Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 9. Crimes Against Peace and Order
5/21/2022

Article 4. Picketing of Dwelling Places.

§ 18.2-418. Declaration of policy.

It is hereby declared that the protection and preservation of the home is the keystone of democratic government; that the public health and welfare and the good order of the community require that members of the community enjoy in their homes a feeling of well-being, tranquility, and privacy, and when absent from their homes carry with them the sense of security inherent in the assurance that they may return to the enjoyment of their homes; that the practice of picketing before or about residences and dwelling places causes emotional disturbance and distress to the occupants; that such practice has as its object the harassing of such occupants; and without resort to such practice, full opportunity exists, and under the terms and provisions of this article will continue to exist, for the exercise of freedom of speech and other constitutional rights; and that the provisions hereinafter enacted are necessary in the public interest, to avoid the detrimental results herein set forth.

Code 1950, § 18.1-367.1; 1970, c. 711; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-419. Picketing or disrupting tranquility of home.

Any person who shall engage in picketing before or about the residence or dwelling place of any individual, or who shall assemble with another person or persons in a manner which disrupts or threatens to disrupt any individual's right to tranquility in his home, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Each day on which a violation of this section occurs shall constitute a separate offense.

Nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit (1) the picketing in any lawful manner, during a labor dispute, of the place of employment involved in such labor dispute; (2) the picketing in any lawful manner of a construction site; or (3) the holding of a meeting or assembly on any premises commonly used for the discussion of subjects of general public interest.

Notwithstanding the penalties herein provided, any court of general equity jurisdiction may enjoin conduct, or threatened conduct, proscribed by this article, and may in any such proceeding award damages, including punitive damages, against the persons found guilty of actions made unlawful by this section.

Code 1950, §§ 18.1-367.2 through 18.1-367.6; 1970, c. 711; 1975, cc. 14, 15.