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A serious crime, characterized under federal law and many state statutes as any offense punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year.
Under the early Common Law, felonies were crimes involving moral turpitude, those which violated the moral standards of a community. Later, however, crimes that did not involve mortal turpitude became included in the definition of a felony.Presently many state statutes list various classes of felonies with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the offense. Crimes classified as felonies include, among others, Treason, Arson, murder, rape, Robbery, Burglary, Manslaughter, and Kidnapping.
n. 1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison, as distinguished from a misdemeanor which is only punishable by confinement to county or local jail and/or a fine. 2) a crime carrying a minimum term of one year or more in state prison, since a year or less can be served in county jail. However, a sentence upon conviction for a felony may sometimes be less than one year at the discretion of the judge and within limits set by statute. Felonies are sometimes referred to as "high crimes" as described in the U. S. Constitution. (See: sentence, misdemeanor)
felonynoun capital crime, crime graver than a missemeanor, criminal activity, criminal offense, gross offense, heinous crime, heinous misconduct, illegality, indictable offense, misdeed punishable by imprisonment, offense, offense punishable by imprisonment, transgression, violation of law, wrongdoing
Associated concepts: assault with intent to commit felony, capital felony, common law felony, compounding a felony, felonious intent, felony conviction, felony murder, substantive felony
Foreign phrases: Felonia, ex vi termini significat quodlibet capitale crimen felleo animo perpetratum.Felony by forceof the term, signifies any capital crime perpetrated with a criminal mind. Felonia implicatur in qualibet proditione. Felony is implied in every treason.
See also: burglary, crime, delict, homicide, housebreaking, misdeed