Violent felony; definition, assault and battery against a law-enforcement officer, etc. (HB519)

Introduced By

Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Definition of violent felony; assault and battery against a law-enforcement officer, etc. Adds to the list of violent felonies assault and battery against a judge, magistrate, law-enforcement officer, correctional officer, firefighter, or other public safety personnel. The consequences when an offense falls under the definition of violent felony include increased sentencing ranges, enhanced punishment for certain other offenses, restricted eligibility for participation in a drug treatment court, a presumption against bail for persons illegally present in the United States, and an expansion of the definition of victim for the purpose of compensation of crime victims. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2018Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18102556D
01/08/2018Impact statement from VCSC (HB519)
01/08/2018Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/01/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB519)
02/15/2018Left in Courts of Justice


ACLU-VA Police Practices, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposes this bill that would define assault on an officer as a "violent felony" for purposes of penalty enhancements under the Sentencing Guidelines. Any assault on an officer is already defined as a felony regardless of whether there is any injury suffered by the officer. If you spit at an officer, that's a felony assault that subjects you if convicted to a minimum time in jail of 6 months. Last year's Crime in Virginia Report by the State Police documents that most reported assaults involve hands, feet, mouth, teeth, and of 1278 reported "assaults," 910 resulted in no injury while another 314 resulted in minor injuries. Thus, 96% of all reported "assaults" on officers resulted in no injury or only a minor one. In addition, these "assaults" most often occur in the course of an arrest or while a person is being transported. It is unknown how many involve people with developmental disabilities or mental illness who cannot respond to police commands not to "resist" arrest, etc. In such circumstances, it is simply excessive to define every "assault" on an officer as a "violent felony."