Federal Criminal Penalties Felony, Misdemeanor & Traffic Offenses
Federal offenses are classified as felonies, misdemeanors, or infractions.
A federal felony is punishable by more than one year in prison.
A federal misdemeanor is punished by a jail sentence of one year or less.
A federal infraction is punishable by up to five days in jail.
Federal Offenses Classified
A federal offense that is not specifically classified by a letter grade in the section defining it, is classified if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is—
(1) life imprisonment, or if the maximum penalty is death, as a Class A felony;
(2) twenty-five years or more, as a Class B felony;
(3) less than twenty-five years but ten or more years, as a Class C felony;
(4) less than ten years but five or more years, as a Class D felony;
(5) less than five years but more than one year, as a Class E felony;
(6) one year or less but more than six months, as a Class A misdemeanor;
(7) six months or less but more than thirty days, as a Class B misdemeanor;
(8) thirty days or less but more than five days, as a Class C misdemeanor; or
(9) five days or less, or if no imprisonment is authorized, as an infraction.
A federal petty offense is a misdemeanor or infraction that is punished by a jail sentence less than 6 months in duration. This includes Class B and C misdemeanor offenses and infractions. Petty offenses are not tried by juries; guilt is determined by the judge.
Maximum Federal Fines
An individual who has been found guilty of a federal felony offense may be fined up to $250,000 for the conviction.
A misdemeanor conviction can be fined up to $250,000 if it resulted in a death. Otherwise, for a Class A misdemeanor, a misdemeanor fine can be up to $100,000; for a Class B or C misdemeanor, or for an infraction, the fine can be up to $5,000.
Federal probation can only be ordered if the defendant was not sentenced to a term of incarceration.
A federal felony conviction may result in up to 5 years of probation, with a minimum of one year of probation, if ordered.
A federal misdemeanor can result in up to 5 years of probation.
A federal infraction can result in up to 1 year of probation.
Loss of Firearm Rights
While this is not classified as a penalty, the loss of firearm rights under federal law is a significant burden for many Americans.
Federal law prohibits firearm possession by individuals convicted of any felony offense or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.