What Is a Virginia Class 1 Misdemeanor?

A Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia is the highest of the misdemeanor classifications in that state. It is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, as opposed to prison, and subjects the offender to a fine of up to $2,500.

Class 1 misdemeanors constitute the most common misdemeanors in the state of Virginia. As of 2015, some examples of these offenses include possession of marijuana, petty larceny, stalking and writing bad checks. Several driving offenses are classified as Class 1 misdemeanors, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving.

Any jail sentence received for commission of a Class 1 misdemeanor is generally spent in a county facility managed by a local sheriff's department. The sentencing judge typically has discretion as to the length of the jail sentence to be served, up to the one-year maximum, and all or part of the sentence may be suspended.

A Class 1 misdemeanor may be expunged from a defendant's record if he is acquitted and has no prior criminal record. An exception to this is when the commonwealth attorney can show good cause as to why the petition for expungement should not be granted.

Class 1 misdemeanors are categorized as being lesser offenses than the six classes of felonies under Virginia law.