What is the difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Felony and misdemeanor crimes are distinguished under Virginia law by the maximum punishment you can receive.

Felonies are crimes punishable by death or imprisonment for more than 12 months. Sentences for Felonies are served in state correctional facilities (prison). Felonies are divided into six classes, with MAXIMUM punishments as follows:
Class 1 Felony: Death, if certain circumstances exist; or life imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine
Class 2 Felony: 20 years to life imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine
Class 3 Felony: 5-20 years imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine
Class 4 Felony: 2-10 years imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine
Class 5 Felony: 1-10 years imprisonment or 12 months in jail and/or $2,500 fine
Class 6 Felony: 1-5 years imprisonment or 12 months in jail and/or $2,500 fine

Misdemeanors are crimes punishable by no more than 12 months in jail. Jail sentences for misdemeanors are served at local facilities (county or regional jails). Misdemeanors are divided into four classes, with MAXIMUM punishments as follows:
Class 1 Misdemeanor: 12 months in jail; $2,500 fine
Class 2 Misdemeanor: 6 months in jail, $1,000 fine
Class 3 Misdemeanor: $500 fine
Class 4 Misdemeanor: $250 fine

As you can see, there is a big difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony and there is also a big difference in the maximum sentence between different classes of crimes.

If you have been charged with a crime, you should consider getting legal assistance.

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