According to US criminal law, there are two crime categories: misdemeanors and felonies. The latter is the more serious category, and felonies usually entail a sentence of at least one year. If you or a family member is accused of a felony, there should be a basic knowledge of felony law. You should also call a Delaware County Criminal Lawyer who has previously represented those accused of felony crimes.
Felony Law Basics
In most cases, Congress and state legislatures develop criminal laws and punishments. Most crimes are under state jurisdiction, but some crimes fall under federal laws. A felony is a crime considered serious by state and federal governments, and can be a crime against a person (like assault or murder) or against property (like arson).
Felonies are further subdivided according to severity. These divisions are commonly called degrees; for instance, a first degree murder is more serious than murder in the second degree, and Class A felonies are more severe than Class B crimes. Felony laws vary by state, and jurisdictions may define them differently. Punishments for felonies may also vary by state.
Crimes Against People
These crimes are examples of felonies against people, and names sometimes vary by state.
* Assault: Sometimes called battery, an assault occurs when someone tries or succeeds in causing serious bodily injury to another person.
* Kidnapping: Occurs when a person is moved or taken against their will.
Murder: Also called homicide, murder occurs when one person kills another.
* Rape: Non-consensual sex with another person
* Robbery: A robbery occurs when a person uses force or threat of bodily injury to take property or money from someone else.
* Crimes Against Property
Below are examples of crimes against property:
* Arson: The intentional setting of a fire in a building or in an outdoor area
* Burglary: Occurs when someone illegally enters a building with intent to commit a crime
* Theft: Non-permissive taking of another person’s property. A theft is only considered a felony if the value of the stolen property is above a certain amount.
Every state has different degrees of felony punishment, but most are punishable by sentences of a year or more. Some crimes are punishable by fines, and some are punishable by fines and prison sentences. If you or a family member has a question about felony law, crimes or charges, you should call for a consultation with a Delaware County Criminal Lawyer.