Crimes in Virginia are generally charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony is the more serious of the two. There may also be civil offenses or infractions that are less serious than a misdemeanor. How your charge is classified will be an import part of what kind of outcomes you can expect. Felonies are divided in 6 “classes” with Class 1 being the most serious. Similarly, misdemeanors are divided into 4 classes, with Class 1, again, being the most serious. Each of these classes of charges carries potential punishments as listed below.
Felonies § 18.2-10
Class 1 felony: Death, life in prison, and/or a fine up to $100,000.00.
Class 2 felony: Imprisonment for 20 years to life, and/or a fine of up to $100,000.00
Class 3 felony: Imprisonment for 5 to 20 years, and/or a fine of up to $100,000.00
Class 4 felony: Imprisonment for 2 to 10 years, and/or a fine of up to $100,000.00
Class 5 felony: Imprisonment for 1 to 10 years, or up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00
Class 6 felony: Imprisonment of 1 to 5 years, or up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00
Misdemeanors § 18.2-11
Class 1 misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00.
Class 2 misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00.
Class 3 misdemeanor: Fine up to $500.
Class 4 misdemeanor: Fine up to $250.
What does this mean for me?
If you have been charged with any crime in Virginia, it is important to contact an attorney. Beyond issues of guilt and innocence, an attorney can help make sure you aren’t being “over-charged” can begin taking steps to protect your rights, including your ability to get certain charges expunged.