What is a 3rd Degree Felony?
How serious is a third degree felony?
What’s important to know?
In this article, I will break down the meaning of 3rd Degree Felony so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
Let’s see what a 3rd degree felony means and what are the consequences!
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Table of Contents
What Is A 3rd Degree Felony
A third degree felony is a term use to refer to the least serious type of felony charges.
In some states, it may be referred to as felony third degree (or felony 3) while other states refer to it as 3rd Class Felony.
To better understand the meaning of felony of the third degree, let’s first define a felony.
A felony is considered to be a crime that is serious in nature.
Less serious crimes are generally charged as misdemeanor charges while more serious crimes are charged as felony.
Depending on the state where a felony charge is filed, you may have felony charges classified in different categories of seriousness, such as:
- Third degree felony
- Second degree felony
- First degree felony
- Capital or life felony
The least searious type of felony charge is a third degree felony charge, the second degree, first degree, and the capital or life.
In some states, the felony charge classification done by referring to felony “Class” such as Class A, Class B, or Class C.
There are different types of crimes that fall under the “felony” category and may be violent or non-violent, such as:
- Robbery with a firearm
- Sexual battery
- Violent threats
- Tax evasion
As you can see, some of the crimes are violent crimes or involves threatening violence while other crimes (like tax evasion) is a non-violent crime but still a felony.
3rd Degree Felony Definition
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a felony is defined as follows:
A crime declared a felony by statute because of the punishment imposed
In other words, a felony charge is a type of crime that is serious in nature in consideration of the punishments imposed.
There are two broad categories of crimes, misdemeanor crimes and felony crimes.
In relation to one another, felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanor crimes.
Now, if we look at the crimes falling within the “felony” category, there are different levels of seriousness within felony crimes as well.
According to the CriminalDefenseLawyer, the seriousness of Class C or3rd Degree Felony is stated as follows:
The least serious felonies are classified as Level C or Level Three.
Based on this, we can say that a 3rd degree felony charge is the least serious type of felony charge within the entire category of felony crimes.
Every state has its own state classification system for various crimes.
Some states classify felony crimes by class (such as A, B, or C), whereas other states classify them by levels (such as level 1, 2, or 3).
For example, Delaware has classifications going from A to E whereas Indiana is 1 to 6.
Other states such as Nebraska classify crimes as Class I, IA, IB, IC, ID, II, III, IIIA, or IV whereas Ohio goes by First-, second-, third-, fourth-, or fifth-.
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Defense Against 3rd Degree Felony Charge
How can you defend against a 3rd degree felony charge?
There are many ways you can fight a felony of type 3 charge.
What’s important is that you work with your defense attorney and study all the facts that the crown prosecutor is presenting in the case.
Fundamentally, the prosecutor must prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you have committed the crime and had the intention to commit the crime.
You may be able to raise a doubt in the evidence presented by the prosecutor in an attempt to be acquitted of the accusations.
With your criminal lawyer, you will prepare various types of defense arguments by exploring various aspects of your case, such as:
- Did the police officer perform a legal arrest?
- Does the prosecutor have enough evidence to prove you committed the crime?
- Did the police get the evidence legally?
- Where you acting in self-defense?
By hiring an experienced defense lawyer, you can put the chances on your side and potentially find gaps or holes in the prosecutor’s evidence.
Considering the legal penalties and consequences of a felony 3rd degree accusation is severe, it is generally best that you consult with an attorney and be legally represented.
Punishment For 3rd Degree Felony
What is the punishment for a 3rd degree felony?
What is the minimum sentence for a 3rd degree felony?
The sentence for a 3 degree felony conviction can vary depending on the state.
For example, in Florida, here is how a third degree felony may be punished:
- There is no minimum sentence for a third degree felony but there is a maximum of up to five years in prison
- If the court intends to impose a fine, the maximum cap for a fine is $5,000
- In certain cases, the court may decide to impose probation on a person, up to five years, instead of a prison sentence
In Texas, you may have the following penalties for a conviction of 3rd degree felony:
- From 2 to 10 years of jail time
- Financial fines up to $10,000
In determining the most appropriate sentence, the judge or jury will consider the overall nature of the crime, the offender’s criminal background, aggravating factors, whether or not the accused recognizes having done something wrong or not, and other variables.
If a person has a clean history and is a first offender, the court may be more lenient in the sentencing.
However, if the person has a long criminal history, identifies aggravating circumstances, and considers other relevant factors, the court may impose a much stiffer sentence.
If probation is given by the court, you may have to respect the following conditions (and report to a probation officer regularly):
- Cannot travel without the permission of your probation officer
- You cannot consume alcohol
- You cannot take any illegal substances
- You will get randomly checked for drugs or alcohol
- You must make regular court appearances
- You must respect all laws
For example, in Texas, probation is an option that is possible for those convicted of a third degree felony first offense or not and can include:
- Paying a certain sum to the victim of the crime
- Doing community service
- Respecting the law
- Doing drug tests
- Doing alcohol tests
- Meeting with the probation officer
Unfortunately, if you are found guilty of a felony crime, you will have that on your record permanently.
In some cases, you may be able to get them expunged.
If you have a criminal record, you may have a hard time finding a job as most employers will perform a criminal background check.
Having a criminal record may also prevent those studying from accessing certain types of grants or be considered ineligible due to their criminal background.
Although there should be no discrimination against anyone, landlords will also hesitate to rent housing to a person convicted of a felony crime.
Every state will have varying consequences resulting from a 3rd degree felony conviction.
For example, in Florida, a person cannot vote until he or she has completed their time in prison, has completed probation time, parole, has paid their fine, and satisfied their sentence.
In essence, a criminal conviction can cost you more than the jail time and fine that you may be directly exposed to, namely:
- You may lose your right to vote
- You may not be able to enroll in the educational program of your choice
- You may not be able to get a professional certification
- You may not be able to get certain federal student loans
- You may have restraining orders issued against you
There are thus additional consequences and costs to a 3rd degree felony conviction.
3rd Degree Felony Examples
What types of crimes can potentially result in a third degree felony?
What are some third degree felony examples?
Every state’s criminal statutes will define the specific crimes that may be charged as felony.
For example, in Florida, here are some possible crimes that may lead to felony charge or conviction:
- Possession of illegal drugs
- Aggravated assault
- Carrying concealed firearms
- Child abuse
- Grand theft
- Driving with a suspended license
- Battery on a law enforcement officer
In Texas, third degree felonies are a type of criminal offense that is more severe than infractions and misdemeanors, and include things like:
- Intoxication assault
- Possession of 5 to 50 pounds of marijuana
- Child abandonment
Third Degree Felony Takeaways
So, what is a 3rd degree felony?
What does felony 3 mean?
How serious is a third degree felony?
There are many crimes that can be classified as third degree felony.
It’s important to mention that different states may have different crime classification systems whereby some use a numerical system (like 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree) whereas others may use letters (such as Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D) or variations.
Felony crimes are generally more serious than misdemeanor crimes.
Within felony crimes, the crimes with the lower numbers tend to be the more serious ones (1st degree is more serious than 2nd or 3rd degree felony).
However, although felony of third degree is not as serious as 1st or 2nd degree, it is nonetheless a serious crime for which you can be exposed to severe punishment.
Every state will have its criminal statutes defining the nature of the sentence but you can expect potentially jail time and fines (or a combination), along with probations or other sentences.
Crimes that may be classified as felony third degree can include:
- Assault and battery
- Child molestation
- Possession of weapons
- Distribution of child pornography
- Some forms of theft
- Property destruction
Depending on the nature of the crime, the offender’s criminal history, and other circumstances, the sentence for a person convicted of a third degree felony charge can include:
- Jail sentence
- Probation orders
- Restraining orders
If you are in a situation where you are charged with a “3rd degree felony” charge, you may want to consult with a criminal or defense attorney for legal guidance as the possible legal consequences can be important.
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
What Is A Third Degree Felony
- A person committing a crime may potentially be charged with a 3rd-degree felony charge representing the least serious felony charge among the felony-type of crimes
- Any felony charges (also referred to as an F3 felony) can result in severe legal consequences if a person is found guilty of the crime and convicted
- The penalties can vary by state but include a varying number of years in prison along with fines that can go up to $10,000 or $15,000 depending on the state
- Some examples of the “third-degree felony” charge include assault and battery, the promotion of child prostitution, elder abuse, some types of drug possession, or other
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