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Virginia bill criminalizing bus driver attacks passes legislature

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Criminal Defense

There will likely soon be a new criminal law on the books in Virginia, as legislators in the House of Delegates recently passed a bill that criminalizes specific assault scenarios in ways that are distinct and heightened from the state’s generalized assault statute. 

After one lawmaker was alerted to the prevalence of attacks on bus drivers, especially in Richmond, she was inspired to introduce House Bill 2330. According to the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) bus operators in Richmond alone suffered 37 attacks in 2022. GRTC is planning to install more security technology in response to this trend, whereas lawmakers have moved to target alleged offenders. 

House Bill 2330 would criminalize the specific act of assaulting a public transit operator. If the bill becomes law – which seems likely given the current political climate – anyone convicted of this offense would risk up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $2,500. 

When charges are filed, a strong defense is necessary

Given the likelihood that this bill is going to pass, anyone who regularly rides public transit should be aware of how to respond in the event that they are charged with the assault of a public transit operator. 

“But I would never hurt anyone intentionally!” you may be thinking. While this is likely true, can you imagine a scenario in which there is a scuffle that has nothing to do with you but you’re unintentionally pushed into the fray and mistaken for an instigator? You could still end up arrested.

As the stakes of an assault charge are high, it is important to understand that if you are ever arrested, you have the right to remain silent until you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney and they arrive to protect your interests. Understanding this critical information can make or break a case against you.