Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 1. In General
5/16/2021

Article 3. Classification of Criminal Offenses and Punishment Therefor.

§ 18.2-8. Felonies, misdemeanors and traffic infractions defined.

Offenses are either felonies or misdemeanors. Such offenses as are punishable with death or confinement in a state correctional facility are felonies; all other offenses are misdemeanors. Traffic infractions are violations of public order as defined in § 46.2-100 and not deemed to be criminal in nature.

Code 1950, § 18.1-6; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1977, c. 585.

§ 18.2-9. Classification of criminal offenses.

(1) Felonies are classified, for the purposes of punishment and sentencing, into six classes:

(a) Class 1 felony

(b) Class 2 felony

(c) Class 3 felony

(d) Class 4 felony

(e) Class 5 felony

(f) Class 6 felony.

(2) Misdemeanors are classified, for the purposes of punishment and sentencing, into four classes:

(a) Class 1 misdemeanor

(b) Class 2 misdemeanor

(c) Class 3 misdemeanor

(d) Class 4 misdemeanor.

1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-10. Punishment for conviction of felony; penalty.

The authorized punishments for conviction of a felony are:

(a) For Class 1 felonies, death, if the person so convicted was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense and is not determined to be a person with intellectual disability pursuant to § 19.2-264.3:1.1, or imprisonment for life and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000. If the person was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense or is determined to be a person with intellectual disability pursuant to § 19.2-264.3:1.1, the punishment shall be imprisonment for life and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000.

(b) For Class 2 felonies, imprisonment for life or for any term not less than 20 years and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000.

(c) For Class 3 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than five years nor more than 20 years and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000.

(d) For Class 4 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than two years nor more than 10 years and, subject to subdivision (g), a fine of not more than $100,000.

(e) For Class 5 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

(f) For Class 6 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than five years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

(g) Except as specifically authorized in subdivision (e) or (f), or in Class 1 felonies for which a sentence of death is imposed, the court shall impose either a sentence of imprisonment together with a fine, or imprisonment only. However, if the defendant is not a natural person, the court shall impose only a fine.

For any felony offense committed (i) on or after January 1, 1995, the court may, and (ii) on or after July 1, 2000, shall, except in cases in which the court orders a suspended term of confinement of at least six months, impose an additional term of incarceration of not less than six months nor more than three years, which shall be suspended conditioned upon successful completion of a period of post-release supervision pursuant to § 19.2-295.2 and compliance with such other terms as the sentencing court may require. However, such additional term may only be imposed when the sentence includes an active term of incarceration in a correctional facility.

For a felony offense prohibiting proximity to children as described in subsection A of § 18.2-370.2, the sentencing court is authorized to impose the punishment set forth in that section in addition to any other penalty provided by law.

1975, cc. 14, 15; 1977, c. 492; 1990, c. 788; 1991, c. 7; 1994, 2nd Sp. Sess., cc. 1, 2; 1995, c. 427; 2000, cc. 361, 767, 770; 2003, cc. 1031, 1040; 2006, cc. 36, 733; 2008, c. 579; 2017, cc. 86, 212; 2020, cc. 1115, 1116.

§ 18.2-11. Punishment for conviction of misdemeanor.

The authorized punishments for conviction of a misdemeanor are:

(a) For Class 1 misdemeanors, confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

(b) For Class 2 misdemeanors, confinement in jail for not more than six months and a fine of not more than $1,000, either or both.

(c) For Class 3 misdemeanors, a fine of not more than $500.

(d) For Class 4 misdemeanors, a fine of not more than $250.

For a misdemeanor offense prohibiting proximity to children as described in subsection A of § 18.2-370.2, the sentencing court is authorized to impose the punishment set forth in subsection B of that section in addition to any other penalty provided by law.

1975, cc. 14, 15; 1990, c. 788; 2000, c. 770.

§ 18.2-12. Same; where no punishment or maximum punishment prescribed.

A misdemeanor for which no punishment or no maximum punishment is prescribed by statute shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 18.1-9; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-12.1. Mandatory minimum punishment; definition.

"Mandatory minimum" wherever it appears in this Code means, for purposes of imposing punishment upon a person convicted of a crime, that the court shall impose the entire term of confinement, the full amount of the fine and the complete requirement of community service prescribed by law. The court shall not suspend in full or in part any punishment described as mandatory minimum punishment.

2004, c. 461.

§ 18.2-13. Same; by reference.

Where a statute in this Code prescribes punishment by stating that the offense is a misdemeanor, or that it is punishable as provided for in § 18.2-12, the offense shall be deemed to be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-14. How unclassified offenses punished.

Offenses defined in Title 18.2 and in other titles in the Code, for which punishment is prescribed without specification as to the class of the offense, shall be punished according to the punishment prescribed in the section or sections thus defining the offense.

1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-15. Place of punishment.

Imprisonment for conviction of a felony shall be by confinement in a state correctional facility, unless in Class 5 and Class 6 felonies the jury or court trying the case without a jury fixes the punishment at confinement in jail. Imprisonment for conviction of a misdemeanor shall be by confinement in jail.

1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-16. How common-law offenses punished.

A common-law offense, for which punishment is prescribed by statute, shall be punished only in the mode so prescribed.

Code 1950, § 18.1-8; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-17. When capital punishment inflicted.

No crime shall be punished with death unless it be authorized by statute.

Code 1950, § 18.1-10; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.