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What Is The Difference Between Felonies & Misdemeanors In Virginia?

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Virginia law divides criminal offenses into two distinct categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Less severe offenses tend to be classified as misdemeanors. Misdemeanor punishment sometimes involve only a fine. A jail sentence is possible for certain misdemeanors.

More serious crimes tend to be classified as felonies. In these cases, the punishment can involve imprisonment and criminal fines, either or both.

Code of Virginia Section 18.2-9 establishes six classes of felony crimes and four classes of misdemeanor offenses. Furthermore, Virginia law applies a maximum punishment for each class of felony and misdemeanor.

How Does Virginia Penalize Felony Crimes?

As explained above, the Virginia Criminal Code features six classes of felony offenses. Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-10, the maximum punishment for each class of felony crime is as follows:

  • Class 1 Felonies — The maximum punishment is a life sentence in prison and criminal fines up to $100,000. Any person sentenced to life in prison is ineligible for parole, good behavior credits, or conditional release.
  • Class 2 Felonies — The maximum punishment is a prison sentence of 20 years to life and criminal fines up to $100,000.
  • Class 3 Felonies — The maximum punishment is a prison sentence of five to 20 years and criminal fines up to $100,000.
  • Class 4 Felonies — The maximum punishment is a prison sentence of two to 10 years and criminal fines up to $100,000.
  • Class 5 Felonies — The maximum punishment is a prison sentence of one to 10 years and criminal fines up to $2,500.
  • Class 6 Felonies — The maximum punishment is a prison sentence of one to five years and criminal fines up to $2,500.

Upon conviction for a felony, a Virginia court may order imprisonment or imprisonment and a fine. If the offender is not a natural person — such as a company or similar entity — the punishment for a felony involves criminal fines only, not imprisonment.

How Does Virginia Penalize Misdemeanor Offenses?

As detailed above, the Virginia Criminal Code features four classes of misdemeanor offenses. Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-11, the maximum punishment for each class of misdemeanor offense is as follows:

  • Class 1 Misdemeanors — The maximum punishment is 12 months in county jail and criminal fines up to $2,500.
  • Class 2 Misdemeanors — The maximum punishment is six months in county jail and criminal fines up to $1,000.
  • Class 3 Misdemeanors — The maximum punishment is a criminal fine of $500, without a jail sentence.
  • Class 4 Misdemeanors — The maximum punishment is a criminal fine of $250, without a jail sentence.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you are facing criminal charges, we can help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Leesburg criminal lawyers at Simms Showers LLP for a consultation on your case.

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Contact the Leesburg, Winchester & Loudoun County Attorneys of Simms Showers LLP today

Simms Showers LLP is conveniently located two blocks from the Loudoun County Courthouse. Our criminal defense firm offers a free phone consultation for criminal or personal injury cases. Se habla español. Call Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel today at 703-997-7821 or contact us online.

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