Strangest Laws in Virginia

The first Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia was enacted in 1776 at the same time as the Declaration of Independence by the first 13 states of the United States of America. There have been six major subsequent revisions of the constitution ( the 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, 1902, and 1971 amendments).  

Through the years, a couple of weird laws have been thrown into the document. For instance, it is illegal to hunt on Sundays, unless it’s raccoons that you’re hunting, then it’s O.K. Also it’s illegal for unmarried people to engage in sexual relations.

Some of these laws are old and obscure and haven’t been followed up by both the legislature and law enforcement. Others have been revised to reflect the current times.

Below is a collection of eight strange laws from the ‘Old Dominion’ that you’ve probably broken at one time.

1. No sexual relations for single people

According to this Virginia law, any person, not being married, who voluntarily shall have sexual intercourse with any other person, shall be guilty of fornication, punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of up to $250. 

2. Hunting on Sundays is prohibited, unless it’s Raccoons

Virginia code § 29.1-521 states that it is unlawful to “hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, with a gun, firearm, or other weapon, or to hunt or kill any deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs, on Sunday.”

This law, however, shall not apply to baiting nuisance species of animals and birds, nor to baiting traps for the purpose of taking fur-bearing animals that may be lawfully trapped. 

3. It’s also illegal to work on Sundays

This old, blue law (laws designed to restrict or ban some or all Sunday activities for religious or secular reasons) was repealed in 2004. It stated that “On the first day of the week, commonly known and designated as Sunday, no person shall engage in work, labor or business or employ others to engage in work, labor or business.

When starting a business in Virginia, you need to understand the rules that the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in Virginia and how to find a great registered agent in Virginia can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or doing business in the state.

4. Don’t use an X-Ray Machine for Shoe Fitting

It’s unlawful for any person to use any X-ray, fluoroscope, or other equipment or apparatus employing roentgen rays, in the fitting of shoes or other footwear. This section shall not apply to any licensed physician nor surgeon in the practice of his profession. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 Misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

5. You are not allowed to drive a golf cart on the highway

Virginia code 46.2-916.2 states that “ No public highway shall be designated for use by golf carts and utility vehicles if such golf cart and utility vehicle operations will impede the safe and efficient flow of motor vehicle traffic.”

This law, however, does not apply to state employees provided the golf cart or utility vehicle is being operated on highways with speed limits of no more than 35 miles per hour.

6. Being in possession of a radar gun is illegal

Virginia Code Section 46.2–1079 makes it illegal on the highways of the state to operate any device or mechanism, passive or active, that can detect or purposely interfere with the measurement and use of radar, LIDAR, or any other speed detection equipment used by law enforcement. Additionally, a person cannot sell them, and they cannot possess them.

7. It’s prohibited to keep a skunk as a pet

In Prince William County, it’s illegal to keep a raccoon, skunk, wolf, squirrel, fox, leopard, panther, tiger, lion, lynx, or any other warm-blooded animal, poisonous snake or tarantula which can normally be found in the wild, as a pet.

8. You need a license to sell items like tableware and coins

In Frederick County, no person, firm or corporation, operating as either an itinerant or permanent dealer may purchase gold, silver, platinum, platinum-plated or pewter, including but not limited to such items as tableware or other household items, watches, jewelry or coins, without a license.

Sources

Virginia § 18.2-344 – Fornication
Code of Virginia § 29.1-521
Code of Virginia §§ 18.2-341 through 18.2-343.
Code of Virginia § 18.2-321
Code of Virginia § 46.2-916.2
Code of Virginia § 46.2-1079 
Prince William County, VA – Sec. 4-69
Frederick County, VA – Sec. 130-1

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