The types of crimes considered felonies include rape, arson, assault and murder, Attorneys.com says. Assault includes threatening physical harm or violence with a weapon. Battery occurs when a person inflicts physical harm on another through the use of a weapon or physical force.
Essentially, a felony charge is one that alleges a person has committed a serious crime against property, the state or another person, Attorneys.com explains. A person convicted of a felony generally serves prison time, is charged a fine or receives a combination of a fine and prison time.
In some states, felonies are subdivided into groupings called degrees, Attorneys.com notes. The lower the degree, the more serious the crime. For example, premeditated murder is called first-degree murder, which is more severe than second-degree murder, which is murder not premeditated.
Some states simply assign sentences to every felony crime-by-crime, Criminal Defense Lawyer says. In California each statute indicates the sentence range for that particular offense. In Massachusetts the sentence for every crime appears in the crime's defining statute. For federal felonies, Congress has adopted a system that assigns each felony to one of 43 offense levels. The defendant is then placed in a criminal history category, and at some point, these guidelines intersect when it comes time for sentencing.