Will it become easier to commit adultery in Virginia if proposed bill passes?

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-20 20:08:42-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you cheat on your spouse in Virginia, it is a crime. Under Virginia law, adulterers can be convicted of a class four misdemeanor.

However HB 2014, a bill proposed by Del. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, that penalty would be reduced to a civil penalty of no more than $250.

"Does your bill encourage cheating in Virginia?" CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George asked Surovell.

"No, that is certainty not the intent," Surovell responded.

Surovell pointed out that his legislation would actually be a win for the person being cheated on.

Surovell, a family lawyer by trade, says far too of often those who commit adultery plead the Fifth and do not answer questions regarding if they cheated because they do not want to be charged with a misdemeanor. As a result, the victim must spent thousands in legal fees to prove the adultery occurs. This would force the cheater to admit the truth.

"Nobody ever gets prosecuted for adultery any more in Virginia and it is silly to leave a law like that on the books that allows people to hide behind the shield of the Fifth Amendment," Surovell said.

Surovell estimates only one person in the last forty years has been charged with adultery and by keeping the law "on the books" lawyers are only winning by charging high legal fees to prove the adultery took place.