Felonies in Washington are crimes punishable by imprisonment in state prison. Felonies are designated as class A, B, or C. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9A.20.010.)
Under Washington's laws, less serious crimes (misdemeanors) are punishable by up to one year in county jail.
For more information on misdemeanors in Washington, see Washington Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Class A Felony
After aggravated first degree murder, which may be punishable by the death penalty, the most serious crimes in Washington are class A felonies. Class A felonies are punishable by up to life in prison, a fine of up to $50,000, or both a fine and imprisonment. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9A.20.021, 10.95.020.)
Most rapes are class A felonies. For more information on these crimes, see Washington Sexual Battery Laws.
Class B Felony
Under Washington’s laws, a class B felony conviction can result in a prison term of up to ten years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9A.20.021.)
Theft of property (other than a firearm or motor vehicle) worth more than $5,000 is a class B felony. For more information on theft penalties, see Washington Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws.
Class C Felony
A class C felony in Washington is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9A.20.021.)
Third degree assault of a child is a class C felony. For more information on assault crimes and penalties, see Assault and Battery Laws in Washington, Aggravated Assault Laws in Washington, Assault on a Child in Washington, and Assault With a Deadly Weapon in Washington.
Crimes Committed Before 1984
Crimes committed in Washington prior to July 1, 1984, are subject to different sentences. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9A.20.020.)
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit before which the state must begin criminal prosecution or the prosecution is prohibited. The statute of limitations begins to “run” when the crime is committed. Generally, the more serious the crime, the longer the statute of limitations, and the most serious crimes (such as murder) have no statute of limitations.
For more information, see Washington Criminal Statute of Limitations.
Obtaining Legal Assistance
A felony conviction can have extremely serious consequences, including time in prison, a fine, and a criminal record. A felony record can make it difficult to obtain a professional license or a job and can generally make life unpleasant. The best way to avoid a conviction if you are charged with a felony is to talk to a Washington criminal defense attorney. An attorney can tell you what to expect in court and how to best protect your rights.