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Introduced Version House Bill 3207 History

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hb3207 intr
H. B. 3207


(By Delegates Canterbury (By Request),
Walters and Evans

[Introduced
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 of said 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:
That §55-7A-2
of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that §61-3-30 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 55. ACTIONS, SUITS AND ARBITRATION;

JUDICIAL SALE.

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 personally liable 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; or
(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 dollars nor more than five hundred one thousand dollars, or confined in the county or regional jail not less than thirty days nor 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 dollars nor
more than two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned in 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 of property.


Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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