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What Is a Felony?


A judge as seen from behind the criminal defendant and his lawyer in a courtroom.
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Question: What Is a Felony?
Answer: A felony is different from other categories of crime in terms of its level of severity and the amount of punishment the convicted felon can receive. In the United States, a felony is a serious crime punishable by more than a year in prison.

Most states have laws that classify different levels of felonies, from the least serious to the most serious. Some states classify felonies 1st degree, 2nd degree, etc. Some states assign letters to the different classifications of felonies - E, D, C, B, and A, with A being the most serious crime.

Committing a felony can have long-term consequences far beyond the term of the sentence received. In many states, convicted felons can lose their right to vote, to acquire professional licenses, to purchase firearms, or to serve in the military or serve on a jury.

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