If you have been charged with a crime in Virginia, navigating the criminal justice process by yourself can be intimidating and confusing. An aggressive criminal defense attorney can protect your rights and your freedom. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, contact the attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, to protect your future.
Misdemeanors in Virginia
Virginia has five levels of misdemeanors:
- Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious and punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
- Class 2 misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Class 3 misdemeanors do not have any jail time associated with them and fines do not exceed $500.
- Class 4 misdemeanors are the least serious and do not have any jail time associated with them. Fines do not exceed $250.
- Unclassified misdemeanors have special limits on jail time and fines. These vary by offense.
Criminal misdemeanors are tried in General District Court in front of a judge. The Commonwealth's Attorney presents his case and tries to prove your guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." Your attorney then presents evidence and witnesses in your defense. The trial in General District Court moves very quickly, and an experienced litigator knows how to navigate through the proceeding while making the strongest arguments for you.
Felonies in Virginia
Virginia has six levels of felonies:
- Class 1 felonies are the most serious. These may be punishable by death, life in prison, and a minimum fine of $100,000.
- Class 2 felonies are punishable by 20 years to life in prison and fines up to $100,000.
- Class 3 felonies are punishable by five to 20 years in prison and fines up to $100,000.
- Class 4 felonies are punishable by two to ten years in prison and fines up to $100,000.
- Class 5 felonies are punishable by one to ten years in prison and fines up to $2,500.
- Class 6 felonies are the least serious. These offenses are punishable by one to five years in prison and fines up to $2,500.
The felony court process starts in District Court with a preliminary hearing where the judge determines if your case has enough evidence to be certified to a Grand Jury. The Grand Jury then determines if probable cause exists and if so, the case goes to trial in Circuit Court. This may be a bench trial in front of a judge, or it may be a jury trial. The Commonwealth's Attorney tries to prove your guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" and your attorney presents evidence in your defense.
Felonies are very serious crimes with consequences that have long-term effects on your future and your finances, so hiring a criminal defense attorney with courtroom experience is critical.
Have You Been Charged With a Crime in Virginia?
Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney to argue the strongest case on your behalf. At S.L. England, PLLC, our criminal defense attorneys are experienced litigators with courtroom experience, and we know the intricacies of Virginia criminal law. If you have been charged with a crime in Virginia or Washington, D.C., call us today at (202) 572-1020 or contact us online.