A felony is a criminal offense for which a convicted person can be sentenced to serve one or more years in a state or federal prison, pay fines or both. Felony crimes are distinguished from misdemeanors by the sentence outlined in the statute.
Penalties and Sentencing for a Class C Felony Charge
In most states, a Class C felony is punishable from a minimum of one year to a maximum or up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine. When an individual is convicted of a class C felony, the court must abide by the sentencing guidelines set out for class C felonies in that area. Extenuating circumstances can complicate criminal charges and may alter the gravity of the offense in the eyes of the law. Therefore, the sentence and punishment for the crime might be altered to reflect the fact there were extenuating circumstances.
Class C felony enhancements may also play a role in sentencing and a judge may impose the maximum sentence if the crime included the following:
- If a firearm or deadly weapon was used during the commission of the crime
- If the crime involves a criminal sex act with a child
- If the crime is defined as a hate crime motivated by the victims race, color, gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion or physical or mental disability
In addition, individuals convicted of a felony may lose some of their civil rights that include:
- The right to vote
- The opportunity to run for office
- To serve in the military
- Their driver’s license may be revoked or suspended
Employers have the right to inquire about felony convictions, and may require insurance coverage before hiring anyone with prior history as a felon. Many insurance companies will not insure convicted felons, therefore making it difficult for many to obtain jobs. Other consequences may be loss or citizenship or deportation if the felon is an alien. Felonies are usually tried by jury and in some states, the accused must first have been indicted by a grand jury.
Types of Class C Felonies
The most common types of a class C felony includes:
- Drunk Driving
- Sexual Assault
- Drug Possession (if more than a quantity deemed for personal use; i.e. if more than 3 grams of cocaine which could be construed as a quantity with intent to sell)
In some states, a Class C felony may include involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, and stealing above $500 in value, but less than $2,500.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Since felony classification guidelines can vary widely, it is advisable to seek legal help in finding out what the sentencing guidelines will be if convicted. A criminal defense attorney can help by obtaining information about the specific charges, as this information can be used during a legal defense.