Trespassing on private property in the state of Virginia is a criminal offense that carries a variety of penalties. The level of the offense and the penalty that can be imposed varies depending on the nature of the premises and the intent of the person trespassing.
The Code of the State of Virginia, Title 18.2, Chapter Five, defines trespass and the level of offense. For simple trespass upon the private property of another, a verbal or written warning is required before a criminal penalty can be imposed. If such a warning has been given, or if the person is trespassing for the purpose of hunting, fishing or trapping (regardless of any previous warning), the perpetrator would be guilty of a Class One Misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail or a fine of $2500 or both.
Other Types of Trespass
The Virginia code defines a number of different types of trespass upon private property. Many of these are Class One Misdemeanors like trespass after a verbal or written warning or for the purpose of hunting, fishing or trapping. Trespassing on agricultural property with a spotlight is a Class Three Misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine. Trespassing in a cemetery at night is a Class Four Misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $250 fine. Trespassing on school or church property is a Class One Misdemeanor, unless it is done for the purpose of abducting a student, which makes the offense a Class Six Felony, punishable by 1 to 5 years of imprisonment and/or a $2500 fine.
The maximum penalties for the various forms of trespass are not mandatory. The court considers the circumstances surrounding the offense and any harm caused when determining sentence.
The Commonwealth of Virginia also outlaws visually "trespassing" upon private property in the form of peeping or spying through windows, keyholes and the like. This prohibition applies to dwellings as well as other locations including hotels, public rest rooms and recreational vehicles. This offense is designated as a Class One Misdemeanor