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What is a Class B felony?

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A B felony is a classification of the severity of a felony. The federal government defines felony as a crime that carries a prison sentence of one year or longer; a misdemeanor is a crime with a jail sentence of one year or less. This classification varies from state to state, and some states use an alphabetic designation, while other states utilize numerical systems. Both felonies and misdemeanors are recorded on a person's criminal record, and can only be removed through appeals to the courts. Felonies and misdemeanors are different from violations, which tend to carry only fines and no criminal record.

Classes of felonies

A, or first degree, felonies are the most serious of felonies, although some states place capital felonies in a separate category. The severity of the felony diminishes as its classification moves down the alphabet or the numerical designation increases. Thus, B or 2nd degree felonies are less severe than A or first degree felonies, and C or third degree are less serious than B or 2nd. The classification system used is determined by individual State legislatures, which also delineate what criteria are to be used to designate an offense as a felony or as a misdemeanor. The legislatures also determine the length of prison time and the fine assessed for each conviction. B felony punishment can range from probation to fines to prison time, or any combination of the three. What offenses are classified as A, B, C, etc., may vary among states, and the circumstances surrounding the commission of an offence also contribute to its classification.

The following list is representative of one state's guidelines for felony and misdemeanor penalties. Other states may reflect this chart, or they may have completely different recommendations.

  • Capital felony Execution or life in prison
  • Class A felony murder 25 to 60 years Up to $20,000
  • Class A felony 10 to 25 years Up to $20,000
  • Class B felony 1 to 20 years Up to $15,000
  • Class C felony 1 to 10 years Up to $10,000
  • Class D felony 1 to 5 years Up to $5,000
  • Class A misdemeanor Up to 1 year Up to $2,000
  • Class B misdemeanor Up to 6 months Up to $1,000
  • Class C misdemeanor Up to 3 months Up to $500

To restate, classifications of felonies are different among the states, but overall, a B (or second degree) felony is less severe than an A (or first degree) felony, and carries a lesser penalty.

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