va-gov.gif

Offenses

Property Offenses


What are crimes against property?

Crimes against property are offenses involving property and include both crimes in which property is destroyed and crimes in which property is stolen or taken against the owner's will.

A broad range of offenses are classified as crimes against property, including those having to do with taking property, with destroying property, and with wrongfully using or possessing property.

What is arson?

Arson means to unlawfully and intentionally damage, or attempt to damage, any real or personal property by fire or incendiary device.

Burning or destroying a meeting house or school constitutes a Class 4 felony if no person occupies the building and a Class 3 felony if at least one person occupies the building. Additional penalties apply if the victim was selected based on race, religious conviction, color or national origin (§ 18.2-79).

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

AR1 — Arson

What is larceny?

Larceny or theft is defined generally as the unlawful taking or carrying away of someone else's personal property with the intent to deprive the owner of it permanently.

One form of larceny is shoplifting. Virginia law defines the offense as concealing or taking possession of goods, altering the price tag or other price marking, or assisting another with the intent of converting the merchandise to his own or another's use without having paid the full purchase price. If the merchandise is valued at less than $200, it is petit larceny; if it is valued at $200 or more, the offense is grand larceny. It is important to know that simply concealing the merchandise while on the premises is considered evidence of the intent to take it (§ 18.2-103).

Burglary is defined as breaking and entering the dwelling of another in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony or any larceny. (§ 18.2-89).

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

TH1 — Theft offenses - no force (except motor vehicle)

TH2 — Theft offenses - no force (motor vehicle)

What is the difference between petty larceny and grand larceny?

In Virginia, petit larceny is defined as larceny from a person of money or other thing valued at less than $5 or larceny not from the person of goods valued at less than $200. (Code of Virginia § 18.2-96).

Grand larceny is defined as larceny from a person of money or other things valued at $5 or more, larceny not from the person of goods valued at $200 or more, or larceny not from the person of any firearm. (Code of Virginia § 18.2-95).

What are laws about buying or receiving stolen goods?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-108 prohibits buying or receiving stolen goods. Anyone who buys or receives such goods, knowing them to be stolen, is guilty of larceny even if the person who stole the goods is not convicted.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

TH1 — Theft offenses - no force (except motor vehicle)

TH2 — Theft offenses - no force (motor vehicle)

What is trespass?

Trespass is defined in several sections of the Code of Virginia:

§ 18.2-128 prohibits trespass upon church or school property.

  • Any person who, without the consent of some person authorized to give such consent, goes or enters upon, in the nighttime, the premises or property of any church or upon any school property for any purpose other than to attend a meeting or service held or conducted in such church or school property, shall be guilty of a Class 3 Misdemeanor.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not a church member or student, to enter upon or remain upon any church or school property in violation of:
    • any direction to vacate the property by a person authorized to give such direction or
    • any posted notice which contains such information, posted at a place where it reasonably may be seen. Each time such person enters upon or remains on the posted premises or after such direction that person refuses to vacate such property, it shall constitute a separate offense.

A violation of this subsection shall be punishable as a Class 1 Misdemeanor, except that any person, other than a parent, who violates this subsection on school property with the intent to abduct a student shall be guilty of a Class 6 Felony.

For purposes of this section:

  • “school property” includes a school bus as defined in § 46.2-100 and
  • “church” means any place of worship and includes any educational building or community center owned or leased by a church.

Other sections of the Code of Virginia prohibit several types of trespass:

  • § 18.2-134 prohibits trespass on posted property.
  • § 18.2-119 prohibits going upon any property owned by another after having been forbidden to trespass there.
  • § 18.2-125 prohibits trespass in any cemetery at night.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

TR1 — Trespassing

What is vandalism?

Destruction or damage or vandalism of property is generally defined as willfully or maliciously destroying, damaging, defacing or otherwise injuring real or personal property without the consent of the owner or the person having custody or control of it. Virginia law specifically prohibits damaging public buildings and materials in libraries and schools. Code of Virginia § 18.2-128 states:

Any person who willfully and maliciously:

i. breaks any window or door of the Capitol, any courthouse, house of public worship, college, school house, city or town hall, or other public building or library;

ii. damages or defaces the Capitol or any other public building or any statuary in the Capitol, on the Capitol Square, or in or on any other public buildings or public grounds; or

iii. destroys any property in any of such buildings shall be guilty of a Class 6 Felony if damage to the property is $1,000 or more or a Class 1 Misdemeanor if the damage is less than $1,000.

Any person who willfully and unlawfully damages or defaces any book, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, map, picture, manuscript, or other property located in any library, reading room, museum, or other educational institution shall be guilty of a Class 6 Felony if damage to the property is $1,000 or more or a Class 1 Misdemeanor if the damage is less than $1,000.

Graffiti or “tagging” falls within this definition.

Code of Virginia § 8.01-43 specifically addresses minors who are caught damaging public property and action that can be taken against the parents:

The Commonwealth, acting through the officers having charge of the public property involved, or the governing body of a county, city, town, or other political subdivision, or a school board may institute an action and recover from the parents or either of them of any minor living with such parents or either of them for damages suffered by reason of the willful or malicious destruction of, or damage to, public property by such minor. No more than $2,500 may be recovered from such parents or either of them as a result of any incident or occurrence on which such action is based.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-280.4 authorizes school boards to take action against a student or his parents:

A school board may take action against a pupil or the pupil's parent for any actual loss, breakage, or destruction of or failure to return property, owned by or under the control of the school board, caused or committed by such pupil in pursuit of his studies. Such action may include seeking reimbursement from a pupil or the pupil's parent for any such loss, breakage, or destruction of or failure to return school property.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

VA1 — Vandalism

Can students who vandalize a school be made to repair the damage or pay for repairs?

Code of Virginia § 22.1-280.4 authorizes school boards to take action against a student or his parents:

A school board may take action against a pupil or the pupil's parent for any actual loss, breakage, or destruction of or failure to return property, owned by or under the control of the school board, caused or committed by such pupil in pursuit of his studies. Such action may include seeking reimbursement from a pupil or the pupil's parent for any such loss, breakage, or destruction of or failure to return school property.

Are parents liable for damages caused by their children?

Parents of persons under 18 years of age may be held liable for up to $2,500 for damages to public or private property (Code of Virginia §§ 8.01-43 and 8.01-44).

VDOE Discipline, Crime and Violence Definitions

The Virginia Department of Education updates DCV Definitions annually.

For more information on reporting, visit VDOE's School Safety section.

Code of Virginia

The Virginia General Assembly has posted the entire Code of Virginia online for web searching. You can perform a search by using key word(s), phrases or section numbers. You can also use the Table of Contents to view all Titles, Chapters, and Sections.

To explore the searchable Code of Virginia, go to the Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System (LIS).