In Virginia, if you’re convicted of a crime, the penalties for that crime are described in the code of Virginia. Every single crime that you can be convicted of has penalties that are described in the code. If the code does not describe the penalty, then it is not a valid crime that you can be convicted of.
If you are convicted of a crime, the penalties are described as many times as Class 1, 2 or 3 misdemeanor or Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 felony; so those particular statutes in the Virginia code are found at 18.2-10 and 18.2-11. They’ll say that a class 1 misdemeanor has a fine of up to $2,500 and jail sentence up to 12 months. That is the extent of the fines and jail but within there are variations on the theme that the court can use to penalize you.
For example, they’ll give you jail time but then they’ll suspend that jail time. Suspending it means that you don’t actually have to do it unless some condition is met; so if you are told to be good, not have any other crimes, and on that condition, your sentence will be suspended, then you won’t actually do the actual jail time. Also, in exchange for not going to jail, they’ll tell you to do probation and probation might include something like taking a class or doing community service or going to repaying the victim for the crime.
When you are sentenced to a crime, you’re going to get some kind of penalty; it’s just the question of whether it’s money, jail, probation, things you have to do to payback for what you did. That’s what you can expect.
What Sort of Crime Will Get Me a Fine at the Very Least?
Just about every crime has a fine component. That’s the easiest one for the court to impose and it also could be very heavy if you were given a fine of, say, $25,000, that would be hard but it could be as small as $25 or $10. Every crime could have money involved.
What Are Some Examples of Crimes that Would Involve Paying Fines but Not Much Jail Time?
The examples of crimes that don’t usually get jail would be infractions like any kind of moving infraction, you fail to stop at a light, you fail to stop at a sign, you fail to yield the right of way, you fail to stay within your lanes, those are things that you would not get jail. As a matter of fact, you cannot get jail for those. There are also some larger ones where you could get jail but you usually don’t. For example, you usually do not get a fine for reckless driving.
If you were a person who had a bunch of bad tickets and then you got a reckless driving ticket, you probably are starting to look at jail even though someone else wouldn’t. Driving on suspended usually does not get jail unless it’s your second time around; driving without a license is the same thing. Another one that people get convicted of many times and don’t even get suspended jail is possession of marijuana first offense. Those are all examples of crimes where you do not get jail time.
How Does the Court Actually Expect Someone to Pay a Fine?
The most common way that people pay their fines and costs is they go straight to the court clerk after they’ve been to court and they’ll go to the window and just pay by either cash or check or debit card. However, there are other methods. One of them would be to send your money in after court, so you could just refer to your name, case number and send in the money. With that one, it requires you to know how much to pay. You could also phone it in; you can call up the court clerk and then you pay with the credit card, and the same thing applies with going online and paying with the credit card.
Usually, if you’re going to pay anything, whether it’s in person or by phone or online by credit card, they charge an additional fee of 4 per cent. If you don’t pay it soon enough, the court has the ability to suspend your driving privileges and perhaps other things in the state of Virginia. So, if you were required to pay $150 and you had no arrangement to pay it late, you just paid it more than 30 days later, your driver’s license would be suspended by the 31st day. It’s very fast. As soon as they tell the DMV that your fine is late, you’re immediately suspended.
That also applies if you live in another state. They’ll tell DMV that you’re suspended and if they know that you live in another state, they’ll also let that state know that you have failed to pay a fine and your privilege to drive in Virginia is suspended, and so the other state will have an interstate compact with Virginia that if Virginia suspends a license, so do they and so that could suspend you in that other state as well.
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