Virginia Class 1 Misdemeanor and Punishment
If you have criminal charges filed against you, you need to take it very seriously. Some people mistakenly assume that if the charge is a misdemeanor, it’s not serious and there is no need to retain an attorney or fight it. Do not just plead guilty and take whatever plea agreement the prosecutor’s office offers. Always remember that a misdemeanor is still a criminal charge and that conviction can have long lasting effects.
What is Considered a Misdemeanor in Virginia?
Like in other states, crimes are categorized in three categories —felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. Determining what is considered a misdemeanor or a felony varies based on how long the maximum sentence is. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses than felonies, but are still punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine. Someone who is convicted of a felony will be sentenced to time in prison rather than county jail. An infraction is the least serious and generally has no jail time attached to the case.
Understanding Class 1 Misdemeanors
The state divides misdemeanors into four categories, and Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious. It’s a thin line between what determines whether a charge is a felony or a Class 1 misdemeanor. The difference will be based on the facts surrounding the crime, including what the value of stolen property is or the seriousness of the crime, does the offender have any prior offenses, and what the victim’s status is.
Some Class 1 Misdemeanors in Virginia can include:
- DUI: If someone is arrested while driving a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or more, he or she can be charged with a DUI, or driving under the influence. A lesser offense is a DWI, or driving while intoxicated, which can involve intoxication by drug use, and it’s also a Class 1 Misdemeanor in the state.
- Assault and Battery: Assault and battery can be two separate charges. Assault is the intent to harm or physically hurt another person, but there is no criminal contact with the victim. With battery, the offender makes harmful physical contact with the victim.
- Reckless Driving: If someone is driving in excess of 80 MPH, or 20 MPH over the maximum speed limit, he or she can be charged with reckless driving.
- Petit Larceny: This involves stealing goods, property, or money. If the goods that are stolen are valued over $200, the person may be charged with a felony instead.
Long Term Consequences of a Misdemeanor
Long term consequences of a misdemeanor conviction are still serious. You could struggle to find housing, as most apartment and home rental applications ask if you’ve been convicted of a crime. You will have to disclose on job applications that you were convicted of a crime. You may have trouble securing a loan, getting approved for a car, etc. This is why it’s so important to speak with a skilled Virginia criminal defense attorney for assistance.
Contact A Leesburg Criminal Defense Attorney
If you need assistance with pending criminal charges, you need to contact the team at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today. Let one of our experienced criminal lawyers help get the best deal possible.