Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
Chapter 39. Pesticide Control
11/28/2020

§ 3.2-3942. Right of entry; warrant requirements; procedure.

A. The Commissioner may enter any public or private premises operating as a pesticide business at reasonable times, with the consent of the owner or tenant thereof, and upon presentation of appropriate credentials for carrying out the purposes of this chapter.

B. If the Commissioner is denied access, he may apply for an administrative search warrant from a judge with authority to issue criminal warrants or a magistrate whose jurisdiction encompasses the premises.

1. No warrant shall be issued except upon probable cause and supported by an affidavit particularly describing (i) the place, things, or persons to be inspected or tested; and (ii) the purpose for which the inspection, testing, or collection of samples is to be made.

2. Probable cause shall exist if either (i) reasonable legislative or administrative standards for conducting inspection, testing, or collection of samples are satisfied with respect to the particular place, thing, or person, or (ii) there is cause to believe that a condition, object, activity, or circumstance legally justifies the inspection, testing, or collection of samples.

3. The supporting affidavit shall contain either (i) a statement that consent to inspect, test, or collect samples has been sought and refused, or (ii) facts or circumstances reasonably justifying the failure to seek consent. If probable cause is based upon legislative or administrative standards for selecting places of business for inspection, the affidavit shall contain factual allegations sufficient to justify an independent determination by the court that the inspection program is based on reasonable standards and that the standards are being applied to a particular place of business in a neutral and fair manner. After issuing a warrant under this section, the magistrate or judge shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54.

C. Any administrative search warrant shall be effective for a period of not more than 15 days unless extended or renewed by the judicial officer who issued the original warrant. The warrant shall be executed and returned to the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county wherein the search was made within the time specified or within the extended or renewed time. The return shall list any records removed or samples taken pursuant to the warrant. The warrant shall be void after the expiration of time unless executed or renewed.

D. No warrant shall be executed in the absence of the owner, tenant, operator, or custodian of the premises unless the issuing judicial officer specifically authorizes that such authority is reasonably necessary to affect the purposes of the law or regulation. Entry pursuant to such a warrant shall not be made forcibly. The issuing officer may authorize a forcible entry where the facts (i) create a reasonable suspicion of an immediate threat to the health and safety of persons or to the environment, or (ii) establish that reasonable attempts to serve a previous warrant have been unsuccessful. If forcible entry is authorized, the warrant shall be issued jointly to the Commissioner and to a law-enforcement officer who shall accompany the Commissioner during the execution of the warrant.

E. No court of the Commonwealth shall have jurisdiction to hear a challenge to the warrant prior to its return, except as a defense in a contempt proceeding or if the owner or custodian of the place to be inspected submits a substantial preliminary showing by affidavit and accompanied by proof that (i) a statement included by the affiant in his affidavit for the administrative search warrant was false and made knowingly and intentionally or with reckless disregard for the truth, and (ii) the false statement was necessary to the finding of probable cause. The court may conduct in camera review as appropriate.

F. After the warrant has been executed and returned, the validity of the warrant may be reviewed either as a defense to any Notice of Violation or by declaratory judgment action brought in a circuit court. The review shall be confined to the face of the warrant, affidavits, and supporting materials presented to the issuing judicial officer. If the owner or custodian of the place inspected submits a substantial showing by affidavit and accompanied by proof that (i) a statement included in the warrant was false and made knowingly and intentionally or with reckless disregard for the truth, and (ii) the false statement was necessary to the finding of probable cause, the reviewing court shall limit its inquiry to whether there is substantial evidence in the record supporting the issuance of the warrant and shall not conduct a de novo determination of probable cause.

1975, c. 377, § 3.1-249.18; 1989, c. 575, § 3.1-249.58; 1993, c. 773; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 354.

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