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 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Subtitle .
Chapter 1. General Provisions
6/25/2024

Chapter 1. General Provisions.

§ 19.2-1. Repealing clause.

All acts and parts of acts, all sections of this Code, and all provisions of municipal charters, inconsistent with the provisions of this title, are, except as herein otherwise provided, repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-2. Effect of repeal of Title 19.1 and enactment of this title.

The repeal of Title 19.1 effective as of October 1, 1975, shall not affect any act or offense done or committed, or any penalty or forfeiture incurred, or any right established, accrued, or accruing on or before such date, or any prosecution, suit or action pending on that day. Except as herein otherwise provided, neither the repeal of Title 19.1 nor the enactment of this title shall apply to offenses committed prior to October 1, 1975, and prosecutions for such offenses shall be governed by the prior law, which is continued in effect for that purpose. For the purposes of this section, an offense was committed prior to October 1, 1975, if any of the essential elements of the offense occurred prior thereto.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-3. Certain notices, recognizances and processes validated.

Any notice given, recognizance taken, or process or writ issued before October 1, 1975, shall be valid although given, taken or to be returned to a day after such date, in like manner as if this title had been effective before the same was given, taken or issued.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-3.1. Personal appearance by two-way electronic video and audio communication; standards.

A. Where an appearance is required or permitted before a magistrate, intake officer, or, prior to trial, judge, the appearance may be by (i) personal appearance before the magistrate, intake officer, or judge or (ii) use of two-way electronic video and audio communication. With the consent of the court and all parties, an appearance in a court may be made by two-way electronic video and audio communication for the purpose of (a) entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and the related sentencing of the defendant charged with a misdemeanor or felony, (b) entry of a nolle prosequi or dismissal, (c) a revocation proceeding pursuant to § 19.2-306, or (d) waiver of a preliminary hearing.

If two-way electronic video and audio communication is used, a magistrate, intake officer, or judge may exercise all powers conferred by law and all communications and proceedings shall be conducted in the same manner as if the appearance were in person. If two-way electronic video and audio communication is available for use by a district court for the conduct of a hearing to determine bail or to determine representation by counsel, the court shall use such communication in any such proceeding that would otherwise require the transportation of a person from outside the jurisdiction of the court in order to appear in person before the court. Any documents transmitted between the magistrate, intake officer, or judge and the person appearing before the magistrate, intake officer, or judge may be transmitted by electronically transmitted facsimile process or other electronic method. The facsimile or other electronically generated document may be served or executed by the officer or person to whom sent, and returned in the same manner, and with the same force, effect, authority, and liability as an original document. All signatures thereon shall be treated as original signatures.

B. Any two-way electronic video and audio communication system used for an appearance shall meet the following standards:

1. The persons communicating must simultaneously see and speak to one another;

2. The signal transmission must be live, real time;

3. The signal transmission must be secure from interception through lawful means by anyone other than the persons communicating; and

4. Any other specifications as may be promulgated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

C. Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring a locality to purchase a two-way electronic video and audio communication system. Any decision to purchase such a system is at the discretion of the locality.

1991, c. 41; 1996, cc. 755, 914; 2006, c. 285; 2009, cc. 94, 623; 2010, c. 800; 2017, c. 669; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 86; 2023, c. 468.

§ 19.2-4. References to former sections, articles or chapters of Titles 18.1 and 19.1.

Whenever in this title any of the conditions, requirements, provisions or contents of any section, article or chapter of Titles 18.1 and 19.1, as such titles existed prior to October 1, 1975, are transferred in the same or in modified form to a new section, article or chapter of this title or of Title 18.2, and whenever any such former section, article or chapter is given a new number in this title or in Title 18.2, all references to any such former section, article or chapter of Title 19.1 or of Title 18.1 appearing elsewhere in this Code than in this title or in Title 18.2, shall be construed to apply to the new or renumbered section, article or chapter containing such conditions, requirements, provisions or contents or portions thereof.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-5. Meaning of certain terms.

As used in this title, unless otherwise clearly indicated by the context in which it appears:

"Court" means any court vested with appropriate jurisdiction under the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth.

"Court not of record" and "district court" shall have the respective meanings assigned to them in Chapter 4.1 (§ 16.1-69.1 et seq.) of Title 16.1.

"Judge" means any judge, associate judge or substitute judge of any court or any magistrate.

Code 1950, § 19.1-5; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 2005, c. 839; 2008, cc. 551, 691.

§ 19.2-6. Appointive power of circuit courts.

Unless otherwise specifically provided, whenever an appointive power is given to the judge of a circuit court, that power shall be exercised by a majority of the judges of the circuit. In case of a tie, such fact shall be communicated to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who shall appoint a circuit judge from another circuit who shall act as a tie breaker. Where the power of appointment is to be exercised by a majority of the judges of the Second Judicial Circuit and such appointment is to a local post, board or commission in Accomack or Northampton County, the resident judge or judges of the County of Accomack or Northampton shall exercise such appointment power as if he or they comprise the majority of the judges of the Circuit.

1975, c. 495; 1977, c. 288; 1994, c. 407.

§ 19.2-7. Rewards for arrest of persons convicted of or charged with offenses; rewards for conviction of unknown offenders.

The Governor may offer a reward for apprehending and securing any person convicted of an offense or charged therewith, who shall have escaped from lawful custody or confinement, or for apprehending and securing any person charged with an offense, who, there is reason to fear, cannot be arrested in the common course of proceeding. The Governor may also offer a reward for the detection and conviction of the person guilty of an offense when such offense has been committed but the person guilty thereof is unknown.

Any sheriff, deputy sheriff, sergeant, deputy sergeant or any other officer may claim and receive any reward which may be offered for the arrest and detention of any offender against the criminal laws of this or any other state or nation.

Code 1950, §§ 19.1-6, 19.1-6.1; 1960, c. 366; 1962, c. 513; 1964, c. 171; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-8. Limitation of prosecutions.

A prosecution for a misdemeanor, or any pecuniary fine, forfeiture, penalty or amercement, shall be commenced within one year next after there was cause therefor, except that a prosecution for petit larceny may be commenced within five years, and for an attempt to produce abortion, within two years after commission of the offense.

A prosecution for any misdemeanor violation of § 54.1-3904 shall be commenced within two years of the discovery of the offense.

A prosecution for violation of laws governing the placement of children for adoption without a license pursuant to § 63.2-1701 shall be commenced within one year from the date of the filing of the petition for adoption.

A prosecution for making a false statement or representation of a material fact knowing it to be false or knowingly failing to disclose a material fact, to obtain or increase any benefit or other payment under the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act (§ 60.2-100 et seq.) shall be commenced within three years next after the commission of the offense.

A prosecution for any violation of § 10.1-1320, 62.1-44.32 (b), 62.1-194.1, or Article 11 (§ 62.1-44.34:14 et seq.) of Chapter 3.1 of Title 62.1 that involves the discharge, dumping or emission of any toxic substance as defined in § 32.1-239 shall be commenced within three years next after the commission of the offense.

Prosecution of Building Code violations under § 36-106 shall commence within one year of discovery of the offense by the building official, provided that such discovery occurs within two years of the date of initial occupancy or use after construction of the building or structure, or the issuance of a certificate of use and occupancy for the building or structure, whichever is later. However, prosecutions under § 36-106 relating to the maintenance of existing buildings or structures as contained in the Uniform Statewide Building Code shall commence within one year of the issuance of a notice of violation for the offense by the building official.

Prosecution of any misdemeanor violation of § 54.1-111 shall commence within one year of the discovery of the offense by the complainant, but in no case later than five years from occurrence of the offense.

Prosecution of any misdemeanor violation of any professional licensure requirement imposed by a locality shall commence within one year of the discovery of the offense by the complainant, but in no case later than five years from occurrence of the offense.

Prosecution of nonfelonious offenses which constitute malfeasance in office shall commence within two years next after the commission of the offense.

Prosecution for a violation for which a penalty is provided for by § 55.1-1989 shall commence within three years next after the commission of the offense.

Prosecution of illegal sales or purchases of wild birds, wild animals and freshwater fish under § 29.1-553 shall commence within three years after commission of the offense.

Prosecution of violations under Title 58.1 for offenses involving false or fraudulent statements, documents or returns, or for the offense of willfully attempting in any manner to evade or defeat any tax or the payment thereof, or for the offense of willfully failing to pay any tax, or willfully failing to make any return at the time or times required by law or regulations shall commence within three years next after the commission of the offense, unless a longer period is otherwise prescribed.

Prosecution of violations of subsection A or B of § 3.2-6570 shall commence within five years of the commission of the offense, except violations regarding agricultural animals shall commence within one year of the commission of the offense.

A prosecution for a violation of § 18.2-386.1 shall be commenced within five years of the commission of the offense.

A prosecution for any violation of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act, Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) of Title 24.2, shall commence within one year of the discovery of the offense but in no case more than three years after the date of the commission of the offense.

A prosecution of a crime that is punishable as a misdemeanor pursuant to the Virginia Computer Crimes Act (§ 18.2-152.1 et seq.) or pursuant to § 18.2-186.3 for identity theft shall be commenced before the earlier of (i) five years after the commission of the last act in the course of conduct constituting a violation of the article or (ii) one year after the existence of the illegal act and the identity of the offender are discovered by the Commonwealth, by the owner, or by anyone else who is damaged by such violation.

A prosecution of a misdemeanor under § 18.2-64.2, 18.2-67.4, 18.2-67.4:1, 18.2-67.4:2, 18.2-67.5, or 18.2-370.6 or clause (ii) of § 18.2-371 where the victim is a minor at the time of the offense shall be commenced no later than one year after the victim reaches majority, unless the alleged offender of such offense was an adult and more than three years older than the victim at the time of the offense, in which instance such prosecution shall be commenced no later than five years after the victim reaches majority.

A prosecution for a violation of § 18.2-260.1 shall be commenced within three years of the commission of the offense.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to any person fleeing from justice or concealing himself within or without the Commonwealth to avoid arrest or be construed to limit the time within which any prosecution may be commenced for desertion of a spouse or child or for neglect or refusal or failure to provide for the support and maintenance of a spouse or child.

Code 1950, § 19.1-8; 1960, c. 366; 1974, c. 466; 1975, c. 495; 1976, cc. 114, 620; 1977, c. 108; 1978, c. 730; 1979, c. 243; 1980, c. 496; 1981, c. 31; 1984, c. 601; 1987, c. 488; 1990, cc. 575, 976; 1992, cc. 177, 435, 650; 1996, c. 484; 1998, c. 566; 1999, c. 620; 2005, cc. 746, 761, 827; 2006, cc. 193, 787, 892; 2008, c. 769; 2011, cc. 118, 143, 494, 553; 2014, c. 169; 2015, c. 176; 2016, cc. 233, 253; 2017, c. 667; 2018, c. 549; 2020, cc. 277, 1122; 2022, c. 110.

§ 19.2-8.1. Prosecution for murder or manslaughter; passage of time not a limitation.

A prosecution for murder or manslaughter, whether at common law or under the Code of Virginia, may be instituted regardless of the time elapsed between the act or omission causing the death of the victim and the death of the victim.

2009, c. 278.

§ 19.2-9. Prosecution of certain criminal cases removed from state to federal courts; costs.

When any person indicted in the courts of this Commonwealth for a violation of its laws, has his case removed to the district court of the United States under 28 U.S.C. § 1442, it shall be the duty of the attorney for the Commonwealth for the county or city in which any such indictment is found to prosecute any such case in the United States district court to which the same shall be so removed, and for his services in this behalf he shall be paid a fee of $100 for each case tried by him in such United States district court, and mileage at the rate now allowed by law to the members of the General Assembly for all necessary travel in going to and returning from such court, to be paid on his account when approved by the Attorney General.

A per diem of one dollar and fifty cents for each day of actual attendance upon such United States district court and mileage at a rate as provided by law for every mile of necessary travel in going to and returning from such court shall be paid out of the state treasury to each witness for the Commonwealth in every such case upon accounts therefor against the Commonwealth, certified by the attorney for the Commonwealth prosecuting such case and approved by the Attorney General.

It shall not be the duty of the Attorney General to appear for the Commonwealth in such cases unless he can do so without interfering with the efficient discharge of the duties imposed upon him by law; but he may appear with the attorney for the Commonwealth prosecuting such case in any case when the interests of the Commonwealth may in his judgment require his presence.

The Comptroller shall from time to time draw his warrants upon the state treasury in favor of the parties entitled to be paid the above compensation and expenses, or their assigns, upon bills certified and approved as above prescribed.

Code 1950, § 19.1-14; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-9.1. Written notice required for complaining witness who is requested to take polygraph test.

A. For offenses not specified in subsection B, if a complaining witness is requested to submit to a polygraph examination during the course of a criminal investigation, such witness shall be informed in writing prior to the examination that (i) the examination is voluntary, (ii) the results thereof are inadmissible as evidence and (iii) the agreement of the complaining witness to submit thereto shall not be the sole condition for initiating or continuing the criminal investigation.

B. No law-enforcement officer, attorney for the Commonwealth, or other government official shall ask or require a victim of an alleged sex offense to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth-telling device as a condition for proceeding with the investigation of such an offense. If a victim is requested to submit to a polygraph examination during the course of a criminal investigation, such victim shall be informed in writing of the provisions of subsection A and that the refusal of a victim to submit to such an examination shall not prevent the investigation, charging, or prosecution of the offense.

C. A "sex offense," for the purposes of this section, shall mean any offense set forth in Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2.

1994, c. 336; 2008, cc. 512, 748.

§ 19.2-10. Outlawry abolished.

No proceeding of outlawry shall hereafter be instituted or prosecuted.

Code 1950, § 19.1-15; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-10.1. Subpoena duces tecum for obtaining records concerning banking and credit cards.

A. A financial institution as defined in § 6.2-604, money transmitter as defined in § 6.2-1900, or commercial businesses providing credit history or credit reports; or an issuer as defined in § 6.2-424 shall disclose a record or other information pertaining to a customer, to a law-enforcement officer pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum issued pursuant to this section.

1. In order to obtain such records, the law-enforcement official shall provide a statement of the facts documenting the reasons that the records or other information sought are relevant to a legitimate law-enforcement inquiry, relating to a named person or persons, to the attorney for the Commonwealth. A court shall issue a subpoena duces tecum upon motion of the Commonwealth only if the court finds that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and to believe the records sought or other information sought, including electronic data and electronic communications, are relevant to a legitimate law-enforcement inquiry into that offense. The court may issue a subpoena duces tecum under this section regardless of whether any criminal charges have been filed.

2. A court issuing an order pursuant to this section, on a motion made promptly by the financial institution or credit card issuer, or enterprise may quash or modify the subpoena duces tecum, if the information or records requested are unusually voluminous in nature or compliance with such subpoena duces tecum would otherwise cause an undue burden on such provider.

B. No cause of action shall lie in any court against a financial institution or credit card issuer, or enterprise, its officers, employees, agents, or other specified persons for providing information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with the terms of a subpoena duces tecum under this section.

C. Upon issuance of a subpoena duces tecum under this section, the statement shall be temporarily sealed by the court upon application of the attorney for the Commonwealth for good cause shown in an ex parte proceeding. Any individual arrested and claiming to be aggrieved by the order may move the court for the unsealing of the statement, and the burden of proof with respect to continued sealing shall be upon the Commonwealth.

D. Any and all records received by law enforcement pursuant to this section shall be utilized only for a reasonable amount of time and only for a legitimate law-enforcement purpose. Upon the completion of the investigation the records shall be submitted to the court by the attorney for the Commonwealth along with a proposed order requiring the records to be sealed. Upon entry of such order, the court shall seal the records in accordance with the requirements contained in subsection C.

2003, cc. 223, 541, 549; 2004, cc. 883, 996; 2010, cc. 702, 794.

§ 19.2-10.2. Administrative subpoena issued for record from provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service.

A. A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service that is transacting or has transacted any business in the Commonwealth shall disclose a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service, excluding the contents of electronic communications as required by § 19.2-70.3, to an attorney for the Commonwealth or the Attorney General pursuant to an administrative subpoena issued under this section.

1. In order to obtain such records or other information, the attorney for the Commonwealth or the Attorney General shall certify on the face of the subpoena that there is reason to believe that the records or other information being sought are relevant to a legitimate law-enforcement investigation concerning violations of §§ 18.2-47, 18.2-48, 18.2-49, 18.2-346, 18.2-346.01, 18.2-347, 18.2-348, 18.2-348.1, 18.2-349, 18.2-355, 18.2-356, 18.2-357, 18.2-374.1, and 18.2-374.1:1, former § 18.2-374.1:2, and § 18.2-374.3.

2. Upon written certification by the attorney for the Commonwealth or the Attorney General that there is a reason to believe that the victim is under the age of 18 and that notification or disclosure of the existence of the subpoena will endanger the life or physical safety of an individual, or lead to flight from prosecution, the destruction of or tampering with evidence, the intimidation of potential witnesses, or otherwise seriously jeopardize an investigation, the subpoena shall include a provision ordering the service provider not to notify or disclose the existence of the subpoena to another person, other than an attorney to obtain legal advice, for a period of 30 days after the date on which the service provider responds to the subpoena.

3. On a motion made promptly by the electronic communication service or remote computing service provider, a court of competent jurisdiction may quash or modify the administrative subpoena if the records or other information requested are unusually voluminous in nature or if compliance with the subpoena would otherwise cause an undue burden on the service provider.

B. All records or other information received by an attorney for the Commonwealth or the Attorney General pursuant to an administrative subpoena issued under this section shall be used only for a reasonable length of time not to exceed 30 days and only for a legitimate law-enforcement purpose. Upon completion of the investigation, the records or other information held by the attorney for the Commonwealth or the Attorney General shall be destroyed if no prosecution is initiated. The existence of such a subpoena shall be disclosed upon motion of an accused.

C. No cause of action shall lie in any court against an electronic communication service or remote computing service provider, its officers, employees, agents, or other specified persons for providing information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with the terms of an administrative subpoena issued under this section.

D. Records or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service means name, address, local and long distance telephone connection records, or records of session times and durations, length of service, including start date, and types of service utilized, telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address, and means and source of payment for such service.

E. Nothing in this section shall require the disclosure of information in violation of any federal law.

2007, cc. 802, 814; 2014, c. 166; 2015, cc. 544, 625; 2019, c. 458; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 188.

§ 19.2-10.3. Reasonable suspicion required to stop, board, or inspect a noncommercial vessel on navigable waters of the Commonwealth.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no law-enforcement officer charged with enforcing laws or regulations on the navigable waters of the Commonwealth shall stop, board, or inspect any noncommercial vessel on the navigable waters of the Commonwealth unless such officer has reasonable suspicion that a violation of law or regulation exists.

B. The provisions of subsection A shall not apply to lawful stops, boardings, or inspections conducted by conservation police officers, as defined in § 29.1-100, or the Virginia Marine Police for the purposes of inspecting hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses pursuant to §§ 28.2-231 and 29.1-337 or creel and bag limit inspections pursuant to § 29.1-209, nor shall it prohibit lawful boating safety checkpoints conducted by conservation police officers and Virginia Marine Police in accordance with established agency policy.

2015, c. 484.

§ 19.2-10.4. Subpoena duces tecum; attorney-issued subpoena duces tecum.

In any criminal case a subpoena duces tecum may be issued by the attorney of record who is an active member of the Virginia State Bar at the time of issuance, as an officer of the court. Any such subpoena duces tecum shall be on a form approved by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, signed by the attorney of record as if a pleading, and shall include the attorney's address. A copy of the signed subpoena duces tecum, together with the attorney's certificate of service pursuant to Rule 1:12, shall be mailed or delivered to the adverse party and to the clerk's office of the court in which the case is pending on the day of issuance by the attorney. The law governing subpoenas duces tecum issued pursuant to Rule 3A:12(b) shall apply. A sheriff shall not be required to serve an attorney-issued subpoena duces tecum that is not issued at least five business days prior to the date production of evidence is desired. When an attorney transmits one or more subpoenas duces tecum to a sheriff to be served in his jurisdiction, the provisions in § 8.01-407 regarding such transmittals shall apply.

If the time for compliance with a subpoena duces tecum issued by an attorney is less than 14 days after service of the subpoena, the person to whom it is directed may serve upon the party issuing the subpoena a written objection setting forth any grounds upon which such production, inspection, or testing should not be required. If objection is made, the party on whose behalf the subpoena duces tecum was issued and served shall not be entitled to the requested production, inspection, or testing, except pursuant to an order of the court, but may, upon notice to the person to whom the subpoena was directed, move for an order to compel production, inspection, or testing. Upon such timely motion, the court may quash, modify, or sustain the subpoena duces tecum.

Subpoenas duces tecum for medical records issued by an attorney shall be subject to the provisions of §§ 8.01-413 and 32.1-127.1:03, except that no separate fee for issuance shall be imposed.

2020, c. 771.

§ 19.2-11. Procedure in contempt cases.

No court or judge shall impose a fine upon a juror, witness or other person for disobedience of its process or any contempt, unless he either be present in court at the time, or shall have been served with a rule, returnable to a certain time, requiring him to show cause why the fine should not be imposed and shall have failed to appear and show cause.

Code 1950, § 19.1-16; 1960, c. 366; 1968, c. 639; 1975, c. 495.