West Virginia Misdemeanors
The difference between misdemeanors and felonies is not only the severity of the offense but also where the individual will serve an existing sentence. When an individual is sentenced with a felony, he or she will serve this sentence in a state prison facility. When an individual is sentenced with a misdemeanor, he or she will serve this sentence in a county jail facility. So unlike popular belief, jail and prison are different facilities that house very different prisoners. Nevertheless all felony and misdemeanor cases begin in General District Court.
West Virginia misdemeanors and felonies are categorized into classifications--both felonies and misdemeanors numerically. Some felony convictions can be served in a jail facility however. A Class 1 Felony is punishable by death or life imprisonment with or without a fine of up to one hundred thousand dollars. Class 2 Felonies are punishably by up to twenty years in prison with or without a fine of up to one hundred thousand dollars. Class 3 Felonies carry five to twenty year sentences with or without a fine of one hundred thousand dollars. Class 4 Felonies are punishable by up to ten years in prison or as few as two years in prison with or without a one hundred thousand dollar fine.
The last two felonies can have sentence options of serving sentences in either a state prison or a county jail. This decision is at the discretion of the jury and the judge. Class 5 Felonies are punishable with a sentence between one to ten years in a state prison or a maximum twelve months in a county jail with or without a fine of twenty-five hundred dollars. A Class 6 Felony can have a sentence of one to five years in a state prison or twelve months maximum in a county jail with or without a fine of twenty-five hundred dollars.
Misdemeanor classes are a little different. A Class 1 Misdemeanor can have a maximum of twelve months in a county jail with or without a fine of twenty-five hundred dollars. Class 2 Misdemeanors can have six months maximum in a county jail with or without a fine of one thousand dollars. Class 3 Misdemeanors most often do not receive jail sentences but rather only fines of up to five hundred dollars. This is the same for Class 4 Misdemeanors that can have fines up to two hundred fifty dollars.
West Virginia Expungement
Expungement in the state of West Virginia is possible under certain circumstances. This is where past criminal records may be sealed from public viewing and from law enforcement agencies. The records are destroyed and a person can then legally state that he or she was never convicted of, charge with, or arrest for a crime. A judge will grant a petition for expungement on a conditional basis.
To be eligible an individual must have received a full executive pardon, been found not guilty of the offense, be a first-time drug offender, been discharged, had the case dismissed, or committed a misdemeanor between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six. Those pardoned for first degree murder, kidnapping, sexual offenses, or treason are not eligible for expungement. See also:
West Virginia Expungement External link (opens in new window)
West Virginia Felony External link (opens in new window)
West Virginia Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)