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Official Opinions


July 2010 Opinions
Please click on Opinion number to view entire opinion.

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  Official opinions do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general.  

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505).  A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.


Opinion # Requestor Summary
10-064 The Honorable Bill Janis
Member, House of Delegates

No illegal gambling occurs when the opportunity to win a prize is offered both with a purchase and without the requirement of a purchase because the element of consideration is missing.


The Honorable James E. Edmunds, II
Member, House of Delegates

Unlike initial orders issued pursuant to § 10.1-566(C ), which may be limited to suspending only land-disturbing construction activities to redress violations of erosion and sediment control schemes, subsequent orders, designed to enforce the initial order and to compel obtainment of necessary plan approval or permits, must stop all construction activities on the site, other than corrective measures, until such approval or permits are obtained.
10-047 The Honorable Robert G. Marshall
Member, House of Delegates
Virginia law enforcement officers, including conservation officers, may inquire into the immigration status of persons stopped or arrested; however, persons tasked with enforcing zoning laws lack the authority to investigate criminal violations of the law, including criminal violations of the immigration laws of the United States.
10-059 Thomas M. Simons, Esq.
Town Attorney, Town of Glasgow
Localities may not enact an ordinance prohibiting spouses from concurrenty holding interrelated elected offices. 
10-045 The Honorable Richard P. Bell
Member, House of Delegates
The utility or service charge authorized by § 15.2-2114 is a fee, not a tax, that is enforceable by localities pursuant to § 15.2-2114(D). Senate Bill 395 does not affect localities’ ability to enforce existing stormwater control programs adopted pursuant to § 15.2-2114. Section 15.2-2114 does not provide for the grandfathering of properties with conditions that predated the passage of local ordinances, nor does it provide an exemption for landowners whose properties have unique characteristics that prevent the reduction of stormwater runoff.  Landowners cannot be held responsible for reducing runoff or paying a charge for runoff from their property when that runoff is caused by drainage from other properties.
10-040 Ms. Barbara O. Carraway
City Treasurer for the City of Chesapeake
Police officers do not have the civil authority to distrain property for the collection of delinquent City accounts.
10-011 The Honorable John T. Frey
Clerk, Fairfax County Circuit Court

Because the judgment does not detail a specific monetary award, it may be entered either in the judgment docket or in the order book, or in any other record deemed suitable, in accord with local practice and the sound discretion of the clerk.