CLASSIFICATION OF FELONIES IN VIRGINIA
In Virginia, felony offenses are classified into six classes and the common tangent among the six classes is the severity of the punishments. A conviction for a felony offense can result in years of incarceration, huge fines, and loss of certain rights permanently.
Let’s check out the different types of felony offenses in the state of Virginia, but before that let us understand what exactly felony means. The punishments for felony offenses are far more severe and stricter than those for a misdemeanor. To put it in simple terms, the term of imprisonment for felony offenses will mostly be one year and more. Each category is broken into different classes according to the level of crime committed. Also, for some felony offenses, the convicted shall lose some rights such as voting rights, owning firearms, permanently. In order to have the lost right restored, it is important to hire a Virginia felony attorney who is skilled and experienced.
THE SIX CLASSES OF A FELONY AS CATEGORIZED IN VIRGINIA AS:
VA Class 1 Felonies:
Virginia Class 1 felonies: They are the most strictly punished form of crime in Virginia. Extremely violent and gruesome crimes such as capital murder come within the purview of Class 1 felonies.
The maximum punishment for a Class 1 felony is the death penalty. In some cases, life imprisonment is also awarded. The fine amount can go up to $100,000.
VA Class 2 Felonies:
Virginia Class 2 felonies: Inherently violent crimes are classified under class 2 felony. The punishment on conviction can be life imprisonment with a fine that may go up to $100,000. The minimum punishment for Class 2 felony in Virginia will be 20 years in prison.
Examples of Class 2 felonies include any form of deadly assault that results in a serious or permanent bodily injury, including the loss of pregnancy, burglary with a deadly weapon, entering another person’s home with the intent to commit a felony, etc.
VA Class 3 Felonies:
Those convicted of Class 3 felony can face a fine of up to $100,000 and the term of imprisonment can be anywhere between 5 and 20 years.
To be convicted of Class 3 felonies in Virginia, it is not necessary that the crime must be violent but should involve direct danger to another person, their property, or both.
The most common crimes under this class will be human trafficking, shooting, stabbing, etc., with intent to maim, kill, etc., or making some types of bombs. One can be convicted for class 3 felony for conspiring to commit a class 1 or 2 felony, unarmed burglary, certain forms of sex trafficking and prostitution, and certain forms of arson.
VA Class 4 Felonies:
Class 4 felonies range from some violent altercations to white-collar crimes. Also, crimes that come under the purview of this class are lesser versions of some Class 3 felonies.
Examples of class 4 felonies in Virginia include breaking and entering into railroad cars, aircraft, or freight shipments.
The punishment for class 4 felony can be imprisonment ranging from 2 to 10 years with a fine that shall go up to $100,000.
The most common Class 4 felonies include arson of an unoccupied building, discharging a firearm near a school, participating in gang activity which involves minors, embezzlement by officers of public funds.
VA Class 5 Felonies:
This offense can either be tried as Class 1 misdemeanors or class 5 felony in Virginia. If tried as a felony, convictions can lead to imprisonment between 1 and 10 years. Also, the court shall order imprisonment for one year and a fine that may go up to $2,500, or both.
This means it is as the same penalties as a Class 1 misdemeanor, but the implications are that of a felony offense.
A few examples are involuntary manslaughter, abduction and kidnapping, and perjury.
VA Class 6 Felonies:
Class 6 felonies are also sometimes tried as Class 1 misdemeanors. Class 6 felonies in Virginia are punishable with a term of imprisonment of between 1 and 5 years. If tried as class 1 misdemeanor, the jail term can go up to 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.
Examples are repeated larcenies, identity theft, distributing controlled substances in schedules i-iv, and smuggling cigarettes, etc.
Serious crimes are categorized as a felony offense and attract harsh penalties. As it involves long term jail sentences, huge fines and loss of a certain civil right, it is necessary to have a Virginia felony attorney to guide you through the process.
Contact our law firm to speak to an experienced Virginia criminal lawyer today. C