New Criminal Justice Reform Laws in Virginia

Last week, the Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam signed multiple criminal reform bills that will hopefully help combat Virginia’s mass incarceration and provide more fairness and equality in the criminal justice system.  

The bills Governor Northam signed include:

  • Increasing the felony larceny threshold from $500 to $1,000.
  • Repealing the suspension of driver’s license for unpaid fees and fines.
  • Ending the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for non-driving related offenses, including drug offenses and theft of motor fuel.

The Governor’s proposed amendments include:

  • Decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana and creating a $25 civil penalty (compared to the previous $500 maximum fine and upwards 30-day sentence).

While possession of marijuana has been decriminalized, sales of marijuana are still illegal. The governor said he wants a study conducted on the potential impact of the legalization of marijuana. Currently only D.C. and 12 other states have marijuana legalized for recreational use.