Monroe, MI asked in Criminal Law for Virginia

Q: Is it illegal to wear a winter type ski mask while walking on a public sidewalk during the day in order to keep warm?

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Wilfred Yeargan
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Fairfax, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: It is a Class 6 felony for a person over the age of 16 to wear a mask in public With the Intent to Disguise His or Her Identity. Cold weather is certainly a valid reason to wear a mask and the state would have a difficult time proving this charge if you were arrested. However, in an abundance of caution it may be prudent to leave a substantial portion of the face uncovered or carry a doctors note if you have a medical condition. 18.2-422 of the Virginia Code allows one to wear a mask for medical reasons. Normally this code section is charged tangentially in a burglary or robbery case where someone was clearly engaged in criminal activity.

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