A Virginia felony is a serious crime. The technical definition of a felony is a crime that is punishable by death, or by a prison sentence in excess of one year. All other crimes can be broadly categorized as misdemeanors, since by definition, they are punishable by prison terms of one year or less.
Because of the way that the punishment length indicates the severity of the crime, crimes which you might not necessarily expect to be felonious can be tried as such.
Let me explain: Obviously, murder, rape and aggravated assault are very serious, and no one would be surprised that they are Virginia felony charges.
However, relatively minor crimes can become Virginia felonies if the prosecutor believes that they are serious enough — for instance, drug possession becomes possession with intent to distribute, rolling a relatively minor offence into felony territory.
This also applies the number and type of convictions one has had in the past. Two or more misdemeanors for drunk driving and you may face a Virginia felony conviction, lose your right to vote and find it difficult to find employment.
In this manner, it’s easy to have relatively minor crimes add up to big consequences. Reckless driving can become reckless endangerment, theft can become grand larceny. What you don’t know definitely can hurt you.
When it comes to the justice system, don’t take a chance on things spiralling out of control. The office of Faraji Rosenthall offers free consultations. Give us a call today.