What Is a Felony?


Quick Answer

A felony is a serious crime. The word comes from the medieval French word "félonie." The original term described crimes of confiscation of land or goods, but can now refer to many different serious infractions of the law. A crime that is less serious is a misdemeanor.

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Full Answer

Examples of felonies include murder, kidnapping, assaults that cause bodily harm, and leaving the scene of an accident. Felons face long-term consequences for their crimes. The term "convicted felon" is permanent and does not expire when the person is released from jail. The status can only be removed by a successful appeal or executive clemency.

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