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What is a Class 1 Misdemeanor under Virginia Law?


When it comes to understanding criminal law in Virginia, you must start with the classification of the charges against you. You can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony. A felony can carry a hefty sentence of state imprisonment or even the death penalty, whereas the most serious misdemeanor only carries up to a maximum of 12 months in a local jail. If you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, you need an experienced Leesburg criminal defense attorney to help prepare your best defense, thereby reducing your potential sentencing time.

Class 1 Misdemeanor

Misdemeanors are classified into classes, and Class 1 is the most serious, but also the most common classification. These are basically “less serious” felonies. Some of the crimes someone may be charged with under a Class 1 Misdemeanor include:

  • Driving Under Influence: If you are pulled over and your blood alcohol content is 0.08 or greater, you may be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). If you are intoxicated on some type of drug or controlled substance, the charge may be driving while intoxicated (DWI).
  • Reckless Driving: You can be charged with reckless driving if you are pulled over while speeding – the limit for reckless driving is 20 miles over the applicable speed limit, or over 80 miles per hour, no matter what the posted speed limit for that area is.
  • Domestic Violence: If you are arrested for an incident that involves domestic violence against a family member, it may be a Class 1 misdemeanor. This may not necessarily involve physical injury, it can involve threats where the victim fears being injured or harmed.
  • Petit Larceny: The theft of goods, money, and other property, like shoplifting. As long as the goods stolen are worth less than $200, you won’t be charged with a felony. Anything over $200 could be a felony.
  • Simple Assault and Battery: Assault and battery can be two separate charges. Assault is the intent to harm or hurt someone, even if there was no contact with a victim that would be classified as a crime. Battery on the other hand is the actual physical act of harming someone.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Punishments

As mentioned initially, the most serious misdemeanor can carry a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in a local jail, rather than state prison. Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious of the four classes, and may also include a fine of up to $2,500. Some crimes, like DUI, may carry additional penalties such as loss of driving privileges. If you are charged with a misdemeanor for a DUI that was the result of an auto accident, you can expect to have a civil case pending as well. Civil cases are brought forth to recoup monetary damages from the injured, not-at-fault party. Cases are independent and heard in entirely different courts.

Facing Criminal Charges? Call a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you’re facing criminal charges, you need an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney who can help prepare your best defense. We serve the counties of Loudoun, Frederick, Clarke, Fairfax, and the neighboring areas. Please call the attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC, and let our experienced team fight to get you the best possible outcome. Contact us at 703-997-4982 or submit the online contact form.

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Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC maintains an office in Loudoun County in the Town of Leesburg. We welcome inquiries from throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.

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