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New/Changed Virginia Laws Effective July 1, 2021

NOTE: The law(s) in effect on the date of the offenses(s) alleged apply. Certain procedural laws go into effect on July 1, 2021. Both pre-July 1, 2021 and post July 1, 2021 laws are referenced on this website.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive review. Should you have any questions, please contact us. We may be able to answer them.

  1. Discovery- Rule 3A:11 and 3A:12 of the Rules of the Supreme Court were modified in 2020. Both the Commonwealth and Defense are required to provide much more information to opposing counsel than in the past.
  1. Elimination of presumption against bail for certain offenses and/or circumstances.
  1. Effective March 1, 2021, deferred dispositions are permitted in all cases by agreement of the Commonwealth and Defense.
  1. Evidence of diminished capacity/mental condition/illness, developmental disability or intellectual disability may be admissible at trial to show the defendant did not have the requisite intent to commit the offense(s).
  1. Unless a defendant requests to have a jury sentencing procedure take place, the Judge will sentence them, if found guilty at a jury trial.
  1. Sentences may be modified within 60 days of transfer to the Department of Corrections This is very rare. “Transfer” means admission to a VADOC facility, not an assignment of an inmate number. Courts may still modify sentences or prisoners in local or regional jails at any time, but that, also, is rare.
  1. The name of the offense of Capital Murder, with the abolition of the death penalty, is changed to “Aggravated Murder”. The same aggravated factors which elevated First Degree Murder to Capital Murder now do the same for Aggravated Murder.
  1. The laws concerning probation violations, terms/length of supervision, and sanctions have changed, significantly.
  1. Automatic expungement of marijuana possession convictions, Code 18.2-250.1 and 18.2-248.1, will take place.
  1. Expungement of certain felony convictions relating to marijuana may be petitioned for.

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