A felony is a serious crime. In the United States, offenses that are
punishable by a prison term of more than a year. Less serious criminal
offenses are referred to as misdemeanors.
The unlawful taking of another person's life with intent is a serious
criminal offense. Being convicted of this crime may mean that the
individual could be sent to prison for a term set by the judge,
including up to life in prison, such as in some cases of second degree
murder. A first degree murder conviction carries the harshest sentence,
of either life in prison or the death penalty.
Sexual assault cases are another example of crimes that are included on
a list of felonies. Acts of forced intercourse on a female or a male
victim are serious criminal offenses. An accused person could be sent
to prison for a several years, depending on whether the perpetrator
used a weapon during the crime and if the victim was maimed or killed.
Armed robbery is another example of a serious criminal offense. It
involves taking something the belongs to another person by force, and
using a weapon during the commission of the crime. The penalties for
this felony vary, depending on the jurisdiction where the offense was
The crime of arson can involve willfully setting fire to a building or
a wooded area. In cases where a victim was killed or maimed as a result
of the fire being set, this offense will likely be prosecuted as a
felony offense. The level of damage to the property will also be
considered when deciding whether this crime will be prosecuted as a
felony or a misdemeanor.
Illegal Drug Sales
Selling controlled substances is a felony offense in the United States.
In some jurisdictions, being convicted of selling drugs near a school
means an automatic prison sentence. If an individual supplies drugs to
someone else and the buyer dies, the drug seller will face a much
longer prison sentence than if he or she was simply convicted of
distributing the drugs.
A kidnapping occurs when one person forcibly takes another away against
their will and keeps them forcibly confined. In the United States, when
a kidnapping victim is transported over state lines, the crime is
treated as a federal offense. The punishment for this item on the list
of felonies is a prison sentence.
A person who betrays his or her country can be charged with treason.
This crime is not a common one in the United States, but a person who
is found guilty of assisting an enemy of the country will be facing a
stiff prison sentence and will be required to pay a fine.
Income Tax Evasion
Willfully failing to report income or providing false information on an
income tax return may be prosecuted as a felony. On conviction, an
individual can be sentenced to prison for several years and required to
pay a fine.