Scores of laws passed by the General Assembly take effect today. Some of the legislation involves:
Virginia imposes some of the nation's toughest laws. Among the many provisions:
* Repeat offenders who refuse to take a blood alcohol test will be charged with a misdemeanor, the severity of which depends on the number of previous convictions.
* First-time offenders will pay a minimum fine of $250.
* The blood alcohol content percentage that triggers mandatory jail time is reduced.
* Bail is eliminated for repeat offenders who have three convictions in the past five years.
* Repeat offenders convicted for a third time within 10 years must serve a 90-day minimum jail term. Those convicted for a third time within five years must serve a six-month minimum jail term.
* The period of license revocation is extended for drivers with multiple arrests.
HOV Lane Violations
The state hopes tougher penalties will discourage drivers from breaking the rules on use of carpool lanes.
* The fine for a first offense remains $50, plus $39 in court costs. But fines double for a second offense in five years (to $200), a third offense ($500) and a fourth offense ($1,000).
* Third- and fourth-time violators will receive three demerit points on their driving records.
A dozen measures are intended to crack down on gang activity. They include stricter penalties for crimes committed by gang members, and the criminalizing of gang recruitment.
Civil Unions Law
Revisions to the Affirmation of Marriage Act bar recognition of same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships, even if they were performed legally in other states.