WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CRIMINAL OFFENSES IN VIRGINIA?

There are three elementary types of criminal offenses in Virginia; misdemeanors, felonies, and infractions. The offenses differ from each other regarding the amount of punishment for which someone convicted of the crime can receive and gravity. At our Law Office Sris P.C we work with clients charged with a crime throughout Virginia.

Here is a thorough explanation of the different kinds of criminal offenses in Virginia, the possible consequences of their plea bargains as well as how the law of Virginia treats them.

Infractions

Petty infractions and offenses are low level & are usually not stated as criminal offenses in Virginia. They usually are traffic-related. Offenses in this class may include parking tickets, speeding tickets, driving without a license, breaking traffic laws, ignoring no parking zones, anti-noise ordinances, or exceeding speed limits in school zones. Summary offenses, as infractions are often referred, generally don’t go to trial & can be very casual. In cases of infractions, offenders usually don’t have a right to a jury trial. In Virginia, you still have a right to a bench trial, where the judge or magistrate will hear your case and determine the result.

Plea Deal Outcomes.

In Virginia, infractions are generally punishable by fines or penalties, but not any prison sentence. Traffic cases are commonly the most straightforward pleas. As your lawyer, we will work a plea deal in your service. Some Virginia jurisdictions allow the offender to take a driver improvement progression or defensive driving school instead of a conviction. However, you may not be suitable if you have a bad driving record or have been convicted of a similar traffic infraction recently. Courts that don’t allow this type of course, and will consider your driving record to assist in deciding the result of your case.

The most common result for traffic offense convictions in Virginia result in the following penalties:

  • First conviction – You need to do a driver safety course within 90-days. If you don’t do it, your driving privilege will be suspended for the decided time period, ordered by the judge or magistrate, and you’ll need to complete the full course and also pay a reinstatement fee to settle the plea deal.”
  • Second conviction– A second conviction in the state of Virginia will result in a 90-day suspension of your driving privileges at any cost.”
  • Third conviction – Your driving privilege will be cancelled for a year, or until you turn 18, whichever is greater.”

Plea Bargain Outcomes.

Felony plea bargains in Virginia are perhaps the most difficult and complex negotiations. For all involved, the stakes are very high, and any wrong decision can lead to having a felony record, paying large fines and spending years in prison. Jurisdictions differ in how they resolve such cases. Some require working out a plea at the preliminary stage of the hearing; others may go right to the trial.

Certain felony charges, which can also be considered a misdemeanor, are usually resolved at the preliminary hearing stage and have plea deals very similar to the misdemeanor above plea bargains. They can also happen at the Circuit Court level. Generally, most felony plea deals revolve around the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines that provide a recommended range of punishment for the offense. Based on the guidelines, plea deals will either prescribe a particular punishment or cap the recommended punishment. At times, the plea bargain will have specific charges dropped without any sentencing agreement, thereby making a huge impact on the guidelines and your future.

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