Virginia Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences

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In Virginia, felonies are punishable by death or incarceration in state prison. Less serious crimes (misdemeanors) are punishable by up to 12 months in jail.

For more information on misdemeanors in Virginia, see Virginia Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.

Felonies in Virginia are designated as Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, but lawmakers may also set specific terms for certain crimes. (Va. Ann. Code §§ 18.2-8, 18.2-9.)

Class 1 Felonies

Under Virginia’s laws, the most serious felonies are Class 1 felonies, punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. If the defendant was over the age of 18 at the time of the offense and not mentally retarded, Class 1 felonies may also be punishable by death. Murder is an example of a Class 1 felony.

(Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-10.)

Class 2 Felonies

A Class 2 felony is punishable by imprisonment for 20 years’ to life and a fine of up to $100,000. (Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-10.)

Aggravated malicious wounding (intentionally causing another permanent and significant physical impairment) is an example of a Class 2 felony in Virginia.

For more information on this and related crimes, see Malicious and Unlawful Wounding in Virginia.

Class 3 Felonies

A conviction for a Class 3 felony can result in a prison term of five to 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000. (Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-10.)

Malicious wounding (purposely causing another injury with the intent to kill, disfigure, or disable) is a Class 3 felony in Virginia.

Class 4 Felonies

A Class 4 felony is punishable by two to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. (Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-10.)

Pimping is a Class 4 felony in Virginia. For more information on prostitution and related crimes and penalties, see Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Virginia.

Class 5 Felonies

Class 5 felonies are “wobblers,” crimes that can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on how the crime is charged and, sometimes, how the judge or jury decides to treat a conviction. Class 5 felonies in Virginia are punishable by:

  • one to ten years in prison (when the conviction is a felony), or
  • up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500 (misdemeanor).

(Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-10.)

Battery (causing injury to another) by a prisoner is a Class 5 felony. For more information on assault and battery penalties, see Virginia Felony Assault and Battery Laws and Virginia Assault & Battery Laws.

Class 6 Felonies

Class 6 felonies are the least serious felonies in Virginia. Like Class 5 felonies, Class 6 felonies are wobblers, punishable by:

  • one to five years in prison (felony), or
  • up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.

(Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-10.)

Donating or attempting to donate blood infected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an example of a Class 6 felony.

For more information on this and similar crimes, see Transmitting an STD in Virginia.

Statutes of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a time period during which the state must begin criminal prosecution. The statute of limitations begins to “run” when the crime is committed.

In Virginia, the most serious crimes (murder and manslaughter) have no statutes of limitations.

For more information, see Virginia Criminal Statute of Limitations.

The Value of Legal Representation

The consequences of a felony conviction are significant and can last long after a prison sentence is served or a fine is paid. Felony convictions can make it hard (or impossible) to obtain or keep certain jobs or professional licenses or even run for public office. If you are charged with a felony, you should contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can tell you what to expect in court and how to best protect your rights.

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