New Virginia Laws Effective July 1st

New Virginia Laws Effective July 1st

This week, I will continue my report to you on the new laws going into effect on July 1 that you may encounter in your daily life, including some that you might not know were even considered this session.

One law that garnered much amusement and quite a few puns throughout session was the “roadkill bill” brought by Del. Tony Wilt relating to claiming rights of deer, bear, turkey, or elk hit by motor vehicles. Current law allows only those who hit the animal with their vehicle to be able to claim the dead animal during the hunting season. This new law allows any person who discovers an animal to claim it for eating or as a trophy at any time of the year. If you happen to be in this position, make sure you still call to report it to law enforcement in the area!

The maximum duration of a DMV-issued temporary disabled parking placard will be extended from 6 to 12 months. The fee associated with the issuance of this placard has also been eliminated. The DMV fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, reissue, or renewal special identification card without a photograph will be reduced from $10 per year with a $20 minimum fee to $2 per year with a $10 minimum fee.

Moving violations in highway work zones will now be punishable by a fine of not less than $300 for the first offense and not less than $500 for any subsequent offense. Another such offense in a 12-month period will be subject to a fine not less than $750. Slow down and pay attention when driving through highway work zones. This is not only for your safety, but to protect our hardworking road construction workers and others that you share the road with!

Relief is here for those who have been a victim of predatory towing. This new law will require a towing operator to post written notice on a vehicle providing at least 48 hours’ notice to a resident prior to removing a resident’s vehicle from the parking lot of a multifamily dwelling for the purpose of an expired registration or expired inspection sticker. Any towing operator who fails to comply with these requirements shall be required to reimburse the resident for the cost of the tow and shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $100.

Localities in Northern Virginia will now have the ability to require written authorization of the owner of the property from which a vehicle will be towed, as well as to regulate the monitoring practices used by towing and recovery operators, to crack down on the use of “spotters” to enable “smash and grab” tows of vehicles parked for as little as 3-4 minutes. Victims of an unlawful tow are entitled to a payment of 10 times the total amount charged for removal, towing, and storage. Towing and recovery operators will also be prohibited from requiring an individual who appears to retrieve a vehicle towed to provide, in addition to payment of fees, any document not otherwise required by law before releasing the vehicle to the individual.

As always, you can find a full list of newly Chapterized laws on the General Assembly's Division of Legislative Services (DLS) website, as well as a more detailed review in the annual In Due Course chronicle prepared by the DLS.