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What are the main classes of crime?

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catiebug16 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 6, 2011 at 4:03 AM via web

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What are the main classes of crime?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 6, 2011 at 4:12 AM (Answer #1)

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The main classes of crime are felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions.  These are classified according to the seriousness of those crimes.

Felonies are the most serious crimes and are generally defined as crimes for which the penalty is more than one year imprisonment.  These are crimes such as burglary or larceny or even murder.

Misdemeanors are less serious crimes.  These may be punishable by a shorter term in a jail or by a fine.  Misdemeanors can include such things as petty theft or public intoxication.

Finally, some crimes are classified as infractions.  These are generally very low-level acts that are, in some places, not even classified as crimes.  These would include such things as traffic offenses.

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