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Offenses, or crimes, often have different degrees of severity. The varying levels are typically based on the existence of intent, the value of property taken and threats to the victim. First degree or, in some states, Class A felony crimes are the most serious, and their corresponding punishment requires the longest amount of time in prison. Death is also a potential punishment in many states and in the federal courts where first-degree crimes have been committed.
Like felonies, misdemeanors have varying levels of severity. States generally categorize these as Class A, Class B, Class C, etc. misdemeanors with a different fine amount depending on the level. Misdemeanor crimes do include incarceration in their possible range of punishment.
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