The term felony, in some common law countries, means a serious crime. The word originates from English common law (from the French medieval word “fĂ©lonie”), where felonies were originally crimes that involved confiscation of a convicted person’s land and goods. Other crimes were called misdemeanors. Many common law countries have now abolished the felony/misdemeanor distinction and replaced it with other distinctions, such as between indictable offences and summary offences. A felony is generally considered a crime of high seriousness, while a misdemeanor is not.

A person who has committed a felony is a felon, and upon conviction of a felony in a court of law is known as a convictedfelon or a convict. 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. If punishable by exactly one year or less, it is classified as a misdemeanor. Note that the actual prison sentence handed out has no effect on this; the decision is based on the maximum sentence possible under law. For example, if a person is sentenced to six months, but the charge can be “up to two years”, it counts as a felony, in spite of the actual time served being well under a year.[1] Individual states may differ in this definition, using other categories as seriousness or context. – Wikipedia