There are two major ways in which crimes, and their according penalties, are classified: those that are classified as misdemeanors, and those that are classified as felonies, with a felony crime being more serious than a misdemeanor. There are also degrees of seriousness of both misdemeanors and felonies, which are classified by letter or number.
For instance, Class A felonies are the most serious in nature (murder is one example). Class A felonies also have the highest penalties. Class B felonies are less serious in nature, and so the penalties are less than they would be for a Class A Felony. The classification system progresses down to C, D, E and so forth.
Classification systems vary from state to state. Some state use letter classifications, and some use numbers (with the highest level being 1). A Class D Felony is, in most states where letter classifications are used, one of the lower degrees of felonies.
However, each state has it own laws for crimes committed under state law. Accordingly, each state has it own classification system for penalties associated with the seriousness of the crime committed. Many Class D felonies, throughout the states, are of a non-violent nature, and do not have victims. Some states also identify certain felonies as “unclassified.”
Crimes committed under federal law are penalized according to the federal classification system. In that system, there is one level of felony crime, Level E, which is less serious is nature than a Class D felony.
How Serious are Class D Felonies?
Any felony charge is serious. According to the classification systems used, Class D felonies are less serious than Class A, B and C felonies. In many jurisdictions, Class D is the lowest level of penalty used.
However, some states, such as Alabama, Alaska and Maine have categories for only A, B and C level felonies. Other states, such as Michigan, South Carolina and Wisconsin have systems that go several letters past D. Still other states, such as Virginia, Colorado and Arizona classify their felonies by number, starting with 1 as the most serious level, and progressing downward in seriousness as the numbers rise.
Finally, some states refer to felony penalties as “unclassified.” which means that for each crime that is a felony, the penalty for that felony is written into the law defining the felony crime committed.
Could I Receive More than Seven Years in Prison?
Yes. Although Class D penalties are less serious according to many classification systems, the systems vary as much from state to state in their prison sentences as they do in their classification systems.
So, although many states might give a prison sentence of less than seven years for a Class D felony conviction, others, such as Wisconsin, can give up to 40. If you are facing felony charges for a crime committed under state law, an experienced criminal attorney in your state can help you understanding the levels of felony classification (and according penalties) in your state.
Under the federal classification system, Class D felonies convictions result in less than ten, but more than five years of jail time. This would be for federal crimes. Some examples of federal crimes are tax evasion, mail fraud and identity theft.
Additionally, it’s important to note that, regardless of the classification system, other factors can influence the number of years of the prison sentence given. Prior criminal history of a defendant can influence a judge to give a stiffer sentence, even if the defendant is currently only facing a Class D felony charge.
What are Some Common Examples of Class D Felony Crimes?
Once again, crimes that are classified as Class D felonies can vary by state, but common crimes include:
- Weapons violations;
- Child enticement;
- Possession of marijuana in a certain amount;
- Involuntary manslaughter;
- Lesser arson offenses;
- Writing a bad check over a certain amount;
- Lesser burglary offenses;
- Resisting arrest;
- Domestic assault;
- Human trafficking;
- Aggravated assault; and
- Promoting prostitution.
What Other Rights Can I Lose if I am Convicted of a Felony?
This depends on the state in which the defendant lives, as well. However, some rights that are commonly lost following a felony conviction include:
- Right to vote;
- Ability to serve on a jury; and/or
- Right to own and carry a gun.
A felony conviction can also impact your ability to get a job, get school loans and secure housing.
Do I Need to Contact a Criminal Attorney if I Have Been Charged with a Class D Felony?
If you have been charged with a Class D felony, you should get in touch with a criminal attorney right away. Once again, any felony charge is serious. Conviction of a felony can result not only in jail time and fines, but in the loss of your rights as a citizen.
It can also make it very difficult to secure employment and a place to live going forward. A criminal attorney ca advise you of your rights, and explain the criminal charge and possible sentence. The attorney can also represent and defend you in court.