Criminal Offenses

What is considered a criminal offense in Virginia?

In Virginia, there are three basic types of criminal offenses: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. The offenses differ from each other in terms of gravity and punishment.

In Virginia, criminal offenses are prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors range from Class 4 misdemeanors up to the highest misdemeanor which is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Likewise, felonies range from Class 6 to Class 1 felonies. The possible ranges of punishment are as follows:

The punishments for conviction of a misdemeanor are:

  1. For Class 1 misdemeanors, confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.
  2. For Class 2 misdemeanors, confinement in jail for not more than six months and a fine of not more than $1,000, either or both.
  3. For Class 3 misdemeanors, a fine of not more than $500.
  4. For Class 4 misdemeanors, a fine of not more than $250.

The punishments for conviction of a felony are:

  1. For Class 1 felonies, death, if the person so convicted was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense and is not determined to be mentally retarded pursuant to § 19.2-264.3:1.1, or imprisonment for life and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000. If the person was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense or is determined to be mentally retarded pursuant to § 19.2-264.3:1.1, the punishment shall be imprisonment for life and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000.
  2. For Class 2 felonies, imprisonment for life or for any term not less than 20 years and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000.
  3. For Class 3 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than five years nor more than 20 years and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000.
  4. For Class 4 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than two years nor more than 10 years and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000.
  5. For Class 5 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.
  6. For Class 6 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than five years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

How do you choose the right lawyer to represent you in a criminal case?

Choosing an attorney for your criminal case may be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. At The Leiva Law Firm, we understand the gravity behind this decision and are with you every step of the way. We make sure you are comfortable with the process and educate you as we move forward. Mr. Leiva has over twenty years of experience taking on everything from minor criminal cases to death penalty cases and that experience shows in his case results. We will be honest with you and give you our best assessment of what to expect by using past results and precedent to give you a realistic view of what is possible. We are detail-driven, and comb through every aspect of your case to get you the best possible verdict.

Honesty is what you need when facing criminal charges. An attorney who promises you or guarantees you a particular outcome is being dishonest and is simply trying to get you as a client. When facing criminal charges, a client is at their most vulnerable, and unscrupulous attorneys can take advantage of this by saying what they believe you want to hear. The Leiva Law Firm will help you become an educated consumer. If an attorney guarantees you a certain outcome, or states that they know the Judge, Prosecutor and/or Officer involved in your case as if to suggest that they have a special relationship with these people, that is unethical. In the end, trust your gut after meeting with an attorney. We welcome any potential clients to contact us with questions, and are happy to schedule a meeting with you so we can determine if we’ll be a good fit for you and of course, discuss the potential outcomes for your case.

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P: 703.352.6400 // F: 703.352.5226 // E: mleiva@leiva-law.com