H. B. 3207
(By Delegates Canterbury (By Request),
Walters and Evans
March 24, 2005
; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §55-7A-2
of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §61-3-30
code, all relating to vandalism and destruction of property;
removing the limitation on amount of parental liability for
acts of vandalism by minors; setting minimum fines and
sentences for crimes of destruction of property; and raising
maximum fines for destruction of property.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted; and that §61-3-30
of said code
and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 55. ACTIONS, SUITS AND ARBITRATION;
ARTICLE 7A. LIABILITY OF PARENTS.
§55-7A-2. Parental liability for willful, malicious or criminal
acts of children.
The custodial parent or parents of any minor child shall be
in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars
for damages which are the proximate result of any one or a
combination of the following acts of the minor child:
(a) The malicious and willful injury to the person of another;
(b) The malicious and willful injury or damage to the property
of another, whether the property be real, personal or mixed; or
(c) The malicious and willful setting fire to a forest or
wooded area belonging to another; or
(d) The willful taking, stealing and carrying away of the
property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the
owner of possession.
For purposes of this section, "custodial parent or parents"
shall mean the parent or parents with whom the minor child is
living, or a divorced or separated parent who does not have legal
custody but who is exercising supervisory control over the minor
child at the time of the minor child's act.
Persons entitled to recover damages under this article shall
include, but not be limited to, the State of West Virginia, any
municipal corporation, county commission and board of education, or
other political subdivision of this state, or any person or
organization of any kind or character. The action may be brought
in magistrate or another court of competent jurisdiction.
Recovery hereunder shall be limited to the actual damages based
upon direct out-of-pocket loss, taxable court costs, and interest
from date of judgment. The right of action and remedy granted
herein shall be in addition to and not exclusive of any rights of action and remedies therefor against a parent or parents for the
tortious acts of his or their children heretofore existing under
the provisions of any law, statutory or otherwise, or now so
existing independently of the provisions of this article.
The provisions of this article shall be applicable to causes
of action arising on and after the effective date of reenactment of
this article. Causes of actions arising before the effective date
of reenactment of this article and proceedings thereon shall be
governed by the previously enacted provisions of this article in
force at the time the cause arose.
CHAPTER 61. CRIMES AND THEIR PUNISHMENT.
ARTICLE 3. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY.
§61-3-30. Removal, injury to or destruction of property, monuments
designating land boundaries and of certain no
trespassing signs; penalties.
(a) If any person unlawfully, but not feloniously, takes and
carries away, or destroys, injures or defaces any property, real or
personal, of another, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and,
upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than two hundred
five hundred one thousand
the county or regional
jail not less than thirty days
more than one year, or both fined and imprisoned.
(b) Any person who unlawfully, willfully and intentionally
destroys, injures or defaces the real or personal property of one
or more other persons or entities during the same act, series of
acts or course of conduct causing a loss in the value of the property in an amount of two thousand five hundred dollars or more,
is guilty of the felony offense of destruction of property and,
upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five hundred
more than two thousand five hundred dollars or
the state a correctional facility for not less than
one year nor more than ten years, or in the discretion of the
court, confined in the county or regional jail not more than one
year, or both fined and imprisoned.
(c) If any person breaks down, destroys, injures, defaces or
removes any monument erected for the purpose of designating the
boundaries of a municipality, tract or lot of land, or any tree
marked for that purpose, or any sign or notice upon private
property designating no trespassing upon the property, except signs
or notices posted in accordance with the provisions and purposes of
sections seven, eight and ten, article two, chapter twenty of this
code, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction
thereof, shall be fined not less than
twenty two hundred dollars
nor more than two hundred one thousand dollars, or confined in the
county or regional jail not less than one nor more than six months,
or both fined and imprisoned. Magistrates have concurrent
jurisdiction of all offenses arising under the provisions of this
section. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to the
owner, or his or her agent, of the lands on which such signs or
notices are posted.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to remove the limitation on amount of parental liability for acts of vandalism by minors and to
set minimum fines and sentences for crimes of destruction of
property. The bill also raises the maximum fines for destruction
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would