A felony is an offense that is graver and more serious than a misdemeanor. In early English law, a felony referred to any crime that was punishable by death or mutilation and the forfeiture of one’s personal lands and goods. Today, the primary difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the amount of time you can be punished for the crime. While misdemeanors can only be punished with a maximum incarceration time of 12 months, felonies are sentenced with more than a year in prison.
Felonies have different classifications, ranging from classifications F (the lowest level of felony) to A (the highest level of felony). The higher the level of the felony, the greater the sentence of incarceration is. The most severe punishments are reserved for the most serious offenses. Class A felonies, which are the gravest infractions, usually carry with them a life sentence or death penalty.
Examples of Class A felonies include murder or first degree intentional homicide. Other examples of felonies include rape, arson and kidnapping.