What Is an F2 Felony?

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F2 felonies are crimes under state laws. The F2 classifier stands for "Second Degree Felony," the second of three felony classifications, the most serious being First Degree Felony. What's included in the F2 class varies widely by state.

An Overview of Felony Classes

Every state classifies crimes by type. The two least serious offenses are infractions or summary offenses – such as jaywalking – and misdemeanors, which cover such things as public drunkenness, petty theft as well as most first-conviction Driving Under the Influence offenses in which no injuries resulted.

Felonies are more serious offenses, and under many (but not all) state laws, they have three numbered degrees: F1, F2 and F3. Federal felonies have different classes, alphabetized rather than numbered.

Generalizing broadly, F1 felony crimes are typically intentional and result in great harm to persons or property. Armed robbery, for instance, is a first degree felony offense in most states. Many other gun crimes, but not all, also fall into the first degree classification, as do serious sexual offenses involving minors. Second and third-degree felonies are more difficult to define and vary by state. Typical second-degree felonies are robbery (without a weapon), child pornography and many drug offenses.

Range of F2 Offenses

Describing definitively what constitutes an F2 offense is impossible because the classification of a crime's felony class differs widely by state, as do punishments. While a majority of states use a three-degree felony system, other states divide felonies differently, perhaps using four degrees instead of two, as is the case in Washington State, or even five felony degrees, the classification system used in Ohio.

Other states use an alphabetized felony classification system more along the lines of the Federal system. In California, for example, there are five felony alphabetized felony degrees, A through E – although lawyers still refer to the three-numbered class system in conversation.

Range and Comparison of F2 Punishments

In Texas, punishments for a second-degree felony can range from confinement in the state penitentiary for a minimum of two years to a maximum of 20. In Ohio, an F2 felony punishment ranges from two years to eight. But there is no meaningful way of comparing the severity of these punishments in relation to the felony class because Texas has three felony degrees, while Ohio has five. A second-degree felony under Texas law might be charged as a third or fourth-degree felony in Ohio.

The Usefulness of Classification Systems

Within a single state, felony classifications serve a clear purpose, dividing crimes according to the legal divisions within that state. Similarly, in-state comparisons of punishments by felony class allow defendants and attorneys to understand the consequences of a particular charge.

Comparisons of felony classifications between states are less useful, not only for the reasons given, but also because some states have expanded these categories into multiple sub-classes and have further complicated the relation between the crime and the punishment in various ways. California's three-strikes law, for instance, until amended in 2016, called for a life sentence for even a third-degree felony if it was the defendant's third offense.

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About the Author

I am a retired Registered Investment Advisor with 12 years experience as head of an investment management firm. I also have a Ph.D. in English and have written more than 4,000 articles for regional and national publications.