A Class D felony is the least serious grouping of felonies. Class D felonies are generally not associated with being violent or dangerous. In fact, many Class D felonies are victimless crimes.
However, because a Class D felony is still a felony, it is associated with all of the penalties of a felony, including long jail sentences, extremely strict probation conditions, and fines.
In most cases, a Class D felony conviction will permanently remain on your record. Thus, you will continue to feel the effects of the conviction long after you have finished serving your sentence. A felony conviction can preclude you from getting visitation rights to your children, a job, an apartment, or even student loans for college.
Classes of Felonies
In an attempt to create a uniform and organized system of grouping felonies for purposes of sentencing, state legislatures in many states have sorted felonies into alphabetical classes – Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D. Class A felonies are the most violent and serious felonies, such as first degree murder or rape. Class D felonies, on the other hand, are the least severe and very mild when compared to Class A felonies.
Not every state that follows the alphabetical classification system has Class D felonies. Many states only categorize felonies into three classes. In addition, what may be a Class C felony in one state may be a Class D felony in another.
By grouping the felonies into different classes, the legislature can simplify the sentencing process. Each class is given its own sentencing guidelines. For instance, Class A felonies may carry sentences of 25 years to life in prison. Note that the exact penalties will differ between states.
Examples of Class D Felonies
- Bail jumping: Bail jumping occurs when a defendant fails to return to court for a hearing.
- Possession of a controlled substance: The quantity must be fairly small.
- Escape: Failing to return to a halfway house is referred to as escape.
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Solicitation: Solicitation is the legal term for prostitution.
- Third degree arson
- Stalking: Stalking occurs when an individual harasses another person over a period of time.
- Homicide caused by a vicious pet
Seeking Legal Help
While a Class D felony might not be the most serious felony, it is still capable of disrupting your freedom and your future. You may have legal options, such as pleading guilty, entering into diversion, or pursuing a trial. A competent criminal defense lawyer with experience in handling felony cases can counsel you on the various alternatives and work alongside you to advocate for your interests in court.