What Is a Class B Felony?
Every state, along with the federal criminal code, differentiates severe offenses from less severe crimes; the former is classified as a felony, while the latter signifies a misdemeanor. A handful of states utilize a classification system to categorize felonies (from serious crimes to less serious ones). States that use alphabets to group felonies, rank different severe offenses using letter classification systems such as Class A (the most severe), Class B, C, D, etc.
You may also find some other states using “level” rather than “class.” Since a Class B felony is a subset category which comes next to a Class A felony, it carries grave consequences like Class A, such as long term imprisonment and aggravated fines. More so, anyone found guilty of a Class B felony will have their records soiled, among other repercussions.
There are tons of felonies classified in state criminal codes. This development took place to organize the different forms of crimes so that judges wouldn’t have a hard time sentencing a criminal. Offenses that fall under a particular category or class have corresponding maximum and minimum compulsory penalties. However, the punishments may be different from one state to another.
Every state has a specific penal code and its own belief of the severity of a particular offense. Therefore, a Class A/Level 1 felony crime in one state may be a Class B/Level 2 felony in another state.
Punishments for felonies may vary between a one-year prison sentence to life imprisonment depending on the offense committed, enhancements, and other factors. Moreover, many states fine a levy for a Class B felony.
Class B Felony Sentencing Enhancements
The sentence pronounced by a judge on a Class B felony offender may depend on their previous convictions and any unique circumstances linking to the occurrence that led to the prosecution. Circumstances that typically impel enhancements resulting in more severe sentences include:
- Using a harmful weapon on a person
- Sex offenses against underage victims, or any offense against defenseless or elderly victims
- Group crimes
- Hate/bias crimes (violations against a person based on their gender, race, complexion, disability, nationality, and other defended qualities)
For instance, the punishment for committing a Class B felony in a specific state may be up to 50 years imprisonment; nonetheless, repeat offenders may face a more severe sentence, say 52 years. More so, an ex-convict who already has a reputation for a Class B felony can incur a more drastic penalty if convicted in the future. Presently, several states have “three strikes” laws, which intensify the consequences of multiple felony convictions.
Class B Felony in Different States
The following states below categorize their felony offenses using an A, B, C, or 1, 2, 3 classification system. A Class B felony offense is punishable by at least two years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment. One prior felony conviction for a Class B felony attracts at least ten years and a maximum of life or 99 years imprisonment. Two prior felony convictions for a Class B felony offender attract up to a life sentence and a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. More so, three prior felony convictions attract up to a life sentence and at least 20 years imprisonment.
Class B felony crimes in Alabama include first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, second-degree kidnapping, and robbery. Class B felony conviction can also attract a fine of a maximum of $30,000 in Alabama. The court reserves the right to impose severe penalties if the criminal statute in the case permits it.
In Alaska, the court punishes a Class B felony with up to ten years imprisonment and a fine of around $100,000. (Alaska Stat. § § 12.55.035, 12.55.125.)
Arizona uses a 1, 2, 3 system to categorize their felony crimes with 2 being Class B. The possible term for Class B felonies is five years, while the maximum term is 12 ½ years. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-701.)
An Arkansas judge may sentence a Class B felony convict with five to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000.
Felony crimes are designated in Classes 1, 2, and 3 in Colorado. Class 2 felonies are punishable by eight to 24 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000. A judge can also impose both penalties in some cases.
Drug felonies are of a different dimension in the state of Colorado. They’re designated into levels 1, 2, 3, and 4. Presently, a person who commits a level 2 drug felony in the state attracts between four to eight years imprisonment and a fine of between $3,000 to $750,000. In some cases, a judge may pass both penalties.
A Class B felony in Connecticut is punishable by one to 40 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 53a-35a, 53a-41.)
A convict in Delaware can incur two to 25 years imprisonment for committing a Class B felony. (Del. Code tit. 11, § 4205.)
The state of Florida classifies felonies into capital or life felonies or felonies of the first, second, or third degree. Second-degree felonies can attract up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 maximum. (Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082, 775.083 (2019)).
In Hawaii, all crimes warranting a year or more in state prison fall under a felony. A Class B felony warrants up to a decade in prison and a fine of up to $25, 000. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § § 706-640, 706-660.) For instance, in Hawaii, an assault that results in severe injury causing permanent disfigurement is classified as a Class B felony.
Iowa treats the possession of marijuana as a Class B felony. Moreover, the state considers first-degree burglary, second-degree sexual assault, terrorism, and second-degree kidnapping as a Class B felony. The penalty is up to 25 years imprisonment. However, judges can also impose lengthier sentences.
A Class B felony in Missouri includes instinctive manslaughter, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, and sexual crime against a child below 14 years. The penalties for a Class B felony are pre-set; therefore, events that lessen or worsen the crime incidence aren’t taken into consideration. Convicts face between five to 15 years imprisonment. A Missouri judge may also impose a lengthier sentence.
A felony conviction in New York is quite complicated. Penalties and sentences depend on a handful of factors, such as the nature of the offense and the accused’s criminal records. A Class B felony in New York jurisdiction attracts 25 years maximum sentence and a minimum of one year and no more than a third of the maximum sentence. First-degree robbery is an example of a Class B felony in New York.
In some cases, a New York judge may lengthen the prison sentence of the criminal or impose a variety of other punishments for several felony convictions. The court may rule that the convicted felon undergoes probation or is granted a conditional discharge. Other types of penalties include fines and compensation to the victims of the crime.
The state of South Carolina categorizes felony crimes into six different subgroups; it ranges from Class A to Class F. Class A felonies are the most grievous offenses in the classification system, while Class F crimes are the least serious felonies. Class B, on the other hand, comes directly below class A; therefore, it’s also a serious offense. The penalty for this crime is imprisonment for up to 25 years. Crimes under this category in South Carolina are:
- Second-degree assault
- Detonating a dangerous device or provoking an explosion
- Second-degree arson
- Drug trafficking offenses
In the State of Washington, Class B felonies include stealing or possessing a stolen firearm, drug distribution, property theft, and money laundering. Penalties include a sentence to prison, which may be up to a decade with a fine of up to $20,000.
Sentences could be longer depending on whether there are aggravating circumstances like cases connecting to minors, particularly under the age of four. This implies that the jail term associated with a Class B felony in Washington State is quite lengthy.
Collateral Consequences of a Class B Felony Conviction
Convicts of a Class B felony don’t only deal with long years in prison or withstand an exorbitant fine; they also lose their rights to an array of societal activities and benefits. Class B felonies are aggravated crimes; therefore, you have no chance of sealing the record of conviction, known as expungement.
It’ll affect your chances of securing employment since a felony conviction will appear on any background check carried out before employment. More so, you lose the right to work at healthcare organizations, as they require a license or permit. It’ll also affect your right to vote and serve on a jury. You even lose the right to: possess a firearm, benefit from a federal student loan, entitlement for public housing aid, and a career as an accountant, lawyer, architect, or barber.
Losing the right to vote as a convict is quite controversial given that some states, such as North Dakota and New York, redeem such right as soon as a convict has served their penalty and paid the imposed fine. Moreover, a convict can reclaim lost rights as in the case of acquiring a firearm if they go through a successful court application, which typically entails fulfilling parole. Repossessing your civil rights is a complicated legal matter and usually requires the employment of an experienced attorney.
Furthermore, redeeming your right to housing and employment is also controversial. More so, observers have raised concerns on the issue of recidivism – committing further crimes after serving term. Consequently, legal liability becomes a concern as a landlord or employer may be prosecuted for employing or renting a house to a convicted felon who commits recidivism. Nonetheless, several states have bonding programs and other inducements to motivate future employees to hire those with criminal records while landlords rent their houses to them.
Statutes of Limitations
All crimes have time durations regarded as “statutes of limitations.” This phrase connotes the time criminal prosecution must commence. The statute of limitations starts running from the moment a crime was executed. Therefore, it becomes impossible to bring forth charges after a specific period has passed. Most times, the most severe crimes have the lengthiest statutes of limitations.
Common Defenses for Class B Felony
The Defense of a Class B felony differs mostly based on the accused’s crime. The common defenses include:
- Showing that the prosecution was unable to fulfill its burden of proof to remove logical doubt about the accused’s guilt
- Sabotaging their ways of garnering proof or the authenticity of their witnesses
- Claiming that there was no criminal offense committed by the accused, giving reasons like it was a case of mistaken identity, or that the actions were carried out to defend themselves or in defense of others
- Asserting that the statute of limitations has ended
Criminal Defense Attorneys for Class B Felony
Representation in court during criminal proceedings is necessary for a person charged with a crime like the Class B felony. The U.S. Constitution made it clear that representation will be provided to all citizens of the country faced with a criminal charge. If you’ve sought the services of a criminal defense attorney in your state or are on the verge of doing so, you should familiarize yourself with the services your lawyer is supposed to perform.
Why You Need the Service of a Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal law entails complex details of both state and federal laws. All states have the prerogative to create their meanings and penalties for state crimes. Lots of crimes committed fall under state crimes with exception to crimes like sabotaging federal property or causing physical pain upon a federal employee.
A person may claim not to have a complete understanding of criminal law or the process involved. However, this claim isn’t enough for any criminal not to face the full wrath of the law. Moreover, you have the prerogative to represent yourself during criminal trial proceedings, but the implication of having bad legal representation is overwhelming. Given that a Class B felony involves long prison terms, we advise you to employ the services of a criminal defense attorney to argue in court on your behalf.
Criminal Defense Attorney Services Pre-Trial
The duty of a criminal defense attorney is to help you throughout the criminal justice procedure, including pre-trial. Suspects who have reasons to believe that they may be charged usually hire a lawyer before prosecution. This action is helpful because the criminal defense lawyer helps guide and instruct you as you undergo questioning by the authority so that you don’t utter any incriminating statement.
Furthermore, your criminal defense attorney can persuade a court to drop the charges against you based on inadequate proof or improper procedure. This may happen when a police officer lacks the probable cause (a significant justification to assume that you may have perpetrated a crime) before arresting you.
Because a criminal defense attorney understands the nitty-gritty details of the probable cause in your state, they can fault the police officer’s logic in court. If your lawyer successfully demonstrates in court that the officer lacks probable cause to investigate an alleged crime scene before making an arrest, the court may drop the charges against you even before the commencement of your trial.
Moreover, if you get arrested for a crime, you may be detained before the trial commences. Nonetheless, you may secure a release by posting bail. Your criminal defense attorney can convince the court to lessen your bail amount or even revoke it.
You can enter a plea bargain (an arranged consensus to reduce sentence or charges) through your criminal defense attorney with the prosecution if you’re convinced that you’ll be convicted for a crime.
Criminal Defense Attorney Services at Trial
It’s the responsibility of your criminal defense attorney to represent and assist you during your criminal trial. They can evaluate your case and recognize its strength and drawbacks. After this, you and your lawyer can work together to create a strong defense strategy.
Your lawyer can also let you in on the advantages and disadvantages of pleading guilty, mainly when a plea bargain may be available. Your attorney may also help you with the customary steps of a criminal trial, from jury choice to creating opening statements to questioning witnesses.
If you’re unsatisfied with the result of your trial, your criminal defense attorney is in the position to help you with the appeal procedure. So you must know how to pick a good lawyer to get the best result from your trial.
If you still have any inquiries about the responsibilities of a criminal defense attorney, you may book a consultation with one.