In Virginia, there are over 80 different crimes you can commit that will earn you a mandatory minimum sentence. Almost three-quarters of these different offenses for which you’ll get a mandatory minimum sentence are classified as felonies, and the rest are misdemeanors.
A mandatory minimum sentence is the minimum sentence a judge must hand out for a particular crime. Mandatory minimums are very controversial, as you’ll be punished in a pre-determined way regardless of the circumstances in your case.
Mandatory minimum sentencing was enacted in 1968 and involve the following types of crimes:
- 19 involve drug crimes
- 15 involve drunken driving offenses
- 13 involve sexual crimres
- 10 involve non-DUI driving offenses
- 10 involve other offenses like vandalism, trespassing, etc.
- 9 involve firearm crimes
- 8 involve assault offenses
The laws that permit mandatory minimum sentences may be changing, however. In the National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Obama last year, a provision was inserted requiring a review of mandatory minimum sentences by a panel that advises judges on prison terms.
In the meantime, you could still face a mandatory minimum sentence if you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Virginia. For this reason, you must take steps to protect your rights: hire a skilled criminal defense attorney like one from Tavss Fletcher as soon as possible.