News Flash

Hanover County Press Releases

Posted on: June 29, 2018

2018 New Laws of Interest

From R. E. “Trip” Chalkley, III

Commonwealth’s Attorney


July 1, 2018, sees, as always, new laws or amendments to existing criminal statutes taking effect as adopted by the General Assembly.  The following is only a summary of the legislative changes which I feel will be of interest to my fellow citizens.  Please be cognizant that this is only a summary of new legislation and does not detail all changes.  Should the reader have any questions, please call me at 365-6186.  As always, my thanks to Senators McDougle and Dunnavant and Delegates Peace and Fowler for being receptive to my concerns and their efforts in the legislative process.

  • Any private swim club may permit its members to bring lawfully acquired alcoholic beverages onto the premises and to consume them on the premises.
  • Abandoning an animal will now be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00, either or both).  This amendment increases the penalty from a Class 3 misdemeanor ($500.00 fine). Also, the definition of “abandon” is changed from 5 days to 4 days of failing to provide basic care.
  • An agency seeking asset forfeiture of money or property, must now inform D.C.J.S. what offense the requested forfeiture is based upon, whether the owner of the property has been charged and the status of any charge.  In essence, asset forfeiture is the procedure whereby an agency seizes property gained by enumerated illegal means.  No forfeiture can occur without a legal proceeding.
  • The authority for multi-jurisdiction grand juries to investigate fraud crimes has been expanded.  The threshold amount for felony charges in certain larceny cases has been increased from $200.00 to $500.00.  The $200.00 threshold had been the standard since 1980.  Among the statutes effected are grand larceny, petit larceny, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, certain arson     offenses, and credit card fraud.  Numerous offenses which punish larceny and fraud offenses are impacted by these amendment.
  • The penalty for female genital mutilation was increased to a Class 2 felony (20 years to life and a fine up to $100,000.00) from a Class 1 misdemeanor.  This change is consistent with the existing penalty for aggravated malicious wounding.
  • Local governments may expand criminal blight ordinances to include the regular presence of persons using the property for illegal drug use and sale, commercial sex trafficking or prostitution, or repeated acts of the malicious discharge of firearms within the building.
  • A new code section prohibits drones on or within 50 feet of another’s dwelling if it is done with the intent to coerce, intimidate or harass; or the drone operator has received actual notice to desist.  This does not apply if the operator has consent or is authorized by Federal regulation.  The new statute requires knowing and intentional use to contact or capture an image and is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.  Registered sex offenders cannot use a drone to follow or contact someone without permission or to capture images of a person unless that person is unrecognizable.  The respondent of a protective order cannot use a drone to follow, contact or capture images of the petitioner or persons named in the protective order.  A violation of either is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Effective on March 9, 2018, a practitioner of medicine or osteopathy licensed by the Board of Medicine may issue a written certificate for the use of cannabidiol oil (CBD) or THC-A oil for treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.  This provides an affirmative defense to the possession of marijuana for one who has a certification or that individual’s parent or legal guardian.
  • One hunting from an enclosed ground blind during any firearms deer season, except during the special season for hunting with a muzzle-loading rifle only, is now allowed to display attached to or immediately above the blind at least 100 square inches of solid blaze orange or pink material visible from 360 degrees in lieu of wearing specialized hunting apparel.  The material or apparel must be solid in color or fluorescent in hue.
  • A licensed hunter may use tracking dogs to find a wounded or dead bear, deer or turkey.  That hunter may have a  weapon in his possession and use it to humanely kill the tracked animal, including after legal shooting hours, but cannot use that weapon to hunt, wound or kill any other animal, except in self-defense.
  • Arrowguns are authorized for hunting and certain disabled hunters may obtain an archery license for hunting with an arrowgun.
  • The requirement that a juvenile be housed separately from adults in an adult correctional facility has been removed upon a finding by the court that the juvenile presents a threat to a secure juvenile facility.  The State Board of Corrections must approve an adult detention facility for the detention of such juvenile.
  • The venue (location where a case is tried) for child abuse and neglect cases may now lie in the city or county where the alleged abuse or neglect occurred, the city or county where the child resides or where the child is present when the proceedings are commenced.
  • A person who, while a minor 14 years of age or older, was ordered to involuntary inpatient or outpatient treatment or was subject to a temporary detention order and agreed to a voluntary admission is subject to same restrictions on possessing, purchasing, or transporting a firearm as an adult who was likewise ordered.  The individual may utilize the same     procedure as such an adult to petition to restore the firearms rights.  This statute became effective April 18, 2018.
  • The Virginia Critically Missing Adult Alert Program (Ashanti Alert) was established.  This provides for local, regional or statewide notification for a critically missing adult, which is defined as whereabouts unknown, believed to have been abducted and the disappearance poses a credible threat to his or her safety.  This is similar to an Amber Alert.

Again, this article does not address every new law or all amendments to existing statutes.  This is only a summary of those new statutes or changes to existing statutes which may be of interest.  This article does not discuss in detail each provision of a statute.  Should any reader have a question about any law, whether mentioned or unmentioned, please contact me.

Thank you again for the privilege of serving as Hanover’s Commonwealth’s Attorney.

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