenders may be sentenced to a death penalty if the state or jurisdiction allows it. For states that do not impose the death penalty, other means of punishment may be prescribed, such as performing manual labor. A judge may issue probation if the offender is eligible.
In addition to the criminal penalties described above, being found guilty of a class A felony can result in many undesirable civil consequences such as:
Finally, having a class A felony on one’s criminal record may make it more difficult for the person to find a job or housing. Most screening interviews require disclosure of any history felony charges (though they may not always be able to ask about the nature of the offense). A judge may also restrict travel outside of the country.
Class A felonies are generally the most serious type of crime; they carry with them the most severe legal penalties and can even result in a life prison sentence. If you are facing Class A felony charges, you should speak with an experienced criminal attorney immediately for advice on how to proceed. Your lawyer will be able to assist you in court and determine whether you have any defenses available, such as self-defense.
Last Modified: 12-19-2016 05:15 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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.