Are You Accidentally Breaking the Law?
July 1st is a big day each year in Virginia. In addition to being the start of the new fiscal year, it is the day when new laws go into effect. You may have seen them on your local news feed; if you didn’t, here is a recap:
Do You Smoke?
You might be breaking this new law and not know it. Anyone who smokes in a motor vehicle when a minor under the age of eight is also in the vehicle is subject to a fine of $100. How old do your kids look?
Beware of Bikers!
Last year, there were 250 car door crashes in Virginia. Car door crashes, or “dooring”, occurs when a driver opens a car door into the way of an oncoming car or bicyclist. If you cause a dooring accident, you are at fault; it could leave you paying a $50 fine and a bicyclist’s medical bills.
Virginia residents can purchase a firearm by presenting only one form of photo ID that establishes state residence. This changes the previous law, which required a form of photo ID plus a document that establishes residency (e.g. utility bill).
The highly publicized agreement between Gov. McAuliffe and Virginia Republicans has gone into effect that recognizes reciprocity for concealed handgun permits. The 21+ year-old holder of an out-of-state concealed handgun permit can carry a concealed handgun in Virginia if:
- The other state has a 24-hour-a-day means of verififying of the validity of the permits issued in that state;
- The person can provide photo ID when requested by a police officer; and
- The person has not had a Virginia concealed handgun permit revoked.
A third law requires that the Virginia State Police be available to provide background checks for non-dealer sales at firearms shows if either party requests it. A fourth law makes it a Class 6 felony for someone under a protective order for family abuse to possess a firearm while the order is in effect. If that person owns a firearm, he/she has 24 hours to sell or transfer its ownership to someone else.
There is no shortage of laws that went into effect, in addition to the laws mentioned above. Here is a short summary of those that might interest you most:
- Every hospital has to provide you with an estimate of the payment amount of any elective procedure, test, or service at least three days before it is scheduled to occur.
- If you are a college student, your college or university cannot force you to provide your social media account information.
- Stalking someone protected by a protective order is now a Class 6 felony. A second offense of stalking committed within five years of a prior stalking conviction is also a Class 6 felony.
- Grade school children are legally required to receive 20 minutes of physical activity each day.
- No one can buy your Virginia lottery tickets for you as part of a “ticket courier service”.
- The new minimum age to marry is 18.
- A new form of special license plate is now available: MEG’S MILES.
- The electric chair is an acceptable alternative form of execution if the drugs needed for execution are not available.
Want to read about every law that went into effect on July 1st? There are, after all, even more laws not mentioned here. For a full summary of each new law enacted this past week, review the helpful summary provided by the Virginia Division of Legislative Services.
You might think that these laws are necessary to produce a better society. You might think that these laws are intrusive and unnecessary – an overreach into your personal life. Either way, it is important to know your rights. And when you are accused of breaking any law, you need a good attorney.
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