Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

What is the difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Friday, June 15th, 2018

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.

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

Can my criminal record be expunged?

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

I’ve had a couple of phone calls in the past few weeks from people who want to have their records expunged.  Both of these were for petty larceny convictions which started as felony shoplifting.  The person took the advice of their friends and pled guilty, got a small fine, and thought they were off the hook.

Fast forward 8 or 10 years, and these same people now want to rent an apartment.  Surprise! The apartment manager did a criminal background check and found the petty larceny charge.

I had another call from someone who had a brush with the police over 40 years ago and it is now keeping him from getting a job.

Bad credit stays on your credit report for 7 years.  Even a financial judgment or bankruptcy falls off eventually.  In Virginia, criminal convictions stay on your record forever!

But what about an expungement?  An expungement is a civil process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed, generally after the expiration of time.  Each state has its own process and time frame.  In Virginia the time frame for sealing or destroying record of a criminal conviction is NEVER.  That’s right.  In Virginia, if you are found guilty of a crime, or if you plead guilty to a crime, that criminal record will remain forever and cannot be expunged.

Is there an expungement process in Virginia?  The answer to that is Yes.  But the only way a criminal record can be expunged in Virginia is if the criminal arrest was not finalized by a guilty verdict in any form.

So, if you were arrested but never tried; or if you were arrested and tried but found not guilty, then the expungement process might help you get that arrest off of your record.

But, if there was a guilty plea, or the Judge found that there was evidence sufficient to find you guilty, the charge cannot be expunged.  This happens even if you have a deferred or first offender status disposition that results in a dismissal after you do whatever you are ordered to do (usually a class of some sort and a period of time during which you get no new charges).

And if you are arrested for anything, it is always a good idea to get an attorney.  You may not be aware of all of the consequences that can keep coming back to haunt even you years later!

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com