DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY

Destruction of Property is criminal vandalism under Virginia law. Virginia punishes the intentional destruction, damage, defacing, and removal of property belonging to someone else. Generally, regardless of what kind of property you destroy in Virginia, the offense will be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony based on the value of the destruction. This crime has nothing to do with theft – larcenies are punished separately in VA.

Penalty: Virginia law 18.2-137 punishes vandalism as a Class 6 felony when the value of or damage to the property is $1,000 or higher. The exact same act is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor when the value of or damage to the property is less than $1,000. If you are convicted of this crime, the court will likely order you to pay restitution to the victim.

The amount of loss caused by the destruction, defacing, damage or removal of such property, memorial or monument may be established in a court of law by proving the fair market cost of repair or fair market replacement value. A witness who is familiar with the destroyed property may testify in court as to the value and that testimony may be considered sufficient by the judge to establish that number.


Destruction of property / vandalism may also be charged under the following code sections:
15.2-1812.2 – Willful and malicious damage to or defacement of public or private facilities
18.2-135. Destruction of posted signs; posting land of another
18.2-137. Injuring, etc., any property, monument, etc.
18.2-140. Destruction of trees, shrubs, etc.
18.2-162. Damage or trespass to public services or utilities


§ 18.2-137. Injuring, etc., any property, monument, etc.

A. If any person unlawfully destroys, defaces, damages, or removes without the intent to steal any property, real or personal, not his own, or breaks down, destroys, defaces, damages, or removes without the intent to steal, any monument or memorial for war veterans, not his own, described in § 15.2-1812; any monument erected to mark the site of any engagement fought during the Civil War, or any memorial to designate the boundaries of any city, town, tract of land, or any tree marked for that purpose, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, provided that the court may, in its discretion, dismiss the charge if the locality or organization that owns or is responsible for maintaining the injured property, monument, or memorial files a written affidavit with the court stating it has received full payment for the injury.

B. If any person who is not the owner of such property intentionally causes such injury, he is guilty of (i) a Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of or damage to the property, memorial, or monument is less than $1,000 or (ii) a Class 6 felony if the value of or damage to the property, memorial, or monument is $1,000 or more. The amount of loss caused by the destruction, defacing, damage, or removal of such property, memorial, or monument may be established by proof of the fair market cost of repair or fair market replacement value. Upon conviction, the court may order that the defendant pay restitution.

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