Felony Offenses

A Felony offense is any offense that carries a potential sentence of more than one year in jail.

There are five classes of felony offenses: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E felonies.

If an individual is convicted of a felony, the offense class designation determines the potential sentence range. At sentencing, the court will determine the particular sentence and range applicable to the defendant based on his or her prior criminal history. At sentencing, a convicted person is classified as either a:

  • Mitigated Offender;
  • Standard Range I Offender;
  • Multiple Range II Offender;
  • Persistent Range III Offender; or,
  • Career Offender.

The length of the sentence imposed increases exponentially. The manner (incarceration/alternative) is determined by the offense and the actual sentence imposed by the court. A sentence exceeding ten years cannot be probated. Additionally, some offenses (e.g., aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated sexual battery, statutory rape by an authority figure, aggravated child abuse and neglect, aggravated child endangerment, to name a few) cannot be probated.

First Degree Murder: First degree murder includes ‘premeditated’ murder, but also includes ‘felony murder;’ where a person intends to commit a specific enumerated felony (e.g., burglary, theft, robbery) and someone is killed during the commission of that underlying felony. First degree murder carries three possible punishments in Tennessee: death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, and life in prison with the possibility of parole (after serving 51 calendar years).

Class A Felony: A Class A felony is an offense which carries between 15 years for the Standard, Range I Offender, up to 60 years in prison for either the Persistent and/or Career Offender. A few examples of Class A felonies include, second degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated rape.

Class B Felony: A Class B felony is an offense which carries between 8 years for the Standard Range I Offender, up to 30 years in prison for either the Persistent and/or Career Offender. A few examples of Class B felonies include carjacking, rape, aggravated sexual battery, especially aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery.

Class C Felony: A Class C felony is an offense which carries between 3 years for the Standard Range I Offender, up to 15 years in prison for either the Persistent and/or Career Offender. A few examples of Class C felonies include certain aggravated assaults, robbery, and aggravated burglary (burglary of a home),

Class D Felony: A Class D felony is an offense which carries between 2 years for the Standard Range I Offender, up to 12 years in prison for either the Persistent and/or Career Offender. A few examples of Class D felonies include Burglary (other than a home), some possession of drugs with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell, some theft offenses where the amount taken is between $10,000 and $60,000, some burglary offenses, and certain aggravated assaults.

Class E Felony: A Class E felony is an offense which carries between 1 year for the Standard Range I Offender, up to 6 years in prison for either the Persistent and/or Career Offender. A few examples of Class E felonies include sexual battery, burglary of an automobile/boat, and thefts between $1,000 and $10,000 to name a few.