In the state of Virginia a misdemeanor is defined as an offense that can have a penalty of up to one year in jail. Virginia law states that misdemeanors are divided into four classes. Class I Misdemeanors are the most common and are the most serious. Class I Misdemeanors include possession of marijuana, assault and battery, petty larceny, stalking, driving under the influence, bad checks, domestic assault, aggressive driving, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, and many others. Class I Misdemeanors are punishable by fines up to twenty-five thousand dollars, a maximum jail time of twelve months, or both a fine and jail sentencing together.
Class II Misdemeanors include smaller degrees of Class I Misdemeanors, such as aggressive driving. A Class II Misdemeanor can carry charges of up to one thousand dollars in fines, up to six months in jail, or both jail sentencing and a fine combined.
Class III Misdemeanors are also lesser degrees of Class I Misdemeanors and go without the possibility of punishment in a county jail facility. However Class III Misdemeanors are punishable by up to five hundred dollars in fines.
Class IV Misdemeanors are the least severe of all Virginia misdemeanors. Like Class III Misdemeanors, Class IV Misdemeanors hold no possibility of a jail sentencing to a county facility and only a possibly fine of up to two hundred fifty dollars.
Virginia also has Unclassified Misdemeanors with varying fine amounts and varying jail time sentences. Unclassified Misdemeanors can include the possession of marijuana, which depends on the number of ounces in possession. These kinds of misdemeanors are specific to the statute of the crime involved. Minor misdemeanors are called infractions. Infractions often only are punishably by a fine, which varies depending on the crime at hand. A majority of misdemeanors are issued by a summons from the arresting officer or a warrant from a magistrate.
Virginia Misdemeanor Expungement
Criminal records may be "cleaned" through the court's granting of an expungement. An expungement will make it as if the crime has never occurred. The law enforcement agencies will then eliminate all records of the crime expunged. After an expungement a person will then be able to legally state that the crime was never committed and can state this on paper if needed.
A criminal record may also be sealed. A record sealing is different from an expungement. A record sealing will eliminate all availability for the public to access a record, but the law enforcement agencies will keep the record on file. An expunged record is an erasure of a record while a sealing of a record is locking of a record. This locking of a record will not allow access to future employers.
Only certain individuals are eligible for record expungement. A person must have been acquitted of a crime, the charges must have been nolled by the court, or an absolute pardon must have been granted. In Virginia those that have been arrested for the first time are eligible for expungement, but only in the case of a misdemeanor, not a felony. See also:
West Virginia Misdemeanors
Virginia Expungement External link (opens in new window)
West Virginia Expungement External link (opens in new window)
Virginia Felony External link (opens in new window)