What is a Class D Felony?

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A class D felony is one of the less serious types of felonies. In most states, class D felonies are not associated with dangerous or violent acts; many class D felonies are victimless crimes. However, this crime is still a felony and has serious potential punishments, including a long jail sentence, heavy fines and strict terms on probation.

In most cases, a conviction for a class D felony will stay on your record permanently. Therefore you will feel the repercussions of the felony conviction for years after your sentence is over. A class D felony conviction can prevent you from renting an apartment, getting a job or obtaining student loans.

Penalties for Class D Felonies

The sentencing range for a class D felony conviction varies by state. It often depends upon whether a class D felony in the particular state is the lowest class felony or not. Many states have laws similar to Arkansas, with up to six years in prison possible. Others, such as Delaware, have a maximum penalty of eight years in prison for this felony.

In states where there are more than four classes of felony, pre-set sentence ranges are often higher. For example, in Michigan, a class D felony is one of eight classes. The range is up to 10 years in state prison. Wisconsin features the highest possible sentence for class D felonies – up to 25 years. State courts also can hand out fines for class D felonies. These may range from up to $100,000 in Wisconsin to $5000 in the states of Tennessee, Connecticut and Missouri.

Generally, class D felonies are punishable by at least a year in prison. Approximately ⅓ of states use a system that has a class D felony. How serious a class D felony is varies by state. Some examples of class D felonies by state are:

  • Delaware: 2nd degree burglary
  • Kentucky: Felony drunk driving
  • Michigan: Larceny valued at $20,000 or more
  • North Carolina: Train robbery
  • Wisconsin: Child enticement

Below are more examples of class D felonies in various states:

Arkansas

Arkansas has five categories for felonies. Class D is the least serious and includes domestic battery; reckless burning; cruelty to animals; defacing a firearm; and aggravated assault.

For class D felonies, you can receive up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Judges in Arkansas have latitude in sentencing, and it is possible that you could receive probation if you are a first time offender, and there are no aggravating circumstances.

Connecticut

Connecticut has four classes of felonies, with class D felonies being the least serious. These crimes include:

  • 2nd degree assault
  • Possession of a forged instrument
  • Issuing a bad check for more than $1000
  • 3rd degree burglary
  • Possession of deadly weapon on school property
  • Impersonating a police officer

You can be sentenced from one to five years in prison and receive a fine of up to $5000 for a class d felony. Probation or parole may be considered for a first time offender with no aggravating circumstances.

New York

New York divides felonies into six classes. Class D is one of the less serious categories and includes criminal solicitation; third degree burglary; second degree vehicular manslaughter; third degree robbery; second degree felony; and obscenity.

A class D felony in New York can be punished by at least a year and up to seven years in prison. It is possible to receive probation if you have committed a non-violent class D felony. The decision is at the discretion of your judge and is more likely if you are a first time offender. You also may be fined up to $5000.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin features nine felony categories, with class D felonies being of the less serious variety. Some of these crimes include child enticement; felony drunk driving; solicitation of a child; felony vehicular manslaughter; and theft of between $1000 and $10,000.

The penalty for a class D felony in the state is up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Enhancements are possible for a class D felony in Wisconsin for repeat violent offenders, child sex crimes, use of a weapon, and committing violent crimes in a school zone.

Missouri

Missouri features four classifications for felonies. Class D felonies are the least serious and include:

  • Fraud
  • Resisting arrest
  • Third degree domestic assault
  • Passing a bad check

Missouri judges have discretion to hand down alternative sentences for nonviolent class D felonies that feature no more than five years of prison. It is possible that a first time offender may receive a fine, probation and house arrest. Pretrial diversion is also an option. However, if you are convicted of a class D felony and have previous misdemeanor convictions, you could be sentenced for a class C felony.

Pretrial Diversion for Class D Felonies

Class D felonies are generally the least serious types of felonies under most state laws. That is why some states, such as Kentucky, have pretrial diversion programs for certain convicted criminals who are convicted of class D felonies and do not have an extensive criminal record. Pretrial diversion is extremely valuable if you can qualify for it because you can possible avoid going to prison. In some cases, it may even be possible to have the charge removed from your record.

It varies by state, but certain individuals charge with a class D felony may qualify for pretrial diversion if they have not had a felony conviction in the previous 10 years, or they have not been on parole or released on probation or released from prison for a felony in the previous 10 years.

Some states have laws that will not allow some class D felonies to be diverted, such as sex crimes and violence against children. Also, some states will not allow you to participate in pretrial diversion more than once every five years. It is common in some states for first time felony drug possession charges to be possibly eligible for pretrial diversion.

After you are indicted with a class D felony, you generally would apply for pretrial diversion through the circuit court and the state attorney. This is known as entry of a pretrial diversion order. If an agreement can be reached between your defense attorney and the state’s attorney, you would then plead guilty and waive your right to have a speedy trial. If the judge gives his assent, a pretrial diversion order will be entered and you may be able to avoid jail time. Below are some of the typical requirements to stay in pretrial diversion:

  • Pretrial diversion may last up to five years
  • If you are convicted of other crimes during this period, any prison time you avoided will be added onto prison time for the new violation
  • You must obey all rules and regulations that are laid out by your state parole and probation office
  • Possessing a firearm or other deadly weapon is prohibited
  • You generally have to remain drug and alcohol free during pretrial diversion and may be subject to random drug testing
  • If the class D felony for which you received pretrial diversion resulted in economic loss to a victim, you may have to make restitution to the victim

The qualifications and rules for pretrial diversion for class D felonies vary significantly by state. Overall, if you can qualify for pretrial diversion, it is extremely valuable and desirable. You can not only avoid jail time; you also can possibly have the case voided and removed from your permanent criminal record.

An experienced defense attorney is very important in possibly obtaining your pretrial diversion or a reduced or suspended sentence for a class D felony. Some prosecutors are amenable to these types of deals because many state prisons are crowded with more serious offenders. Alternative programs such as probation, pretrial diversion and home incarceration do not add more numbers to the prison population.

Probation and other types of community sentencing is available in some states, such as Delaware, if the crime did not involve violence. However, if the felony has aggravating factors, punishments can be enhanced and programs such as pretrial diversion may not be possible.

For instance, if you commit second degree assault in Connecticut with a gun, you have to serve at least a year in prison; pretrial diversion is not an option. In Iowa, if you are an habitual offender, you automatically have three years added to your sentence with no pretrial diversion or other programs possible.

Class D Felony Loss of Rights and Benefits

States vary on punishments and sentences for class D felonies, but once you are convicted, you will most likely lose these important rights:

  • Right to vote
  • Right to keep and bear arms
  • Serve on a jury
  • Qualify for affordable housing
  • Hold certain occupations, such as lawyer, accountant and certain jobs in the healthcare field that require a license

A class D felony has serious consequences in terms of living and working. Many employers and landlords fear that having one felony conviction on your record makes it more likely you will commit another crime in the future. If you have a class D felony on your record, it is recommended to work with state agencies to find the names of companies and housing developments in your area that will accept a convicted felon.

References

  • Class D Felony Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/class-d-felony.html?intakeredesigned=1
  • Overview of Class D Felony. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.superpages.com/em/class-d-felony/
Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

About Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

Geoffrey G Nathan is a top federal crimes lawyer and Chief Editor of FederalCharges.com. He is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1988, admitted to practice in both Federal and State courts. If you have questions about your federal case he can help by calling 877.472.5775.