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Official Opinions


July 2014 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.  They are not "rulings" and 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 #



14-049 Honorable R. Lee Ware, Member, House of Delegates

The former Superintendent legally may not participate in the Supplemental Retirement Program under the facts presented.  Further, the Board of Supervisors, in its sound discretion, may modify, discontinue, or elect not to make annual appropriations to the program.

13-112 Martin Crim, Esquire, Town Attorney for the Town of Haymarket

The provision in Article III, § 1(4) of the Town Charter, which allows the Town Council to expel a member by a two-thirds vote, is a constitutional exercise of legislative power.  Sections 24.2-230 through 24.2-238, which relate to the removal of local elected officers, do not supersede this provision of the Charter.  Further, the mayor may not vote in expulsion proceedings, and the concurrence of two-thirds of all council members eligible to vote is required in order to remove a council member.

14-005 Brian K. Telfair, Esquire, City Attorney, City of Petersburg

Section 2-5 of the Petersburg City Charter, and the Disciplinary Procedure adopted by the City Council pursuant thereto, are valid exercises of constitutional authority.  The constitutionality of the City Charter and the Disciplinary Procedure are not affected by § 24.2-233 of the Code of Virginia

14-017 Honorable Richard H. Black, Member, Senate of Virginia

A county and a town concurrently may assess tangible personal property taxes on business property located within the boundaries of both governmental entities

Honorable Richard H. Stuart, Member, Senate of Virginia

Section 15.2-1705 disqualifies a prospective law enforcement officer from service if that individual has been convicted of, or has pled guilty or no contest to, one of the offenses specified in the statute, even if the charge is later dismissed or expunged.  Nevertheless, upon request of a state or local law enforcement agency, the Department of Criminal Justice Services may waive this disqualification for good cause shown.  Further, although an individual who was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for an enumerated offense is not automatically disqualified from service as a law enforcement officer pursuant to the statute, state and local law enforcement agencies are authorized to consider certain aspects of juvenile adjudications as a basis for denying employment.

Honorable Robert L. Bushnell, Judge, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for the City of Martinsville and the Counties of Henry and Patrick

A prisoner charged as a juvenile but sentenced under § 16.1-284 is eligible for the good conduct credit established in § 53.1-116, if the offense for which he is being sentenced would be classified as a misdemeanor if committed by an adult.  However, if the offense for which he is being sentenced would be classified as a felony if committed by an adult, the good conduct credit established in § 53.1-116 does not apply. Further, in the event the prisoner has received a sentence arising from multiple offenses, one or more of which would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult, and one or more of which would be a felony if committed by an adult, the good conduct credit applies to the misdemeanor sentence(s), but not to the felony sentence(s). As to good conduct credit for violating a court order or the terms of probation or parole, the underlying offense governs in the same way.

Jason Ham, Esq., Town Attorney, Town of New Market

Section 33.1-42, by its express terms, allows the Town of New Market, with the consent of the Commissioner of Highways, to maintain those roads in the Town that are incorporated in the State Highway System, but not those that are part of the secondary system of state highways.  The statute further allows the Town to be reimbursed up to the amount the Commissioner is authorized to expend for such street maintenance.