Legislation

2018 Sports Official Abuse Prevention (SOAP) Act – HB 1315

Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person to, in the presence or hearing of a sports official, curse or abuse the sports official or use violent abusive language toward the sports official concerning the sports official or his relations under circumstances reasonably calculated to provoke a breach of the peace. Currently, such conduct is punished as a Class 3 misdemeanor regardless of the subject of such conduct.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 18.2-416 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 18.2-416. Punishment for using abusive language to another.

If any person shall, in the presence or hearing of another, curse or abuse such other person, or use any violent abusive language to such person concerning himself or any of his relations, or otherwise use such language, under circumstances reasonably calculated to provoke a breach of the peace, he shall be is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. If any person violates this section where such other person is a sports official, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. For purposes of this section, “sports official” means an umpire, referee, judge, scorekeeper, timekeeper, or other participant who is a neutral participant in a sports event.