What is a Felony?
The defining characteristic of a felony offense is that it pertains to any criminal act that is punishable by more than one year in prison, or by death. Minor infractions often incur no more than a ticket, while misdemeanor crimes could include fines, community service, probation, and/or minimal jail time.
In some cases, particularly egregious misdemeanors can be termed gross or aggravated so that they incur more severe penalties, including more than a year of jail time. However, felonies remain the most serious criminal charges, and having a felony on your criminal record can be extremely detrimental to your life moving forward.
Felony charges can also elevate the classification and sentencing of concurrent crimes. For example, if an accidental death occurs during the commission of a felony crime, it could be deemed murder, whereas it might only be termed manslaughter (a lesser charge) if it occurred during a misdemeanor crime. It’s important to understand the magnitude of a felony charge so that you can make the best decisions regarding a plea deal or your criminal defense.
There are six classes of felony offense, with class one being the worst and class six being the least serious. The potential penalties for these classes of felony offense are as follows:
– Class 6
Fines of $1,000-100,000 and jail time of 12-18 months.
– Class 5
Fines of $1,000-100,000 and jail time of 1-3 years.
– Class 4
Fines of $2,000-500,000 and jail time of 2-6 years.
– Class 3
Fines of $3,000-750,000 and jail time of 4-12 years.
– Class 2
Fines of $5,000-$1,000,000 and jail time of 8-24 years.
– Class 1
There are no fines associated with class one felonies, but jail time includes a life sentence or the death penalty.
Crimes that could result in felony charges in the state of Colorado may include assault and battery, burglary and robbery, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drug crimes, identity theft, murder/homicide, sex crimes, white collar crimes (forgery, embezzlement, etc.), and more. It’s important to note that crimes involving extraordinary risk, which is classified as a substantial risk of harm to society, will incur enhanced penalties, regardless of the class of felony committed.
Fighting a Felony Charge
Being charged with a felony crime is extremely serious, but the outcome is far from a foregone conclusion. With appropriate legal defense from an experienced attorney at Curtis Law Firm, you have the opportunity to negotiate for a favorable plea deal with lesser charges and penalties, or even prove your innocence and be acquitted of charges.