Facing the likelihood of prison or jail time for a Class B felony can be an overwhelming and life-altering experience.
Many questions inevitably arise as people discover the complex web of the criminal justice system.
What factors contribute to classifying a crime as a Class B felony? How does the duration of imprisonment for this level of felony compare to others?
LookUpInmate.org offers a user-friendly platform to help you easily access and retrieve inmate information and records to better understand the criminal justice system.
Read on to learn more about jail or prison time for Class B felonies.
What Is a Class B Felony?
Many jurisdictions follow a classification system to categorize and rank crimes’ severity. These systems typically use “Class B felony” as a category for mid-level criminal offenses.
While criminal offense classifications can vary between jurisdictions, generally, they regard a Class B felony as more severe than a Class C felony but less serious than a Class A felony.
The federal sentencing guideline states that Class B felonies are criminal acts punishable by incarceration for 25 years or more. The policy also does not permit probation for individuals guilty of this criminal offense.
Classification of Felonies
States generally categorize crimes into felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions.
Crimes categorized as felonies are deemed more serious. They also carry a harsh penalty and involve a more rigorous court procedure.
Depending on the jurisdiction, felony offenses are divided into several categories, each carrying varying punishment levels. The classification system differs from state to state.
How Are the Prior Record Level Ranges Determined?
The jurisdiction determines prior record level ranges following its existing legal code and sentencing guidelines.
In criminal law, these ranges help courts determine a suitable sentence based on the alleged perpetrator’s criminal record.
A defendant with a record of past criminal convictions is more criminally responsible than a first offender and thus deserves severe punishment.
Calculating prior record level ranges in the U.S. (United States) usually involves a point-based system.
For example, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) considers the combined points from (A) through (E) to establish the criminal history category:
A. Add 3 points for every past sentence of incarceration exceeding one year and one month.
B. Add 2 points for every past sentence of incarceration of at least sixty days not included in (A).
C. Add 1 point for every previous sentence not included in (A) or (B), up to 4 points for this subsection.
D. Add 2 points if the accused individual committed the alleged offense while under any criminal justice sentence, including parole, probation, imprisonment, supervised release, work release, or escape status.
E. Add 1 point for every previous sentence resulting from a conviction of a violent offense that did not get any points under (A), (B), or (C) above because the sentence was counted as a single sentence, a maximum of 3 points for this subsection.
The defendant’s record level depends on the total points. Jurisdictions may label the outcome as low, moderate, or high.
Each prior record level corresponds to a recommended sentence range. Judges can use these ranges to calculate the appropriate sentence for the particular offense.
What Is the Disposition Range?
The disposition range indicates a legal case’s possible outcomes or resolutions within the criminal justice system.
Dispositions follow arrests, contributing to the accuracy and completion of arrest cycles on an individual’s criminal history record.
Here are three possible disposition ranges:
- Presumptive range: This is the default sentencing range and often applies to criminal charges unless aggravating or mitigating factors exist.
- Aggravated range: Aggravating factors increase the severity of the crime. Examples of these factors include blatant cruelty and targeting vulnerable populations like youth and older adults.
If aggravating factors exist, the range of aggravated sentences might apply.
- Mitigated range: The court can consider many mitigating factors, including the individual’s financial support of his family, the accused taking responsibility for their crime, or the alleged felon believing that their actions were legal at the time of the alleged offense.
Types of Class B Felony
Again, the felony classifications fall into different classes, such as Class B felony, which can differ between jurisdictions and the severity of the crime.
In New York, another factor can affect a felony’s punishment: whether the felony is considered “nonviolent” or “violent.”
The New York State Penal Law defines whether or not a felony is considered “violent.” The type of crime does not depend on the circumstances of a particular criminal case.
The Penal Code may not consider that crime violent even if it involves violence. For instance, the law says that robbery in the second degree is a violent felony. In contrast, robbery in the third degree is a nonviolent felony.
Meanwhile, some felonies in classes B, C, D, and E may qualify as violent felonies.
Examples of Class B Felony Crimes
Remember that the crimes classified as Class B felonies can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and law changes can affect these classifications.
The state of North Carolina’s sentencing guideline considers the following as Class B felonies:
- First-degree forcible rape
- First-degree statutory rape
- First-degree forcible sexual offense
- First-degree statutory sexual offense
- Second-degree murder
Penalties for Class B Felony in the U.S.
As mentioned, in the U.S., a Class B felony is usually a severe criminal offense carrying harsh penalties upon conviction.
The exact penalties can differ depending on the jurisdiction in charge of the case and the state’s laws under which the crime was committed. Generally, Class B felonies carry substantial fines, imprisonment, or both.
Here are the maximum terms for various felony classifications in the state of New York:
- Class A-I and A-II: Life in prison (except in some drug offenses)
- Class B: 25 years
- Class C: 15 years
- Class D: 17 years
- Class E: 4 years
Penalties involved with Class B felony convictions vary widely depending on the region and the specifics of the crime.
Here are the punishments imposed for Class B felonies in three states:
- Connecticut: 1 to 20 years imprisonment and up to $15,000 fine
- New York: Up to 25 years imprisonment
- Missouri: A minimum of five years and a maximum of 15 imprisonment
“Can I Receive a Harsh Sentence for a Class B Felony?”
You can receive a harsh sentence for a Class B felony conviction.
Class B felonies are typically considered grave offenses. Still, the penalties for these acts can vary significantly depending on factors such as the jurisdiction, the specifics of the case, the defendant’s criminal history, and the judge’s discretion.
Additionally, the sentence could be enhanced if the crime involved aggravating factors. The USPC lists these factors as:
- Capital offenses (crimes that could warrant a death sentence)
- Grave risk to national security
- Grave risk of death
- Prior crime involving espionage or treason
- Death during the act of committing another criminal offense
- A past felony conviction involving a firearm
- A previous conviction for which a life imprisonment or death sentence was authorized
- Prior conviction of other severe crimes
- The victim’s vulnerability
- A crime committed against a high public official
- Drug offenses that could warrant the death penalty
- Previous conviction of a criminal act for which a life imprisonment or death sentence was imposed
- Past conviction of other grave offenses
- Prior conviction of a severe control felony
- Distribution of drugs to individuals under 21
- Use of minors in trafficking
- Distribution of drugs near schools
Prior Criminal Record
When imposing a sentence for a Class B felony, judges and prosecutors generally consider a defendant’s criminal history, including past convictions and any patterns of criminal behavior.
A prior criminal record can affect the sentencing process in several ways:
- Enhanced punishments: Many states have sentencing guidelines or statutes enhancing penalties for criminal convictions.
This provision indicates that if you have committed prior offenses, especially if the crimes were similar to the Class B felony you are currently facing, you may get a more severe sentence.
- Effect on plea options: Prosecutors consider previous criminal records when negotiating a plea bargain.
When offering a plea deal, prosecutors may view a defendant with a prior record as a repeat offender or a higher risk.
- Mandatory minimum sentences: Depending on the jurisdictions, judges may impose minimum penalties for certain offenses, especially if the defendant has many prior convictions.
A prior criminal record may result in imposing a mandatory minimum sentence, which may carry harsher punishment than that prescribed for a Class B felony.
What Is the Sentence for a Class B Felony in the U.S.?
The sentence for a Class B felony in the U.S. can vary greatly depending on the state, case circumstances, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors.
Class B felonies are severe offenses, and their penalties are generally substantial. In Iowa, this felony type is punishable by a maximum of 25 years imprisonment.
What Is the Minimum Sentence for a Class B Felony in the U.S.?
The answer to this question depends on the jurisdiction’s sentencing guidelines.
Some class B felonies have 70% mandatory minimums (“a quarter-seventy”).
For instance, if you are convicted of robbery in the first degree, you must serve 70% of the 25-year sentence, which is 17.5 years.
What Is an Extenuating Circumstance?
Extenuating circumstances, also called mitigating factors, are crucial facts or details for understanding a particular allegation.
With this understanding, an individual’s actions during the event of crime might appear less grave, or that individual’s culpability in those actions is diminished.
How to Reduce Penalties for Class B Felony Charges
If you’re arrested for or charged with a Class B Felony in the U.S., retaining an attorney to contest your charges can help you avoid a maximum sentence and fine.
How Long Does a Class B Felony Charge Stay on Your Record in the U.S.?
A felony conviction usually remains on the convicted individual’s criminal record for life. Generally, the only way to eliminate the file is to have it sealed. This process can seal the conviction from public view.
New York has no laws to erase or “expunge” criminal records except for some marijuana-related offenses. New York uses a procedure called sealing for select cases.
Sealing means the record still exists, but all booking photos, related fingerprint and palmprint cards, and DNA samples may be destroyed or returned to you.
Note: Digital fingerprints cannot be destroyed if you already have fingerprints on file from another unsealed case.
Prosecutors, police, the Department of Criminal Justice System, and, in some cases, court records are not accessible to the public.
States That Have Class B or Level 2 Felonies
Most states use letters for categorization purposes. For example, Iowa has class A (most serious), B, C, and D (least severe) felonies.
The next most popular practice is to use numbers. For instance, Arizona has felony offense levels ranging from class 1 (most serious) through class 6 (least severe).
Statute of Limitations
As with other felonies, the statute of limitations for a Class B felony varies based on the jurisdiction and the felony type.
The statute of limitations bans claims after a certain period has passed since the alleged crime happened. This provision serves as the defendant’s safeguard against the possibility of prejudice of malicious prosecution.
In New York, the statute of limitations bars prosecutors from pursuing the following criminal charges after a specific period:
- Assault or battery: One year from act (civil cases) and two or five years, depending on the facts (criminal cases)
- Fraud: Six years from the act
- Kidnapping: No time limit or five years based on the facts
- Robbery: Five years
Legal Options After Being Charged With a Class B Felony
A Class B felony criminal charge is no joke. When you’re accused of a Class B felony in the U.S., years of your life and much of your hard-earned money are at stake.
In addition, getting a criminal conviction damages your reputation and possible protective orders, preventing you from interacting with your loved ones.
A criminal defense lawyer can aid you in avoiding legal troubles and regaining your life. This professional can negotiate for dismissed or lowered charges, lenient sentences, and favorable plea deals. At the same time, you can focus on rebuilding your life.
Suppose you cannot afford a private law firm to represent you. In that case, some government offices and nonprofit organizations offer free consultations and legal advice for eligible individuals.
Defenses for a Class B Felony in the U.S.
The best defense for a Class B Felony is a demonstrable alibi proving your innocence.
If you are innocent but do not have a clear alibi proving your claim, a skilled criminal defense attorney can thoroughly investigate your felony case to see whether the prosecuting side has probable cause for charging you.
If your legal counsel discovers no probable cause, they can block the case from going to trial at the preliminary hearing.
Another excellent defense is to establish proof that your rights were violated during the pre-trial booking and arrest procedure.
This argument can get you a shorter term of imprisonment in case the court finds you guilty of a Class B felony.
“Should I Talk to an Attorney About a Class B Felony?”
Yes. Whether you face charges for a Class B felony or a lesser crime, a criminal defense attorney can help you analyze the charges against you, weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, and craft a strategic defense accordingly.
- Federal : The Sentencing Basics
- What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony?
- Part A – Criminal History
- Chapter Four – Criminal History and Criminal Livelihood
- Criminal Defense
- Classification of a Sample of Offenses
- Types of Criminal Cases
- Connecticut Penal Code Updated and Revised
- Section 70.0
- Statutes: Missouri
- 18 U.S. Code § 3592 – Mitigating and aggravating factors to be considered in determining whether a sentence of death is justified
- Maximum sentence for felons
- Extenuating Circumstances
- Sealed Criminal Records
- Felony Laws of the 50 States and the District of Columbia, 1986
- Statute of Limitations