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A class C felony is a felony which falls into the categorization of class C in the classification system used in some regions of the world. Because every area classifies felonies differently, it is impossible to generate a list of crimes which can be universally considered class C felonies. A class C felony in one area may be a class B felony in another, or a class D, depending on how the classification system is structured. Other systems use numbering systems or different lettering systems.
As a general rule, a felony is any crime which is punishable with more than a year of jail time. That provides rather a lot of leeway when it comes to sentencing, including opportunities to levy heavy fines and other punishments. As a result, many regions break their felonies up in a classification system which is designed to create groups of crimes for the purpose of developing sentencing guidelines. For example, one region may define a this felony as a crime which can be punished with between one and five years of jail time, and a fine no greater than $10,000 United States Dollars (USD). This will be less severe than a class B felony, but more severe than a class D felony.
When someone is accused of the felony and convicted, the court must abide by the sentencing guidelines set out for class C felonies in that area. Thus, care is taken when writing up charges to ensure that someone is charged with the right crime and that the crime is classified properly in the charges, which might read, for example: “John Doe is charged with robbery, a class C felony.” Things like arson, kidnapping, drunk driving, and sexual assault are commonly considered class C felonies.
Extenuating circumstances can complicate criminal charges. For example, if someone solicits someone to perform a class B felony, she or she can be charged with a class C felony solicitation. It is also possible for people to be charged with different felonies in different classes in connection with the same case. For example, if someone abducts someone, commits sexual assault, and then murders the victim, these crimes are all charged differently and the circumstances of the crime can determine which charges will be used.
Because felony classification guidelines can vary so widely, when someone is charged with a class C felony, it is advisable to find out what the sentencing guidelines will be if convicted. It is also advisable to get information about the specific nature of the charges because this information can be used during a legal defense and in potential challenges to the charges.
As you said, the values of the people will often determine the severity of a crime in the eyes of the law, and the public.
For example, a more conservative area may have stiffer penalties for drug offenses, ranking them in a higher felony or misdemeanor class. A more liberal area, on the other hand, may consider drug offenses as more of a disease, trading jail time for rehabilitation and drug court. A drug possession charge that may be a class c felony in Texas may only be a class a misdemeanor in Vermont.
However, this same liberal area may consider gun crimes more offensive than a conservative area, ranking them higher in the classification system. A weapons charge in a rural area may only be a minor felony, while the same charge would be a major offense in many urban areas.
As a rule of thumb, felonies and misdemeanors with a classification of a lower number or closer to the beginning of the alphabet are the most severe. Classifications with a higher number or farther into the alphabet are less offensive.
Often times the political make-up and history of a state will determine how egregious a court considers a felony. In the United States, constituents elect judges, so the judge’s values often reflect the values of the general population.