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2010 Virginia Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (2010)

handle is hein.sag/sagva0033 and id is 1 raw text is: COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Office of the Attorney General
Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, 11                                                                    900 East Main Street
Attorney General                                                                          Richmond, Virginia 23219
February 16, 2010                                  FAX 804-786-1991
Virginia Relay Services
The Honorable James E. Plowman
Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney
20 East Market Street
Leesburg, Virginia 20176-2809
Dear Mr. Plowman:
I am responding to your request for an official advisory opinion in accordance with § 2.2-505 of
the Code of Virginia.
Issue Presented
You ask whether a Commonwealth's attorney has the authority to represent a toll facility operator
in actions brought against vehicle operators or registered owners pursuant to § 46.2-819.1 or § 46.2-819.3
for unpaid tolls, administrative fees, and civil penalties.
It is my opinion that a Commonwealth's attorney has no authority to provide representation for a
toll facility operator in actions brought under § 46.2-819.1 or § 46.2-819.3 for unpaid tolls, administrative
fees, and civil penalties.
Applicable Law and Discussion
A Commonwealth's attorney is a constitutional officer whose duties are prescribed by law.' The
primary responsibility of a Commonwealth's attorney is to enforce the criminal laws within his
jurisdiction.  Specifically, a Commonwealth's attorney shall prosecute felonies and may in his
discretion, prosecute Class 1, 2, and 3 misdemeanors, or any other violation, the conviction of which
carries a penalty of confinement in jail, or a fine of $500 or more, or both such confinement and fine.
Commonwealth's attorneys also may perform such other duties, not inconsistent with [the] office, as the
governing body may request.4 In cities or counties of a certain population, Commonwealth's attorneys
may not engage in the private practice of law.
See VA. CONST. art. VII, § 4.
VA. CODE ANN. §§ 15.2-528, 15.2-1626, 15.2-1627 (2008).
Section 15.2-1627(B).
4Section 15.2-1626.
5Section 15.2-1628 (2008).

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