CRIMINAL OFFENSES IN VIRGINIA
When charged with one or more criminal offenses, defendants can benefit from the effective criminal defense representation that is his or her right under the law. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor reckless driving charge or a violent felony charge, a Virginia criminal lawyer can provide wise legal counsel to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions during the criminal justice process.
UNDERSTANDING CRIMINAL CHARGES
The broadest division between criminal offenses is the classification of a crime as a misdemeanor or felony. Typically, misdemeanors are crimes punishable by a maximum of one year in jail, whereas felonies are punishable by a year or more in prison. However, even within these two distinctions, Virginia further categorizes the crimes by the severity of each offense.
Virginia misdemeanors are divided into four classes, with Class 4 misdemeanors being the least serious offenses and Class 1 misdemeanors carrying the harshest penalties.
Common misdemeanor offenses include DWI, reckless driving, assault, shoplifting or other minor theft crimes, marijuana possession, public intoxication, and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. Depending on the classification of the misdemeanor, penalties range from a fine of $250 to a maximum of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine making it important to contact a Virginia criminal lawyer.
The Virginia criminal lawyers at our firm are committed to providing aggressive, skillful defense representation to help protect your rights and work to achieve the best possible outcome under your personal circumstances.
The Virginia criminal defense attorneys with our firm are experienced in a wide range of practice areas, including but not limited to those below:
Much like misdemeanors, felonies in Virginia are further classified by the severity of the offense and the associated penalties. There are six classes of felonies, with a Class 6 felony carrying the lightest possible sentence and a Class 1 felony carrying the most severe penalties. Fines associated with felony conviction typically range from $2,500 for a Class 5 or Class 6 felony to $100,000 for a Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 felony. The length of a prison term for felony conviction ranges widely depending on the classification of the crime:
- CLASS 1 – death, or life in prison if the death penalty is not applicable
- CLASS 2 – 20 years to life in prison
- CLASS 3 – 5 to 20 years
- CLASS 4 – 2 to 10 years
- CLASS 5 – up to 10 years
- CLASS 6 – up to 5 years
Virginia felonies include murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, sex crimes, white collar crimes, fraud, some gun charges, and a third (or subsequent) DWI.
Additional Criminal Defense Resources
IMPORTANCE OF A VIRGINIA CRIMINAL LAWYER
The police who investigate crimes and the district attorneys who prosecute them are required to handle each case in accordance with the laws protecting the rights of the defendant. Unfortunately, through sloppy work or a flagrant violation of policy and procedure, some defendants can quickly see their rights violated.
A Virginia criminal lawyer can fight to make sure that your constitutional rights are protected during an investigation and prosecution, and that is a responsibility we take very seriously.