What Is a Class C Felony?

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About ⅓ of US states have felonies subdivided into lettered classes. In most of these states, a class C felony is a mid-range crime. It is a serious felony, but does not rise to the level of the most serious ones, such as murder. Still, you are likely to have a long prison sentence and other serious consequences if you are convicted of a class C felony. This is especially true if you have previous convictions or there are aggravating factors in the case.

What is considered a class C felony depends upon the state, but here are some examples by state:

  • Connecticut – 2nd degree manslaughter
  • Missouri – statutory rape
  • Nevada – stalking on the Internet
  • New York – assault on a judge
  • Wisconsin – 2nd degree assault
  • Oregon – 3rd offense DUI

Other common class C felonies are bribery, forgery, negligent homicide, criminal tampering, receiving stolen property, arson and kidnapping. All of these crimes can result anywhere from one to 20 years in state or federal prison.

Penalties for Class C Felonies

Generally, the sentences for class C felonies can range from two to five years in prison in Nevada, and five years in prison in Washington state and Oregon. In Wisconsin, you may receive up to 40 years in prison. Connecticut, Kentucky and Iowa have sentences for such felonies that go up to 10 years in state prison. Fines in Iowa, Arkansas and Nevada can be up to $10,000.

Also, rules vary, but courts in all states will examine the unique circumstances of the criminal offense. If you have previous convictions, committed a violent crime, or committed a crime of violence or abuse against a child, a class C felony could be enhanced. For example, in Connecticut, burglary is a class C felony. But if you were carrying a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime, this could be enhanced to a class B felony in terms of sentencing. If the burglary involved an assault against someone in the property, this could become a class A felony in that state. Generally crimes of violence will result in enhanced charges and penalties.

In New York state, an offender convicted of a class C felony must serve at least 3.5 years in prison. But the minimum will increase to seven years if the same person had a previous conviction.

Below are more examples of class C felonies in several states:


Alabama has three types of felonies – A, B, and C. A class C felony is the least serious, but it still may be punished by no less than a year in jail and up to 10 years. If you have a previous felony conviction, a class C felony can result in no less than two years and up to 20 years in prison. Fines can be up to $15,000.


A class C felony can be punished by a prison term of five to 10 years. Theft of property that is valued at $10,000 or more is a class C felony. You also will face a longer prison sentence if you have previous felony convictions.


A class C felony in this state can include buying and receiving stolen goods, violating an order of protection or stalking by text or Internet. You may receive a sentence between two to five years and a fine up to $10,000.

South Carolina

A class C felony in this state can be punished by up to 20 years in prison. The most common class C felonies are carjacking, sexual exploitation of a minor and attempted armed robbery


A class C felony in this state can get you a prison sentence of three to 15 years, as well as a fine up to $10,000. A common class C felony charge here is aggravated assault.

At the federal level, a class C felony can result in a sentence of at least 10 years but less than 25 years. The sentence at the federal level depends upon a variety of factors according to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, including your criminal history, whether you accept responsibility for the crime, whether you have paid restitution, and whether there were aggravating factors involved.

Defenses to Class C Felony

Depending upon the exact felony charge, an effective criminal defense attorney may be able to defend you from a class C felony. For example, assault can be charged as a class C felony in some states. Some of the effective defenses to this alleged crime are:

  • Self defense: Alleging self defense in this can may be appropriate if you agree that you committed the assault but argue that it was justified given that you were being threatened by the other party. This defense could be most effective if you can show that the alleged victim was being aggressive toward you. Witness testimony could be effective in arguing that you were acting reasonably to a threat.
  • Acted in defense of others: This defense may work if you can prove the other person assaulted another party and you were acting in defense of that person. The judge may rule that you were acting reasonably given the circumstances.
  • Alibi: If you were not at the scene of the alleged crime, you cannot be convicted of felonious assault. This defense will require proof from witnesses that you were not at the crime scene.
  • Burden of proof not met: In all felony charges, the prosecutor has the burden of proof against you. He or she must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. If they cannot meet this high level of proof, the judge or jury may find you not guilty.

Class C Felony Loss of Rights and Benefits

As with any felony conviction in the United States, you will surrender certain rights. You will probably not be able to do the following:

  • Serve on a jury
  • Vote
  • Possess or own firearms
  • Work in many fields that require a license, permit and/or background check
  • Qualify for affordable public housing

Also, you may have difficulty getting a job, as many employers do not want to deal with convicted felons. Landlords frequently do not want to rent houses or apartments to convicted felons. If you are looking for work or a place to live as a person convicted with a class C felony, it is recommended to check with Goodwill or the Salvation Army. They may be able to help you find a place to live or get a job.

Being convicted of a class C felony also can make you liable in civil court. The victim of your felonious crime may sue you for their injuries, medical costs, lost wages and/or pain and suffering.

Class C Felony Cases