What Are Felony Charges?

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FELONIES By NAME Access State Records Felony Database

  • Drug Sales
  • Rape
  • Theft

Introduction

There are a wide range of charges encompassed in this criminal class. A felonious offense can be anything from first degree murder to theft with each carrying with it different levels of severity in criminal charges. In this category on Felony Charges, we take a look at the types of crimes that this classification denotes, as well as what criminal charges such as armed robbery, assault, drug sales/possession, murder and rape can ensue during processing of these crimes.

Assault Charges

One of the most common types of felonies occurring in this country is assault crimes. While a simple assault is, in most cases, not considered a felony by most courts depending on the nature of the crimeaggravated assault or a crime that carries with it certain criminal characteristics is considered and punishable by felonious standards. Below, we review exactly what defines a criminal act as an offense of this nature, what it looks like as a felony, how this relates to battery charges, and also how this may affect your criminal records search on a particular individual accused and convicted of this crime.

In order to best understand what makes this criminal charge by legal definition, an assault; it is most necessary to begin with a working definition of the offense. While each state may define this crime with slight variations, the basic definition is the following: an offense occurs when “one person tries to or does physically strike another or acts in a threatening manner to put another in fear of immediate harm”. With this in mind, there are also four variables that most courts consider as necessarily being present when a crime of this kind has occurred. These are: 1. “There must be an apparent and present ability to carry the crime out, 2. It must be an unlawful attempt, 3. There must be an intent of committing injury with this act, and 4. There must be a fear on the party of the victim that bodily injury will be incurred by this act”.

While the previous refers to assault in general legal terms, we take a closer look at aggravated crime in order to best understand what makes this offense felonious. Aggravated assault is the more serious type of the crime and “occurs when one tries to or does cause severe injury to another or causes injury through the use of a deadly weapon”. This calls into the question of how battery involves itself in assault charges, and the best way to examine battery as it relates to this crime is that whereas the former is the threat of the act, battery is the carrying out of the act the actual violence.

With this in mind, it can be very difficult to ascertain how serious assault charges may be in a particular criminal record, since states greatly differ in how they view assault charges. There are two basic variables that affect how states view assault charges. As noted earlier, assault is typically considered a necessary counterpart to battery, since most criminals not only threaten or intend on committing the act, but actually carry it out. While this may seem reasonable, not all states consider one as being a part to the whole of another. The second of the variables that affect assault charges is how the particular state may view the topic of consent. In many states, many liberties are given potential criminals that affect how assault charges are defined.

There are a handful of relationships that are allowed certain potent defense, and these are: the police in an effort to thwart crime or harm being done, a parent using physical constraint to discipline their children, and also a person defending themselves, another, or their property. While none of these should be considered means to an end or a reason to use excessive force, they are plausible defenses in most states.

With this in mind, how a certain state considers an instance of this crime, can result in lesser assault charges, less serious punishment, or acquittal of this indictment. This, of course, will be reviewed as such, with these characteristics of offense in tow, in a potential offender’s criminal record.

Armed Robbery Charges

One of the main categories of felony crimes most common in occurrence in this country is armed robbery. Since felonies are considered more serious offenses by the legal system, as well as by the criminal records industry, it is necessary to take a closer look at the definition of armed robbery as an example of a prevalent felony crime. Beyond the simple logistics of the subject of armed robbery charges, we will also analyze the different kinds of robbery as they relate to weapon possession, and robbery criminal sentencing.

To aptly define armed robbery charges, it is best to begin with a working definition of robbery. Robbery is to take “money or other property” from an individual by force, with the intent to “permanently or temporarily deprive the person” of the aforementioned property. Armed robbery is the taking of said property, but with the use of a firearm or other weapon. Just by including a weapon in a particular robbery crime, a robbery can be viewed with a lot more seriousness. The first without the use of a firearm is most often considered a misdemeanor, while the second with the use of a firearm or deadly weapon-is most often considered a felony. Depending on what kind of robbery is committed as well as if a deadly weapon is used, greatly affects how the crime is viewed, and consequently, punished. This, in turn, directly influences how a criminal record is characterized as reporting certain offenses.

There are a variety of different kinds of robbery offenses that can take place with each robbery being susceptible to much more serious punishment and legal proceedings, if bolstered by the presence of a deadly weapon with each affecting the criminal’s criminal history one way or another. One type of robbery charge is robbery by sudden snatching, which fits the above robbery description but altered to include the knowledge of the victim of the robbery. Without the use of a weapon, this type of robbery is given a felony of the third-degree charge; but with the use of a firearm or other weapon, the criminal will incur felony a robbery charge of the second degree. Another type of robbery in this category is carjacking, which is the taking of a person’s motor vehicle with the use of force. For this kind of robbery, the charges are a felony in the first-degree with or without the use of a weapon. Lastly, are home invasion robbery charges, which are, when a criminal “enters a dwelling with the intent to commit a robbery and does so”. Again, in the case of robbery for home invasion, the criminal will necessarily be brought up on a first-degree felony robbery charge with or without the use of a weapon.

It is very important when considering a criminal records search, that you are able to distinguish one robbery charge from another, as certain robbery offenses have particular consequences, and based on punishment and the nature of the robbery crime, the perspective of the individual seeking the criminal records information could be greatly influenced.

Drug Sales and Possession Charges

Drug sales and possession charges are prevalent in this country when it comes to felonious charges. While one might think that anything to do with the topic of illegal drugs should be uncomplicated as regards the processing, conviction, and punishment of said crimes; it is most often much more so than one would think. This presence of this difficulty depends on a variety of legal variables such as the intent and nature of the drug offense, the types of charges present, and also situational factors according to the particular offense. In this article, we seek to analyze all of these factors of drug sales/possession charges, to best prepare you for an informed criminal records search.

Drug sales/possession charges are a twofold criminal offense, with one or both of these variables being present at the time of the criminal activity. Drug possession is defined “as the condition of having or being in control of any controlled substance or unauthorized prescription medications”, with good examples of said substances being: marijuana, LSD, methamphetamines, cocaine, etc. The possession of an illegal drug necessarily affects the intent in relation to the potential criminal involved. Depending on how much drug the offender is caught with will determine what sort of charges a person may be charged with. It is also necessary to note that the finding of certain drug related paraphernalia also affects a charge of sales and possession, such as scales, vials, etc.

As is true of most crimes in the legal system in this country, each state is afforded their own interpretations of what constitutes drug possession and/or intent to sell. Depending on the following five variables, each state determines what is a misdemeanor or a felony intent to distribute: the quantity of drug, where the drug is located, how the drug is stored, if there is a large amount of money involved, and if there are any other contributing means of criminal proof, such as drug scales etc. While there is no standard that every state uses to determine across the board in relation to punishment, it is always a constant that the intent to distribute a drug is a lot more serious an offense than just being in ownership a drug for personal use.

When evaluating simple charges from intent to sell as regards drug crimes, the legal system generally examines the crime according to even more custom specifics. Again, each state determines what aspects of the criminal nature involved with drug offenses to give the most weight to in evaluation and subsequent punishment.

The first of these criteria regarding drug offenses is what type of drug the defendant may be caught with. The punishments for drugs that are more harmful to anyone using them will necessarily be more serious than those that are less harmful, in both the case of distribution and simple charges. Second, courts consider if there were any prior convictions for drug custody in the criminal record of the defendant being charged, and whether these charges included intent to sell. Third, if there is any evidence that points to the possible intent to sell to minors, the defendant will necessarily be given much more severe criminal sentencing.

Rape Charges

Rape is one of the many criminal offenses under the classification of felony crimes. It is also known as first degree sexual assault in some states of the legal system. When it comes to defining this classification of crime, rape has a clear definition, but can become complicated while being processed in the criminal law system, due to the extremely private nature of the crime. This said, we define the crime as it is defined in the legal system, analyze the parameters of the different rape charges, and examine how these criminal charges of rape affect the search for criminal records.

The first step in analyzing how these charges fit into the organization of the legal penal system is to represent the offense with the best workable definition. Rape is the act of “nonconsensual sexual intercourse that is committed by physical force, threat or injury, or other duress”. While the standard definition offers a pretty clear cut definition of what constitutes rape, there are also instances in which other circumstances are necessarily included in the definition of rape and its related charges.

The first of these circumstances included in these charges is when the victim is still considered a child-in many states, this refers to below the age of 18, and is termed the age of consent, and is involved in sexual intercourse with another person above this legal age of consent. Whether or not the victim has consented to the act of sexual intercourse is of no value, as they are still considered at an age of vulnerability when they are not old enough to make their own informed decisions, and victim of said charges. In this case, the elder of the two individuals is charged with taking advantage of the victim’s vulnerability and can be charged with what is called “statutory rape”.

The second of these types of rape charges is characterized by the victim’s inability to make their own decision as to whether they want to involve themselves in sexual intercourse with the other party. This is due to the use of drugs or alcohol, in which the criminal has deliberately and without the victim’s knowledge impaired the victim’s ability to choose in this regard. The most common illegal means of impairing the victim’s judgment in this manner is to drug the victim with a drug called “rohypnol” or another which not only impairs the victim’s ability to choose, but in many cases, impairs their ability to move-rendering them unconscious and susceptible to the criminal’s advances of rape. In most incidences of rape, the victim already is acquainted with the criminal which has coined a new term in the legal system, “date rape” charges.

As is true of all felonies and offenses in general each state is given governance over how a rape crime should be viewed, defined, and punished accordingly. This can certainly influence how the crime is processed and therefore how it is administered into the offender’s criminal record. As noted previously, a rape that might be considered the serious definition of rape in one state, is easily accepted as a less serious matter in another state therefore referred to as first degree sexual assault. While both may point to felonious charges, each state characterizes how rape is listed in a person’s criminal record for posterity.

Murder Charges

Murder is the most serious crime afforded the classification of felony. While murder in any regard is a severe offense and will necessarily carry with it a severe punishment to match there are certain degrees of murder according to the nature of the said murder. In this article, we will define the classification of murder as well as evaluate what different types of murder charges exist in the legal system of organizing criminal law. Understanding not only what a murder offense is; but also, the specifics, nature, and category of said murder, is crucial to best evaluating the murder information you can glean through a criminal history search. For these purposes, we will discuss the basics of the murder offense.

The best way to begin an evaluation on murder charges as it relates to the legal system is with a thorough and clearly defined explanation of how the law defines murder. Murder or termed criminal homicide in criminal convictions is the “causing of another person’s death without legal excuse or justification”. Coinciding with this definition is the “year and one day rule” which allows for criminal charges for murder to be incurred “if a person’s actions led to the death of another within a year and a day of the incident”. Due to the fact that there are so many different types of murder that can be committed, this aspect of the criminal legal system can be quite complicated especially when dealing with different statutes and laws according to federal and state jurisdictions. This said, we take a general look at how the legal system categorizes murder.

While the criminal charges attributed to all murders are first degree felonies, murder charges can be further categorized into particular criminal charge degrees as well. There are three basic degrees of murder or criminal homicide: first, second, and third-degree murders-each murder with their own characteristics which shape the consequent punishment of the said crime.

A murder of the first degree is the most serious of murders and carries with it, necessarily, the heaviest handed of punishments. First degree murder is characterized by being “premeditated, deliberate, and/or malicious” in an effort to deliberately cause the death of another person. In these cases, in which criminal charges are brought against a person or entity for first degree murder, the criminal convictions and subsequent murder punishment offers little mercy. This is because the murder committed in this case is proven by definition as being willful and not by accident affording the potential criminal no excuses except for a willingness to break the law and use malice in doing so.

A second-degree murder offers the criminal offender more of a reason for the criminal misdeed of murder. While no reason is typically ok in the eyes of the legal system, as murder is no matter what against the law; the varying degrees of murder afford for situational factors that could lead to this result. Second degree murder is characterized as being a murder fueled by “passion” a murderous misdeed brought about by “intense fear, rage, anger, terror, or fear”.

In this case, otherwise known as voluntary manslaughter, it is assumed that the potential offender did commit the murder but did not plan out the details. Instead, a particular situation sparked these “passions” which brought about the spontaneous and unpremeditated result of murdering another party.

Third degree murder is also known as involuntary manslaughter, and not only assumes that the defendant, not only, did not plan the murder, but also did not have any intention of committing murder at any time. Another term for murders of this kind is criminal negligence, as the murder is a result of the criminal’s negligence, not forethought, passions, or malice. Common examples of murders of this variety can include: “reckless use of motor vehicles, explosives, animals, medicine, firearms, etc.

When it comes to the processing and punishment of the criminal charges of murder, it seems like punishment should be cut and dry across the board since the nature of all three types of these murders are particularly specific. Unfortunately, criminal convictions for homicides are typically very complicated due to the jurisdiction handling the processing of a particular case. This is because every state aside from the murdering of federal officials or murders which takes place on federal property which is handled by the federal government has the say so on how murder is defined, handled, and punished in their particular state. Some states view certain murders as more punishable than others; while still others consider the death penalty in some cases, where others do not. The one standard rule that applies to all homicide charges, however, is that no matter the nature or degree of a criminal charge of homicide, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did in fact commit this crime “under a specific mental state” whichever that might be according to the degree of criminal charge. This mental state can be one according to one of the previously explained degrees of murder: premeditated, impassioned, or negligent or it can be to insanity of a temporary or chronic means. This is why quite often you will hear that defendants in murder trials plead to guilty of said crimes by temporary insanity and/or psychological disorder.

To many people choosing to conduct a criminal history search on a particular individual, it would seem a no-brainer to value the extreme nature of any murder charge on its own; but as with every crime or offense marked in any criminal record, a person must delve deeper to understand the specifics of the said charges even in the case of murder. Perhaps the potential murder offender did in fact have a criminal conviction of murder on their criminal record, but upon closer inspection of said record, you see that it was a murder conviction of involuntary manslaughter without premeditation or even desire to commit the crime. This could greatly influence how you not only view the individual in question but also the murder committed; in contrast to how you might view things if you were just shown a criminal record with murder criminal convictions on it. This is why it is necessary to understand the full value of the how the criminal legal system is organized and categorized according to murder offenses, especially in how this relates to the accuracy and comprehensive nature of your criminal records search.