Class B and Level Two Felonies

Felonies classified as Class B, Class 2, or Level 2 tend to be among the more serious felonies in a state.

By , Attorney

Many states, plus the federal criminal code, categorize their felony crimes by degree of seriousness, from the most serious to the least. Some states use a "class" designation, such as Class A, B, and C or Classes 1 to 5. Others classify by "levels," such as Level 1, 2, 3, and the like.

This article will discuss common Class B, Class 2, and Level 2 felony crimes and penalties. Depending on the number of classifications a state uses, this offense level tends to represent serious to mid-level felony crimes.

What Is a Class B Felony?

In states that categorize by class or level, Class A or 1 and Level 1 felony designations generally represent the most serious offenses. Class B, Class 2, and Level 2 are the next most serious, and so on. A few states have separate designations for capital or life felonies, such as premeditated murder.

States group their felonies in order to assign a punishment that corresponds to offense severity. Every class or level has a set punishment or a range, and every statute that defines a crime specifies the class or level that applies to that crime. For example, a state may specify that Class B felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $40,000 fine. In the state's criminal code, certain crimes would specify their penalty as a Class B felony, such as "A person who commits first-degree arson is guilty of a Class B felony."

What Are the Penalties for Class B Felonies?

Because each state has its own penal code and its own view of how much punishment a particular crime deserves, the penalty for a Class B, Class 2, or Level 2 felony will vary—as will the crimes that carry this punishment.

As noted above, the severity of the penalties for a Class B, Class 2, or Level 2 felony often depends on the number of classifications a state uses. If a state has only three felony classifications, Class B or 2 would represent mid-level felonies. However, states that divide felonies into five or more classifications generally consider Class B or 2 felonies to be one of the more serious felony levels.

To complicate matters further, the actual penalty handed down will depend on a variety of factors. Judges often have a lot of flexibility in sentencing and can generally order any sentence up to the maximum permitted by law. An offender who has a lengthy felony rap sheet or uses a weapon will typically receive a sentence that's close to the maximum allowed, whereas a first-time offender might receive a much lower sentence. Other factors that judges consider in handing out sentences include the circumstances of the crime, the victim, and the defendant's background and remorsefulness.

Examples of Class B Felony Crimes and Penalties

Below are a few examples of Class B, Class 2, and Level 2 felony crimes and possible sentences.

Arizona. Arizona has six felony classes. The penalty for a class 2 felony in Arizona depends on the offender's criminal history, the severity of the crime, and the circumstances of the crime, among other factors. For a first-time offender (with no aggravating factors), the general sentencing range for a class 2 felony is 4 to 10 years. However, dangerous and repetitive offenders can receive sentences upwards of 21 or 35 years. Kidnapping and sex trafficking are examples of class 2 felonies.

Iowa. Class B felonies in Iowa carry up to 25 years in prison. It's one of four felony classes in the state. First-degree robbery and second-degree murder are examples of class B felonies.

New York. Five felony classes exist in New York. The maximum sentence for a class B felony in New York is 25 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. New York increases this maximum term for certain violent felonies, drug crimes, and sex crimes. First-degree assault and criminal use of a firearm are class B felonies.

Nevada. Nevada divides felonies into five categories. Category B felonies are crimes that statute specifies can be punished by no more than 20 years in prison. However, the law can set a lower maximum term. For instance, voluntary manslaughter and mayhem are category B felonies that carry a maximum 10-year sentence. Battery with intent to kill is a category B felony with a 20-year maximum.

Virginia. A class 2 felony in Virginia carries 20 years to life imprisonment. First-degree murder, abduction to extort money, and use of a machine gun for a crime of violence are all class 2 felonies.

States That Have Class B or Level 2 Felonies

Consult the chart below to read more about each state's classification system. For more information on a particular state's felony crimes and penalties, talk to a criminal defense attorney in your area.

State

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
California By crime
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
D.C. By crime
Florida Capital or life felonies; or felonies of the first-, second-, or third-degree
Georgia By crime
Hawaii A, B, or C; murder classed separately
Idaho By crime
Illinois X, 1, 2, 3, or 4; murder classed separately
Indiana 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6
Iowa A, B, C, or D
Kansas Grid system
Kentucky A, B, C, or D
Louisiana By crime
Maine A, B, or C
Maryland By crime
Massachusetts By crime
Michigan A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H
Minnesota By crime
Mississippi By crime
Missouri A, B, C, D, or E
Montana By crime
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
Oklahoma By crime
Oregon Unclassified (by crime), A, B, or C
Pennsylvania First-, second-, or 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
Vermont By crime
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
Wyoming By crime

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