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What is a Class 3 Felony

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A felony is considered to be any crime that carries a maximum penalty of more than one year in a state prison. Felonies are serious crimes that require harsh penalties. Misdemeanors, however, only call for brief periods of incarceration in a county jail, and sometimes no jail time at all. Depending on the state, felonies are Classified as a Class 1 felony, Class 2 felony or Class 3 felony. Other states classify felonies by letter with some going from Class A felonies all the way to Class I felonies.

A variety of crimes are classified as Class 3 felonies. A third conviction for driving while intoxicated carries a Class 3 felony. A first conviction is a Class B misdemeanor and a Class A misdemeanor for a second DWI conviction. Skipping bail after a felony arrest will add a Class 3 felony to a person's list of charges. A felon in possession of a firearm is also a Class 3 felony. Retaliation, stalking and tampering with evidence are all Class 3 felonies.

With a felony conviction comes a substantial penalty. Class 3 felonies can be punished by incarceration in state prison for anywhere from 2-10 years. Convicted felons can also face fines of as much as $10,000. A person convicted of a non-violent Class 3 felony may not be sentenced to prison at all. He may get a shorter sentence in a county jail or even a long probation sentence.

Having a felony conviction on your record can make it difficult to obtain employment later. Felony records cannot be sealed or expunged except in rare drug cases. Convicted felons also lose several rights, including the right to vote, the right to own a gun and the right to serve on a jury. Felons will also have strict parole terms upon release. Failure to abide by parole terms can result in being sent back to prison. These are, of course, in addition to incarceration and fines.

Anyone who is arrested, regardless of the crime, has the right to consult with an attorney. A good criminal defense attorney can often negotiate a non-violent Class 3 felony down to minimal jail time, or even no time for first offenders. Any felony conviction will be a major life event, so be sure to consult an attorney.

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