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VA General Assembly 2021: Wearing a Mask During a Crime

Jan 12, 2021 | Criminal Law

Update: This law did not pass, and was not enacted.

See our previous Post about Virginia’s law on mask wearing: Here.

Currently, Virginia Code, Section 18.2-422 makes it a Class 6 Felony, carrying up to 5 years in prison, to wear a mask in public so as to to conceal your identity. This law became all the more relevant over the past year.

Del. Lee Carter has introduced a bill to amend this law in the 2021 General Assembly session.

The current version of the law prohibits wearing a mask in public at any time so as to conceal your identity, with several exception such as Halloween and public health emergencies.

The bill takes away all of the exceptions, and simply makes it illegal to wear a mask “while committing a crime” or while harassing someone with a racial animus. The second provision would seem to target groups like the Ku Klux Klan and their infamous white hoods, which inspired laws prohibiting mask wearing in public.

This would make wearing a mask while committing another criminal offense a separate Class 1 Misdemeanor, a lower level offense that the Class 6 Felony it currently is.

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Read more about this bill, HB 1782: Here.

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