If you have a pending felony charge(s) as a result of a criminal action, you may be wondering what the potential outcomes are. In Virginia, felonies are organized into classes; your actions involving the event will determine the potential level of felony and related punishments and repercussions. In order to understand what you can expect with a Class 6 felony, it is important to understand how felonies are structured in Virginia.
How Felonies Are Categorized
In Virginia, felony convictions are separated into distinct levels called categories. While other crimes have their unique classifications, felonies range from Class 1 to Class 6, with Class 1 felonies being the most severe. A Class 6 felony is the lowest category of felony and is one step up from a misdemeanor.
In fact, both Class 6 and Class 5 felonies, after being reviewed by a judge or jury, may remain a felony or may be downgraded to a misdemeanor. Some crimes are undoubtedly felonies, but others may be charged as felony then reduced to a misdemeanor depending upon the specific circumstances, individuals involved and legal representation.
What Constitutes A Class 6 Felony In Virginia?
A Class 6 felony in Virginia can apply to various types of charges. Aggravated assault, certain types of driving under the influence or even attempting to donate blood when you are aware that you are HIV positive, are all Class 6 felonies. Other types of crimes that may be classified under the Class 6 category are animal cruelty, some convictions of drug possession and grand larceny.
These are just a few examples of the many cases that are considered to be a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Your legal counsel can help you understand if your charge has the potential to be reduced to a misdemeanor, or if it is more likely to remain a felony.
Potential Penalties For Class 6 Felonies
In Virginia, you may expect a variety, or combination of consequences if you are convicted of a Class 6 felony. One of the most standard repercussions is time in prison. The minimum sentence for prison in a Class 6 felony ranges from 1 to 5 years; you cannot serve less than 12 months, nor more than 5 years.
You may also be expected to pay a fine that can range up to a maximum of $2500. Receiving one penalty does not exclude the possibility of receiving the other; you may be required to serve time in jail and pay a fine, not necessarily only one or the other.
Protection Under The Statute Of Limitations
You may be wondering if you can still be charged with a felony if it has already been some time since the incident. The statute of limitations sets a timeline during which prosecution must be started; if no one takes action during this time and the deadline for the statute passes, you are no longer able to be prosecuted.
However, the details on the statute of limitations vary by type of crime, and not all types of incidents qualify. Some of the more serious crimes in Virginia, such as rape, breaking and entering, murder and even manslaughter, do not have statutes of limitations, which means that the state may initiate a criminal proceeding against you at any time after the event.
For other crimes, the statute of limitations typically begins (with some exceptions) on the date on which the crime was committed and commonly runs for approximately two years. Some types of crimes, such as sexual assault against a minor, do not begin their clock on the date of the incident but rather at a later date, in this case, when the child reaches the age of majority.
When a statute of limitations begins depends upon the type of case and the individuals involved. A legal professional can assist you in understanding whether you are subject to a statute of limitations.
Work With A Defense Attorney On Your Case
If you are facing a potential Class 6 felony conviction and are concerned about the impact that it could have on your life and future opportunities, it is important that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible after the incident.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can advocate on your behalf, presenting a defense that may keep your charge at the misdemeanor level if possible. If your actions constitute a felony, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge can help you to understand your options and anticipate the potential consequences of the charge. Reach out to schedule an appointment to discuss the potential outcomes of your case.