Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
7/23/2017

Article 7. Penalties and Remedies.

§ 2.2-3120. Knowing violation of chapter a misdemeanor.

Any person who knowingly violates any of the provisions of Articles 2 through 6 (§§ 2.2-3102 through 2.2-3119) of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, except that any member of a local governing body who knowingly violates subsection A of § 2.2-3112 or subsection D or F of § 2.2-3115 shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. A knowing violation under this section is one in which the person engages in conduct, performs an act or refuses to perform an act when he knows that the conduct is prohibited or required by this chapter.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.17; 2001, c. 844; 2012, c. 429.

§ 2.2-3121. Advisory opinions.

A. A state officer or employee shall not be prosecuted for a knowing violation of this chapter if the alleged violation resulted from his good faith reliance on a written opinion of the Attorney General or a formal opinion or written informal advice of the Council made in response to his written request for such opinion or advice and the opinion or advice was made after a full disclosure of the facts regardless of whether such opinion or advice is later withdrawn provided the alleged violation occurred prior to the withdrawal of the opinion or advice.

B. A local officer or employee shall not be prosecuted for a knowing violation of this chapter if the alleged violation resulted from his good faith reliance on a written opinion of the attorney for the Commonwealth or a formal opinion or written informal advice of the Council made in response to his written request for such opinion or advice and the opinion or advice was made after a full disclosure of the facts regardless of whether such opinion or advice is later withdrawn, provided that the alleged violation occurred prior to the withdrawal of the opinion or advice. The written opinion of the attorney for the Commonwealth shall be a public record and shall be released upon request.

C. If any officer or employee serving at the local level of government is charged with a knowing violation of this chapter, and the alleged violation resulted from his reliance upon a written opinion of his county, city, or town attorney, made after a full disclosure of the facts, that such action was not in violation of this chapter, then the officer or employee shall have the right to introduce a copy of the opinion at his trial as evidence that he did not knowingly violate this chapter.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.18; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 694; 2014, cc. 792, 804; 2015, cc. 763, 777; 2016, c. 665; 2017, cc. 829, 832.

§ 2.2-3122. Knowing violation of chapter constitutes malfeasance in office or employment.

Any person who knowingly violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of malfeasance in office or employment. Upon conviction thereof, the judge or jury trying the case, in addition to any other fine or penalty provided by law, may order the forfeiture of such office or employment.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.19; 2001, c. 844.

§ 2.2-3123. Invalidation of contract; recision of sales.

A. Any contract made in violation of § 2.2-3103 or §§ 2.2-3106 through 2.2-3109 may be declared void and may be rescinded by the governing body of the contracting or selling governmental agency within five years of the date of such contract. In cases in which the contract is invalidated, the contractor shall retain or receive only the reasonable value, with no increment for profit or commission, of the property or services furnished prior to the date of receiving notice that the contract has been voided. In cases of recision of a contract of sale, any refund or restitution shall be made to the contracting or selling governmental agency.

B. Any purchase by an officer or employee made in violation of § 2.2-3103 or §§ 2.2-3106 through 2.2-3109 may be rescinded by the governing body of the contracting or selling governmental agency within five years of the date of such purchase.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.20; 2001, c. 844.

§ 2.2-3124. Civil penalty from violation of this chapter.

A. In addition to any other fine or penalty provided by law, an officer or employee who knowingly violates any provision of §§ 2.2-3103 through 2.2-3112 shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount equal to the amount of money or thing of value received as a result of such violation. If the thing of value received by the officer or employee in violation of §§ 2.2-3103 through 2.2-3112 increases in value between the time of the violation and the time of discovery of the violation, the greater value shall determine the amount of the civil penalty. Further, all money or other things of value received as a result of such violation shall be forfeited in accordance with the provisions of § 19.2-386.33.

B. An officer or employee required to file the disclosure form prescribed by § 2.2-3117 who fails to file such form within the time period prescribed shall be assessed a civil penalty in an amount equal to $250. The Council shall notify the Attorney General of any state officer's or employee's failure to file the required form and the Attorney General shall assess and collect the civil penalty. The clerk of the school board or the clerk of the governing body of the county, city, or town shall notify the attorney for the Commonwealth for the locality in which the officer or employee was elected or is employed of any local officer's or employee's failure to file the required form and the attorney for the Commonwealth shall assess and collect the civil penalty. The Council shall notify the Attorney General and the clerk shall notify the attorney for the Commonwealth within 30 days of the deadline for filing. All civil penalties collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the general fund and used exclusively to fund the Council.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.21; 1994, cc. 727, 776; 2001, c. 844; 2012, cc. 283, 756; 2015, cc. 763, 777.

§ 2.2-3125. Limitation of actions.

The statute of limitations for the criminal prosecution of a person for violation of any provision of this chapter shall be one year from the time the Attorney General, if the violation is by a state officer or employee, or the attorney for the Commonwealth, if the violation is by a local officer or employee, has actual knowledge of the violation or five years from the date of the violation, whichever event occurs first. Any prosecution for malfeasance in office shall be governed by the statute of limitations provided by law.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.22; 2001, c. 844.

§ 2.2-3126. Enforcement.

A. The provisions of this chapter relating to an officer or employee serving at the state level of government shall be enforced by the Attorney General.

In addition to any other powers and duties prescribed by law, the Attorney General shall have the following powers and duties within the area for which he is responsible under this section:

1. He shall advise the agencies of state government and officers and employees serving at the state level of government on appropriate procedures for complying with the requirements of this chapter. He may review any disclosure statements, without notice to the affected person, for the purpose of determining satisfactory compliance, and shall investigate matters that come to his attention reflecting possible violations of the provisions of this chapter by officers and employees serving at the state level of government;

2. If he determines that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that any officer or employee serving at the state level of government has knowingly violated any provision of this chapter, he shall designate an attorney for the Commonwealth who shall have complete and independent discretion in the prosecution of such officer or employee;

3. He shall render advisory opinions to any state officer or employee who seeks advice as to whether the facts in a particular case would constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter. He shall determine which opinions or portions thereof are of general interest to the public and may, from time to time, be published.

Irrespective of whether an opinion of the Attorney General has been requested and rendered, any person has the right to seek a declaratory judgment or other judicial relief as provided by law.

B. The provisions of this chapter relating to an officer or employee serving at the local level of government shall be enforced by the attorney for the Commonwealth within the political subdivision for which he is elected.

Each attorney for the Commonwealth shall be responsible for prosecuting violations by an officer or employee serving at the local level of government and, if the Attorney General designates such attorney for the Commonwealth, violations by an officer or employee serving at the state level of government. In the event the violation by an officer or employee serving at the local level of government involves more than one local jurisdiction, the Attorney General shall designate which of the attorneys for the Commonwealth of the involved local jurisdictions shall enforce the provisions of this chapter with regard to such violation.

Each attorney for the Commonwealth shall establish an appropriate written procedure for implementing the disclosure requirements of local officers and employees of his county, city or town, and for other political subdivisions, whose principal offices are located within the jurisdiction served by such attorney for the Commonwealth. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall provide a copy of this act to all local officers and employees in the jurisdiction served by such attorney who are required to file a disclosure statement pursuant to Article 5 (§ 2.2-3113 et seq.) of this chapter. Failure to receive a copy of the act shall not be a defense to such officers and employees if they are prosecuted for violations of the act.

Each attorney for the Commonwealth shall render advisory opinions as to whether the facts in a particular case would constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter to the governing body and any local officer or employee in his jurisdiction and to political subdivisions other than a county, city or town, including regional political subdivisions whose principal offices are located within the jurisdiction served by such attorney for the Commonwealth. If the advisory opinion is written, then such written opinion shall be a public record and shall be released upon request. In case the opinion given by the attorney for the Commonwealth indicates that the facts would constitute a violation, the officer or employee affected thereby may request that the Attorney General review the opinion. A conflicting opinion by the Attorney General shall act to revoke the opinion of the attorney for the Commonwealth. The Attorney General shall determine which of his reviewing opinions or portions thereof are of general interest to the public and may, from time to time, be published.

Irrespective of whether an opinion of the attorney for the Commonwealth or the Attorney General has been requested and rendered, any person has the right to seek a declaratory judgment or other judicial relief as provided by law.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.23; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 694.

§ 2.2-3127. Venue.

Any prosecution for a violation involving an officer serving at the state level of government shall be brought in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond. Any prosecution for a violation involving an employee serving at the state level of government shall be within the jurisdiction in which the employee has his principal place of state employment.

Any proceeding provided in this chapter shall be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction within the county or city in which the violation occurs if the violation involves an officer or employee serving at the local level of government.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.24; 2001, c. 844.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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