Maximum sentence for not complying with 'stay at home' order is 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine

Posted at 1:42 PM, Mar 31, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is reminding people that it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor to gather in groups of 10 or more.

The "stay at home" order, which Gov. Ralph Northam issued Monday, is in effect until June 10, 2020.

Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500. That is the maximum penalty.

News 3 spoke to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office on Tuesday about the rules and regulations.

We reached out to city officials about how they plan to enforce these rules.

“This is a public health crisis, and it’s important for people understand that they need to stay home and that if anyone is out in a group of 10 or more, they can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor,” said Macie Allen, a Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney Office representative.

According to the City of Virginia Beach:

“The Virginia Beach Police Department first seeks voluntary compliance from anyone who may be in violation of the Governor's order. If that does not get the necessary results, officers will take enforcement action.

First and foremost, it would be good to emphasize that the Governor's order tells people to stay at home except for essential trips, which are spelled out in the order. Every indication from the health experts suggests we are still weeks away from a peak in the number of cases and reducing contacts with people is the most effective way there is to minimize transmission. Stay home to save lives.”

Allen said problems would arise when people don’t comply with police requests for compliance to the order.

Related: Local gatherings despite social distancing rules lead to governor's 'stay at home' order

“There is a criminal penalty that can be attached to that kind of behavior,” said Allen. “People do need to take this seriously. People do need to stay home if we’re going to save lives.”

Most of the courthouse activities have been shut down. There are emergency hearings happening, which include bond and arraignment hearings.

If you have a question about your case and the Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is involved, you can email them at

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