Jason S. Miyares
Attorney General of Virginia

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2000 Official Opinions

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 ยง 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.

*Section 2.1-118 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Attorney General of Virginia to render official opinions to the Governor,  members of the General Assembly, judges, the State Corporation Commission, state agency heads, and certain local officials.  The Honorable Mark L. Earley was sworn in as Attorney General at noon, January 17, 1998. The Honorable Richard Cullen served as Attorney General of Virginia from June 11, 1997, to January 17, 1998.  The Honorable James S. Gilmore, III, served as Attorney General during 1996 until his resignation on June 11, 1997.


Opinion #




Mr. Edwin N. Wilmot
City Attorney for the City of Hopewell

Buildings owned and used as schools by City of Hopewell are "public places" that may not be sold without recorded three-fourths affirmative vote of all members elected to city council.



The Honorable William C. Mims
Member, Senate of Virginia

Amendment in 2000 House Bill 950 is not necessary to authorize law-enforcement officers of Commonwealth to detain nonresident runaway child. Current law authorizes law-enforcement officers to take into custody out-of-state runaway child who is within Commonwealth.



The Honorable George W. Grayson
Member, House of Delegates

Statutory requirement that copy of certificate of analysis be "mailed or delivered" to counsel for accused at least seven days before hearing or trial does not impose condition that accused, or his counsel, be in possession of such copy within seven days of hearing or trial.



The Honorable Madison E. Marye
Member, Senate of Virginia

The Honorable Albert C. Pollard Jr.

Member, House of Delegates

Act does not include limited liability corporation as entity that must comply with campaign finance reporting requirements; does not address expenditure of funds transferred from political action committee to limited liability corporation. Expenditure of such funds by corporation is not subject to reporting requirements of Act.



The Honorable H. Morgan Griffith

Member, House of Delegates


Act permits political action committee to purchase and make available to legislators redistricting-related services to assist in political process of redistricting.



Ms. Deanis L. Simmons
County Attorney for Tazewell County


County, within its discretion, may provide emergency equipment for use by fire and rescue organizations in responding to emergency calls and may seek reimbursement for actual cost of equipment use.



The Honorable Emily Couric
Member, Senate of Virginia


Locality that chooses to enforce Fire Prevention Code pursuant to Act may not selectively enforce open burning regulations prescribed by Code on geographic basis.



The Honorable Clifton A. Woodrum

Member, House of Delegates


Act specifically authorizes Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to enter into services contracts with Hotel Roanoke Conference Center Commission and to expend nongeneral funds from continuing education programs in support of operating costs of Hotel Roanoke Conference Center; does not authorize University to contribute to capital expenditures of Commission.



The Honorable Frederick M. Quayle

Member, Senate of Virginia

House Bill 908, which allows locality to require special exception or special use permit for three or more persons unrelated by blood, marriage, or adoption residing in single-family dwelling in area zoned for single-family use, would not violate federal or state fair housing law unless applied in discriminatory manner. Whether bill applies to or affects specific piece of property must be decided on case-by-case basis. Incorporation of term "nonprofit" in definition of "residential facility" in Senate Bill 449 creates discriminatory distinction that violates Virginia Fair Housing Law.



The Honorable Walter W. Stout III

Judge, Circuit Court of the City of Richmond


Costs imposed by locality in civil action for establishment of courthouse law library may be used for ordinary and reasonable decorating needs incident to maintaining suitable quarters for library; may not be used for improvement of hallways or elevators leading to library.



The Honorable George W. Harris Jr.

Judge, Twenty-Third Judicial District

Court may establish time frame within which defendant may make deferred or installment payments of unpaid court-ordered fines or costs. Clerk of court may grant or deny request for time to pay in accordance with court's guidelines authorizing such practice. Clerk's decision concerning conditions of deferred or installment payment agreements is final and not appealable. Petitions filed by defendants requesting deferred or installment payments are considered to be traffic, and not civil, matters. Court decision regarding deferred or installment payments is not appealable. Court must enter order reinstating defendant's driver's license after defendant has paid reinstatement fee to Department of Motor Vehicles and agreement has been entered for defendant to make deferred or installment payments of unpaid court-ordered fines or costs.



The Honorable Phillip A. Hamilton

Member, House of Delegates

Transfer of funds from next biennial budget to current state budget, without approval of General Assembly, to meet reimbursement requirements of Act, provided such action is within legislative intent of Act and 1998 and 1999 Appropriations Acts for 1998-2000 biennium, is authorized by General Assembly.