The states and the federal government classify crimes as misdemeanors or felonies, which are more serious than misdemeanors. Many states further classify felonies into classes or levels, with class A/level one being the most serious. States that follow the felony classification system allocate a sentence, or a sentence range, to each class or level. So, if a crime is described as a “class E felony,” you’d need to read a separate statute on penalties for class E felonies to learn the sentence or sentence range for that crime.
The following states use the “class” system and include class E felonies: Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. These states use the “level” system, and include level 5 felonies: Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, South Dakota, and Virginia. See the chart below for more specifics.
In other states, legislators assign a sentence or range for each individual crime.
Because each state has its own penal code and its own view of how much punishment a particular crime deserves, an offense that is a class E/level 5 felony in one state may be considered a class D/level 4 crime in another state.
For more information on felony classification systems, see Felony Classes: Charges and Penalties.
Penalties for felonies can range from one year to life in prison, depending on the crime charged, enhancements and any mitigating circumstances. Several states also levy fines for class E felonies.
Felony Classification System
|Alabama||A, B, or C|
|Alaska||A, B, or C|
|Arizona||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6|
|Arkansas||Y, A, B, C, or D|
|Colorado||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or unclassified|
|Connecticut||A, B, C, or D; or unclassified (by crime); different sentencing laws apply for crimes committed before July 1, 1981|
|Delaware||A, B, C, D, E, F, or G|
|Florida||Capital or life felonies; or felonies of the first, second, or third degree|
|Hawaii||A, B, or C; murder classed separately|
|Illinois||X, 1, 2, 3, or 4; murder classed separately|
|Indiana||A, B, C, or D|
|Iowa||A, B, C, or D|
|Kentucky||A, B, C, or D|
|Maine||A, B, or C|
|Michigan||A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H|
|Missouri||A, B, C, D, or E|
|Nebraska||Class I, IA, IB, IC, ID, II, III, IIIA, or IV|
|Nevada||A, B, C, D, or E|
|New Hampshire||A or B|
|New Jersey||Indictable offenses: first, second, third or fourth degree|
|New Mexico||Capital offenses, first, second, third, or fourth degree|
|New York||A-I, A-II, B, C, D, or E|
|North Carolina||A, B1, B2, C, D, E, F, G, H, or I|
|North Dakota||AA, A, B, or C|
|Ohio||First, second, third, fourth, or fifth degree|
|Oregon||Unclassified (by crime), A, B, or C|
|Pennsylvania||First, second, third degree or unclassified (by crime)|
|Rhode Island||By crime|
|South Carolina||A, B, C, D, E, or F|
|South Dakota||Classes A, B,or C; and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6|
|Tennessee||A, B, C, D, or E|
|Texas||Capital felonies; first, second or third degree felonies; or state jail felonies|
|Utah||Capital felonies; first, second or third degree felonies|
|Virginia||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or by crime|
|Washington||A, B, or C|
|West Virginia||By crime|
|Wisconsin||A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or I|