In Virginia, there are four levels of misdemeanor crimes that range from Class 1 to Class 4, with the former being more serious while the latter is the least serious. When you’re convicted of a misdemeanor and are given a sentence, regardless of Class, you will serve that sentence only in county or city jail, not a state prison.
The following are examples of crimes that would be classified as misdemeanors, along with their respective Class:
- Class 1: DWI, reckless driving, or shoplifting
- Class 2: Driving without a valid license
- Class 3: Unintentional damage to property or monuments
- Class 4: Public intoxication
With each level of misdemeanors, there are limitations on how the courts can punish you, should you be convicted:
- Class 1: Up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both
- Class 2: Up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both
- Class 3: Up to $500 in fines
- Class 4: Up to $250 in fines
As you can see, these are relatively minor penalties compared to what you could receive if you were convicted of a felony.
Like misdemeanors, felonies in Virginia are categorized based on the intensity of the act committed and their corresponding punishments, fines, and prison time. Unlike misdemeanors, they deal with the most serious of crimes and therefore the most serious of penalties. The following are the 6 classes of felonies, along with their maximum penalties and examples:
- Class 1: life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines (premeditated murder)
- Class 2: 20 years to life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines (burglary with a deadly weapon)
- Class 3: 5-20 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines (attempting to poison someone)
- Class 4: 2-10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines (embezzlement of funds)
- Class 5: 1-10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines (involuntary manslaughter)
- Class 6: 1-5 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines (animal cruelty or repeat larcenies)
No matter how much time you could potentially be spending in jail or prison, you’ll need an aggressive advocate on your side to represent your best interests and make sure your voice is heard. So if you or someone you know has been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony crime, don’t wait. Reach out to Sher, Cummings and Ellis in Arlington, Virginia, today and put an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner.