Certain crimes committed while participating in a riot; civil action for damages caused. (SB531)

Introduced By

Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) with support from co-patron Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Certain crimes committed while participating in a riot; civil action for damages caused during a riot or unlawful assembly; affirmative defense; reduction in law-enforcement agency operating budget; penalty. Creates a civil action for damages caused during a riot or unlawful assembly if a person with the lawful authority to direct a law-enforcement agency uses that authority to prohibit law-enforcement officers from taking action that would prevent or materially mitigate significant bodily injury, death, or damage or destruction of property caused by or related to a riot or unlawful assembly. The bill also creates an affirmative defense in a civil action for wrongful death or injury to a person or property that such action arose from injury or damage sustained by a participant in furtherance of a riot. If such affirmative defense is raised, the court shall, upon the defendant's motion, stay the proceedings during the pendency of the criminal proceedings. This bill also directs that any locality that reduces the operating budget of its local law-enforcement agency shall (i) receive no appropriation in the general appropriation act for highway system maintenance and operations or for maintenance and operation of roads; (ii) receive no allocation of highway funds for roads within such locality; and (iii) receive no payments for maintenance, construction, or reconstruction of highways. The bill also makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to (a) electronically publish another person's personal identifying information with the intent to (1) incite violence or commit a crime against such other person or (2) threaten or harass such other person in a manner as to place the person in reasonable fear of bodily harm; (b) maliciously block access to any business; (c) maliciously obstruct a highway; and (d) injure, destroy, or tamper with a conspicuously marked law-enforcement vehicle. Additionally, this bill makes it a Class 6 felony to commit an assault and battery while participating in a riot and to interfere with a conspicuously marked law-enforcement vehicle occupied by a law-enforcement officer with the intent to prevent a law-enforcement officer from performing his official duties. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/12/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22103359D
01/12/2022Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
01/14/2022Impact statement from VCSC (SB531)
02/02/2022Passed by indefinitely in Judiciary (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)