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What is a Class 1 Felony

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A felony is the most severe type of crime and is defined as any crime in which the maximum sentence is more than one year in prison. Felonies are further Classified according to their severity with Class 1 felonies being the most serious crimes, followed by Class 2 felonies and Class 3 felonies. Some states Classify felonies with letters, making a Class A felony the equivalent of a Class 1 felony. States also vary in the crimes that they consider Class 1 felonies.

Capital crimes are the most egregious crimes and are Classified as Class 1 felonies. These involve premeditated murder, as well as the murder of a witness to a crime or a judge in an effort to prevent them from performing their legal duties. Kidnapping is also a Class 1 felony. Certain major drug crimes are considered Class 1 felonies, depending on the weight of the drugs involved, although the designation is usually reserved for the most violent crimes.

As Class 1 felonies are the most severe crimes, they naturally carry the harshest penalties. Class 1 felonies are punishable by death in some cases when capital punishment is available in the particular state. Other punishments include lengthy imprisonment, from five years to life. Class 1 felony punishments can even include a fine of up to $100,000.

In addition to extensive punishments through the court system, felons also have a difficult time re-entering society upon their release from prison. Convicted felons are generally barred from voting or serving on juries. They also have a difficult time securing employment. They also face lengthy and restrictive parole and probation terms.

In some cases people attempt to commit a Class 1 felony and fail. In the event of attempted felonies, they are often punished at one level lower, so an attempted Class 1 felony will be punished as a Class 2 felony.

Anyone who is arrested, regardless of the crime, has the right to consult with an attorney. A good criminal defense attorney can help negotiate lesser sentences or even prove innocence. Any felony conviction, especially a Class 1 felony conviction, will be a major life event, so be sure to consult an attorney.

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