New Virginia Law Exempting School Students from Disorderly Conduct Charges – Effective July 1, 2020.
The 2020 Session of the Virginia General Assembly has delivered numerous new laws that a Criminal Lawyer Fairfax County Virginia can use to help defendants get a second chance. The subject of this article is the new law which bars prosecution for the destruction of private property by any Elementary or Secondary School student while on school premises or on a school bus.
This law has been a long time coming. When I was in the State Legislature in 2016, I filed a bill to address a growing problem where schools were criminally charging kids with developmental problems such as Autism. The common illustrative example was the kid with Autism who threw a trash can across the room because he got frustrated. That is what kids with Autism do. They should not be held to the same standard as a child without disabilities! Instead of helping the kid – which is the school’s job – they charged him with Destruction of Private Property.
The first version of this bill just barred prosecution of kids with developmental deficiencies from being convicted of Destruction of Private Property. By the end of the Session the bill was turned into an evidentiary bill that allowed a Criminal Lawyer Fairfax County Virginia to place into evidence the child’s diagnoses for developmental deficiencies, such as Autism. By doing so, the attorney could show that the child’s actions were not willful, and if not willful, one could not be convicted of certain crimes such as Destruction of Private Property.
Here is my bill from 2016. Remember that strikethroughs take out language and italics add language to the existing law:
§ 16.1-274.2. Certain education records as evidence.
A. In any proceeding where (i) a juvenile is alleged to have committed a delinquent act that would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult and whether such act was committed intentionally or willfully by the juvenile is an element of the delinquent act and (ii) such act was committed (a) during school hours, and during school-related or school-sponsored activities upon the property of a public or private elementary or secondary school or child day center; (b) on any school bus as defined in § 46.2-100; or (c) upon any property, public or private, during hours when such property is solely being used by a public or private elementary or secondary school for a school-related or school-sponsored activity, the juvenile shall be permitted to introduce into evidence as relevant to whether he acted intentionally or willfully any document created prior to the commission of the alleged delinquent act that relates to (a) an Individualized Education Program developed pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.; (b) a Section 504 Plan prepared pursuant to § 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794; (c) a behavioral intervention plan as defined in 8VAC20-81-10; or (d) a functional behavioral assessment as defined in 8VAC20-81-10.
Any such document shall be admitted as evidence of the facts stated therein.
Then in 2020, the legislature went back to my original idea. They gave a Criminal Lawyer Fairfax County Virginia a way to get all Disorderly Conduct charges against a student while in school or on a school bus, or at any school activity dismissed. Here it the new law:
§ 18.2-415. Disorderly conduct in public places.
A. A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he:
A. 1. In any street, highway, or public
building, or while in or on a public conveyance, or while in a public
place engages in conduct having a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by
the person or persons at whom, individually, such conduct is directed; or B. 2. Willfully or being
intoxicated, whether willfully or not, and whether such intoxication results
from self-administered alcohol or other drug of whatever nature, disrupts any
funeral, memorial service, or meeting of the governing body of any political
subdivision of this Commonwealth or a division or agency thereof, or of any
school, literary society, or place of religious worship, if the
disruption (i) prevents or interferes with the orderly conduct of the funeral,
memorial service, or meeting or (ii) has a direct tendency to cause acts of
violence by the person or persons at whom, individually, the disruption is
directed; or C. 3. Willfully or while intoxicated, whether willfully or not, and whether such intoxication results from self-administered alcohol or other drugs of whatever nature, disrupts the operation of any school or any activity conducted or sponsored by any school, if the disruption (i) prevents or interferes with the orderly conduct of the operation or activity or (ii) has a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person or persons at whom, individually, the disruption is directed. However, the B. The conduct prohibited under subdivision subsection A ,
B or C of this section shall not be deemed to include the utterance or
display of any words or to include conduct otherwise made punishable under this
C. The person in charge of any such building, place, conveyance, meeting, operation, or activity may eject therefrom any person who violates any provision of this section, with the aid, if necessary, of any persons who may be called upon for such purpose.
D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any elementary or secondary school student if the disorderly conduct occurred on the property of any elementary or secondary school, on a school bus as defined in § 46.2-100, or at any activity conducted or sponsored by any elementary or secondary school.
As you can see, it is important for a Criminal Lawyer Fairfax County Virginia to stay on top of changes in the law. This new law if a full-proof way of getting Disorderly Conduct charges dismissed for any Destruction of Property charge by a student while at school, at a school-sponsored event or on the school bus. Contact the office of Dave Albo – Attorney today.