The criminal codes of every state and the federal criminal code separate felony crimes (serious offenses) from misdemeanors (less serious). Some states use a classification system to organize felonies from those that are the most serious to those that are less so. Some states use a letter classification system, such as class A, B, C, and so on; others use a numerical approach, such as class or level 1, 2, 3, and so on. Under this approach, a class C felony (or a level 3 felony) is the third most serious felony.
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 C /level 3 felony in one state may be considered a class B/level 2 or class D/level 4 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 (time added to a base sentence), and any mitigating circumstances (time taken from a base sentence). Several states also levy fines for class C felonies.
The following states have classified their felony crimes by class A, B, C, and so on; or levels 1, 2, 3, and so on. Accordingly, these states have class C/level 3 felonies: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Consult the chart below to read more about each state's classification system, including examples of Class C felonies and penalties.
|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||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6|
|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-, 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|
|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|