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Classification of crimes

12/9/18 Classification of crimes


Crimes are generally classified depending on their degree of seriousness:

• Felonies: serious crimes punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year. Many states also define different degrees of felony offenses and vary the punishment according to the degree.

  1. First degree felonies: the defendant is sentenced to life imprisonment.
  2. Second degree felonies: the defendant serves a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment
  3. Third degree felonies: the defendant may be sentenced to a maximum of 5 years.

A capital offense is a criminal charge that is punishable by death penalty, and generally involves first degree felonies.

• Misdemeanors: less serious crimes, punishable by a fine or by confinement for up to a year. The person is called misdemeanant.

• In most jurisdictions, petty offenses are considered to be a subset of misdemeanors. They are minor violations, such as violations of building codes.


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