Updated on July 15th, 2024 at 04:56 pm

Lawmakers in Virginia have been busy this past year. Although many bills, like weed sales and a minimum wage increase, didn’t make it past Governor Glenn Youngkin, some notable laws were passed and take effect on July 1, 2024.

Keefer Law Firm has taken the liberty of preparing a review of the significant new laws. Contact our team to consult on how some of these new laws will affect you and your business.

New Virginia Laws Effective July 1st 2024

Some of the new laws are designed to close up loopholes that Virginia residents have been exploiting for years. While this is great, it’ll be doom and gloom if you’re caught on the wrong side of the law.

It’s best to familiarize yourself with the laws that affect you directly and make necessary adjustments.

Changes in VA Speed Limits

From July 1st, Virginia localities will have more say and power in reducing speed limits in residential or business districts. They can reduce the limit to 15 miles per hour. This new law will also allow local bodies to implement this new low-speed limit on state highways.

This bill aims to improve pedestrian safety in Virginia. However, localities must inform the commissioner of Highways of the change and place signs with the reduced speed limit on the roads.

Farm Use Vehicles

The new law affecting farm-use vehicles will require every unregistered farm-use vehicle to display a permanent farm-use placard issued by the DMV on pickup trucks, trucks, and sports utility vehicles with a GVWR of below 7.500 pounds.image of a tractor portraying the new laws for farm-use vehicles

The placards cost $15 and can be used for the vehicle’s lifetime. Unofficial farm-use placards will no longer be valid. The placards should be displayed on the back and front of the vehicle at all times. A first violation of this law earns you a fine of up to $250, while a second and subsequent violation is treated as a traffic infraction, which attracts a fine of $250.

To obtain the DMV placard, the unregistered farm-use vehicle should meet some requirements, including but not limited to:

  • It should be used exclusively for horticultural and agricultural purposes on land that is leased or owned by the vehicle’s owner. The vehicle shouldn’t be operated over or on public highways except for its specific purposes.
  • It is used seasonally by the lessee or farm owner to transport livestock and produce on public roads for not more than 75 miles to a packing plant, market, or storage house.

Illegalize Auto Sears

Although Governor Youngkin vetoed many of the gun control bills tabled by the Democrats, he approved some that both parties agreed on. One such bill was banning auto sears, the devices that allow firearms to shoot multiple shots before a manual reload automatically.

Lucia’s Law

Another gun bill that made it through was Lucia’s law, which makes it a crime for a gun owner to permit a child who’s a potential risk to handle or even have access to their guns. The motivation behind this bill was the killing of Lucia Bremer, a young girl who was shot by another teen when she was going home in 2021.

A Ban on Legacy Admissions

Currently, public universities in Virginia accord preferential treatment to candidates who have family ties to donors and alumni. From July 1st, this will be a crime. Critics of this step in the admissions process have always argued that this age-old practice contributes to unfair privilege.

This legislation from Senator Schuyler Van Valkenburg and Del. Dan Helmer will majorly affect the University of Virginia and William & Mary, which are by far the most selective public universities in the state. The two legislators argued that university admissions should be based purely on merit.

Virginia will be the second US state to ban the legacy admissions process.

An End to Child Marriages

The assenting of the HB 994 bill into law puts an end to child marriages by ruling the new legal age of marriage is 18 years. The law has no exceptions and gets rid of legal loopholes that in the past let emancipated minors aged above 16 years get into marriage.

The goal of this law is to protect children in Virginia from exploitation and abuse that occurs under the pretense of marriage.

Discrimination and Hate Crimes

This new law stipulates that the Commonwealth has a responsibility to safeguard every individual within its jurisdiction from discrimination in public accommodation and employment because of their ethnic origin.

The same law also includes victims intentionally picked for their ethnic origin to the category of victims whose intentional choice for hate crimes involving battery, assault, and trespassing for the sole purpose of damaging another person’s property results in harsher criminal penalties.

Contact Keefer Law Firm

The state provided grace periods for Virginia residents to comply with and familiarize themselves with these laws. However, they became effective on July 1, 2024, and their violation carries consequences.

If you violate the new traffic laws passed, you’ll need an experienced traffic lawyer. The lawyers at Keefer Law Firm are trained, experienced, and updated on these laws. We are qualified to protect your rights and help reduce the consequences. Contact us at (540) 433-6906 today for consultation and legal advice.