What is Class 4 Felony?
What are the punishments for a level 4 felony?
What are the essential elements you should know!
In this article, I will break down the notion of Class 4 Felony so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
Let’s see what is a felony 4 crime and understand its consequences!
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Table of Contents
What Is A Class 4 Felony
A Class 4 felony is a type of crime that is classified as a “felony” under the applicable state law but more minor compared to Class 1, 2, or 3 felonies.
In other words, if Class 1 felony refers to the most serious type of crime (such as murder), Class 4 felony refers to the crime serious enough to be a felony but not as serious as the classes with a lower number assigned to them.
For example, a minor felony could be something like a vehicular assault, criminal mischief, or theft.
The direct consequence of classifying a crime as a fourth degree felony is that the law will provide for lighter punishment (although severe) compared to Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 felony crimes.
Every state has its own method for classifying crimes.
If a state uses “classes” to categorize different types of crimes, then you’re likely to see something like:
- Class 1 felony
- Class 2 felony
- Class 3 felony
- Class 4 felony
- Class 5 felony
Some states may have 4 classes while others may have 5 classes (it all depends on the state laws).
There are some states that classify crimes by their “type” and others use an alphabetical classification system.
As such, it’s important to note that not all states have a “Class 4 felony” classification.
However, if a Class IV felony does exist in the state, it means that it’s a minor felony compared to the classes with smaller numerical assignments.
Class 4 Felony Definition
From a legal perspective, what’s a Class 4 felony crime?
A Class 4 felony crime is a type of crime that is one step higher than the most serious type of misdemeanor crime but the least serious among the felony crimes.
A “felony” crime is a type of crime that is:
- Considered serious by the society (and the applicable criminal laws)
- Punished more strictly than misdemeanor crimes
Just like any other crimes, for a prosecutor to successfully convict a defendant, he or she must prove that the defendant committed the F4 felony crime and had a criminal mental state (intended to commit the crime for instance).
Class 4 Felony Punishment And Consequences
A level 4 felony charge is considered to be “minor” compared to a felony 1, 2, or 3 charges but remains a very serious type of crime nonetheless.
Keep in mind that Class 1 felony refers to crimes like first degree murder or second degree murder representing some of the most serious types of crime in society.
As a result, committing a crime that is charged as felony will result in strict punishments, fines, and consequences.
The good news is that an F4 felony will not result in punishments as strict as the classes above it but can result in a jail sentence of up to one year (or longer) and fines up to $25,000.
In addition to possible jail time and fines, those convicted of a felony crime will end up having a criminal record.
A criminal record will result in many unwanted consequences such as:
- Difficulty finding a job
- Difficulty finding affordable housing
- Revocation of professional license
- Potential loss of the right to vote
- Reputational damages in the community
For many, the consequences of becoming a convicted felon are very bad.
If you or someone you know is accused of felony 4th degree, it’s important to consult a defense attorney or criminal lawyer to evaluate all your legal options, defenses, and ensure you defend yourself in the best possible way.
In some cases, the best course of action is to defend against the case hoping to get a full acquittal and in other cases your lawyer may recommend that you plead guilty and in exchange get a lesser punishment.
Statute of Limitations For Class 4 Felonies
An important element you should be aware of is the notion of statute of limitations as it relates to class four felonies.
A statute of limitation refers to the legal timeline the prosecutor has to file criminal charges against an offender.
You should call a defense attorney to know what is a class 4 felony statute of limitations (if any).
If the law provides for a legal deadline for a criminal accusation to be filed and the prosecutor does not do so within that timeline, then it will be legally barred from initiating criminal proceedings against the suspect or defendant.
For example, in Arizona, a felony of level 4 has a seven-year statute of limitations applicable to a person that has been in the state for that long.
This means that if a person commits a class 4 crime in Arizona on today’s date, the prosecutor will have seven years to file a criminal suit against the suspect.
Class 4 Felony Examples
What are some examples of class four felony?
It’s important to keep in mind that not all states in the US classify felony crimes based on a numerical classification such as Class 1, 2, 3, or 4.
For instance, in Illinois, there are five classes of felony crimes: Class X, Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4.
In Colorado, you have six classes, namely Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4, Class 5, and Class 6 (Class 1 being the worst and Class 6 being the least serious).
For those states that do classify minor felonies as “Class 4”, here are some examples of crimes that it can include:
- Aggravated assault
- Vehicular homicide
- Sexual assault
- Controlled substance
- Aggravated DUI
- Misconduct involving a weapon
- Possession of narcotics
- Identify theft
- Tax evasion
- Animal cruelty
- Obstruction of justice
These are just some examples and there are many more.
4th Degree Felony vs Misdemeanor
What is a fourth degree felony and how does it compare to a misdemeanor crime?
In a state that has an F4 charge for a felony crime, class 4 felony is a type of crime that is one level more serious than the most serious type of misdemeanor crime.
For example, imagine that you have the following classifications:
- Felony Class 1, 2, 3 and 4
- Misdemeanor Class 1, 2, 3, and 4
In this case, the lowest felony charge is “class 4” felony and the highest misdemeanor charge is “class 1” misdemeanor.
The main differences between 4th degree felony and misdemeanor are the following:
- Felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanor crimes
- Felony crimes require a higher level of criminal intent to prove than a misdemeanor
- Felony crimes carry a higher level of punishment
- Felony crimes result in more harm to the victim of the crime (such as bodily harm, property damage, or harm to society)
- Felony crimes have longer jail or prison sentences than misdemeanor crimes
- Felony crimes result in higher fines than misdemeanor crimes
There are certain offenses called “wobblers” or “wobbler offenses”.
In essence, the prosecutor can choose to charge them as either a misdemeanor crime or a felony crime.
Typically, the prosecutor will assess the facts of the case to decide if the defendant should be charged with a misdemeanor versus a felony.
For example, a wobbler offense can be:
- Brandishing a weapon
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Elder abuse
The prosecutor will consider various elements to make a decision on how to prosecute the crime, such as:
- The criminal history of the accused
- The circumstances of the crime
- If the accused was charged for the same crime in the past
Class 4 felonies are crimes that may be prosecuted as a felony crime and in some cases the prosecutor may choose to prosecute it as a misdemeanor.
It’s also possible that someone commits a serious misdemeanor crime but the prosecutor chooses to charge the defendant under class 4 felony so the punishment can be stricter (depending on the nature of the case and the accused’s criminal background, among other things).
The main reason why a crime is a “wobbler” crime is to allow the prosecutor the flexibility to either reduce the level of punishment for some or increase the level of possible punishment for others.
4th Degree Felony Takeaways
So there you have it folks!
What does fourth degree felony mean?
How much jail time do you get for a 4th degree felony?
In most states, crimes are classified based on their level of seriousness.
For example, misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felony crimes.
Then, within the felony class of crimes, there are states that further break down the felony level of seriousness by “classes” such as Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 where Class 1 is generally the worst felony and Class 4 is the lowest felony on this scale.
Class 4 felony first offense can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years along with fines that can go up to $10,000 to $25,000.
Anyone charged with a felony class 4 crime should take it very seriously and ensure he or she consults with a criminal defense attorney and get legal representation.
A conviction is not only harsh from a “criminal” punishment point of view but will then have long-term consequences on the convicted offender’s life such as challenges finding a job due to criminal background, unable to find decent housing, inability to vote, and more.
I hope I was able to answer your questions such as what is a 4th degree felony, what is the lowest class felony, or how are class 4 felony crimes punished!
In summary, a class four felony crime is a serious crime.
If you or someone you know is charged with this type of crime, my advice is to call a criminal lawyer to assess your legal options as the punishments and consequences may be harsh.
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Fourth-Degree Felony Overview
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