The penalties for Class 1 misdemeanor offenses can be found in the code of Virginia 18.2-11. They are:
- A fine of not more than $2,500 fine
- Up to year in jail
Many specific Class 1 misdemeanor offense have other individual punishments. For example, DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but the punishment for DUI includes a license suspension, mandatory enrollment in substance abuse counselling, and installation of an ignition interlock device in your car. Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but the punishment includes the possibility of a 6 month driver’s license suspension.
One other thing to know about Class 1 misdemeanors: once you’ve been convicted, they are permanently on your criminal record. Currently, there’s no way to have a criminal conviction expunged from your record in Virginia unless the Governor pardons you. That means when you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you’re facing a lifetime criminal record if you’re convicted. That’s why it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as you can.
For many class 1 misdemeanors you have the right to have an attorney represent you. If jail time is a possibility the court will ask whether you’d like to hire your own attorney or have court appointed counsel. It’s a good idea to speak with an attorney before you go to court to make sure you understand your rights and court procedure.
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.
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.