Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

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

Article 5. Trespass to Realty.

§ 18.2-119. Trespass after having been forbidden to do so; penalties.

If any person without authority of law goes upon or remains upon the lands, buildings or premises of another, or any portion or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, by the owner, lessee, custodian, or the agent of any such person, or other person lawfully in charge thereof, or after having been forbidden to do so by a sign or signs posted by or at the direction of such persons or the agent of any such person or by the holder of any easement or other right-of-way authorized by the instrument creating such interest to post such signs on such lands, structures, premises or portion or area thereof at a place or places where it or they may be reasonably seen, or if any person, whether he is the owner, tenant or otherwise entitled to the use of such land, building or premises, goes upon, or remains upon such land, building or premises after having been prohibited from doing so by a court of competent jurisdiction by an order issued pursuant to §§ 16.1-253, 16.1-253.1, 16.1-253.4, 16.1-278.2 through 16.1-278.6, 16.1-278.8, 16.1-278.14, 16.1-278.15, 16.1-279.1, 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9 or § 19.2-152.10 or an ex parte order issued pursuant to § 20-103, and after having been served with such order, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. This section shall not be construed to affect in any way the provisions of §§ 18.2-132 through 18.2-136.

Code 1950, § 18.1-173; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1982, c. 169; 1987, cc. 625, 705; 1991, c. 534; 1998, cc. 569, 684; 2011, c. 195.

§ 18.2-119.1. Validity of signs forbidding trespass; penalty.

If any person knowingly and intentionally posts No Trespassing signs on the land of another without the permission of a person authorized to post such signs on that land, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1999, c. 274.

§ 18.2-120. Instigating, etc., such trespass by others; preventing service to persons not forbidden to trespass.

If any person shall solicit, urge, encourage, exhort, instigate or procure another or others to go upon or remain upon the lands, buildings, or premises of another, or any part, portion or area thereof, knowing such other person or persons to have been forbidden, either orally or in writing, to do so by the owner, lessee, custodian or other person lawfully in charge thereof, or knowing such other person or persons to have been forbidden to do so by a sign or signs posted on such lands, buildings, premises or part, portion or area thereof at a place or places where it or they may reasonably be seen; or if any person shall, on such lands, buildings, premises or part, portion or area thereof prevent or seek to prevent the owner, lessee, custodian, person in charge or any of his employees from rendering service to any person or persons not so forbidden, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 18.1-173.1; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-121. Entering property of another for purpose of damaging it, etc.

A. As used in this section, "disability" means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities.

B. It is unlawful for any person to enter the land, dwelling, outhouse, or any other building of another for the purpose of damaging such property or any of the contents thereof or in any manner to interfere with the rights of the owner, user, or occupant thereof to use such property free from interference.

Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if a person intentionally selects the property entered because of the race, religious conviction, color, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or national origin of the owner, user, or occupant of the property, the person is guilty of a Class 6 felony, and the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months.

Code 1950, § 18.1-183; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1994, c. 658; 1997, c. 833; 2004, c. 461; 2020, cc. 746, 1171.

§ 18.2-121.1. Permitting certain animals to run at large.

The owner or manager of any animal mentioned in § 55.1-2820, who shall knowingly permit such animal to run at large in any county or portion thereof, under quarantine, shall be deemed to be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 8-885; 1977, c. 624.

§ 18.2-121.2. Trespass by spotlight on agricultural land.

If any person shall willfully use a spotlight or similar lighting apparatus to cast a light upon private property used for livestock or crops without the written permission of the person in legal possession of such property, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

The prohibition of this section shall not apply to light cast by (i) permanently installed outdoor lighting fixtures, (ii) headlamps on vehicles moving in normal travel on public or private roads, (iii) railroad locomotives or rolling stock being operated on the tracks or right-of-way of a railroad company, (iv) aircraft or watercraft, (v) apparatus used by employees of any public utility in maintaining the utility's lines and equipment, (vi) emergency medical services vehicles used by emergency medical services personnel or fire apparatus used by members of fire departments in the performance of their official duties, (vii) apparatus used by any law-enforcement officer in the performance of his official duties, or (viii) farm machinery or motor vehicles being used in normal farming operations.

1981, c. 460; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 18.2-121.3. Trespass with an unmanned aircraft system; penalty.

A. Any person who knowingly and intentionally causes an unmanned aircraft system to (i) enter the property of another and come within 50 feet of a dwelling house (a) to coerce, intimidate, or harass another person or (b) after having been given actual notice to desist, for any other reason, or (ii) take off or land in violation of current Federal Aviation Administration Special Security Instructions or UAS Security Sensitive Airspace Restrictions is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. This section shall not apply to any person who causes an unmanned aircraft system to enter the property as set forth in subsection A if (i) consent is given to the entry by any person with legal authority to consent or by any person who is lawfully present on such property or (ii) such person is authorized by federal regulations to operate an unmanned aircraft system and is operating such system in an otherwise lawful manner and consistent with federal regulations.

2018, cc. 851, 852; 2019, c. 612.

§ 18.2-122. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1998, c. 6.

§ 18.2-123. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, c. 459.

§ 18.2-124. Jurisdiction over offenses committed in Capitol Square.

The Circuit Court of the City of Richmond shall have jurisdiction to try cases of offenses committed in Capitol Square except as hereinafter provided. The district court of the City of Richmond shall have jurisdiction to try misdemeanor cases arising under § 18.2-122, and all other offenses committed in the Capitol Square of which it would have jurisdiction if committed within the corporate limits and jurisdiction of the city; and the Capitol Police, or any member thereof, shall have the same authority to arrest and to swear out warrants for offenses committed on the Capitol Square as policemen of the City of Richmond have to arrest or to swear out warrants for offenses committed within the jurisdiction of the city.

Code 1950, § 2.1-97; 1966, c. 677; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 2004, c. 459.

§ 18.2-125. Trespass at night upon any cemetery.

If any person, without the consent of the owner, proprietor or custodian, go or enter in the nighttime, upon the premises, property, driveways or walks of any cemetery, either public or private, for any purpose other than to visit the burial lot or grave of some member of his family, he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 18.1-181; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-126. Violation of sepulture; defilement of a dead human body; penalties.

A. If a person unlawfully disinters or displaces a dead human body, or any part of a dead human body which has been deposited in any vault, grave or other burial place, he is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

B. If a person willfully and intentionally physically defiles a dead human body he is guilty of a Class 6 felony. For the purposes of this section, the term "defile" shall not include any autopsy or the recovery of organs or tissues for transplantation, or any other lawful purpose.

Code 1950, § 18.1-243; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1995, c. 306.

§ 18.2-127. Injuries to churches, church property, cemeteries, burial grounds, etc.; penalty.

A. Any person who willfully or maliciously commits any of the following acts is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor:

1. Destroys, removes, cuts, breaks, or injures any tree, shrub, or plant on any church property or within any cemetery or lot of any memorial or monumental association;

2. Destroys, mutilates, injures, or removes and carries away any flowers, wreaths, vases, or other ornaments placed within any church or on church property, or placed upon or around any grave, tomb, monument, or lot in any cemetery, graveyard, or other place of burial; or

3. Obstructs proper ingress to and egress from any church or any cemetery or lot belonging to any memorial or monumental association.

B. Any person who maliciously places any dead animal within any church or on church property is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

C. Any person who willfully or maliciously destroys, mutilates, defaces, injures, or removes any object or structure permanently attached or affixed within any church or on church property, any tomb, monument, gravestone, or other structure placed within any cemetery, graveyard, or place of burial, or within any lot belonging to any memorial or monumental association, or any fence, railing, or other work for the protection or ornament of any tomb, monument, gravestone, or other structure aforesaid, or of any cemetery lot within any cemetery is guilty of a Class 6 felony. A person convicted under this section who is required to pay restitution by the court shall be required to pay restitution to the church, if the property damaged is property of the church, or to the owner of a cemetery, if the property damaged is located within such cemetery regardless of whether the property damaged is owned by the cemetery or by another person.

D. This section shall not apply to any work which is done by the authorities of a church or congregation in the maintenance or improvement of any church property or any burial ground or cemetery belonging to it and under its management or control and which does not injure or result in the removal of a tomb, monument, gravestone, grave marker or vault. For purposes of this section, "church" shall mean any place of worship, and "church property" shall mean any educational building or community center owned or rented by a church.

Code 1950, § 18.1-244; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1982, c. 561; 1983, c. 579; 1990, c. 510; 2004, c. 203; 2020, c. 485.

§ 18.2-128. Trespass upon church or school property.

A. Any person who, without the consent of some person authorized to give such consent, goes or enters upon, in the nighttime, the premises or property of any church or upon any school property for any purpose other than to attend a meeting or service held or conducted in such church or school property, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not a church member or student, to enter upon or remain upon any church or school property in violation of (i) any direction to vacate the property by a person authorized to give such direction or (ii) any posted notice which contains such information, posted at a place where it reasonably may be seen. Each time such person enters upon or remains on the posted premises or after such direction that person refuses to vacate such property, it shall constitute a separate offense.

A violation of this subsection shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, except that any person, other than a parent, who violates this subsection on school property with the intent to abduct a student shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

C. For purposes of this section: (i) "school property" includes a school bus as defined in § 46.2-100 and (ii) "church" means any place of worship and includes any educational building or community center owned or leased by a church.

Code 1950, § 18.1-182; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1988, c. 497; 1989, c. 680; 1993, c. 961; 1994, c. 326; 1995, cc. 493, 642; 1997, c. 779.

§ 18.2-129. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1989, c. 680.

§ 18.2-130. Peeping or spying into dwelling or enclosure.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to enter upon the property of another and secretly or furtively peep, spy or attempt to peep or spy into or through a window, door or other aperture of any building, structure, or other enclosure of any nature occupied or intended for occupancy as a dwelling, whether or not such building, structure or enclosure is permanently situated or transportable and whether or not such occupancy is permanent or temporary, or to do the same, without just cause, upon property owned by him and leased or rented to another under circumstances that would violate the occupant's reasonable expectation of privacy.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to use a peephole or other aperture to secretly or furtively peep, spy or attempt to peep or spy into a restroom, dressing room, locker room, hotel room, motel room, tanning bed, tanning booth, bedroom or other location or enclosure for the purpose of viewing any nonconsenting person who is totally nude, clad in undergarments, or in a state of undress exposing the genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast and the circumstances are such that the person would otherwise have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a lawful criminal investigation or a correctional official or local or regional jail official conducting surveillance for security purposes or during an investigation of alleged misconduct involving a person committed to the Department of Corrections or to a local or regional jail.

D. As used in this section, "peephole" means any hole, crack or other similar opening through which a person can see.

E. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 18.1-174; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1992, c. 520; 1999, c. 351; 2003, cc. 81, 87.

§ 18.2-130.1. Peeping or spying into dwelling or occupied building by electronic device; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally cause an electronic device to enter the property of another to secretly or furtively peep or spy or attempt to peep or spy into or through a window, door, or other aperture of any building, structure, or other enclosure occupied or intended for occupancy as a dwelling, whether or not such building, structure, or enclosure is permanently situated or transportable and whether or not such occupancy is permanent or temporary, or to do the same, without just cause, upon property owned by him and leased or rented to another under circumstances that would violate the occupant's reasonable expectation of privacy. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a lawful criminal investigation.

2017, c. 502.

§ 18.2-131. Trespass upon licensed shooting preserve.

It shall be unlawful for any person to trespass on a licensed shooting preserve. Any person convicted of such trespass shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor and shall be responsible for all damage. Owners or keepers of dogs trespassing on preserves shall be responsible for all damage done by such dogs.

Code 1950, § 29-49; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-132. Trespass by hunters and fishers.

Any person who goes on the lands, waters, ponds, boats or blinds of another to hunt, fish or trap without the consent of the landowner or his agent shall be deemed guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-165; 1954, c. 155; 1962, c. 469; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-132.1. Trespass by hunters using dogs; penalty.

Any person who intentionally releases hunting dogs on the lands of another which have been posted in accordance with the provisions of § 18.2-134.1 to hunt without the consent of the landowner or his agent is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this section within three years is a Class 1 misdemeanor and, upon conviction, the court shall revoke such person's hunting or trapping license for a period of one year. The fact that hunting dogs are present on the lands of another alone is not sufficient evidence to prove that the person acted intentionally.

2016, c. 373.

§ 18.2-133. Refusal of person on land, etc., of another to identify himself.

Any person who goes on the lands, waters, ponds, boats or blinds of another to hunt, fish, or trap and willfully refuses to identify himself when requested by the landowner or his agent so to do shall be deemed guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-165.1; 1954, c. 156; 1962, c. 469; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-134. Trespass on posted property.

Any person who goes on the lands, waters, ponds, boats or blinds of another, which have been posted in accordance with the provisions of § 18.2-134.1, to hunt, fish or trap except with the written consent of or in the presence of the owner or his agent shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-166; 1954, c. 155; 1962, c. 469; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1987, c. 603.

§ 18.2-134.1. Method of posting lands.

A. The owner or lessee of property described in § 18.2-134 may post property by (i) placing signs prohibiting hunting, fishing or trapping where they may reasonably be seen; or (ii) placing identifying paint marks on trees or posts at each road entrance and adjacent to public roadways and public waterways adjoining the property. Each paint mark shall be a vertical line of at least two inches in width and at least eight inches in length and the center of the mark shall be no less than three feet nor more than six feet from the ground or normal water surface. Such paint marks shall be readily visible to any person approaching the property.

B. The type and color of the paint to be used for posting shall be prescribed by the Department of Wildlife Resources.

1987, c. 603; 2020, c. 958.

§ 18.2-135. Destruction of posted signs; posting land of another.

Any person who shall mutilate, destroy or take down any "posted," "no hunting" or similar sign or poster on the lands or waters of another, or who shall post such sign or poster on the lands or waters of another, without the consent of the landowner or his agent, shall be deemed guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and his hunting, fishing, and trapping license and privileges shall be revoked for a period of one to five years from the date of conviction.

Code 1950, § 29-167; 1962, c. 469; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 2010, c. 183.

§ 18.2-136. Right of certain hunters to go on lands of another; carrying firearms or bows and arrows prohibited.

Fox hunters and coon hunters, when the chase begins on other lands, may follow their dogs on prohibited lands, and hunters of all other game, when the chase begins on other lands, may go upon prohibited lands to retrieve their dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls but may not carry firearms or bows and arrows on their persons or hunt any game while thereon. The use of vehicles to retrieve dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls on prohibited lands shall be allowed only with the permission of the landowner or his agent. Any person who goes on prohibited lands to retrieve his dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls pursuant to this section and who willfully refuses to identify himself when requested by the landowner or his agent to do so is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-168; 1964, c. 600; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1988, c. 593; 1991, cc. 317, 327; 2007, cc. 145, 658; 2011, c. 191.

§ 18.2-136.1. Enforcement of §§ 18.2-131 through 18.2-135.

Conservation police officers, sheriffs and all other law-enforcement officers shall enforce the provisions of §§ 18.2-131, 18.2-132, 18.2-133, 18.2-134 and 18.2-135.

1975, cc. 14, 15.