Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 29.1. Game, Inland Fisheries and Boating
6/17/2019

Article 5. Penalties in General.

§ 29.1-546. General penalty.

Any person convicted of violating any of the provisions of this title shall, unless otherwise specified, be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-161; 1954, c. 694; 1962, c. 469; 1979, c. 264; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-547. Trapping, selling, purchasing, etc., migratory game birds.

Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 29.1-546 and 29.1-553, any person convicted of trapping or attempting to trap any migratory game bird, as defined in § 29.1-100, or convicted of possessing any such migratory game bird taken by means of a trap, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any person convicted of offering for sale, selling, offering to purchase, or purchasing any migratory game bird shall be subject to penalties as provided in § 29.1-553.

1960, c. 173, § 29-161.1; 1987, c. 488; 1994, c. 848.

§ 29.1-548. Killing deer illegally.

Any person killing a deer in violation of Board regulations, or who exceeds the bag limit for deer, or who kills a deer during the closed season shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, any person who kills a deer illegally during the open season shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor if such person immediately delivers the complete carcass in good condition to the conservation police officer of the county or city in which it was killed. At that time it shall be confiscated and disposed of by the conservation police officer or as otherwise provided. Any such person delivering such carcass to the conservation police officer shall be exempt from replacement cost as provided in § 29.1-551.

Code 1950, § 29-162; 1956, c. 466; 1958, c. 444; 1962, c. 469; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 19; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-549. Hunting deer from watercraft.

A. Any person who kills or attempts to kill any deer while the person is in a boat or other type watercraft shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

B. Every boat or other watercraft and their motors, and any firearm, slingbow, arrowgun, crossbow, bow and arrow, or speargun, used with the knowledge or consent of the owner or lienholder thereof in killing or attempting to kill deer in violation of this section shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth, and upon being condemned as forfeited in proceedings under Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.) of Title 19.2 the proceeds of sale shall be disposed of according to law.

1973, c. 120, §§ 29-162.1, 29-162.2; 1987, c. 488; 2002, c. 157; 2012, cc. 283, 756; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 557, 558.

§ 29.1-550. Taking game or fish during closed season or exceeding bag limit.

It shall be unlawful for any person to (i) take, or attempt to take, any wild bird, wild animal or fish during the closed season, (ii) exceed the bag or creel limit for any wild bird, wild animal or fish, or (iii) possess over the daily bag or creel limit for any wild bird, wild animals or fish while in the forests, fields or waters of the Commonwealth. Any person convicted of violating any provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-163; 1950, p. 936; 1952, c. 78; 1958, c. 444; 1962, c. 469; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 19.

§ 29.1-551. Assessment of value of game or fish unlawfully taken.

The judge or court, upon convicting any person of a violation of §§ 29.1-523, 29.1-525.1, 29.1-530.2, 29.1-548, 29.1-550 or § 29.1-552 shall, in addition to imposition of the punishment prescribed in those sections, ascertain the approximate replacement value of animals, birds or fish taken in violation of those sections and shall assess the value against the person convicted. The assessment shall be paid by the person so convicted within the time prescribed in the judgment of the judge or court, not exceeding sixty days, and the collecting officer shall forward such payments to the Board for payment into the state treasury. The Comptroller shall credit such payments to the game protection fund.

Code 1950, § 29-163.2; 1950, p. 936; 1952, c. 78; 1962, c. 469; 1976, c. 660; 1987, c. 488; 1994, c. 412; 2001, c. 856.

§ 29.1-552. Killing wild turkey during closed season.

Any person who kills a wild turkey during the closed season, or who kills a beardless turkey during an open hunting season prescribed by the Board for bearded turkeys only, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor for each such turkey killed. However, if a person kills a beardless turkey when only the hunting of bearded turkeys is permitted, and immediately delivers the complete carcass in good condition to a conservation police officer or game checking station authorized by the Board, it shall be confiscated and disposed of as otherwise provided, and the person delivering the carcass shall be exempt from replacement cost provided in § 29.1-551.

1968, c. 309, § 29-163.2; 1974, c. 60; 1977, c. 377; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 19; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-553. Selling or offering for sale; penalty.

A. Any person who offers for sale, sells, offers to purchase, or purchases any wild bird or wild animal, or any part thereof, or any freshwater fish, except as provided by law, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, when the aggregate of such sales or purchases, or any combination thereof, by any person totals $500 or more during any 90-day period, that person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. Whether or not criminal charges have been placed, when any property is taken possession of by a conservation police officer for the purpose of being used as evidence of a violation of this section or for confiscation, the conservation police officer making such seizure shall immediately report the seizure to the Attorney for the Commonwealth.

C. In any prosecution for a violation of this section, photographs of the wild bird, wild animal, or any freshwater fish, or any part thereof shall be deemed competent evidence of such wild bird, wild animal, or freshwater fish, or part thereof and shall be admissible in any proceeding, hearing, or trial of the case to the same extent as if such wild bird, wild animal, or any freshwater fish, or part thereof had been introduced as evidence. Such photographs shall bear a written description of the wild bird, wild animal, or freshwater fish, or parts thereof, the name of the place where the alleged offense occurred, the date on which the alleged offense occurred, the name of the accused, the name of the arresting officer or investigating officer, the date of the photograph, and the name of the photographer. The photographs shall be identified by the signature of the photographer.

D. Any licensed Virginia auctioneer or licensed auction firm that sells, as a legitimate item of an auction sale, wildlife mounts that have undergone the taxidermy process, shall be exempt from the provisions of this section and subdivision A 11 of § 29.1-521.

Code 1950, § 29-164; 1962, c. 469; 1986, c. 182; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 203; 1994, c. 848; 1997, c. 172; 2005, c. 170; 2007, c. 87; 2018, cc. 764, 765.

§ 29.1-554. Violation of sanctuaries, refuges, preserves and water used for propagation.

It shall be unlawful for any person, including a property owner, to commit the following acts, the violation of which shall constitute a Class 3 misdemeanor:

1. To violate any regulation of the Board concerning refuges, sanctuaries and public shooting or fishing preserves in impounded waters or in forest and watershed areas owned by the United States government;

2. To damage the boundary enclosure of or enter a game refuge owned, leased or operated by the Board for the purpose of molesting any bird or animal, or permit his dog or livestock to go thereon;

3. To fish or trespass with intent to fish upon any waters or lands being utilized for fish propagation, or damage or destroy any pond, pool, flume, dam, pipeline, property or appliance belonging to or being utilized by the Board; or

4. To interfere with, obstruct, pollute, or diminish the natural flow of water into or through a fish hatchery.

Code 1950, § 29-171; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-554.1. Impeding lawful fishing in inland waters; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to willfully and intentionally impede the lawful fishing of any species of fish. "Fishing" means those activities defined in § 29.1-100 as "fishing."

B. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1997, c. 703.

§ 29.1-555. Reserved.

Reserved.

§ 29.1-556. Unlawful devices to be destroyed.

Any firearm, trap, net, or other device of any kind or nature for taking wild birds, wild animals, or fish, except as specifically permitted by law, shall be considered unlawful. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, and the device shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth. Nets, traps or other such devices, excluding firearms, shall be destroyed by the conservation police officer if the owner or user of the device cannot be located within thirty days. Unlawful fixed devices may be destroyed by the conservation police officer at the place where the devices are found.

Code 1950, § 29-172; 1962, c. 469; 1979, c. 264; 1987, c. 488; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-556.1. Release of certain balloons prohibited; civil penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly release or cause to be released into the atmosphere within a one-hour period fifty or more balloons which are (i) made of a nonbiodegradable or nonphotodegradable material or any material which requires more than five minutes' contact with air or water to degrade and (ii) inflated with a substance which is lighter than air. Any person who violates this section shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed five dollars per balloon released above the allowable limit, which shall be paid into the Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Endowment Fund established pursuant to § 29.1-101.1.

B. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) balloons released by or on behalf of any agency of the Commonwealth, or the United States or pursuant to a contract with the Commonwealth, the United States, or any other state, territory or government for scientific or meteorological purposes or (ii) hot air balloons that are recovered after launch.

1991, c. 607.

§ 29.1-557. Confiscation of wild birds and animals under certain circumstances; disposition.

Wild birds, wild animals and fish are the property of the Commonwealth and may be reduced to personal possession only in accordance with law. Any wild bird, wild animal or fish which is illegally taken, possessed, sold, purchased, transported or imported shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 29-173; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-558. Reserved.

Reserved.

§ 29.1-561. Self-incrimination.

No person shall be excused from testifying for the Commonwealth as to any offense committed by another under the provisions of the game, inland fish and boating laws by reason of his testimony tending to incriminate himself, but the testimony given by any such person on behalf of the Commonwealth when called as witness for the prosecution shall in no case be used against him, nor shall he be prosecuted as to the offense to which he has testified.

Code 1950, § 29-181; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-562. Reserved.

Reserved.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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