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Distinguishing Felony, Misdemeanor & Traffic Offenses Under Virginia Criminal Law

Generally speaking, Criminal Offenses are classified as either MISDEMEANOR criminal offenses or FELONY criminal offenses, with misdemeanor offenses being less serious offenses which have less severe punishments and felony offenses being more serious offenses which have more severe punishments. 

Virginia follows this same general scheme, and under Virginia law, violations of the Virginia Criminal Code and the Virginia Motor Vehicle Code are classified as either Criminal or Traffic offenses.  Criminal offenses are further broken down into felony criminal offenses and misdemeanor criminal offenses.  

More specifically, pursuant to Virginia Criminal Law:

- Felony Criminal Offenses are crimes which are punishable by death or confinement in a state correctional facility.  

- All other crimes are Misdemeanor Criminal Offenses.  

- Traffic Violations are violations of public order and are not deemed to be criminal in nature.  

A simple way to think about the distinction between misdemeanor criminal offenses and felony criminal offenses in Virginia is that misdemeanor criminal offenses are punishable by incarceration for one year or less, and felony criminal offenses are punishable by incarceration for more than one year

A Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer will be able to discuss this and other matters concerning Virginia Criminal Law with you in more detail. 

See more Frequently Asked Questions. 

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