As of July 1, 2021, a lot has changed with criminal laws in Virginia. Marijuana legalization obviously comes to mind, but there have also been important changes in regard to robbery, DUIs, firearms, sentencing, and more. Below, I'll highlight the big legislative changes you should know about—just follow the links to learn more. As always, if you have been accused of a crime and are concerned about your legal rights, don't hesitate to get in touch with a Fairfax criminal lawyer at Kassabian & Kassabian. P.L.C.
Legalization of Marijuana
As of July 1, adults who are 21 and over may legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It is also now legal to use cannabis in private. Despite the huge push toward legalization, it's still important to understand that there are caveats to the new laws. Retail sales and a few other provisions of the legislation are also up in the air until the 2022 General Assembly session. This bill contains a lot, but you can read more here.
New Degrees for Robbery Punishment
Under previous Virginia law, robberies could be punished by imprisonment for between five years and life, regardless of the seriousness of the crime. Now, with the passage of HB 1936, robbery punishments have changed, and will take into account the severity of the offense. The new punishments will range from Class 6 to Class 2 felonies. If you have been accused of robbery, a criminal lawyer in Fairfax may be able to get your sentence or charges reduced. For more details, click here.
Firearms Prohibited for Assault and Battery Offenders
Under the passage of HB 1992, anyone convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member is prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm. A violation will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Something to note is that the definition of “family or household member” is defined slightly differently than under other laws. Find out more about the specifics here.
Some Misdemeanor Larceny Punishments Repealed
Under previous Virginia law, anyone convicted of second offense larceny faced jail time of a minimum of 30 days up to a maximum of 12 months. For a third or subsequent offense, they faced a Class 6 felony. With the passage of HB 2290, the increased penalties for second and subsequent misdemeanor larceny convictions will be repealed. Learn more about how this will work here.
DUI and Ignition Interlock Law Changes
Beginning July 1, DUI offenders who agree to use an alcohol monitoring advice, abstain from drinking alcohol, and participate in the VASAP alcohol safety program may be able to get a restricted license. House Bill 439 amends VA Code 18.2-270.1, 18.2-270.2, 18.-271.1 and 18.2-27. One caveat to keep in mind is that anyone who tampers with their alcohol monitoring device/ignition interlock system will face a Class 1 misdemeanor. There are also some new rules about testing blood alcohol concentration, which you can learn about here. If you need a lawyer for a DUI charge or are struggling to obtain a restricted license, a criminal lawyer serving Virginia may be able to help.
Laws Aimed at Reducing Probation Violations
The goal of recently passed Virginia HB 2038 was to limit the number of people being incarcerated for probation violations. Prior to the bill's passage, Virginia had no limits on probation sentences, which resulted in many people being imprisoned for actions they committed while on probation. Under the new law, probation sentences max out at one year for a misdemeanor and five years for a felony charge. You can get the details here.
Need Legal Help?
If you are in need of legal help as it relates to new laws, John Kassabian can help. Kassabian & Kassabian has been serving the Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun County areas and beyond for decades. John believes in fighting for the rights of all clients, regardless of the crime they are accused of, and can tell you more during a free consultation.
Get in touch with a criminal attorney in Fairfax today at 703-750-3622.