How Much Jail Time? Here Is a List of Prison Sentences

jail time

In the past few years, crime has been on the rise. This is especially true for violent crimes in major metropolitan areas, which saw a spike in 2020, to a rate not seen since the 90s.

Everyone agrees that crimes are crimes, and all offenders should be punished. But not all crime is considered equal.

Jail time for different types of crimes can vary from 48 hours to more than 10 years. Repeat offenders and those committing multiple violent crimes can serve a life sentence.

So what determines the length of imprisonment in the prison system? The type of crime is the main factor. The state of the offense also affects the length of a sentence, as do first-time offenses versus repeat crimes.

Keep reading below to learn what mandatory sentences exist for different types of crime.

Capital Felonies

The highest degree of criminal offense is a capital felony. These are only issued in some states and correspond with the most serious crimes, such as murder, rape, human trafficking, and heavy child abuse. Punishment for capital felonies has also resulted in the death sentence. 

A slightly less severe sentence is a life felony. A life felony means you will spend the rest of your natural life in prison, and you won’t be granted parole. 

Class A Felony Jail Time

The minimum sentences for class A felonies are usually 10 years or higher.

The minimum sentence for murder is 25 years. The maximum sentence for murder is 60 years.

For aggravated sexual assaults on children, the first offense has a minimum sentence of 25 years. And additional sentences will receive 50 years.

Assulating pregnant women which results in a terminated pregnancy will receive a minimum 10-year sentence and a maximum 25-year sentence.

Paying or forcing a minor to engage in obscene performances are subject to a minimum 10-year sentence and a maximum 25-year sentence. 

A home invasion results in a 10+ year sentence, with a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Kidnapping will result in a 1+ year sentence with a maximum of 25 years. 

Depending on the circumstances, a sexual assault can either be a class A or class B felony. Sentence varies depending on the circumstances and age of the victim. A minimum sentence can be either two, five, or 10 years with a maximum of 20 or 25 years.

Class B Felonies

Injuring or risking injury to a minor by contacting intimate parts can lead to a minimum of a five-year sentence or a maximum of 20 years. 

Manslaughter, which is normally considered a murder that wasn’t precluded by malice, can lead to a five-year minimum sentence and a 40-year maximum sentence.

A first-degree assault can lead to a five-year minimum sentence if the use of a deadly weapon causes injury. The minimum sentence is 10 years if the victim or witness is under the age of 10.

It’s also five years if the assault is against an elderly person, pregnant mother, or someone who is disabled, blind, or mentally retarded. In all of these instances, the maximum sentence is 20 years.

A second-degree kidnapping results in a three-year minimum sentence and a 20-year maximum sentence.

The following crimes will result in a minimum five-year sentence, and a maximum 20-year sentence;

  • First-degree burglary with a deadly weapon
  • First-degree robbery with a deadly weapon
  • Possessing or importing child pornography
  • Computer crimes that participate in terrorism

A second-degree sexual assault will be subject to a minimum of nine months and a maximum of either 10 or 20 years. Sexual assault to the third degree involving a firearm will lead to two years with a maximum of 10 or 20 years. 

Class C Felonies

The selling or transporting of an assault weapon that is not legal will lead to two years, or six years if selling to a minor.

Second-degree manslaughter with a firearm and burglary with a firearm will serve a minimum of 1+ years.

Hindering a prosecution will lead to a minimum of five years. Second-degree possession of child pornography is subject to a two-year minimum sentence. 

And contaminating public food or water supplies in furtherance of terrorism is subject to a minimum five-year sentence. 

In all of these class C felonies, the maximum sentence is 10 years. 

Class D Felonies

Class D felonies are the least severe type of felony but are more severe than misdemeanors. They are subject to a maximum of five years. 

The following offenses have a minimum sentence of one year;

  • Speeding to elude police
  • Not stopping a boat when ordered by law enforcement to stop
  • Illegally selling a handful to someone under 21 years of age
  • Possession of an assault weapon
  • Second-degree assault with a firearm
  • Third-degree burglary with a firearm
  • Third-degree possession of child pornography

The following offenses have a minimum sentence of two years;

  • Second-degree assault against the elderly, pregnant, or disabled, including blind or mentally retarded
  • Possessing a handgun as a criminal

The criminal use of a firearm or an electronic defense weapon like a stun gun has a minimum sentence of five years.

All of these class D felonies have a maximum sentence of five years. 

There are also various misdemeanors and unclassified crimes that will lead to jail time as well. 

Alternative Punishment

Not every crime leads to imprisonment. If it did, our prison system would be overflowing.

Instead, judges have some discretion when determining the sentence of a particular crime. Many factors are considered during a criminal court hearing.

If addiction was involved, for instance, involving either alcohol or drugs, a judge may decide that addiction treatment would be a better option than imprisonment. In some cases, completion of a rehabilitation program can remove charges against the offender. 

In other instances, the offender will be required to pay fines or make restitution for damages caused. 

Still, in many instances, a judge will order a probation period for the offender. Rather than serving time in the prison system, they are allowed to go back home.

To a certain extent, they are back in the community. It’s a better option for many first-time offenders, or those committing non-violent crimes. 

They serve their sentence at home, and their freedom is strictly limited. If they violate the conditions of their probation, then they may end up in prison. 

The easiest way to ensure the offender doesn’t break these conditions, they are often required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet. Court officials and probation officers can track their location at all times using a smartphone app and other tools. 

Make Probation and House Arrest Easier

Even knowing the severity of punishment, hundreds of thousands of people continue to commit crimes on a daily basis. Every year, jail time is a reality for more than 600,000 people

But many of these criminals are not out to hurt anyone. So probation or other forms of punishment are more suitable. If you want to learn more about making probation easier for you as an officer of the law, then check out our GPS systems here

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