Under the Revised Code of the state of Washington, crimes are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Generally, even the most serious misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, and therefore, will likely result in less severe consequences upon conviction. For example, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you can spend a maximum of one year in county jail, but if you are convicted of a felony, you could face time in state prison.
Categories of felonies
Washington state felonies are categorized as Class A, Class B, or Class C, from most serious to least serious.
- Class A – The most serious felony crimes, including first- and second-degree murder, rape, sex crimes against minors, and assault with a deadly weapon, are often classified as Class A felonies. Convictions may result in life in prison and/or up to $50,000 in fines.
- Class B – Many felonies such as theft of over $5,000 in property, negligent manslaughter, and second-degree assault are often Class B felonies. Convictions can result in up to 10 years in prison and/or up to $20,000 in fines.
- Class C – The least serious felony crimes, such as theft of less than $5,000 of property, driving under the influence, and third-degree assault charges are typically Class C felonies. Convictions can result in up to five years in prison and/or up to $10,000 fine
When determining a felony sentence, the court will consider several factors including the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history. While judges often use the sentencing guidelines to make sure their sentence fits the crime, they are also allowed to use their discretion to increase or decrease a sentence beyond the limits of the sentencing guidelines based on the circumstances of the case.
If you are concerned about a possible felony conviction, it may be in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can strategize and come up with the best way to avoid conviction or possibly minimize your sentence if you are convicted.