Summaries of Some of VA's New Laws

By Boomer Staff | July 1st, 2016

Boomer shares some of the many new VA laws and changes to old ones, which go into effect July 1, 2016.

A slew of new laws and changes to old ones officially take effect today throughout the state.

Here is a brief summary of some of the fresh laws from Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramon E. “Trip” Chalkley, noted on the county’s website, Gov. Terry McAuliffe as noted on his website and the Virginia Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC).


Drivers can be fined up to $50 if they don’t wait until it is “reasonably safe” to open a door on the same side of bicycle and/or vehicle traffic. However, this law doesn’t apply to passengers.


State law authorizes individuals with out-of-state concealed handgun permits to carry a concealed handgun in the Commonwealth. In addition, Virginia State Police is now required to oversee all gun shows and be able to perform voluntary background checks for non-dealer sales at firearms shows.

The law prohibits those under a restraint order to possess guns.


The definition of “abused or neglected child” was expanded to include children who have been trafficked.


Restaurants can allow customers to bring in outside beer or cider (in closed containers) for consumption on premises and charge the consumer a corkage fee, as they have previously done with wine.

Distilleries can now serve a little bit more of their own product at their on-site, licensed tasting rooms. The new law increases to total amount of spirits to 3 ounces, with no single sample exceeding ½ ounce per spirit unless served as a cocktail, which may contain up to 1½ ounces of spirit.


You may want to rethink smoking cigarettes in the car with your grandchildren or other young loved ones present, because the law establishes a $100 civil penalty for individuals who smoke in a vehicle with a child of the age of 8 or younger.


A district court can order a dog, if the canine has killed poultry, to be microchipped and confined securely, transferred to a different owner or killed. The law adds another consequence because prior to this change, dogs who had killed poultry had to be killed or transferred to another state.

All wild bird and animals EXCEPT deer, bear, elk and turkey can be hunted with a slingshot.

It is illegal to purposefully release a hunting dog(s) on someone else’s land without permission. The canine’s owner can be fined on first offense and a second offense (within three years) is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $2,500 and/or jail time of up to 12 months.

First responders can now have civil immunity if they forcibly enter a vehicle to save a companion animal from serious physical injury or death (such as a dog locked in a vehicle on a hot summer’s day). This applies to damage to the vehicle or the animal but doesn’t apply if negligence or willful misconduct is present.


Individuals now must be 18 years old to marry unless they’re emancipated via a court order. Previously, children could get married at 16 years old with parental consent.

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