- November 20, 2017
A person who has committed a felony is a felon, and upon conviction in a court of law is known as a convicted felon or a convict. In the United States, where the felony/misdemeanor distinction is still widely applied, the federal government defines a felony as a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year. If punishable by exactly one year or less, it is classified as a misdemeanor. Note that the actual prison sentence handed out has no effect on this; the decision is based on the maximum sentence possible under law. For example, if a person is sentenced to six months, but the charge can be “up to two years”, it counts as a felony, in spite of the actual time served being well under a year. Individual states differ in the definition of a felony, using other categories as seriousness or context. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Aggravated assault and/or battery
- Animal cruelty
- Vehicular homicide
- Tax evasion
New York State use letters to classify what is a felony, with some classes divided into sub-classes by Roman numeral; classes range from Class E (encompassing the least severe felonies) through Classes D, C, B, and A–II up to Class A–I (encompassing the most severe). Results of being charged with a felony can range from two years in prison, to possible death.