In terms of the severity of crimes, felonies are the most serious and often carry prison time. There are a lot of different crimes that will be charged under felonies. More serious ones like murder can result in life in prison or the death penalty. Less serious felonies may result in a year in prison.
What Penalties Do Felonies Carry?
Felonies can have a wide range of penalties, depending on the crime committed, the severity of the crime, and the circumstances. Most states offer sentencing guidelines for crimes that are felonies so the judge can make sentencing decisions based on the crime. Judges may take into account the following things when sentencing felonies:
- The defendant’s criminal history
- The severity of the crime
- The severity of the harm caused to other people
- Circumstances of the crime
Those convicted of felonies will usually be incarcerated for at least a year in federal or state prison, but the judge may reduce the sentence or allow probation instead of time served.
Do All Felonies Carry Prison Time?
Most felonies will result in prison time, and all crimes that are felonies carry the possibility of prison time. However, for less serious felonies, the judge may make the decision to let the convicted serve probation or serve their sentence in county jail rather than federal or state prison. This is usually only given to felonies that do not involve physical harm to someone.
What Is Probation Like For Those Convicted of Felonies?
Less serious felonies may receive probation rather than prison time. Probation still carries the threat of prison time if the convicted does not follow the conditions of probation. Probation for felonies is the same as probation for any other type of crime. The conditions are:
- Not breaking laws
- Drug testing
- Community service
- Regular reporting to a probation officer
- Treatment for drug or alcohol addiction
- Not possessing weapons
If the person on probation breaks the conditions of their probation, they will be sent to prison to serve their sentence instead.
What Is Supervised Release and Parole Like For Those Convicted of Felonies?
Supervised release and parole for felonies are very different to probation. Probation is an alternative to incarceration; supervised release and parole happen towards the end of the prison sentence.
Parole for felonies are decided by a parole board who review the file of the incarcerated to see if they have behaved well in prison. If they have, then they will be released on parole where they must meet conditions for the remainder of their parole. These will be things like keeping a job, having a permanent residence, and drug or alcohol testing.
Supervised release for felonies is determined at the time of sentencing. The judge will sentence the convicted to 3 years in state prison, with a year of supervised release. This means that the convicted will serve 2 years in prison and will be eligible for a year of supervised release. If the convicted does not behave well in prison, their supervised release time will be reduced.
Just like probation for felonies, if someone violates their parole or supervised release conditions, they may end up back in prison.
Other Penalties of Felonies
Along with prison time or probation and fines, felonies may carry additional penalties.
Depending on the type of crime and the severity, someone convicted of a felony may have to pay restitution. Restitution can be paid either to the victim or their family or to a fund created to help victims of serious crimes to cover their expenses.
Those convicted of felonies will also incur fees for parole, probation, and supervised release. The bill for supervision, drug and alcohol testing, and monitoring is passed onto the convicted.
Felonies and the Criminal Record
Any felonies that you commit will appear on your criminal record, meaning they will affect your ability to get a job, be taken into account for future trials, and may even affect your immigration status. In some cases, felonies on the criminal record may affect your ability to claim benefits for housing or affect where you live. Some landlords may not allow you to live in their homes because of your criminal record, or if you were convicted of a sex crime, you might not be able to live in certain areas.
Each state has different laws regarding the civil liberties of those convicted of felonies. Some may not allow the felon to own firearms or vote. Certain types of felonies may also affect the immigration status and result in the convicted being deported.
Can Felonies Be Expunged From My Criminal Record?
Possibly, some states allow felonies to be expunged from criminal records if you meet the requirements of the expungement laws. These may require you to stay crime-free and contribute to society for a period of time. If you are seeking to have felonies expunged from your criminal record or completely seal your criminal record, speak to an attorney. They can help determine if you are eligible and assist with the process.