Felony Crimes in Tennessee Criminal Law Facts from Goldtrap Law

Updated: Apr 1, 2019


Charged with felony? Call criminal defense lawyer in Nashville to stay out of jail.

Felony is a word in criminal law that you will never want to hear. If you’ve been charged with this type of crime, you need a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Continue reading to know more about the felony crimes and how does Tennessee law deal with them.


Misdemeanor or Felony: Which is which?


First, these both are crimes but on different degrees. This is in terms of how serious the damage to a person or property is and the severity of the penalties. In general, a misdemeanor is less serious crimes which are punishable by less than a year of imprisonment and/or fines. On the other hand, felonies are more serious offenses or crimes. If you are convicted for a felony, you’ll be sentenced with more than a year to life imprisonment, or worse, the death penalty.


In the United States, someone who committed a felony is called a felon. If convicted, he or she is called a convict or convicted felon. Big and terrifying words aren’t they? Wait until you learn felony penalties.


What are the types of felony charges?


Tennessee State Laws categorize felony crimes into six categories. They are basically grouped depending on the prison sentence and amount of monetary fines:


Class A felony- It is the most serious kind of felony. Punishment is 15 to 60 years in prison and up to $50,000 fine (unless otherwise provided by statute). An example is aggravated rape (sexual penetration of a victim using force, coercion, a weapon, causing physical injury, or while aided by another person and using force or coercion or knowing the victim is mentally or physically incapacitated as defined by Find Law)


Class B felony- Child pornography or causing a child to do sexual acts is an example of Class B felony. It is punishable by eight to 30 years of jail time. Those convicted will pay up to $25,000. (Tenn. Ann. Code § 40-35-111).


Class C felony- Conviction of a felony Class C is sentenced with three to 15 years in prison. Also, according to Tenn. Ann. Code § 40-35-111, fines are up to $10,000. One example of this is aggravated assault which is intentionally causing severe injury to another person.


Class D felony- If you have been caught of possessing 10 to 70 pounds of marijuana, you’ll be charged with class D. If convicted, you spend two to 12 years behind bars in county jail and pay a maximum of $5,000. (Tenn. Ann. Code § 40-35-111).


Class E felony- It is the least of all classes. An example is if you steal property amounting to more than $500 but less than $1000 (theft). Class E felony crime punishable with one to six years jail time and a still expensive fine of up to $3,000 (Tenn. Ann. Code § 40-35-111).


What crimes in America are punishable by death?


Lethal injection is the main method for capital punishment for severe felony crimes.

State and federal law have their own set of a provision in dealing with felony crimes. Here are some of crimes United States’ Federal Law punishable by the death penalty according to the United States Code Title 18:

  • Espionage

  • Treason

  • Killing using chemical weapon or weapon of mass destruction

  • Killing Congress, Cabinet or US Supreme Court member

  • Kidnapping Congress, Cabinet or US Supreme Court member

  • Conspiring to kill Congress, Cabinet or US Supreme Court member

  • Causing death using explosives

  • Causing death using illegal firearms

  • Causing death on a drug-related drive-by shooting

  • Genocide resulting in death

  • Carjacking resulting in death

  • Sending explosive material resulting in death through mailing

  • Deliberate aircraft or motor vehicles destruction resulting in death

  • First-degree murder

  • Murder perpetrated by poison or lying in wait

  • Murder that is willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated

  • Murder in the perpetration of, or in the attempt to perpetrate, any arson, torture, escape, kidnapping, treason, espionage, sabotage, aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse, child abuse, burglary, or robbery.

  • Murder perpetrated as part of a pattern or practice of assault or torture against a child or children

  • Torture resulting in death

You can access the complete list of crimes sentenced with capital punishment here.


Crimes Sentenced with Life Imprisonment


In the US, we have what we call indeterminate and determinate life sentences. Indeterminate examples are 20 years to life or life with mercy. Determinate is when the judge orders life without the possibility of parole or without mercy. This means that a person would die in jail.


Most states impose life imprisonment for first-degree murder specifically if it is done together with another felony crime or other aggravating conditions like murder rape. Life imprisonment is mandatory in New York for terrorism and sexual battery in Florida.


When do I need a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Nashville, TN?


Once you ’re charged with a crime and had it in your criminal record, whether a misdemeanor, felony or infraction (petty crimes rarely punishable by time in local jail), get a criminal defense lawyer in middle Tennessee immediately. Contact me now if you need help to stay out of jail.

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