What is a Class C Felony?

By Leslie Bloom - Updated March 06, 2018
Gavel, scales of justice and law books

Crimes are generally classified as felonies or misdemeanors. Within each category, crimes are further classified by severity of the crime. Felonies comprise more serious crimes. Within the classifications of felonies, Class C felonies typically fall in the middle between the most serious violent crimes and the least serious non-violent crimes. What constitutes a Class C felony differs by state.

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Types of Class C felonies depend on the state in which the crime is committed, as each state determines its own laws around crime.

Felony Classifications

States classify felonies for the purposes of sentencing. Most states classify felonies using a letter system from Class A (most violent) to Class D (least violent). Class C felonies fall somewhere between Class A and Class D, so they are not the most violent but not the least, either.

Some states only use three groups of classifications. In those states, Class C felonies are the least serious crimes that can be committed in that state. Alaska and Maine are two states that use only three classifications for felonies. Other states, such as Illinois and Virginia, classify felonies using a number system. In those states, Class C felonies are equivalent to a Level 3 felony.

Types of Class C Felonies

Types of Class C felonies depend on the state in which the crime is committed, as each state determines its own laws around crime. Some states, such as New York, further break down Class C felonies into “violent” and “non-violent.”

Crimes that are considered Class C felonies include:

  • Aggravated manslaughter
  • Criminal solicitation
  • Criminal use or sale of a firearm
  • Arson
  • Strangulation
  • Child custody interference
  • Forgery
  • Gang assault
  • Bribery
  • Money laundering
  • Criminal possession of marijuana
  • Kidnapping
  • Vehicular or negligent homicide
  • Robbery

Consequences of a Class C Felony

Consequences of committing a Class C felony also depend on the state where the crime is committed. Each state establishes its own penalties, which typically include jail time and a fine.

In Iowa, Class C felonies are punishable by jail time of no more than 10 years and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000. In New York, someone convicted of a Class C violent felony will get 3.5 to 15 years in jail. If the felony was non-violent, they will not have jail time, but will be sentenced to one to 15 years of strict probation. Missouri has five classes of felonies. Class C felonies, which fall in the middle of the violent spectrum, are punishable by jail time of three to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Since Alaska has only three classes of felonies, a Class C felony is the least serious type of felony conviction in that state. Conviction of a Class C felony means up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Conviction for a Class C felony permanently stays on a person’s record, and it can impact some of his civil rights. With a felony conviction, a person may not be able to vote and can lose an occupational license.

About the Author

Leslie Bloom earned a J.D. from U.C. Davis’ King Hall, with a focus on public interest law. She is a licensed attorney who has done advocacy work for children and women. She holds a B.S. in print journalism, and has more than 20 years of experience writing for a variety of print and online publications, including the Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy.

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