What is a felony?

I’m trying to clarify the correct logic for felony crimes.

I say, for you to be considered a felon, you have to have served more then 1 yr in jail. And anything less, is not considered a felony. Even if you have committed a crime that is considered a felony (ex: 1-5 years for dealing something), but because your a good citizen, the judge gives you 8 months to think about things. Are you still considered a felon if you only served 8 months? Or because you were convicted of a felony crime, you’re still a felon?

A felon is any person who has been convicted of a felony. Felonies are serious crimes, but sometimes you don’t serve any time at all. For example, a first-time assault might be sentenced to probation. In Massachussets, a felony is any crime that has a potential sentence of any prison time. In other states, felonies have sentences of a year or more.

This is Bricker’s department, rather than mine, so if his answer differs, listen to him and not me. (The litigation I do is civil, rather than criminal.) But I believe that you are still considered a felon, even if you serve less than a year. I think the issue is whether the crime could be punishable by at least one year in the penitentiary.

The latter. Every jurisdiction has it’s own definition, but a felony is very generally a serious crime that is punishable by more than one year in prison, although not necessarily punished by more than one year in prison. If you get 9 months in county for a minor felony, you’re still a felon. If you get straight probation in lieu of any jail time, you’re still a felon.

Thanks, I think I understand now.

In California, certain offenses are called “wobblers” and go on the defendant’s record as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on how sentenced. I’m not a lawyer though; hopefully a CA criminal lawyer will be along to explain the exact mechanisms involved.

Random is right on the money – although I appreciate the props! :slight_smile:

If the crime is punishable by one year or more of confinement, it’s a felony. The actual sentence imposed does not change the nature of the crime.