The term “serious crime” usually refers to felony crimes that are dangerous to the health and safety of the public.  It can also include some misdemeanors, especially those that are considered “wobbler” crimes i.e., can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor.

The term “Serious Crime” can include:

  • Felonies
  • Violent crimes
  • Drug-related offenses
  • Criminal charges involving death or serious bodily harm to the victim (especially drunk driving cases)

Also, any crime that involves interference with government or law enforcement agencies is generally classified as a serious crime.  Certain white-collar crimes such as tax evasion may also be categorized as such.

What are the Penalties for Serious Crimes?

This will vary depending on the specific type of crime involved.  However, since most serious crimes are listed as felonies, they generally involve legal penalties such as:

  • A sentence in a federal prison (usually lasting at least one year)
  • Criminal fines
  • Various other consequences, such as the loss of the right to purchase, own, or carry a handgun (especially for violent offenses)

Penalties for serious crimes can also involve other consequences, such as mandatory counseling or community service.  In some instances, having a felony on one’s criminal record can affect employment opportunities or rights to child custody.

Also, in some states (like California) being convicted of multiple serious crimes can lead to a life sentence in prison, or other very serious consequences.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Serious crime convictions are associated with severe penalties.  You may wish to contact a criminal defense lawyer if you need help with serious crime laws.  Your attorney can advise you of your rights, and can assist you with a criminal defense.  A qualified lawyer will be able to represent you during trial and can provide you with expert legal advice.