By Rebecca Wade

As society changes, so do our laws, and it is important to stay in the know about what is legal and illegal in your state. Attorney Rebecca Wade explains some updates to Virginia’s criminal defense laws in this week’s FAQ Friday.

Running from Law Enforcement is Now Considered Resisting Arrest

“It’s not uncommon for people to run when the police show up or are trying to arrest them,” says Wade. However, if a police officer has either applied physical force, placed a hand on your shoulder, or has verbally communicated that you are under arrest and you take off running, that is now considered resisting arrest and is a class 1 misdemeanor.

You Can Be Charged with Trespass for Using a Drone

Virginia has also updated trespassing laws to incorporate the use of drone technology. To be charged with trespass for using a drone, you must have the intent of using the drone to harass, intimidate, or coerce another person. Additionally, if you have been told by law enforcement to cease and desist from flying the drone over a certain property, and you fly the craft over the property again, that is considered a trespass regardless of intent.

Another addition to this law applies to individuals who are registered sex offenders. Wade says, “Anybody on the sex offender registry who uses a drone to make any type of contact with somebody without their permission or take any photos without their permission is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.”

Felony Larceny Threshold Increase

Lastly, Virginia recently changed the felony larceny threshold from $200 to $500. Previously, if you stole someone’s property valued at over $200, it was considered a felony. However, the law recently changed, so now, a theft of $500 or more is considered a felony, while the theft of any property valued below $500 is a misdemeanor. “Even with this change,” says Wade, “Virginia still has one of the lowest thresholds in the nation to distinguish between a misdemeanor and a felony when it comes to larceny.”

About the Author

This is a photo of Rebecca Wade. She is a family law and criminal defense attorney at Old Town Lawyers.

Rebecca Janet Wade

Rebecca Wade is a partner at Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC, practicing in all areas of family law and criminal law having experience with protective orders, divorce, child custody and visitation, child protective services investigations, juvenile delinquency, and criminal charges.

Wade has been named a 2023 Best Lawyer in America by U.S. News & World Report, a 2023 Super Lawyer in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., and a 2020-2021 Top Lawyer by Northern Virginia Magazine.

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