Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 11. Offenses Against the Sovereignty of the Commonwealth
1/27/2022

Article 2. Uniform Flag Act.

§ 18.2-486. Definition of flag, standard, etc.

The words flag, standard, color, ensign or shield, as used in this article, shall include any flag, standard, color, ensign or shield, or copy, picture or representation thereof, made of any substance or represented or produced thereon, and of any size, evidently purporting to be such flag, standard, color, ensign or shield of the United States, or of this Commonwealth, or a copy, picture or representation thereof.

Code 1950, § 18.1-423; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-487. Exhibition or display.

No person shall, in any manner, for exhibition or display:

(1) Place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing or advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, color, ensign or shield of the United States or of this Commonwealth, or authorized by any law of the United States or of this Commonwealth;

(2) Expose to public view any such flag, standard, color, ensign or shield upon which shall have been printed, painted or otherwise produced, or to which shall have been attached, appended, affixed or annexed, any such word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing or advertisement; or

(3) Expose to public view for sale, manufacture or otherwise, or sell, give or have in possession for sale, for gift or for use for any purpose, any substance, being an article of merchandise, or receptacle, or thing for holding or carrying merchandise, upon or to which shall have been produced or attached any such flag, standard, color, ensign or shield, in order to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark or distinguish such article or substance.

Code 1950, § 18.1-424; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-488. Mutilating, defacing, etc.

No person shall publicly burn with contempt, mutilate, deface, defile, trample upon, or wear with intent to defile any such flag, standard, color, ensign or shield.

Code 1950, § 18.1-425; 1960, c. 358; 1968, c. 349; 1975, cc. 14, 15, 493.

§ 18.2-488.1. Flag at half staff or mast for certain public safety personnel killed in the line of duty.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Emergency medical services provider" means the same as that term is defined in § 32.1-111.1 and any member of a volunteer emergency medical services agency.

"Firefighter" means the same as that term is defined in § 9.1-300, and any member of a volunteer fire department.

"Police officer" means any full-time or part-time employee of a police department or sheriff's office which is a part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and who is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the penal, traffic, or highway laws of the Commonwealth and a state correctional officer of the Department of Corrections.

"Service member" means a member of the United States armed forces, Virginia National Guard, or Virginia Defense Force.

B. Whenever a service member, police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services provider who is a resident of Virginia is killed in the line of duty, all flags, state and local, flown at any building owned and operated by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof shall be flown at half staff or mast for one day to honor and acknowledge respect for those who made the supreme sacrifice.

C. The Department of General Services shall develop procedures to effectuate the purposes of this section.

2012, c. 767; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2017, c. 344.

§ 18.2-489. To what article applies.

This article shall not apply to any act permitted by the statutes of the United States or by the laws of this Commonwealth, or by the United States armed forces regulations, nor shall it apply to any printed or written document or production, stationery, ornament, picture or jewelry whereon shall be depicted such flag, standard, color, ensign or shield, with no design or words thereon and disconnected with any advertisement.

Code 1950, § 18.1-426; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-490. Penalty.

Any violation of this article shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to § 18.2-488.1.

Code 1950, § 18.1-427; 1960, c. 358; 1968, c. 349; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 2012, c. 767.

§ 18.2-491. Construction.

This article shall be so construed as to effectuate its general purpose, and to make uniform the laws of the states which enact it.

Code 1950, § 18.1-428; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-492. Short title.

This article may be cited as the Uniform Flag Act.

Code 1950, § 18.1-429; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.