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What Is A Felony? 

When people are accused of committing a crime, they typically are charged with either a misdemeanor or felony. A felony is the most serious type of criminal offense someone can be charged with. Typically, someone facing a felony charge has committed a crime that caused harm to another. However, this is not always the case since felonies can be non-violent as well. Depending on the felony class, the crime committed, and the State being charged in, the criminal could be looking at parole, a few years in prison, life imprisonment, or the death penalty. 

What Crimes Can Qualify For Felony Sentences?

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Manslaughter
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Child Pornography
  • Child Abuse
  • Stalking
  • Money Laundering
  • Arson
  • Homicide
  • Animal Cruelty
  • Aggravated Assault
  • And More. 

Different Felony Classes:

  • Class A Felony: The highest felony class level. Usually applies to cases involving murder and involuntary child servitude. People facing a Class A Felony could face a life sentence in prison.
  • Class B Felony: This isn’t as serious as a Class A felony, but still involves a crime punishable with time in State or Federal prison. One could be charged with a Class B Felony if they’ve had past convictions, used a weapon to commit a crime, or committed a gang or hate crime. 
  • Class C Felony: This is the mid-level felony class that contains crimes that are serious, but not too serious, such as murder. Crimes that fall under this class may include rape, internet stalking, and assault. If one is convicted of a felony in this class, they will likely get a long prison sentence. 
  • Class D Felony: This felony class usually involves victimless or non-violent crimes such as vehicle theft, burglary, larceny, stalking, and shoplifting. Penalties for committing a Class D Felony include paying court fees and fines, serving jail time, probation, community service, and more. 
  • Class E Felony: This is the lowest felony level, and usually covers crimes such as forcible touching, theft, harassment, DWI, and DUI. Someone who has committed a Class E Felony will likely face a couple of years in jail, depending on the case. 

How Long Does A Felony Stay On Your Record?

This question is often asked by criminals who have served their time and are looking for a job. For those who have been convicted of committing a felony, the felony will stay on their criminal record for the rest of their life. The only way to get a felony removed from your record is through expungement. 

How To Get A Felony Expunged

  • Step 1: See If Your Felony Qualifies To Be Expunged

First, you have to see whether you qualify in your State to have your felony expunged. This does vary state-by-state, depending on State and Federal Laws. If you committed a lower class/level felony that was non-violent, you may qualify.

  • Step 2: Collect All Relevant Records

If you are going to apply for expungement, make sure to get all of your relevant records together. This includes records of your felony conviction and documents that prove you qualify for expungement. 

  • Step 3: Fill Out State Forms and Notarize Them

Obtain and fill out any State forms required to expunge your criminal records. After filling them out, you will need to get them notarized by a local notary. After this is complete, you can send your forms to the appropriate party. 

  • Step 4: Attend Your Hearing

After your forms have been submitted and reviewed, you should receive a hearing to plead your case, with the help of a criminal defense attorney. There it will be decided by a judge whether or not to grant you the expungement. 

View our other Glossary Terms here

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.