felony

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Felony

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.

felony

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)

felony

a now archaic term of English law for crimes that by statute or by common law carried the death sentence and forfeiture on conviction. See MISDEMEANOUR. In some US states this still denotes more serious imprisonable crimes.