Sentencing guidelines; definition of violent felony. (HB1746)

Introduced By

Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) with support from co-patron Del. Ron Villanueva (R-Virginia Beach)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Sentencing guidelines; definition of violent felony. Adds to the list of violent felonies: killing of a fetus, criminal street gang recruitment, strangulation of another, assault and battery when it is a hate crime, felony violation of a protective order, felony infected sexual battery, enticement to bomb, manufacture bombs, hoax explosive devices, etc., willfully discharging a firearm in a public place resulting in bodily injury, brandishing a machete or other bladed weapon near a school, wearing body armor while committing certain crimes, possession of assault or other firearm by aliens, display of grooming video to child, cross burning, burning object with intent to intimidate, placing a swastika with intent to intimidate, displaying noose with intent to intimidate, treason, escape of sexually violent predator, and unauthorized dissemination of fusion center information resulting in death or serious bodily injury. When an offense falls under the definition of violent felony, sentencing ranges are increased, punishment is statutorily enhanced for certain other offenses, eligibility for participation in a drug treatment court is restricted, there is a presumption against bail for persons illegally present in the United States, the definition of victim for the purpose of compensation of crime victims by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund is expanded, registration of tow truck drivers is prohibited, and restoration of voting rights is limited. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/08/2013Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13101862D
01/08/2013Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/10/2013Impact statement from VCSC (HB1746)
01/22/2013Assigned Courts sub: #1 Criminal
01/23/2013Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (7-Y 0-N)
01/23/2013Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee on Appropriations
01/25/2013Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (18-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/25/2013Committee substitute printed 13104471D-H1
01/25/2013Referred to Committee on Appropriations
01/29/2013Impact statement from VCSC (HB1746H1)
01/29/2013Assigned App. sub: Public Safety
01/31/2013Subcommittee recommends reporting (7-Y 0-N)
02/01/2013Reported from Appropriations (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/02/2013Read first time
02/04/2013Engrossed by House - committee substitute 13104471D-H1
02/04/2013Read second time
02/04/2013Committee substitute agreed to 13104471D-H1
02/04/2013Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB1746H1
02/05/2013Read third time and passed House (96-Y 1-N)
02/05/2013VOTE: PASSAGE (96-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2013Constitutional reading dispensed
02/06/2013Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/08/2013Constitutional reading dispensed
02/08/2013Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/10/2013Impact statement from DPB (HB1746H1)
02/15/2013Reported from Courts of Justice with amendments (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/18/2013Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2013Read third time
02/19/2013Reading of amendments waived
02/19/2013Committee amendments agreed to
02/19/2013Engrossed by Senate as amended
02/19/2013Passed Senate with amendments (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2013Placed on Calendar
02/21/2013Senate amendments agreed to by House (97-Y 0-N)
02/21/2013VOTE: ADOPTION (97-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/23/2013Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1746ER)
02/23/2013Impact statement from VCSC (HB1746ER)
02/23/2013Signed by Speaker
02/23/2013Signed by President
02/27/2013Impact statement from DPB (HB1746ER)
03/16/2013G Approved by Governor-Chapter 424 (effective 7/1/13)
03/16/2013G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0424)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 3 clips in all, totaling 4 minutes.


Susie S. writes:

This is outrageous. If this bill passes in its entirety I will lose all faith in the VA Assembly.

Mary Devoy writes:

Escape of a Sexually Violent Predator?

Any young, gay man who hasn’t “lived” with a lover for more than 2 years and has one sexual conviction can be considered an SVP by the state of Virginia, per the Static-99 assessment tool.

SVP’s are NOT prisoners; they are patients per the State and for civil commitment to remain Constitutional.

The Commonwealth goes to great extents to claim these men have a mental disorder and are unable to control themselves. Even though the Psychiatry field does not believe there is a medical condition that needs treatment under the Criminal Justice System’s guise of Sexually Violent Predator civil commitment.

In the end the state just wants to keep them locked up for as long as possible, treatment and curing them is NOT the goal. Civil commitment cost 3-4 times that of prison and there are a limited number of beds. The November 2011 JLARC report has been completely ignored by the Virginia Legislature and Governor, none of the recommendations have been done. But bills like this keep rolling in. If the state can claim the SVP attempted escape and then charge them with a new felony so they go back to a VA prison, then the state’s got more time to keep control of them and their saving money, Cha-ching!

Mary Devoy writes:

Does the state charge mentally ill patients in other facilities with a felony if they attempt an escape?
If the answer is no, then the residents of the VCBR should not be charged.

How can the State save money AND keep the SVP locked up in prison without violating their rights?
The answer is simple; re-imprison them for a separate and new offense. A revolving door that looks legitimate to the public. I believe this bill and its companion (SB1214-Stuart) real purpose is to retain the SVP’s for as long as possible AND save money while doing it. A new felony does the trick nicely.

Is this simply my opinion? No. During a 2009 Virginia Crime Commission meeting it was openly discussed amongst the members and a patron of numerous SVP bills that the limited number of beds at the VCBR was becoming a real problem. One of the solutions recommended was to begin to release SVP’s under such extreme Probation restrictions that would guarantee a violation. Once violated the individual would be charged with a new offense and returned to prison, not to the VCBR. Virginia retains control of them and saves money….a win-win for the State. That day….I realized Virginia’s goal of SVP civil commitment is not treatment but confinement for as long as possible.

The VCBR removed some of its barbed-wire back in August 2011 because it looked too much like a prison. I know this because I was there visiting with 9 residents over a 4 hour period.
Now the State wants to charge a Violent Felony if an attempt to escape occurs.
What’s the definition of “attempt”?
Would a non-violent protest on top of a door overhang like the one in November 2011 qualify?

Are they unstable and uncontrollable patients that the State needs to treat or are they people whom the State wants to indefinitely incarcerate without additional expense?

If the latter is the goal then civil commitment looses all credibility in Virginia.