Criminal LawExpungement

Criminal Law

The Dickerson Smith Law Group regularly represents clients charged with criminal offenses. There are two main categories of criminal offense. Felonies and Misdemeanors. Each carries with it a different level of severity in the punishment you could receive if convicted.

A felony is any crime which is punishable by incarceration over one year and/ or a fine of over $2,500.00. There is no statute of limitations on any felony offense, so, if you are charged with a felony, you could be convicted at any time after the commission of the felony offense. Moreover, a felony conviction carries with it other repercussions such as loss of voting and firearm ownership rights. Felony convictions can not be removed from your record and may lead to lifelong hardship in seeking employment and other privileges, so it is extremely important to retain an attorney to represent you if you are charged with a felony.

A misdemeanor is a crime with an incarceration period or fine less than the felony threshold above (and which are often less serious crimes). Under Virginia Law, there is a one year statute of limitations attached to misdemeanor offenses (with several exceptions), and thus, in most cases one cannot be charged with a misdemeanor offense more than one year after its alleged commission.

Felonies and Misdemeanors are further broken up into “classes” or “degrees” which denote their own lengths of incarceration and fines.

Felonies are broken up into six (6) classes and also have an additional class of “undefined felonies.” The individual penalties and punishments are defined as follows:

Class 1 Felony
  • Max Fine = $100,000.00
  • Max incarceration = incarceration for life/death penalty
  • Example(s) = Murder
Class 2 Felony
  • Max Fine = $100,000.00
  • Max Incarceration = 20 years up to incarceration for life
  • Example(s) = intentional crimes such as aggravated assault, arson, robbery and kidnapping
Class 3 Felony
  • Max Fine = $100,000.00
  • Max Incarceration = 5-20 years incarceration
  • Example(s) = malicious wounding, white collar crimes, drug crimes, tax crimes
Class 4 Felony
  • Max Fine = $100,000.00
  • Max Incarceration = 2-10 years incarceration
  • Example(s) = contributing to the delinquency of a minor, kidnapping, drug crimes and manslaughter
Class 5 Felony
  • Max Fine = $2,500.00
  • Max Incarceration = 1-10 years incarceration
  • Example(s) = possession of cocaine
Class 6 Felony
  • Max Fine = $2,500.00
  • Max Incarceration = 1-5 years incarceration
  • Example(s) = reckless endangerment, violation of a court order

“Undefined Felonies” – simply denote a crime not defined within the VA code, thus penalties and fines vary.

Misdemeanors are divided into four (4) classes. The individual penalties and punishments are defined as follows:

Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • Max Fine = $2,500.00
  • Max Incarceration = 1 year incarceration
  • Example(s) = DUI, reckless driving, assault and battery, underage possession of alcohol, domestic violence, possession of marijuana (technically unclassified)
Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Max Fine = $1000.00
  • Max Incarceration = 6 month incarceration
  • Example(s) = driving on suspended license
Class 3 Misdemeanor
  • Max Fine = $500.00
  • Max Incarceration = N/A
  • Example(s) = possession of a Schedule V drug / narcotic and various types of property destruction
Class 4 Misdemeanor
  • Max Fine = $250.00
  • Max Incarceration = N/A
  • Example(s) = possession of a Schedule VI drug / narcotic and drunk in public offenses

Expungement

Many people do not realize that, despite defending themselves in a criminal charge and being found innocent, the criminal record charge remains public. Such a record can haunt one for years and cause difficulty in obtaining a security clearance, employment, or certain licenses or privileges. If one has been acquitted, has had charges against them dropped, nolle prosequi is taken, the charge is dismissed, one has been pardoned of an offense, or even when the state admitted that one has been wrongly convicted, the record charge remains.

For further information on how we may assist if you are charged with a criminal offense, please call Dickerson and Smith at 757 463 4900 to schedule a consultation today.

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