Felonies are incredibly serious crimes that carry harsh consequences. Being convicted of a felony can result in significant jail or prison time, high fines, and a permanent criminal record, all of which may negatively impact your employment, immigration status, college acceptance, personal relationships, your freedom and future.
Because felonies are very serious charges with life-long consequences, it is important to consult with an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney as soon as possible who can help you build a strong defense. When charged with a felony it is imperative that you understand how Virginia classifies felony crimes and how the range of punishment is structured so that you have a full understanding of what you are facing well before entering a courtroom. You may have factual or evidentiary defenses in addition to mitigating factors that if successfully asserted, may result in a very serious felony charge being dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor offense. The experienced attorneys at Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., are committed to building a strong and compelling case to protect and preserve your interests and freedom.
What Are the Different Types of Felonies?
In Virginia, felonies vary in nature and penalties. There are six designations of felonies ranging from the most severe, a Class 1 Felony, to the least series, a Class 6 felony. There are statutory range of punishments for each respective felony classification. The following are examples of felony classifications with their respective range of punishments as set-forth by Virginia Code Section 18.2-8 and 18.2-9:
Class 1 Felonies
A Class 1 felony carries the most severe penalty and is punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. If you are over the age of 18 at the time of the offense and not mentally incompetent, you may be punished by death if you are convicted of capital murder. Capital murder and first-degree murder are examples of Class 1 felonies.
Class 2 Felonies
A conviction for a Class 2 felony is punishable by imprisonment for 20 years to life and a fine of up to $100,000. Aggravated malicious wounding, murder under certain factual circumstances, burglary with a deadly weapon, arson and kidnapping are all intentional criminal offenses that are as Class 2 felonies.
Class 3 Felonies
Examples of Class 3 felonies include malicious wounding, defined as an intentional act that causes injury to to a person with the intent to kill, disfigure, or disable another person, certain specific drug crimes and purposely attempting to poison another. A conviction for a Class 3 felony can result in a prison term of 5 to 20 years and a fine of up to $1000,000.
Class 4 Felonies
A Class 4 felony is punishable from 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1000,000. Manslaughter, embezzlement, arson of an unoccupied building, prostitution, pimping and pandering laws qualify as crimes classified as Class 4 felonies.
Class 5 Felonies
In Virginia, Class 5 felonies are often considered “wobbler” crimes that can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on how and the circumstances in which the crime is charged and, sometimes, how the judge or jury decided to treat a conviction. Class 5 felonies are punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500.00, either or both. Involuntary manslaughter, battery by a prisoner and extortion are examples of Class 5 felonies.
Class 6 Felonies
While still very serious, Class 6 felonies carry the least punishment in Virginia for a felony offense. Like Class 5 felonies, Class 6 felonies are also considered wobblers and are punishable by 1 to 5 years imprisonment, or in the discretion of the jury or court trying the case without a jury, up to 12 months in jail and a fine of not more than $2,500.00, either or both. Reckless endangerment, repeat larcenies, violation of a court order, animal cruelty and donating or attempting to donate blood infected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are examples of a Class 6 felony.
The criminal defense attorneys at Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., have a wide depth of experience and knowledge in an array of different felony cases you may be faced with, including rape, statutory rape, indecent liberties, aggravated sexual battery, failure to register as a sex offender, manslaughter, larceny, robbery, credit card theft, credit card fraud, embezzlement, distribution drug offenses, possession with intent to distribute drugs, possession of controlled substances, aggravated malicious wounding, malicious wounding, unlawful wounding, Assault on a police officer, gang related charges, serious violent felony crimes against the person, felony DWI, repeat violation of protective orders, felony habitual offender, and much more.
The consequences of any felony conviction are significant and can have an everlasting negative impact on your life even long after a prison or jail sentence is served or fine is paid. A felony conviction can make it very difficult and, in some circumstances, impossible, to obtain or keep certain jobs, professional licenses, to even run for public office in addition to many other collateral consequences that just simply make your life difficult. If you are charged with a felony, you should contact criminal defense attorney John Kassabian, an experienced attorney who can accurately inform you what to expect in court and how to protect your rights, freedom and your future.