Defining the class 4 felony poses challenges because its definition varies by jurisdiction. Sometimes this felony is the lowest level felony that can be committed in a region, and other times there are classes below, like 5 and 6, that represent less serious crimes, albeit still felony charges. It’s also important to note that many regions don’t use number classification and instead classify felonies by letter. Letters and numbers don’t always correspond to similar crimes.
Given the differences in the way a class 4 felony is defined, it may relate to varying forms of crimes and correspond to different sentencing structures. In some areas, many white-collar crimes are designated as class 4. These might include things like mail fraud, forgery, fraud, racketeering, and others. Certain domestic crimes could also be considered class 4 felonies such as stalking and violation of restraining orders. Other crimes that might be part of this classification are reckless endangerment or intentional damage of property to a certain dollar amount.
Average prison time for the class 4 felony also varies by region. If a class 4 is the lowest felony charge, time in jail for someone convicted of such a crime might be minimal: possibly 1-4 years at most. Fines may be assessed as well, and these could range from about $10,000-$100,000 US Dollars (USD). Judges often have discretion in determining sentence and may make a punishment lesser or greater depending on how they view the severity of the crime. If class 4 is the lowest felony charge, it’s additionally possible that lawyers may be able to plead down the charge to a misdemeanor.
On the other hand, the class 4 felony isn’t always the lowest classification, and many jurisdictions place felonies into six categories. This means class 4 represents more serious crimes and people could be subject to higher sentences and higher fines if convicted of any crime in the class. A few regions impose jail sentences up to 10 years, and may be able to extend that with four or more years of probation thereafter. Fines could exceed $100,000 USD if a judge imposes a maximum sentence.
Anyone convicted of a class 4 felony can expect to face jail time, but the amount of time imposed very much depends on jurisdiction. People who are charged with any form of felony need a skillful defense to either beat the charges or to construct a plea bargain that reduces charges. Those facing these charges should look for attorneys with criminal law experience. In places like the US, federal laws provide people with attorneys, if they cannot afford to retain counsel privately.