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Penalty for Class B Felony

Felonies are very serious crimes that generally carry potential penalties of at least one year in prison. Most jurisdictions divide felonies into classes, using either letters or numbers. The federal system has five classes of felony, and state systems range from three to as many as nine felony classes.

What Is a Class B Felony?

Class B is the second most serious felony class, usually involving grave attacks against a person or drug crimes. Examples include:

Some of these can also be other felony classes, with the actual classification dependent on the jurisdiction and seriousness of the offense.

Potential Penalties for Class B Felony

The actual penalty you will face for a Class B felony depends on the jurisdiction where you committed the crime. In most jurisdictions, the minimum sentence is one year in prison. You may also face a fine in addition to or in place of prison time.

Examples of penalties in different jurisdictions include:

  • Federal: Not more than 25 years
  • Connecticut: Prison term between one and 20 years and fines up to $15,000
  • Washington: Up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000
  • Wisconsin: Up to 60 years in prison

You won't necessarily face the maximum penalty. The prosecution will recommend a sentence based on the circumstances of the crime as well as your criminal history. In addition, unless the crime is one of the few with a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge has discretionary power in sentencing. He or she can give you a lesser penalty if there are extenuating circumstances.

On the other hand, you can get a longer sentence for aggravating circumstances, such as

  • Using a deadly weapon
  • Sexual offense involving a child
  • Hate crime
  • Previous convictions

For example, in Wisconsin, prior misdemeanors can earn you up to two extra years in prison, while a previous felony conviction may add as much as six years to your sentence. "Three strikes" laws can also add substantially time to your penalty. You may even face up to life without parole for a third felony, even if it is relatively minor.

If you have been accused or convicted of a Class B felony, talk with a criminal defense attorney in your state to preserve your rights and evaluate your options.