My guess is that most people have heard the words “felony” and “misdemeanor” before. Additionally, if you have exposure to the Tennessee Court System, you might even know that a rule of thumb is that any crime that can be punished with more than a year in jail is a felony, whereas a crime with a maximum punishment of less than a year in jail (11 months, 30 days or less) is a misdemeanor.
However, in today’s post, we will take a little deeper look into the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act and the differences between felonies and misdemeanors (specifically as to the possible punishments available for each).
Under Tennessee law, there are 5 classes of felonies (Class A, B, C, D, & E) and 3 classes of misdemeanors (Class A, B, & C). Each class is punishable differently.
Starting with misdemeanors, a Class C misdemeanor is punishable with up to 30 days in jail and/or a $50 fine. Class B misdemeanors are punishable with up to 6 months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Class A misdemeanors are punishable with up to 11 months, 29 days in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Felonies follow the same pattern as misdemeanors, the punishment becoming more severe the closer you get to a Class A. Class E felonies are punishable by 1-6 years in jail plus a $3,000 fine. Class D felonies are punishable by 2-12 years in jail plus a $5,000 fine. Class C felonies are punishable by 3-15 years in jail plus a $10,000 fine. Class B felonies are punishable by 8-30 years in jail plus a $25,000 fine. Class A felonies are punishable by 15-60 years in jail plus a $50,000 fine.
Finally, a couple of things should be noted. These are the possible punishments for individuals (such as if you or someone you know are being charged), not for corporations (separate laws are available for greater fines in the cases of corporations convicted of felonies). Also, greater punishments can always be set forth in Tennessee law for a specific crime (DUI is a prime example, a crime for which there are numerous specialized punishments).
If you are facing criminal charges, please understand that this is only an elementary introduction to the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act. It is advisable to discuss your case with an attorney licensed in your state.
The author of TNLawyerLee is Nicholas W. Lee, Esq., an attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you or someone you know need an attorney, please click here for Mr. Lee’s contact information and contact him today for a free consultation. Also, please feel free to visit Mr. Lee’s website, www.TNLawyerLee.com or follow his page on Facebook for updates as to his law practice or new posts to TNLawyerLee by clicking here.
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