Felony

Felony in the United States

Contents:

A classification that covers the most serious kind of crime. Felonies can be penalized by imprisonment for a year or more. A felony is different from petty crimes, which are called misdemeanors. Conviction for certain felonies may bring the possibility of the death sentence. Most felonies also involve civil disabilities such as loss of voting rights or certain licensure privileges. Felonies are defined by legislatures. They vary somewhat from state to state, although such differences typically involve only internal gradations of criminal conduct. For example, some states distinguish between Class A and Class B felonies with sentences that vary by class. Nonetheless, all felonies are serious offenses and include murder, criminal sexual conduct, arson, and a number of assaultive offenses as well as those committed with a weapon.

See Also

Misdemeanor (Criminal Process).

Analysis and Relevance

A felony represents the most severe criminal behavior. Accordingly, felonies are processed by the major trial courts of a state. This is usually the state’s court of general jurisdiction. Federal felonies are handled by the United States District Court (U.S.). Those charged with felonies are entitled to a wide range of procedural protections. If a felony involves the possibility of the death sentence, the Eighth Amendment requires a two-stage process that considers an intricate array of possibly aggravating and mitigating factors. Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are usually handled more summarily because the issues are usually less complex, and the range of penalties is certainly more restricted.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Felony from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Felony Definition

At Common Law. An offense which occasions a total forfeiture of either lands or goods, or both, to which capital or other punishment may be superadded, according to the degree of guilt. 4 Bl. Comm. 94, 95; 1 Russ. Crimes, 42; 1 Chit. Prac. 14; Co. Litt. 391; 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 37; 5 Wheat. (U. S.) 153, 159. The common-law felonies were murder, manslaughter, rape, sodomy, robbery, larceny, arson, burglary, and perhaps mayhem. 1 Clark & Marshall, Crimes, 12; 2 Bish. New Crim. Law, § 1008. In American Law. The word has no clearly defined meaning, but includes offenses of a considerable gravity. 1 Park. Cr. R. (N. Y.) 39; 4 Ohio St. 542. In the absence of a statute defining felonies, ;t is generally held that no statutory crime is a felony unless it is so declared by the statute creating it. 66 Fed. 290; 7 Mass. 245. In other jurisdictions it is enacted that all offenses punishable by death or by confinement in the penitentiary are felonies. See 99 N. Y. 210; 35 Wis. 308; 10 Mich. 169; 89 Va. 570; 48 Me. 218.

Felony in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

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Felony Felony in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Felony Felony in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Felony Felony in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Felony Felony in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

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Felony Felony in the Family Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the IP Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Commercial Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Criminal Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Antritrust Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Bankruptcy Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Constitutional Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Tax Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the and Finance and Banking Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Employment and Labor Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Personal Injury and Tort Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Felony Felony in the Environmental Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.

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Felony in the Dictionaries Felony in our legal dictionaries
https://lawi.us/felony The URI of Felony (more about URIs)
Felony related entries Find related entries of Felony

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Legal Issue for Attorneys

At Common Law. An offense which occasions a total forfeiture of either lands or goods, or both, to which capital or other punishment may be superadded, according to the degree of guilt. 4 Bl. Comm. 94, 95; 1 Russ. Crimes, 42; 1 Chit. Prac. 14; Co. Litt. 391; 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 37; 5 Wheat. (U. S.) 153, 159. The common-law felonies were murder, manslaughter, rape, sodomy, robbery, larceny, arson, burglary, and perhaps mayhem. 1 Clark & Marshall, Crimes, 12; 2 Bish. New Crim. Law, § 1008. In American Law. The word has no clearly defined meaning, but includes offenses of a considerable gravity. 1 Park. Cr. R. (N. Y.) 39; 4 Ohio St. 542. In the absence of a statute defining felonies, ;t is generally held that no statutory crime is a felony unless it is so declared by the statute creating it. 66 Fed. 290; 7 Mass. 245. In other jurisdictions it is enacted that all offenses punishable by death or by confinement in the penitentiary are felonies. See 99 N. Y. 210; 35 Wis. 308; 10 Mich. 169; 89 Va. 570; 48 Me. 218.

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Notice

This definition of Felony Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Plain-English Law

Felony as defined by Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (p. 437-455):

A serious crime, usually punishable by a prison term of more than one year or, in some cases, by death.

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

A crime punishable by death or imprisonment in a state prison. See What is Felony?

For a meaning of it, read Felony in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Felony.

Felony

United States Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, about its article titled FELONYThe most common classification of crimes is between mis-demeanors and felonies. The Constitution does not control the definitions of felony and misdemeanor; the distinction usually is made by a state statute, or, in a few instances, by state constitution. Federal statutes define the scope of
(read more about Constitutional law entries here).

Some Constitutional Law Popular Entries

Concept of Felony

In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Felony has the following meaning: A serious criminal offense, such as burglary or theft with a value above $1,500, sexual assault or murder. Usually felonies are identified by degree of seriousness (first, second and third degree). (Source of this definition of Felony : University of Texas)

Felony

Felony Background

Resources

See Also

  • Judiciary Power
  • Judiciary Branch

Felony Background

Resources

See Also

Misdemeanor.

Further Reading (Articles)

Felony murder, the merger limitation, and legislative intent in State v. Heemstra: deciphering the proper role of the Iowa Supreme Court in interpreting Iowa’s felony-murder statute., Iowa Law Review; May 1, 2008; Van Zanten, Douglas

FELONY CHARGES FILED IN FILM OFFICE CASE, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; January 11, 2011

Reconsidering the Felony Murder Rule in Light of Modern Criticisms: Doesn’t the Conclusion Depend upon the Particular Rule at Issue?, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy; June 22, 2009; Crump, David

THE FELONY MURDER RULE IN ILLINOIS: THE INJUSTICE OF THE PROXIMATE CAUSE THEORY EXPLORED VIA RESEARCH IN COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 2008; Lijtmaer, Martin

FELONY CHARGES FILED IN FILM OFFICE CASE., States News Service; January 11, 2011

The Felony Murder Rule in Illinois: The Injustice of the Proximate Cause Theory Explored Via Research in Cognitive Psychology, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; January 1, 2008; Lijtmaer, Martin

The Origins of American Felony Murder Rules, Stanford Law Review; October 1, 2004; Binder, Guyora

RECONSIDERING THE FELONY MURDER RULE IN LIGHT OF MODERN CRITICISMS: DOESN’T THE CONCLUSION DEPEND UPON THE PARTICULAR RULE AT ISSUE?, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy; July 1, 2009; Crump, David

DURESS AND THE UNDERLYING FELONY, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; October 1, 2009; Shankland, Russell

PROSECUTORS’ DISCRETION: FELONY SHOPLIFTING CHARGES RARE DESPITE ARRESTS THAT QUALIFY, The Beacon News – Aurora (IL); June 15, 1999

Schuette Announces Felony Charges against Five Southeast Michigan Individuals for Alleged Role in Illegal Sports Gambling Operation, States News Service; January 29, 2014

Bill to Increase Felony Theft Threshold in Maine to $5,000 Upsets Retailers, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME); February 26, 2013; Richardson, Whit

Fayette jury returns 59 felony idictments, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV); May 19, 2003; Susan Williams

Courts; GALENA, Ill. – The following felony cases were filed in Jo Daviess County Circuit Court:, Telegraph – Herald (Dubuque); November 14, 2002; TH STAFF

Immigration Solutions; Supreme Court Rules: Not All Felonies Are Aggravated Felonies, Manila Bulletin; December 9, 2006; Reeves, Robert

Duress and the Underlying Felony, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; September 22, 2009; Shankland, Russell

Owner and Employees of Indiana Medical Center Charged with Multiple Felony Counts, States News Service; April 19, 2013;

Howard Lake police mourn mistaken death of police dog; “Felony” escaped his kennel, ended up at the pound and was destroyed.(NEWS), Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN); November 28, 2009

Law targeting repeated felony OUI drivers set to go into effect, Portland Press Herald (Portland, ME); July 28, 2014; ERIC RUSSELL Staff Writer

Immigration Law – Second Drug Offense Not Aggravated Felony Merely Because of Possible Felony Recidivist Prosecution – Alsol V. Mukasey, Suffolk University Law Review; January 1, 2010; Gearty, Lauren P.

Felony in the context of Juvenile and Family Law

Definition ofFelony, published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: A serious crime, generally punishable by imprisonment in a state or federal penitentiary.

Felony Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

A serious crime carrying a penalty of more than one year in prison. Compare with “misdemeanor.”

Violent juvenile felony in Juvenile Law

In this context, Violent juvenile felony information is available through this American legal Encyclopedia.

Felony: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Felony. This part provides references, in relation to Felony, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Felony by content types:

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Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Felony and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Felony or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Felony and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Felony. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Felony should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Felony when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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