Before getting down to deciding whether driving without a license constitutes a felony or not in Chesterfield Virginia, it is mandatory to understand how a felony differs from a misdemeanor.
Felony versus Misdemeanor
A felony differs from a misdemeanor in terms of severity, crime/ offense type, potential punishment, and effect on civil liberties. The least severe crimes are called infractions, where a police officer spots a wrong-doing, lets’ suppose, an over speeding on the highway, and hands the offender a ticket. The infraction becomes sever only if the charges imposed (such as a fine) are not paid in time. The second one on the list is a misdemeanor, which is serious than an infraction. The crimes that fall under this category are usually penalized by serving up to a year in jail. If jail time is not the sanction imposed for crimes falling under misdemeanor, the fines are usually higher than those imposed under an infraction.
Felony is the most serious of all crimes and is penalized via long-term sentencing. Severity has already been identified for all the offense categories identified. Offenses that fall under felony comprise of murder, robbery, grand theft etc. Shoplifting, larceny and domestic fight are a few offenses that are classified as misdemeanors. The punishment for a felony may be imprisonment for more than a year. In case of fines imposed, the amount may be limitless; as low as $2500 and as high as $100,000.
Driving without a License
Given that felony constitutes severe repercussions, driving without a license in Chesterfield Virginia falls under a misdemeanor offense, as per the Virginia Code Section 46.2- 300. Any and all first times are classified under Class 2 misdemeanor, and subsequent offenses are charged under Class 1 misdemeanor. Felony is usually attached to offenses that involve violence of a higher degree, such as taking someone’s life while driving without a lawful driving license. This falls under a different section of the Virginia Code and treated accordingly by the Law. So, for instance, Virginia Code §18.2-36.1 talks about ‘Vehicular Manslaughter’ where a life may be lost while driving under the influence of alcohol. This constitutes a Class 5 felony and imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
The charges for a Class 1 misdemeanor constitute a fine of up to $2500 or a year in jail, either or both.
Class 2 Misdemeanor
The charges for a Class 2 misdemeanor constitute a fine of up to $1000 or no more than 6 months jail time, either or both.
Bear in mind that if the offense calls for imprisonment for more than a year, it automatically turns into a felony. In Virginia, offenses such as driving on a suspended license are also charged under class 1 misdemeanor as this is probably the highest form of offense in the misdemeanor category – which is just one step away from what may constitute as a felony. Hence, driving without a license in Chesterfield, Virginia constitutes a misdemeanor and is treated as such.