A misdemeanor offense is less serious than a felony matter. Depending on the particular factual circumstances of the offense, such as the value of an item taken or damages, the class of the victim, or the number of previous similar offenses, the acts may be classified as either misdemeanor or felony. There are four classes of misdemeanor offenses in Virginia:
Class 1 Misdemeanor – A Class 1 Misdemeanor is the most serious of the misdemeanor crimes in Virginia. Common Class 1 Misdemeanors include assault, trespassing, possession of Schedule III/IV drugs, DUI/DWI, domestic assault, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, and petit larceny.
Possible Penalties – A maximum of 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500.00
Class 2 Misdemeanor – A Class 2 Misdemeanor is less serious than a Class 1 Misdemeanor, but it can still result in a loss of freedom and a significant fine. The most common Class 2 Misdemeanor is driving without a valid driver’s license (first offense). Other Class 2 Misdemeanors include obstruction offenses and licensing offenses.
Possible Penalties – A maximum of 6 months jail time and a fine of up to $1000.00
Class 3 Misdemeanor – Class 3 misdemeanors do not carry the potential loss of freedom, and are generally restricted to regulatory and licensing enforcement matters, often involving forestry, livestock, or sales.
Possible Penalties – No jail time, and a fine of up to $500.00
Class 4 Misdemeanor – A Class 4 Misdemeanor is the least serious of the offenses that may be considered a misdemeanor in Virginia. The most common Class 4 Misdemeanor is the stature for public intoxication, which also includes public swearing or profane gestures.
Possible Penalties – No jail time, and a fine of up to $250.00
A felony is a more serious crime punishable by life in prison or death. There are six basic classes of felony offenses in Virginia:
Class 1 Felony – A Class 1 Felony is the most serious of the felony charges. This may include murder, rape, serious cases of assault, and serious financial crimes.
Possible Penalties – Life in prison, and a fine of up to $100,000.00
Class 2 Felony – A Class 2 Felony is a lesser degree of a crime classified as Class 1 felony.
This may include manslaughter and bigamy.
Possible Penalties – 20 years to life in prison, and a fine of up to $100,000.00
Class 3 Felony – A Class 3 Felony includes offenses such as serious burglary, drug possession, and sex crimes.
Possible Penalties – 5-20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $100,000.00
Class 4 Felony – A Class 4 Felony includes offenses such as serious gun offenses and some human trafficking offenses.
Possible Penalties – 2-10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $100,000.00
Class 5 Felony – A Class 5 felony includes offenses such as certain sex crimes and drug possession crimes.
Possible Penalties – 1 year in jail, and up to 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $2500.00
Class 6 Felony – A Class 6 Felony is the least serious felony charge in Virginia. This may include fraud and identity theft offenses.
Possible Penalties – 1-5 years in jail, and no more than 5 years in prison, and a fine of up to $2500.00