The Classes & Consequences Associated With Misdemeanors

The purpose of this article is not to frighten you or overwhelm you with information regarding the consequences of being convicted of a misdemeanor. That said, we want you to take these charges seriously. Don’t fall for the expression, “It’s just a misdemeanor,” and choose to accept guilt without talking to legal counsel. You have rights, and they deserve to be protected, regardless of the severity of the crime. 

There Are Four Different Classes

The most serious offenses are class 1 misdemeanors, and the least significant is Class 4. Regardless of the class, you will have a criminal record if convicted. Although we will outline the potential jail sentences and fines associated with all four classes, it should be noted that if a crime doesn’t have an identified maximum punishment, it will be treated as a Class 1. With that said, here are the punishments:

  • Class 1: Up to 12 months in jail & up to a $2,500 fine
    • Examples: DUI, Assault & Battery (assault is a threat whereas battery is physical contact)
  • Class 2: Up to 6 months in jail & up to a $1000 fine
    • Example: Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Drug (e.g., having a medication such as clonazepam without a prescription)
  • Class 3: No jail, but up to a $500 fine
    • Example: Driving without car insurance
  • Class 4: No jail, but up to a $250 fine
    • Example: Public intoxication

If you are convicted, it will be on your record permanently. However, it will only appear on a background check (typically used by future employers) for seven years. Additionally, many people ask whether they can be expunged from their records. In some states, you can apply for an expungement after completing your sentence. For instance, you could pay the fine for a Class 4 misdemeanor and then apply. This is not the case in Virginia. The Virginia courts would entertain your request if you were pardoned by the governor (which is very rare) or you were charged with a crime but not convicted. 

The Importance Of Having A Criminal Defense Attorney 

There are several ways in which a criminal law attorney can defend you. They could work to exclude any evidence that was obtained illegally, reduce the charges, reduce the amount of time that you spend in jail, or prove that your actions didn’t warrant the charges that were brought against you. Police are responsible for making decisions in real time. After your attorney has sought out all the facts related to the incident, they may argue you acted in self-defense and didn’t deserve to be charged with assault and battery. 

Don’t assume that a misdemeanor charge isn’t worth fighting. They will likely stay on your record permanently and can negatively affect your future. Contact the Law Offices of Robert Dawson to schedule a consultation.

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Law Office of Robert Dawson

You have more power than you realize. If you need a professional attorney who has built a reputation within employment and business law, contact the Law Offices of Robert Dawson. We are passionate about protecting our clients and pursuing their interests. Contact us for tailored legal solutions.

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