What are the punishments for Class 1 misdemeanors in Virginia?
The punishment for Class 1 misdemeanors can be found in Virginia Code 18.2-11. They are
- Up to 12 months in jail
- Up to a $2,500 fine
Many specific Class 1 misdemeanors 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.
Some common Class 1 misdemeanors in Virginia: