Felony homicide; certain drug offenses constitute second degree murder, penalty. (HB1334)

Introduced By

Del. Emily Brewer (R-Suffolk)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Felony homicide; certain drug offenses; penalty. Provides that a person is guilty of felony homicide, which constitutes second degree murder and is punishable by confinement of not less than five nor more than 40 years, if the underlying felonious act that resulted in the killing of another involved the manufacture, sale, gift, or distribution of a Schedule I or II controlled substance to another and (i) such other person's death results from his use of the controlled substance and (ii) the controlled substance is the proximate cause of his death. The bill also provides that venue for a prosecution of this crime shall lie in the locality where the underlying felony occurred, where the use of the controlled substance occurred, or where death occurred. This bill serves to overrule the Court of Appeals of Virginia decision in Woodard v. Commonwealth, 61 Va. App. 567, 739 S.E.2d 220 (2013), aff'd, 287 Va. 276, 754 S.E.2d 309 (2014). Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/10/2018Presented and ordered printed 18104180D
01/10/2018Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/17/2018Impact statement from VCSC (HB1334)
02/08/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB1334)
02/15/2018Left in Courts of Justice


ACLU-VA Criminal Justice, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of VA strongly opposes this bill. VA should focus on what actually works to save lives and not impose failed "war on drugs" policies. Unlike incarceration, safe reporting laws, access to naloxone, better and more widely available treatment, and stigma-free services are public health-based responses that have been shown to reduce drug use and save lives. Many petty dealers sell drugs to support their own habit, and Virginia law already provides for stiff penalties for drug dealers. For example, distribution of 100g or more of heroin can carry a five years to life sentence (18.2-248(C,1)). Virginia doesn’t need stiffer penalties, it needs smarter, evidence based responses.