In Virginia, crimes are classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are generally less serious offenses and are punishable by fines and up to one year in a county jail. Most of these cases are heard in the General District Court unless they involve an offense against a family member, the offender is the juvenile, or the case is directly indicted to the Circuit Court.
Virginia has five levels of misdemeanors. To determine the maximum penalty you may be facing if convicted, you need to know the misdemeanor class of the offense. Some misdemeanor classes have jail time associated with conviction, while others only have fines.
Class 1 Misdemeanors
Class 1 Misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor offenses. These are punishable by up to one year in a county jail and a $2,500 fine.
Some offenses that are Class 1 Misdemeanors in Virginia are:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Reckless Driving:
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Assault and Battery
- Petit Larceny
- Destruction of Property With the Intent to Steal
- Second or Subsequent Possession of Marijuana
Class 2 Misdemeanors
Class 2 Misdemeanors are less serious offenses than Class 1 Misdemeanors. These are punishable by up to six months in a county jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Some offenses that are Class 2 Misdemeanors in Virginia are:
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession of Class IV Drugs
- Aggressive Driving
- Driving Without a Valid License
Class 3 Misdemeanors
Class 3 Misdemeanors do not have any jail time for conviction. These are punishable by up to a $500 fine.
Some offenses that are Class 3 Misdemeanors in Virginia are:
- Possession of a Schedule V Controlled Substance
- Unintentional Damage to Property or Monuments
Class 4 Misdemeanors
Class 4 Misdemeanors are the least serious offenses. These do not have any jail time for conviction and are punishable by a fine of up to $250.
Some offenses that are Class 4 Misdemeanors in Virginia are:
- Profane Swearing and Intoxication in Public
- Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance
- Unauthorized Use of Public Property
Unclassified misdemeanors, commonly referred to as "Class U," have special limits on jail time and fines. The penalties for these vary by offense, but penalties typically fall between those for a Class 2 and a Class 3 Misdemeanor. One example is the unlawful possession of marijuana by a first offender, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
Have You Been Charged With a Misdemeanor Crime in Virginia?
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor crime in Virginia or Washington, D.C., do not underestimate the seriousness of the charge. A conviction can have long-lasting consequences on your future, including your ability to find housing or obtain a professional license. An aggressive criminal defense attorney from S.L. England, PLLC, has the courtroom experience to build a strong defense on your behalf and effectively argue your case in front of a judge or jury. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor crime in Virginia or Washington, D.C., call us today at (202) 572-1020 or contact us online