Virginia Destruction of property charges criminalize damaging private and public property. There are a number of Virginia destruction of property charges listed in the code. The most common Virginia destruction of property charges are listed below.
Virginia Destruction of Property Charges
Destruction of Property (without Intent to Steal): Va. Code §18.2-137 is the most common destruction of property charge. It criminalizes the unlawful destruction or defacement of property without intent to steal. The property can be real or personal property. The statute also specifically criminalizes the destruction or removal of certain war monuments and memorials.
- Unlawfully Damaging Property: If the offender “unlawfully” damaged property, he can be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor under §18.2-137(A).
- Intentionally Damaging Property (Less than $1000): If the offender “intentionally” damaged the property but the damage was less than $1000, the charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor under Va. Code §18.2-137(B).
- Intentionally Damaging Property (More than $1000): If the offender “intentionally” damaged the property but the damage was more than $1000, the charge is a Class 6 felony under Va. Code §18.2-137(B).
Virginia Destruction of Property Charges Related to Churches and Cemeteries
- Destruction of Church and Cemetery Property: Va. Code §18.2-127 criminalizes the willful or malicious destruction of churches, church property, cemeteries and burial grounds. It is a misdemeanor to destroy, damage or remove plants or flowers on church or cemetery property. It is also a misdemeanor to block church and cemetery entrances. It is a felony yo willfully or maliciously destroy a grave or tomb in a cemetery. The offender also must pay restitution to the property owner.
Virginia Destruction of Property Charges Related to Public Buildings
Destruction of Public Buildings: Va. Code §18.2-138 criminalizes damaging public buildings. The statute also penalizes the willful and unlawful damaging or defacing of certain documents. If the damage is less than $1000, it is charged as a misdemeanor. If it exceeds $1000, it is a felony.
- Va. Code §18.2-138(i): The property covered in this statute includes the state Capitol building, a courthouse, houses of worship, colleges and other schools, city and town halls, and any other public building or library. The prosecution must prove that the offender “willfully and maliciously” destroyed the property.
- Va. Code §18.2-138(ii) penalizes willfully and maliciously “damaging or defacing” the Capitol building or any other public building or any statuary in the Capitol or on its property or any other public building or property.
- Va. Code §18.2-138(iii) criminalizes the destruction of any property in any of the above mentioned buildings.
Virginia Destruction of Property Charges Related to Vehicles
- Tampering with a Vehicle: Tampering with a Vehicle is a common Virginia destruction of property charge when that property is a vehicle. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor under Va. Code §18.2-146 to intentionally deface, damage or destroy a part or parts of a vehicle. The statute also criminalizes the willful and malicious interference with the operation of the vehicle. For more information on the Virginia tampering with a vehicle charge, click here.
- Entering or Setting Vehicle in Motion to Commit Crime: It is also a Class 1 misdemeanor to enter or set in motion certain vehicles intending to commit a crime under Va. Code § 18.2-147.
Virginia Destruction of Property Charges Related to Utilities
- Damage to Services and Utilities: Va. Code §18.2-162 criminalizes the damage or trespass to public services and utilities. It states that it is a misdemeanor to intentionally destroy or damage facilities that provide public utilities if the value of the damage is $200 or less. It is punished with a fine up to $500. if the damage is $200 or more, it is a felony, punished with 2-10 years in prison.
- Tampering with Fire Hydrant: Va. Code §18.2-162.1 makes it a class 2 misdemeanor to “willfully and maliciously” divert public wastewater or wastes public water by tampering with a fire hydrant.
- Stealing Cable: Va. Code §18.2-165 makes stealing cable a Class 3 misdemeanor. It is punished with a fine up to $500.
Other Virginia Destruction of Property Charges
- Destruction of Trees on Another’s Land: Va. Code §18.2-140 states that it is unlawful to destroy any trees or shrubbery on another’s land without the owner’s consent.
- Putting No Trespassing Signs on Another’s Land: This charge is a Class 3 misdemeanor under §18.2-119.1 to intentionally place “No Trespassing”signs on another’s land without consent.