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Felonies


A felony involves a charge greater than 1 year or more than $2500 fine. Minor felonies are often reduceable to misdemeanors. However, more serious felonies require careful defense and may take years to litigate.

Hanover Law defends felonies in four jursidictions: VA, DC, Maryland and Federal Court. We have extensive experience with felony murder, homicide, conspiracy charges (RICO), and sex crimes -- to name just a few. Our extensive list of experts and mitigations specialists ensure you get the best possible trial team.

Each state, as well as the federal courts, have different degrees and methods of classiying felonies. How felonies are divided varies from between federal courts, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.



DC largely follows the federal guide lines. The DC criminal statutes are found under DC Code Title 22.


From Code 18 USC 3559:

Federal Felonies
Class A A Class A felony is the most serious felony that an individual can be charged with. Class A felonies can result in life in prison, and, in some cases, the death penalty. An example of a Class A felony is homicide.
Class B Class B felonies can result in a sentence of up to 25 years. Examples of Class B felonies include a sex crime involving children and hate crimes.
Class C The sentence for those convicted of a Class C felony is between 10-25 years. An example of a Class C felony is involuntary manslaughter.
Class D Class D felonies can result in a sentence of no more then ten years but at least five years in prison. Criminal Sale of a weapon is classified as a Class D felony.
Class E Class E felonies are the least serious felonies. They will result in a jail sentence of not less then one, but not more then five years. Some forms of obstructions of justice are examples of a Class E felony.


From Virginia code § 18.2-10:













Felonies in Virginia:
Class 1 A Class 1 felony is the most serious felony that an individual can be charged with. Class A felonies can result in life in prison, and, in some cases, the death penalty. An example of a Class 1 felony is homicide.
Class 2 Class 2 felonies can result in a sentence of up to 20 years. An example of a Class 2 felony is manslaughter
Class 3 Class 3 felonies can result in up to 20 years in prison. An example of a Class 3 felony is intentionally harming another person with intent to kill or disfigure.
Class 4 Class 4 felonies can result in up to 10 years in prison. An example of a Class 4 felony is prostitution.
Class 5 Class 5 felonies can result in 1-10 years in prison. An example of a Class 5 felony is battery.
Class 6 Class 6 felonies are the lowest felonies in Virginia. They can result in up to one year in prison. An example of a Class 6 felony is animal cruelty.

Unlike in Virginia and federal courts, felonies are not divided into separate classes in Maryland in D.C. Instead, felonies are sorted by crimes, which each receive their own specific punishments. Below are examples of felonies from Maryland.

From Maryland Code § 1-101- § 14-103:









Felonies in Maryland:
Murder Murder in the first degree is among the most serious crimes that can be committed in MD. The punishment for murder can be life without parole or even the death penalty.
Manslaughter Manslaughter is considered a less serious crime then murder. If convicted of manslaughter in Maryland, an individual can receive up to ten years in prison.
Rape Conviction can result in 25 years to life in prison. Rape in the first degree is a felony crime in Maryland.
Distributing a Controlled Substance Distribution of a controlled substance can result in up to five years in prison or a fine up to $15,000. Distributing a Class V controlled substance is a felony crime.
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