Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 14. Presentments, Indictments and Informations
1/19/2021

Article 2. Form and Requisites.

§ 19.2-220. Contents of indictment in general.

The indictment or information shall be a plain, concise and definite written statement, (1) naming the accused, (2) describing the offense charged, (3) identifying the county, city or town in which the accused committed the offense, and (4) reciting that the accused committed the offense on or about a certain date. In describing the offense, the indictment or information may use the name given to the offense by the common law, or the indictment or information may state so much of the common law or statutory definition of the offense as is sufficient to advise what offense is charged.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-221. Form of prosecutions generally; murder and manslaughter.

The prosecutions for offenses against the Commonwealth, unless otherwise provided, shall be by presentment, indictment or information. While any form of presentment, indictment or information which informs the accused of the nature and cause of the accusation against him shall be good the following shall be deemed sufficient for murder and manslaughter:

Commonwealth of Virginia _______________ county (or city) to-wit: The grand jurors of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in and for the body of the county (or city) of __________, upon their oaths present that A __________ B __________, on the __________ day of __________, 20_____, in the county (or city) of __________ feloniously did kill and murder one C __________ D __________ against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.

A grand jury may, in case of homicide, which in their opinion amounts to manslaughter only, and not to murder, find an indictment against the accused for manslaughter and in such case the indictment shall be sufficient if it be in form or effect as follows:

Commonwealth of Virginia _______________ county (or city) to-wit: The grand jurors of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in and for the body of the county (or city) of _______________, upon their oaths present that A __________ B __________, on the __________ day of __________, 20_____, in the county (or city) of __________ feloniously and unlawfully did kill and slay one C __________ D __________, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 19.1-166; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-222. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, c. 676.

§ 19.2-223. Charging several acts of embezzlement; description of money.

In a prosecution against a person accused of embezzling or fraudulently converting to his own use bullion, money, bank notes or other security for money or items of personal property subject to larceny it shall be lawful in the same indictment or accusation to charge and thereon to proceed against the accused for any number of distinct acts of such embezzlements or fraudulent conversions which may have been committed by him within six months from the first to the last of the acts charged in the indictment; and it shall be sufficient to allege the embezzlement or fraudulent conversion to be of money without specifying any particular money, gold, silver, note or security. Such allegation, so far as it regards the description of the property, shall be sustained if the accused be proved to have embezzled any bullion, money, bank note or other security for money or items of personal property subject to larceny although the particular species be not proved.

And in a prosecution for the larceny of United States currency or for obtaining United States currency by a false pretense or token, or for receiving United States currency knowing the same to have been stolen, it shall be sufficient if the accused be proved guilty of the larceny of national bank notes or United States treasury notes, certificates for either gold or silver coin, fractional coin, currency, or any other form of money issued by the United States government, or of obtaining the same by false pretense or token, or of receiving the same knowing it to have been stolen although the particular species be not proved.

Code 1950, § 19.1-168; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1989, c. 370.

§ 19.2-224. In prosecution for forgery, unnecessary to set forth copy of forged instrument.

In a prosecution for forging or altering any instrument or other thing, or attempting to employ as true any forged instrument or other thing, or for any of the offenses mentioned in Article 1 (§ 18.2-168 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 18.2, it shall not be necessary to set forth any copy or facsimile of such instrument or other thing; but it shall be sufficient to describe the same in such manner as would sustain an indictment for stealing such instrument or other thing, supposing it to be the subject of larceny.

Code 1950, § 19.1-169; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-225. Allegation of intent.

Where an intent to injure, defraud or cheat is required to constitute an offense, it shall be sufficient, in an indictment or accusation therefor, to allege generally an intent to injure, defraud or cheat without naming the person intended to be injured, defrauded or cheated; and it shall be sufficient, and not be deemed a variance, if there appear to be an intent to injure, defraud or cheat the United States, or any state, or any county, corporation, officer or person.

Code 1950, § 19.1-170; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-226. What defects in indictments not to vitiate them.

No indictment or other accusation shall be quashed or deemed invalid:

(1) For omitting to set forth that it is upon the oaths of the jurors or upon their oaths and affirmations;

(2) For the insertion of the words "upon their oath," instead of "upon their oaths";

(3) For not in terms alleging that the offense was committed "within the jurisdiction of the court" when the averments show that the case is one of which the court has jurisdiction;

(4) For the omission or misstatement of the title, occupation, estate, or degree of the accused or of the name or place of his residence;

(5) For omitting the words "with force and arms" or the statement of any particular kind of force and arms;

(6) For omitting to state, or stating imperfectly, the time at which the offense was committed when time is not the essence of the offense;

(7) For failing to allege the kind or value of an instrument which caused death or to allege that it was of no value;

(8) For omitting to charge the offense to be "against the form of the statute or statutes";

(9) For the omission or insertion of any other words of mere form or surplusage; or

(10) For omitting or stating incorrectly the Virginia crime code references for the particular offense or offenses covered.

Nor shall it be abated for any misnomer of the accused; but the court may, in case of a misnomer appearing before or in the course of a trial, forthwith cause the indictment or accusation to be amended according to the fact.

Code 1950, § 19.1-172; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 2003, c. 148.

§ 19.2-227. When judgment not to be arrested or reversed.

Judgment in any criminal case shall not be arrested or reversed upon any exception or objection made after a verdict to the indictment or other accusation, unless it be so defective as to be in violation of the Constitution.

Code 1950, § 19.1-165; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-228. Name and address of complaining witness to be written on indictment, etc., for misdemeanor.

In a prosecution for a misdemeanor the name and address of the complaining witness, if there be one, shall be written at the foot of the presentment, indictment or information when it is made, found or filed. In case the grand jury that brings in such presentment or indictment or the attorney for the Commonwealth who files such information fail to write the name of a complaining witness at the foot of the presentment, indictment or information, then the name of a complaining witness may be entered of record as such by the court on the motion of the defendant or the attorney for the Commonwealth at any time before the judgment.

Code 1950, § 19.1-173; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-229. When complaining witness required to give security for costs.

For good cause the court may require a complaining witness to give security for the costs and if he fails to do so dismiss the prosecution at his costs.

Code 1950, § 19.1-174; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-230. Bill of particulars.

A court of record may direct the filing of a bill of particulars at any time before trial. A motion for a bill of particulars shall be made before a plea is entered and at least seven days before the day fixed for trial and the bill of particulars shall be filed within such time as is fixed by the court.

1975, c. 495.