Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 5. Crimes Against Property
6/13/2021

Article 1. Arson and Related Crimes.

§ 18.2-77. Burning or destroying dwelling house, etc.

A. If any person maliciously (i) burns, or by use of any explosive device or substance destroys, in whole or in part, or causes to be burned or destroyed, or (ii) aids, counsels or procures the burning or destruction of any dwelling house or manufactured home whether belonging to himself or another, or any occupied hotel, hospital, mental health facility, or other house in which persons usually dwell or lodge, any occupied railroad car, boat, vessel, or river craft in which persons usually dwell or lodge, or any occupied jail or prison, or any occupied church or occupied building owned or leased by a church that is immediately adjacent to a church, he shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for life or for any period not less than five years and, subject to subdivision g of § 18.2-10, a fine of not more than $100,000. Any person who maliciously sets fire to anything, or aids, counsels or procures the setting fire to anything, by the burning whereof such occupied dwelling house, manufactured home, hotel, hospital, mental health facility or other house, or railroad car, boat, vessel, or river craft, jail or prison, church or building owned or leased by a church that is immediately adjacent to a church, is burned shall be guilty of a violation of this subsection.

B. Any such burning or destruction when the building or other place mentioned in subsection A is unoccupied, shall be punishable as a Class 4 felony.

C. For purposes of this section, "church" shall be defined as in § 18.2-127.

Code 1950, § 18.1-75; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1977, c. 63; 1978, c. 443; 1993, c. 406; 1997, c. 832.

§ 18.2-78. What not deemed dwelling house.

No outhouse, not adjoining a dwelling house, nor under the same roof, although within the curtilage thereof, shall be deemed a part of such dwelling house, within the meaning of this chapter, unless some person usually lodge therein at night.

Code 1950, § 18.1-77; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-79. Burning or destroying meeting house, etc.

If any person maliciously burns, or by the use of any explosive device or substance, maliciously destroys, in whole or in part, or causes to be burned or destroyed, or aids, counsels, or procures the burning or destroying, of any meeting house, courthouse, townhouse, institution of higher education, academy, schoolhouse, or other building erected for public use except an asylum, hotel, jail, prison or church or building owned or leased by a church that is immediately adjacent to a church, or any banking house, warehouse, storehouse, manufactory, mill, or other house, whether the property of himself or of another person, not usually occupied by persons lodging therein at night, at a time when any person is therein, or if he maliciously sets fire to anything, or causes to be set on fire, or aids, counsels, or procures the setting on fire of anything, by the burning whereof any building mentioned in this section is burned, at a time when any person is therein, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony. If such offense is committed when no person is in such building mentioned in this section, the offender shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Code 1950, § 18.1-78; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1997, c. 832.

§ 18.2-80. Burning or destroying any other building or structure.

If any person maliciously, or with intent to defraud an insurance company or other person, burn, or by the use of any explosive device or substance, maliciously destroy, in whole or in part, or cause to be burned or destroyed, or aid, counsel or procure the burning or destruction of any building, bridge, lock, dam or other structure, whether the property of himself or of another, at a time when any person is therein or thereon, the burning or destruction whereof is not punishable under any other section of this chapter, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony. If he commits such offense at a time when no person is in such building, or other structure, and such building, or other structure, with the property therein, be of the value of $1,000 or more, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony, and if it and the property therein be of less value, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 18.1-80, 18.1-81, 18.1-85; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1981, c. 197; 2018, cc. 764, 765; 2020, cc. 89, 401.

§ 18.2-81. Burning or destroying personal property, standing grain, etc.

If any person maliciously, or with intent to defraud an insurance company or other person, set fire to or burn or destroy by any explosive device or substance, or cause to be burned, or destroyed by any explosive device or substance, or aid, counsel, or procure the burning or destroying by any explosive device or substance, of any personal property, standing grain or other crop, he shall, if the thing burnt or destroyed be of the value of $1,000 or more, be guilty of a Class 4 felony; and if the thing burnt or destroyed be of less value, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 18.1-79, 18.1-85; 1960, c. 358; 1972, c. 53; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1981, c. 197; 2018, cc. 764, 765; 2020, cc. 89, 401.

§ 18.2-82. Burning building or structure while in such building or structure with intent to commit felony.

If any person while in any building or other structure unlawfully, with intent to commit a felony therein, shall burn or cause to be burned, in whole or in part, such building or other structure, the burning of which is not punishable under any other section of this chapter, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Code 1950, § 18.1-80.1; 1970, c. 356; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-83. Threats to bomb or damage buildings or means of transportation; false information as to danger to such buildings, etc.; punishment; venue.

A. Any person (i) who makes and communicates to another by any means any threat to bomb, burn, destroy or in any manner damage any place of assembly, building or other structure, or any means of transportation, or (ii) who communicates to another, by any means, information, knowing the same to be false, as to the existence of any peril of bombing, burning, destruction or damage to any such place of assembly, building or other structure, or any means of transportation, is guilty of a Class 5 felony, provided, however, that if such person is under 15 years of age, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. A violation of this section may be prosecuted either in the jurisdiction from which the communication was made or in the jurisdiction where the communication was received or in the City of Richmond if venue cannot otherwise be established and the property threatened is owned by the Commonwealth and located within the Capitol District.

Code 1950, §§ 18.1-78.1 through 18.2-78.4; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1982, c. 502; 2020, c. 1002.

§ 18.2-84. Causing, inciting, etc., commission of act proscribed by § 18.2-83.

Any person fifteen years of age or over, including the parent of any child, who shall cause, encourage, incite, entice or solicit any person, including a child, to commit any act proscribed by the provisions of § 18.2-83, shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony.

Code 1950, § 18.1-78.5; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-85. Manufacture, possession, use, etc., of fire bombs or explosive materials or devices; penalties.

For the purpose of this section:

"Device" means any instrument, apparatus or contrivance, including its component parts, that is capable of producing or intended to produce an explosion but shall not include fireworks as defined in § 27-95.

"Explosive material" means any chemical compound, mechanical mixture or device that is commonly used or can be used for the purpose of producing an explosion and which contains any oxidizing and combustive agents or other ingredients in such proportions, quantities or packaging that an ignition by fire, friction, concussion, percussion, detonation or by any part of the compound or mixture may cause a sudden generation of highly heated gases. These materials include, but are not limited to, gunpowder, powders for blasting, high explosives, blasting materials, fuses (other than electric circuit breakers), detonators, and other detonating agents and smokeless powder.

"Fire bomb" means any container of a flammable material such as gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, or other chemical compound, having a wick composed of any material or a device or other substance which, if set or ignited, is capable of igniting such flammable material or chemical compound but does not include a similar device commercially manufactured and used solely for the purpose of illumination or cooking.

"Hoax explosive device" means any device which by its design, construction, content or characteristics appears to be or to contain a bomb or other destructive device or explosive but which is an imitation of any such device or explosive.

Any person who (i) possesses materials with which fire bombs or explosive materials or devices can be made with the intent to manufacture fire bombs or explosive materials or devices or, (ii) manufactures, transports, distributes, possesses or uses a fire bomb or explosive materials or devices shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony. Any person who constructs, uses, places, sends, or causes to be sent any hoax explosive device so as to intentionally cause another person to believe that such device is a bomb or explosive shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Nothing in this section shall prohibit the authorized manufacture, transportation, distribution, use or possession of any material, substance, or device by a member of the armed forces of the United States, fire fighters or law-enforcement officers, nor shall it prohibit the manufacture, transportation, distribution, use or possession of any material, substance or device to be used solely for scientific research, educational purposes or for any lawful purpose, subject to the provisions of §§ 27-97 and 27-97.2.

Code 1950, § 18.1-78.6; 1968, c. 249; 1972, c. 126; 1975, cc. 14, 15, 497; 1976, c. 526; 1977, c. 326; 1990, cc. 644, 647; 1992, c. 540; 2000, cc. 951, 1065; 2002, cc. 588, 623; 2005, c. 204.

§ 18.2-86. Setting fire to woods, fences, grass, etc.

If any person maliciously set fire to any wood, fence, grass, straw or other thing capable of spreading fire on land, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Code 1950, § 18.1-82; 1960, c. 358; 1968, c. 362; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-87. Setting woods, etc., on fire intentionally whereby another is damaged or jeopardized.

Any person who intentionally sets or procures another to set fire to any woods, brush, leaves, grass, straw, or any other inflammable substance capable of spreading fire, and who intentionally allows the fire to escape to lands not his own, whereby the property of another is damaged or jeopardized, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and shall be liable for the full amount of all expenses incurred in fighting the fire.

Code 1950, § 18.1-83; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1988, c. 403.

§ 18.2-87.1. Setting off chemical bombs capable of producing smoke in certain public buildings.

It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully and intentionally set off or cause to be set off any chemical bomb capable of producing smoke in any building used for public assembly or regularly used by the public including, but not limited to, schools, theaters, stores, office buildings, shopping malls, coliseums and arenas. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

1976, c. 153.

§ 18.2-88. Carelessly damaging property by fire.

If any person carelessly, negligently or intentionally set any woods or marshes on fire, or set fire to any stubble, brush, straw, or any other substance capable of spreading fire on lands, whereby the property of another is damaged or jeopardized, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor, and shall be liable for the full amount of all expenses incurred in fighting the fire.

Code 1950, § 18.1-84; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.