The code of Virginia has classified the criminal offenses into three different types. Infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. An infraction is the most common offense happens in the state like traffic tickets, etcetera. Misdemeanors are a class above infractions and are more severe, and it has mandatory fine and jail time. After misdemeanors, there is a Felony offense, which is the most severe offense in the code of Virginia. Below, you will find what actually a misdemeanor and felony offense is and the classifications of it:
Misdemeanors are more severe than petty offenses but are less severe than a felony offense. Virginia specifies a punishment higher than just a fine for such offenses, including possible jail time in a county jail or regional jail, but not long-term prison sentences. Crimes such as prostitution, vandalism, petty theft, a first offense DUI, assault with minimal injuries, domestic violence and possession of marijuana can all be charged as a misdemeanor. As a defendant, you also typically have the right to a jury trial.
In Virginia, misdemeanor jail sentences are served in the county or city jail and are sub-divided into categories. The punishment level gradually increases with each class.
Class 1 – Imprisonment in jail for a maximum of twelve months and a fine up to $2,500, either or both.
Class 2 – Imprisonment for a maximum of six months and a fine up to $1,000, either or both.
Class 3 – A fine of not more than $500.
Class 4 – A fine of not more than $250.
Classified as the most serious of crimes, felonies can be punishable by years in prison and in some cases, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Both person crimes and property crimes including murder, rape, arson, sexual assault, manslaughter, certain drug crimes, various types of white collar crimes or tax crimes, kidnapping, grand theft, armed robbery, possession of drugs for sale, all fall under felonies. The person is committing the crime, the one who helped or abetted the crime, as well as one who became accessory of the felony after it was committed, can be charged. Due to the degree of the crime regarding seriousness, the right to jury trial is given in case of felonies.
In Virginia, felonies are also subdivided into six classes. The higher the level of the offense, the higher the punishment. The punishment usually comprises a specific duration of imprisonment and a significantly large fine. Here’s a further breakdown of each felony class within Virginia:
Class 1 Felonies – The most serious felony in Virginia is Class 1. They are punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. If you are over the age of 18 and have no mental concerns, this type of felony may also be punishable by death.
Class 2 Felonies – A Class 2 felony is punishable by imprisonment for 20 years’ to life and a fine of up to $100,000.
Class 3 Felonies – A conviction for a Class 3 felony can result in a prison term of five to 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000.
Class 4 Felonies – A Class 4 felony is punishable by two to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000.
Class 5 Felonies – Class 5 felonies are sometimes classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor dependent upon several factors, including how the judge perceives your case. A Class 5 felony is punishable by one to ten years in prison (when the conviction is a felony), or up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500 (misdemeanor).
Class 6 Felonies – Class 6 felonies are the least serious felonies in Virginia. Like Class 5 felonies, Class 6 felonies can go either way. They are typically punishable by one to five years in prison (felony), or up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500 (misdemeanor).