In the United States, where the felony/misdemeanor distinction is still widely applied, the federal government defines a felony as a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year.
The classification is based upon a crime's potential sentence, so a crime remains classified as a felony even if a defendant convicted of a felony receives a sentence of one year or less. Individual states may classify crimes by other factors, such as seriousness or context.
Following conviction of a felony, a
person may be described as a felon or a convicted felon.
A bench warrant is a summons issued from "the bench" (a judge or court) directing the police to arrest someone who must be brought before a specific judge either for contempt of court or for failing to appear in court as required.
For example, if a defendant is released on bail or under recognizance and misses a scheduled court appearance, or if a witness whose testimony is required in court does not appear as required by a subpoena, a bench warrant may be issued for that person's arrest. In cases where a bench warrant is issued to arrest people who posted bail and subsequently missed their court dates, usually after they are rearrested and brought before the judge, the judge may raise the bail amount or revoke it completely.
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