Arrest or summons; charge for misdemeanor at discretion of law-enforcement officer. (HB436)

Introduced By

Del. Jackson Miller (R-Manassas)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Misdemeanor arrest or summons at discretion of law-enforcement officer. Gives a law-enforcement officer the choice of issuing a summons and releasing the person or arresting him for Class 1 and 2 misdemeanors. Under current law, the law-enforcement officer must release the person on a summons for most Class 1 and 2 misdemeanors unless the person fails to stop the unlawful act or indicates that he will not appear as directed in the summons. The bill also requires the officer to arrest the person if he fails to stop the unlawful act; currently arrest is discretionary when the person fails to stop the unlawful act. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/04/2008Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/08 081015640
01/04/2008Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/16/2008Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
01/17/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB436)
02/04/2008Reported from Courts of Justice (19-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2008Referred to Committee on Appropriations
02/06/2008Assigned App. sub: Public Safety (Sherwood)
02/08/2008Reported from Appropriations (24-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2008Read first time
02/11/2008Read second time and engrossed
02/12/2008Read third time and passed House (87-Y 12-N)
02/12/2008VOTE: --- PASSAGE (87-Y 12-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2008Communicated to Senate
02/13/2008Constitutional reading dispensed
02/13/2008Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/14/2008Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
03/03/2008Left in Courts of Justice (15-Y 0-N)


CG2 Consulting, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

This bill gives officers on the street unfettered discretion either to arrest or summons a person who is alleged to be committing a class 2 or class 1 misdemeanor. Currently, state law says that an officer must issue a summons unless he reasonably believes that the person involved is a danger to self or others, won't stop committing the alleged offense or won't show up in response to the summons. There is no predicate factual basis for making this radical change in the law, nor is there any means by which the discretionary action by officers can be tracked to determine if there is evidence of biased-based policing resulting from this delegation of unguided decision-making.

An identical proposal was defeated in the legislature last year, and it should be defeated again this year.

Mr S writes:

This bill is contrary to good policy - it will diminish Fourth Amendment and privacy rights in Virginia and give police officers the discretion to arrest and search an individual in hundreds of new scenarios.