West Virginia Felonies
West Virginia classifies felonies as any criminal act that can be punished by a year or more in a state prison. Most states have alphabetical classifications for each felony offense, but West Virginia has no such classification. Instead West Virginian felonies are placed into degree categories. Each degree has a stipulated amount of time for each punishment and which crimes fall under each. Each degree has particular sentences that can vary depending on the severity of the crime. Murder in the first degree is punishable by life in state penitentiary.
Offenses that fall under murder in the first degree include sexual assault, murder by poison, the commission of killing, attempted murder, arson, robbery, lying in wait, starving another individual, burglary, premeditated killing, breaking and entering, kidnapping, manufacturing a controlled substance, escaping lawful custody, and delivering controlled substances. Any other kind of murder or the instance where another individual is killed at the hands of another falls under murder in the second degree. This degree of felony is punishable by no less then ten years in a state prison and no more than forty years in a state prison.
Arson and Robbery Felonies
Arson in the first degree is punishable by up to twenty years in prison or as little as two years in prison. The state of West Virginia defines arson in the first degree as willfully setting a fire with the intent to burn or cause harm, aiding in burning, counseling the burning, inciting the burning, procuring the burning, or soliciting the burning of a vacant or non-vacant building. Second-degree arson includes imprisonment between one year and ten years. This kind of degree is only less severe than first-degree arson.
Robbery in the first degree is defined by West Virginia as using a powerful force to threaten with the use of a firearm or any other harmful weapon or a violence committed by strangling, beating, striking, or suffocating. First-degree robbery is punishable by no less than ten years in a state prison. Robbery in the second degree has imprisonment terms between five and eighteen years. This kind of degree includes the severe injury of another by the use of a deadly weapon while attempting to rob an occupied space.
Voluntary manslaughter falls under its own degree category and needs not further description. Sentences for committing voluntary manslaughter range from no less than three years in prison to no more than fifteen years in prison. Assault during the act of committing a felony or the commission to commit a felony is another self-explanatory degree that comes with severe charges. This degree of assault is punishable under West Virginia law as no less than two years in a state prison facility and no more than ten years in a state prison. Using firing as wanton endangerment is punishable by no more than five years and no less than one year in prison.
West Virginia Expungement
Some states may offer the expungement of felonies after a certain number of years, but West Virginia law does not allow any convicted felon to have his or her records expunged.